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  1. Default Cost!! Road trip from New York to LA or vice versa...

    Hiya, I am planning on leaving the UK for America at the end of summer, buying a cheap car and driving either from New to LA or LA to New York. Just wondering if you guys could help me with a few questions.

    Im not sure what city to start from or if it makes a huge difference, does anyone have any views on this?

    I reckon I will have to buy a cheap car, in the long that will be cheaper I think. Planning to go for bout 6weeks. What sort of cost you think I'll be looking to pay and does it matter I have only been driving just over a year?

    I want to make a documentary along the way, speaking to people who run gas stations, life in small towns nearby so will be going off the main route quite a bit. I read somewhere that the distance was about 2000miles. Is this accurate, also do you know costs for fuel on a small car to get that far?

    Im also interested in going to lots of different, interesting places along the way. Read about Hobo convention, which I would miss as its in April, the guy that runs that Love city in California. I can't remember what its called, sorry. Grand Canyon, Old Route 66 etc. If anyone knew of intriguing places like heard there are some deserted houses, villages out there, rodeos, commune type places where people live off the land, tourist attractions, old famous bars. Basically if you knew of anything along the normal route that you think it interesting I would love to hear to map it out as I plan my journey.

    Lastily, do hobos still ride the rails? Ive always had an interest in them and their stories and wondered if they still existed, and if so what would be the chances of seeing one to maybe to chat on camera to him.

    Thanks for all your help.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default more expensive than you might think

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    Buying a car is never as cheap or as easy as it sounds on paper. When you factor in the red tape and other expenses, it usually takes at least 2-3 months for it to be cost effective compared to renting a car. Also remember that with your vary limited driving record it will be very difficult to get insurance, and it will be quite expensive when you find it. You really need to plan to have about $5000 up front for this kind of trip, and plan to only get back $1-2,000 of that at the end of your trip.

    Direct mileage from LA to NY is about 2500, but of course, that doesn't include going off the beaten path. The fuel cost calculator on the left side of the page can help you figure gas costs.

  3. Default Hey

    Hi, thanks for your reply. So you think its easier to do the whole renting thing? Do you know of any good sites which allow you to rent a car from either LA to New York or the other way round. I checked out the Adventures on wheels site but found it quote confusing. For cheapest car for 36days they charged just under £2000 But Im not sure if they quoted that with petrol cost as it said something like 3500miles included then 25c for every mile on top of that. Also there was a $500 different drop off charge. That seemed a little much, but what do i know.

    Any thoughts, cause im pretty clueless to it all!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Never included

    I've never heard of anyone including fuel with your rental, except when companies "offer" to fill your tank at the end of the trip for a price that far exceeds the cost of filling it yourself.

    Car rental companies often have a maximum mileage you can put on your car during your rental (ones that don't will say the rental includes unlimited mileage) , and I'm sure that's what you are seeing in that quote. You would be allowed to put on up to 3500 miles, and you'll pay a penalty for each mile you drive over that limit.

  5. Default Yes, there are Hobos and Yes, I'd rent a car

    Yes, there are Hobos riding the rails today. However, things are a lot different than the good old days. Everything is a lot more secretive.. Instead of riding in a open boxcar, you will most likely find them burrowed inside the support beams of Grain Hauling car, or sitting underneath a semi-trailer being hauled on a flat bead train car, and etc. Instead of being bearded old men with elbowpatches playing the harmonica, the stereotype you will encounter will most likely be 20 year old tattoo-covered gutter punks who listen to death metal. You can find them, but you will need to know where to look....

    I think that renting a car also makes a lot more sense than buying one. 6 weeks is not unheard of for a rental - and the thing that should clinch the deal: reliability. Yes, breaking down in the middle of nowhere and having a small town mechanic try to order you new parts while you are marooned in a crappy motel for 2 weeks is a great experience, to be sure. However, it will likely be very expensive in terms of both time and money. A rental car will be brand new and if it does break down, they just give you a new one. In addition, a rental car will likely get you better gas mileage then a used car...and 5 or 10 miles per gallon over 10,000 miles adds up to quite a bit.

    Also, this trip sounds awesome - and whatever you do: stay off the Interstate Highway! Real America lies beyond the freeway system.

    Just my 2 cents.

  6. Default In addition....

    If you rent a car, you want "UNLIMITED MILES" - no exception to this, in my opinion. The vast majority of rentals are unlimited miles - You don't want to worry about your milage, and it will most likely be cheaper.

    Do a search for car rentals like this site or someplace like that and see which one of your arrival cities has the cheapest rentals. Consider expanding your flight options to a bunch of different arrival cities and weigh the costs of the flight and the cost of the rental. Rental prices can vary tremendously by city - or even different parts of the city. Search for non-airport rental locations and consider taking a bus or a taxi to that location, as it could save you big bucks. If you are worried about your driving skills, you also might consider flying into a smaller city where traffic isn't as insane. By the time you get to the otherside of the country you will be an expert. Driving in New York or LA can be difficult and scary for even the well seasoned.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-28-2008 at 04:51 PM. Reason: Preferred URL format herein

  7. Default

    Hi, thanks a lot for your comments. I think it will be a great trip just re-thinking the budget and how long it will take me to save up. Looks like renting a car could cost about $2000 for six weeks, not to mention gas prices, food. Thinking of taking a tent or staying in the back of the car for most of the trip. I know it will be super uncomfortable but gonna try and do this thing on a shoestring.

    Good point about where I pick the car up from. It doesn't have to be New York, it could be Boston, Philli etc Ill def look into the various prices.

    Does anyone know of anyone who's made a documentary type film just showing american life from coast to coast?


  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Nothing Specific

    We've actually had a lot of people who've posted questions saying they were aspiring filmmakers and planned to turn their roadtrip into a documentary. However, I can't recall anyone sharing their finished film with us when their trip was complete.

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