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  1. Default US roadtrip possible for 19 years old German?

    Hey,
    I'm a German boy, and I'd like to do a RoadTrip in the USA after finishing school next year.
    Me and a friend of mine had the idea to make a road trip, roughly along the whole west coast.

    The problem is our age, we will be 19 years old next summer, so we can't do autodriveaway and can't rent a car.

    Do You see any possibilities for us to do the road trip?

    What about buying a car in the US, can we easily do that?

    Or can we ask another person to register the car on his name and sell it without that person?

    Or does it work to buy a car in Canada and sell it in the US?

    I'm very thankful for Your answers, they would really help me!
    For what price can we buy a car that works well?
    After the RoadTrip we will fly to South America and go backpacking there for half a year.

    I'm looking forward to get some helpful advice!

    Jannis

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,541

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm sorry to tell you there really are no easy options in you situation. How long do you hope to be on the road in the US and what does your budget look like?

    Buying a car, and then getting it licensed, registered, and insured, in the US as a non-resident visitor is a very difficult and time consuming process. Since you're talking west coast, Washington State is one of the easier ones to license a car, but getting insurance will still be very difficult, and even if you did find it, it will be extremely expensive because of your age.

    No, you can't buy a car in Canada and sell it in the US.

    No, you can't have another person buy/register the car, and then sell it without them. Also, having someone else buy the car does open that person up to a significant amount of risk if you got into a crash, as someone could go after that person for any damages not covered by insurance.

    There are some car rental companies that will rent to people age 18-20, but typically with significant fees. It's not a good option, but it's probably still the best one for someone your age. It's just a sad reality that the US is one of the more difficult places in the world to get around if you're a foreign visitor under age 21.

    I wish I had better news for you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,725

    Default

    Your only option on the west coast for renting a car is Fox Rent A Car. You can rent from a corporate location at 19, there's a $25 to $35 daily underage surcharge. There is also a $10 to $12 additional driver surcharge except in California. There is no additional driver surcharge in California. It must be returned to the same location, and you are restricted to driving it to the following states:

    Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

    You may not drive it into Canada unless it was rented in Seattle, and although you can drive it into Mexico if you purchase Mexican insurance, it's strongly NOT recommended.

    Unless your driver's license is in English, you will need an international driver's permit, which must be obtained in your home country before you leave. This is simply a translation of your home license into several languages.

  4. #4

    Default

    Jannis, you are about 50 years too late... sounds like what could have been a great hitchhiking trip ;) These days, given your age car ownership or rental challenges, I might recommend using a combination of train, bus and uber. Maybe even some "tour" excursions if you want to visit national park attractions--in the end probably this combination ends up being much less costly although it limits some of your flexibility.

    Youth hostels might open up additional opportunities on trip segments with people you meet.

  5. Default

    So, you're going backpacking for six months in South America! Looks like you enjoy hiking and camping.

    Back packing and bicycle camping are popular activities in the US as well. You might want to consider it for touring the spectacular Pacific Coast Highway that runs along the west coast.

    Hotels are expensive. Just camping would greatly offset the high cost of car rentals.

    How many months are you allowing for the US?

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by travelingman View Post
    So, you're going backpacking for six months in South America! Looks like you enjoy hiking and camping.

    Back packing and bicycle camping are popular activities in the US as well. You might want to consider it for touring the spectacular Pacific Coast Highway that runs along the west coast.

    Hotels are expensive. Just camping would greatly offset the high cost of car rentals.

    How many months are you allowing for the US?

    Thank you for your answer!
    You mean to bike along the west coast? Good idea, that is one possibility. Then it would be very hard to visit things off the path as Yosemite.
    Another option is to buy a car in Canada, do a RoadTrip through the US and bring it back to Canada.
    I think hitchhiking is not the best in North America, as well as it isn't in Europe.
    What does public transportation cost in the USA?

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jannis Lohmann View Post
    Thank you for your answer!
    You mean to bike along the west coast? Good idea, that is one possibility. Then it would be very hard to visit things off the path as Yosemite.
    Another option is to buy a car in Canada, do a RoadTrip through the US and bring it back to Canada.
    I think hitchhiking is not the best in North America, as well as it isn't in Europe.
    What does public transportation cost in the USA?
    Buses used to travel just about everywhere in the country but I can't say they carry bicycles (although most urban buses do). Amtrak has a decent enough coastal route from British Columbia (Vancouver) to Southern San Diego County (including local California rail and light rail lines). You would need to check Amtrak route rules on bicycle carriage. The Amtrak website isn't always the best but poke around and you will find a lot of information.

    Not sure if Amtrak has special offers like Die Bahn but it is worth exploring. You might find some special 30-day fare packages. I love the DB options like lander tickets (our group of 4 uses the Bavaria Ticket a lot).
    https://www.amtrak.com/home.html
    Amtrak Route Map (3 MB):
    https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/p...m-Map-1018.pdf

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,541

    Default

    Buying a car in Canada, and getting it insured, etc might not be much if any easier than in the US. Have you actually investigated that?

    But yes, if you go that route, you'd certainly have to return to Canada to sell it.

    How long are you planning on being in the US/Canada? Unless it's at least a couple months, its probably going to be cheaper to rent - even with the underage surcharge - especially when you factor in the time as much as the money.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,317

    Default An older trip partner ?

    Have you got an older friend or relative over 25 years of age that you both get along with (or 21 but you would still get young driver fees) that would join you ? They would have to do the driving but at least you could get around.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,725

    Default

    Dave, it is possible for them to rent from Fox at 19 with a surcharge, refer to post #3. They are not going to have to rely on public transportation if they can afford the rental. I think that's still going to be cheaper than trying to buy, register, insure, repair, and resell a car in Canada.

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