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  1. #1

    Default I'm a rookie - please help

    Hi all,

    I live in England and myself and my partner would love to road trip across America. I find the US an absolutely facsinating counting, and having only travelled to NY and NJ I'm extremely interested in discovering more. I'd love to go from East to West at some point but I think to start with we will do a trip on a much smaller scale, so maybe the east coast. I have a few questions as at the moment this is very much in the discussion phase.

    * Firstly is it easy to get hold of a car, how much is one to rent for maybe 2-3 weeks?
    * Does it need alot of planning in terms of accomodation or is it easy to find places to sleep, even in the quite areas? Just because it's obviously very hard to say how long we'd spend in certain areas.
    * Is it feasible to do this in 2-3 weeks?
    * How much, everything included, do you think we would need to save per person?

    I understand the last point is difficult to gauge, but I'm thinking cost of car, gas, accomodation, spending money. Basically so that we'd be comfortable for the duration of the trip and be able to do the tourist things!

    Any advice would be great, many thanks.


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

    Default So many factors.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Prices for car hire can vary greatly, even at different offices within the same company, what type of vehicle you're after and your age. You can get an idea of whats available and prices by going to any major rental company for a quote and then search for the best deal available prior to booking.

    There is nothing wrong with "winging it" rather than booking lodgings in advance but in popular spots in high season you might have to spend time looking for vacancies. When you know where you are headed you can do some more research in that area.

    2-3 weeks feasible? It's certainly feasible to have a vacation exploring some of the East coast, but untill you know how much you want to see and do in that time limit and with what budget we can't really answer.

    With regards to your budget, you really need to start at the beginning, are you going for 2 or 3 weeks, what type of accommodation do you want, how much ground do you want to cover and in what car? These are all questions that only you can answer at the moment by sitting down and matching your budget to your trip. You can find hotels from around $45 but in City's expect to pay much more so I would average $80 per night for 2 of you, there is a fuel cost calculator at the side of the page to give you an idea of fuel costs, estimate your mileage and take $3.5 per gallon and 25mpg to get a ballpark figure.

    With so many factors you will have to do some research but to start with I would work with around $100 a day each.

    Enjoy the planning !

  3. #3

    Default New York to Miami

    Hi everyone,

    We live in England, me and my partner are planning an East coast road trip for Summer 2011, going from New York - Miami over a two week period.

    I have been to New York in the past and understand how easy it would be to spend many days exploring there but as a result of the time constraints we are looking really at 3 days max. to see the main sites.

    We plan to get a rental car once we're leaving New York, as we don't feel it's necessary to get one to travel around the City. We don't have a firm idea of exactly where we want to go, but the start and finish points are definite (flying back home from Miami). Along the way we would like to visit some of these places: Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Washington, Georgetown, Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami. These are just ideas at the moment from simply looking at the map.

    We're looking at a budget of approx. £2000 each (approx $3000). This figure doesn't include flight or car rental but will include petrol/gas, accommodation, food, site seeing etc.

    We have a few questions, which we're hoping we can get some advice on:
    1. Is the time period of two weeks feasible?
    2. I will be 25 and my partner 23, obviously we don't want to be paying a large under-25 driver's fee for her therefore does that mean only I can drive the car for the trip?
    3. Are we looking to go to too many places in such a short period?
    4. Can you recommend any less well known places that are 'must see' that many travellers wouldn't think of?
    5. Do you think we should plan accommodation beforehand or is it easy to get somewhere as and when? As we like the idea of not being too restricted as to how long we can spend in certain places.
    6. Can you recommend which car rental companies/websites are best as we are doing a one-way trip?

    Apologises for all the questions!! Any help and advice will be gratefully received.

    We look forward to hearing your thoughts, thanks guys :-)

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

    Default logistics

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    2 weeks will be an ok amout of time for this trip. You aren't going to have lots of time to linger at any one place, but you shouldn't be extremely rushed either. In a speed run, you could make the trip from NYC to Miami in 2-3 days.

    Yes, if you want to avoid the underage and/or extra driver fee, then you can't have any under age or extra drivers. If they were driving the car without being on the rental agreement you'd be looking at a whole world of problems if you got pulled over or got into an accident (essentially it would be the same as driving a stolen car).

    Heres a look at the pro and cons of making hotel reservations.

    I've never found a huge difference with any of the rental companies, and there isn't one company that's always going to be "better" about things like drop fees. The best thing you can do is shop around at as many places as you can find. Often times, we hear about better deals being booked through 3rd party travel companies in the UK and Europe, so that's something to consider too.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Less Well Known Places

    Nowhere on your journey will you really have a chance to get completely away from the crowds, it will be summer after all, but there are a few places that would not normally be included on a first trip to America like this that I think You'd enjoy. The first would come between Philadelphia and Washington, and would entail a day or two spent on the Eastern Shore of Maryland taking walks through quaint towns such as Chestertown, and Oxford or relaxing in one of the many wildlife refuges. Your best bet for finding overnight accommodations on the fly would be to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to Annapolis, another great walking city. Next up would be the Jamestown/Williamsburg/Yorktown triangle for a little history before continuing down the Outer Banks of North Carolina for some wonderfully unspoiled seashore as well as the site of the first English colony in America. This is one section that might take some pre-planning because there are limited accommodations and a short season so things tend to book up and you will also need to make a reservation for the ferry at the southern tip of the Banks that will take you from Ocracoke back to the mainland at Cedar Island. Finally, consider spending some time in one or two older southern cities such as Charleston or Savannah. As Michael pointed out, two weeks is enough time to do a lot, but not everything, but at least do some research on those possibilities and see if they appeal to you.

    Also, absolutely do NOT plan on driving if you are not listed as a driver on the rental contract. You might be able to get the underage fee waived, particularly if your partner is your spouse or if you make your arrangements through a European booking agency, but either way it will take a little work and you must be absolutely clear on the final details well before you arrive at the counter to pick up the car.


  6. #6


    Thanks for the help so far guys. We wouldn't want to drive without being on the rental car, just wanted to make sure on the finer details. We'll certainly look at the European booking agencies.

    We are looking at visiting some of the smaller places, my partner mentioned Savannah when we were looking at the maps.

    Also, one more question (sorry!) can I just check that gas prices are per gallon and not per litre in America?? We are envisaging driving approximately 2000 miles and want to get a estimated figure on the cost of fuel.

    Thanks again, much appreciated.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Today's average national gas price is $2.71 USD per US gallon (128 ounces). The average midsize rental car with a 4 cylinder engine should average about 25 miles per gallon in mixed (mostly highway) driving. A good rough number to use for calculating fuel costs, being conservative and allowing for variations, is 15 cents a mile. That would make your fuel cost for your trip around $300.

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

    Default look up, and left

    If you look in the upper right hand corner of this forum/site, you'll find a link to our fuel cost calculator. That's got a link to current gas prices throughout the US, plus mileage estimates for most cars, and a program where you can put in all that data to come up with an estimated total fuel cost.

    But yes, everything for gas in the US is sold by the (US) Gallon (which by the way is actually smaller than a British/Imperial Gallon!). If you were to head into Canada, Mexico, or Puerto Rico, then you'd be looking at liters.

  9. #9


    Thanks for this guys, we thought it was gallons, just checking. We approximated about $250-350 but thought we were wrong because that would get you barely anywhere in England, it's so expensive over here!!!!

  10. #10

    Default Car rental - confused!!!

    Hi all,

    Me and my partner are planning on road tripping from New York to Miami in Summer 2011, we're doing our research now to figure out costs etc and how much to be saving. The whole car rental thing is confusing!! My partner will be 23 and have to pay the inevitable young drivers surcharge whereas I'll be 25. Having looked briefly I'm noticing that many companies are charging a hell of alot for a one-way rental (in excess of $500).

    Does anyone have any tips/suggestions as to how we can knock down the price of car rental, or which companies might do us the best deal.

    Not looking for any particular car, just one big enough for the two of us to be comfortable and carry out luggage.

    Thanks in advance for any advice. Steph :-)

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