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  1. Default Complete newbie, advice appreciated :)

    Hi everyone, apologies in advance if I come across a bit naive but I'm totally new to this.

    Myself and a friend are thinking of flying to Los Angeles (from Ireland), then making our way around Vegas and the Grand Canyon, possibly flying or getting a train to Texas, and from there heading over to New Orleans and Alabama, and just maybe flying home from Chicago.

    We have about 3 weeks, would this be do-able or is it a bit optimistic?

    Also, I'm the only driver and I'm a 24 year old girl, would this affect rental prices in a huge way?

    Any pointers or tips would be hugely appreciated, thanks a million.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A big place.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Is there a particular reason that you want to fly or get a train to Texas rather than driving ? How do you plan then to "head over" to New Orleans and Alabama or get to Chicago ? One of the best ways to see the country is by road and the fewer rentals you get the fewer one way drop off charges and flight fees you will face, and although 3 weeks can quickly pass by, it is enough time to drive across the country.
    There is obviously something that appeals to you in each of the places you have mentioned, but without knowing your interests it is difficult to make any meaningful suggestions at the moment. I would get a good map out and start looking for things that appeal to you, gather ideas from searching the forums and roadtrip planning pages and as you build a picture of your trip keep asking questions along the way.
    If it was me I would much rather stick to a road trip than sitting in airport terminals and trains and having to keep arranging different car rentals, even if it meant staying more in one area such as the beautiful Southwest, but that's me. Have a think of how you are going to get around, what you want to see, and then let us know how we can help.
    If you are under 25 at the time of travel then you could be looking at costly surcharges on your rental.

  3. Default

    Hi Southwest Dave, thanks for the reply.

    Sorry if the post was a little vague, our plans are all up in the air at the moment. Well we were considering an alternative travel method to Texas just because of the sheer size and the fact that only one of us can drive (me) so it might get very tiring.

    We were going to pick up another car in maybe Heuston and drive from there to New Orleans because we've both always wanted to see the city, I have family in Alabama who I'd like to visit and ending the trip in Chicago is to coincide with the Lollapalooza festival, plus the fact that multi city flights back to Ireland are pretty hard to find from the Southern states (again I might be looking in the wrong places but thats what I'm finding).

    I think my general idea is:
    Fly into LA, rent a car, drive to Vegas, Grand Canyon, leave the car in Phoenix and fly to Heuston (??), then rent another car to drive to New Orleans, Huntsville Alabama, then set off for Chicago maybe stopping in Memphis en route if there's time.
    I'm trying to extend it by a few days to a week so we have a little more flexibility, and I am having trouble getting accurate rental quotes because we're undecided, chicken egg situation.

    Would there be benefit in buying a cheap car and trying to re-sell it when we're finished? Would I need to buy separate insurance or just get an extension of my own policy over here? Also, I was wondering if the International Drivers Licence is absolutely necessary for driving in the States?

    Sorry for all the questions and general ignorance!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Not an option.

    No need to apologise, we are here to help ;-)

    Buying a car is not usually worth it with a three month trip never mind three weeks. Having to find a car, register it to a US address and everything else involved, like insurance, plates etc and then try and sell it at the end would not really be an option.

    LA> Vegas>GC>Phoenix are all doable day trips but I expect you would want a couple of days in each up to the GC at least.

    To drive from Houston to New Orleans, Huntsville, Memphis and Chicago is a little over 1500 miles which could be driven in 3 days with only short stops and 9-10 hours travel a day, so with a week it would be quite relaxed depending on how you long you want to spend in one place.

    Keep working on your options and plan your trip accordingly then we can help you piece it together

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you are going to do that, return the first car back to LA instead of dropping it in Phoenix. This will save you the one way dropoff fee, and the drive from the GC back to LA can be done in a day, figure about 9 hours. A flight from LA to Houston shouldn't be considerably more expensive than from Phoenix.

    You shouldn't need an international driver's license as long as your home country's license is in English.

  6. Default

    Thanks for the advice, i'm going to sit down with a map over the weekend and work out as many specifics as possible, then probably come back with twice as many questions!

    Just a quick one though, does anyone have experience with companies such as autodriveaway, where you can drive someone's car from point A to B to save them the shipping costs? I realise that there would be time restrictions but just wondering if that would be an option worth considering. I have already contacted that particular company but haven't had a response yet.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Only from the Other Side

    My only experience with such companies was having my own car driven cross-country. And there's the rub. I wanted my car taken from central New York state (Finger lakes region) and delivered to Tucson, AZ within a couple of days of my arrival after making the drive with my wife in our other car. You ,as the driver of the car to be transported, get a good financial deal, but you are not free to decide when the trip starts, where it goes, or how long to take to get there. Occasionally you might find a reasonable match, but it won't be exact and it won't be a leisurely drive. And then you'd still have the problem of how to continue your trip once you've dropped off the car wherever it's going.


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