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  1. Default 6 month tour of the usa - advice needed for a newbie!

    Hello Everyone,

    I will be visiting from the UK to take a 6 month tour around the USA, seeing friends in different cities. spending time by myself and seeing America as i travel. I have briefly put together a trip plan which looks like this:

    Start: Dallas - Atlanta - DC - Conneticut - NY- Boston - Ohio - Detroit - Chicago - Seattle - VANCOVER - San Francisco - LA - Las Vagas - New Orleans - Jacksonville - Orlando - Miami

    I plan to do this trip over 6 months stopping between 1-3 weeks at each of the above. I've lived in the US for a couple of years, but i've never done anything like this before.

    I'm trying to do the trip on a reasonable budget and need as much advice from you experienced veterans as possible!!

    I will fly into Dallas start of June, stay with friends there, buy a suitable vehicle here and start the trip from here. I plan to finish the trip in Miami in December where I will sell the vehicle and fly back to the UK. I have a USA Garmin GPS system that I plan to use for the trip. I have a few questions I need advice on:

    1) I will need to buy a vehicle suitable for the trip for about $2-3,000. What would be the best make and model to go for that would be most economical, and quite spacious? I'm assuming buying would be a far cheaper option than renting or leasing??

    2) What do you estimate the gas would cost for the above trip, and are there any good websites where I can calculate the fuel trip costs from city to city once I've decided what i'm getting?

    3) Any suggestions for Insurance, breakdown cover for the vehicle?

    4) What other things do I need to consider, take into account, be aware of , need to know?

    Thanks you in advance for your time taken to help me in this first step in planning my trip of a lifetime.

    I’m sure I will have further questions from your responses,


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

    Default difficult to impossible

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm sorry to tell you that legal issues and red tape will make it very difficult to carry out your plan at all.

    Purchasing a car as a non-resident of the US is extremely difficult. Without being a resident, it is nearly impossible to register, license, and insure a car. For all of those things, you'll basically need to get a US Drivers License, and to get a DL, you need to be able to prove that you actually live here.

    I will note that because you want to visit for 6 months, you will need to get a full tourist visa which may help you meet some of the requirements to get a DL, however, getting a full tourist visa is also a pretty time consuming process in its own right.

    Once you get beyond those things, there are hundreds of car models and styles to choose from. There certainly is no one perfect model for a roadtrip - and there really isn't a perfect style. All of that will depend on your tastes, how much gear you think you'll have, and of course, what's available. Really, when you're looking for a car in a situation like this, you'll probably want to have a few different models in mind, so you can have the most choices and options to pick from. In any case, I think you'll need to be on the high end of your budget to find a car that will really stand up for a trip like this - and even there, you'll need to have a plan/budget for repairs that may come up while you are on the road.

    You can help figure out your fuel costs by using the Fuel cost calculator on the top left of every page on this forum, any one of the various internet mapping sites (google, mapquest, etc) can help you identify point to point distances - just note that you'll always drive more miles than just point to point, once you figure in driving in towns, through parks, to events and attractions, etc.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Getting Ahead of Yourself

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    My advice is much the same as Michael's, I'm afraid.

    The hardest part of setting up your trip will be the first hurdle - finding and buying a car. Since you have the time (several months), and a physical address (your friends' - Are you sure they're OK with you using their address to register your car? Note that you will absolutely need a physical address to register and license the car to.), the requisite amount of time to make insurance worthwhile (It is normally sold in 6 mo. terms.), and almost enough money to buy a car ($2,500-3,000) might just get you a car that will hold up to the rigors of a 6 month RoadTrip.) you can consider purchasing/selling a car. Now all you have to do is check with the state of Texas and determine what their legal requirements are for owning and licensing a car in that state. You may have to establish residence. You may have to get a Texas driver's license. And resign yourself to the fact that you're going to be buying resale and selling wholesale, so that at best you can hope to 'only' lose $1,000 on the transaction plus whatever wear and tear depreciation you put on the car in your travels. And of course you'll need to be in Miami about a week in order to advertise/sell the car. Sound worth it? We generally caution foreign nationals against trying to buy a car for their RoadTrips. but you might be able to make it work with considerable time and effort.

    As to the cost of gas, yes that will clearly depend on the car, the miles you plan to drive (assume about 15-20% more than just point-to-point), and the cost of the petrol itself. We have no knowledge of what any of those three variables will be, but once you find out you can use the Fuel Cost Calculator at the upper left of this and every Forum page.

    Insurance costs will depend on your car, what kind of coverage you want, age, sex, and driving record. Unfortunately a good driving record will not count for much because you have no record of driving in the U.S., but a bad driving record that is recorded on you license will count against you. Round number, plan on $500+ for six months' coverage.

    Finally, think about what you currently live on. You can expect to need at least that much for your RoadTrip. Some things will be cheaper than you're used to such as petrol (but you'll be buying an awful lot of it) and food (but you'll be eating a lot of your meals 'out'), while some things will clearly be more expensive (You'll be buying your lodging on a night by night basis rather than on a lease). Bottom line is a 6 month RoadTrip covering the entire continental U.S. is going to be expensive.


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