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Thread: First Road Trip

  1. #1

    Default First Road Trip

    Hi there,
    Planning to do a road trip down the west coast next summer, about 30 days, we don't have a complete list of places we want to go to as of yet but we definitely want to go to San Francisco, LA and vegas.
    I'm after any advice on renting a vehicle ideally a convertible but i saw a post about getting a camper van which also sounds appealing, thing is I'll only be 21 any advice on where to rent ect. would be great.
    Many thanks,

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

    Default age difficulties

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    One of your biggest challenges is going to be your age. Being under 25 means that you will pay significantly more for a rental car, it also means you will have fewer choices for what you can rent. Most places will not rent convertibles or other specialty vehicles to anyone under 25. You didn't say how many people will be traveling, but convertible probably wouldn't be a good choice anyway if you've got more than 2 people going.

    Going with an RV is usually not a money saving idea, and again, you'd be looking at some pretty significant extra fees. If you've got the money and one helps you have the kind of trip you want to have its worth exploring, but if you plan to spend most of your time in cities, its probably not going to be a good choice.

    Really, for renting a car your best advice is always just to shop around a lot, so you know what all of your options and prices could be.

  3. #3


    There would only be 2 of us on the trip so space isn't really a problem.
    Do you know of any rental places that you have dealt with?

  4. #4

    Default All the usual ones

    Hi Mike,

    You really are best off visiting the UK websites of a few of the usual rental firms (Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, National, Alamo etc.). Even though you're renting in the States, you'll almost certainly get best rates through a UK site. Someone explained why once but I can't remember!

    And there really is no more advice than that as far as rental goes. Rates all depend on the car, the pick-up place, the drop-off point, the length of stay etc, etc. and can vary from week to week.

    However, to give you an idea, I just went to get a sample quote from one company for 4 weeks, starting and finishing in San Francisco. They're quoting between £800-£1000 for the car with a £500-ish surcharge for under 25 year old driver. That sounds about right.


  5. #5


    many thanks for your help guys

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Camper van.

    In the USA company's like Cruise America, El Monte and Road Bear are the main renters of RV's but with just two of you travelling will work out a lot dearer than a car and Motels.
    An alternative is a hybrid camper come car conversion from this company called Lost campers in San Fran. I have never dealt with them and therefor it's not a recommendation but perhaps an option you might want to look at.

    Let us know if we can help with any other aspects of your trip.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    South Central Orange County

    Default Minivan?

    Although they are by no means the most stylish forms of transportation, two people traveling together could probably get by with a minivan and a tent (especially those with seats that fold flat into a bed or fold flat into the floor). When the weather is nice you can sleep in the tent. When it's not so nice you can pack your baggage in the tent and sleep in the van.

  8. #8


    looks like avis are giving me the best quote on a convertible
    many thanks for your time guys I'm sure i will have more questions in the run up to the trip!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default check the fine print

    I'd double check the fine print on the quotes you are being given. According to Avis's website, renters between 21-24 are not allowed to rent Luxury, Specialty, Minivans, Passenger Vans, or SUVs. A convertible will usually fall into the specialty category. Now, maybe this doesn't apply in your case for some reason, but I'd be very sure that you are getting what you hope so you don't get a nasty surprise when you arrive in the US.

    I'd also make sure your quote includes the underage fee, which according to the Avis website will automatically add 27 dollars a day to your rental cost, on top of everything else.

  10. #10

    Default Money!?

    Coming from the U.K. I was just wondering what my best option is regarding cash/credit/debit cards ect i hear you cant get far with a debit card in the states is this true?!
    I'm not really up for carrying large amounts of cash around with me!
    Any help/advice would be great
    Last edited by AZBuck; 07-05-2009 at 11:53 AM. Reason: Please do not start new threads for the same trip.

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