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  1. #1

    Default New York - San Francisco

    Me, my husband, my sister in-law and her boyfriend are planning a road trip from New York to San Francisco. Me and my husband are moving to San Francisco from Reykjavik, Iceland and decided to make a huge trip out of it. My husbands sister and her boyfriend were going to visit family just outside of San Francisco around the same time for some months so they joined in on the trip. Since they are staying for such a long time in the US and we are moving there we have almost all the time in the world to travel around the country, so we plan on spending a month+ on the road, but we are keeping all options open and if we stumble upon some places we love, we are open on staying there maybe for some days before continuing on the road. The trip can basically take as long as money allows.

    Our basic plan is this;
    Arrive in New York from Reykjavik, Iceland on august 11th and stay there for some days.
    Drive down to Washington DC, and maybe stay a night in Philadelphia.
    Get to Chicago with at least one night stay on the way.
    Take route 66 all the way to L.A. with a detour to Las Vegas.
    Drive up to Yosemite.
    Ukiah, CA
    Finally arrive in San Francisco.

    Do you know some MUST sees on the way :) ?

    We are all very excited but our main concern is the car. We have been looking at buying a car in New York, but then we started wondering if it was safer to rent, also we have no idea how the insurance and registration process will be .. but then again renting would be a lot more expensive than buying and two of us are under 25 and I have read something about that being an issue. We have no idea what to do? Please help!

    Thank you :)

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Purchasing a car is basically not possible for a non-resident of the US. To get the car registered and insurance, you basically need to get a US drivers license, and you can't do that while visiting the US on the visa waiver program.

    Also from a financial standpoint, unless you are going to be here for at least 2-3 months, minimum, it doesn't make sense to buy a car. Once you factor in depreciation (buying retail, selling wholesale), inspection fees, potential repairs, the cost of sales tax, registration, and insurance and similar things which are typically only sold in 6month to 1 year terms, renting is cheaper even with the underage fees.

    Don't get me wrong, this will be expensive, and if you are between the ages of 21-24 you'll be looking at a fee of about $25 a day (if you are under 21, renting really is not possible)

    If you are worried about cost, it will be much cheaper to do a round trip loop, that will save you a one way drop fee, which for a cross country trip will likely cost several hundred to a thousand dollars.

  3. #3


    Both my husband and his sisters boyfriend are US citizens and I am becoming a US resident this august so that is not a problem. Also, we are moving to San Francisco so a round trip is not an option for us. But as we do not think we will need a car in SF, it is probably right that it would be more convenient to rent a car. Two of us are older than 25 so they could be drivers.. :)
    Thank you so much!

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