Hi all, now my friend and i from Melbourne are travelling through the States starting on about the 20th of September. We're starting in Vegas for 5 days because another friend is getting married there and after that we'll stay in LA for a few days, prolly do the Anaheim business and then move on. The original plan was to buy one of those Greyhound Discovery Passes that allow you to travel unlimited for certain periods of time and do overnight travel etc etc. Now...i just read a particularly distubring thread about Greyhound travel with a definite split down the middle of whether it's a good idea or not.
The only other option that i can think of is getting a car and driving around. We'll probably be sticking to the southern coast and heading inland occasionally depending on what we want to see. Now, would it be very expensive to say buy a car when we got there that would do the trick? Hiring a car would definitely be too expensive wouldn't it? We're only planning to be there for approx a month to 6 weeks, 2 months max depending on how well we're doing, how much money we have etc. What about gas? Is it expensive? We're from Australia so for starters, it's going to be very difficult for us to get used to driving on the other side of the road and i've heard that some of the main cities' freeways are rather daunting (like, 12 lanes across on each side or something ridiculous like that). I get freaked driving on the Freeways here in Melbourne which are 4 or 5 lanes max. What about parking when you get to main cities? Isn't that going to be a pain in the arse as well? What if it gets stolen? Insurance? I'm curious as to whether anyone has done any travel like this before and what they would recommend because, even if they are kinda dirty and uncomfortable, the busses seem like the best option, getting a car seems like it would be too much of a hassle.
[ Edit: Edited on Apr 9, 2007, at 7:29 PM by Steph1985 ]
Personally I wouldn't buy a car given that you'll only be in the US for a month to 6 weeks.... I think you're right that it would just be a big hassle.
In terms of driving, I'm from Melbourne too and probably used to the same traffic conditions you are. Whilst I was a little daunted at first when I was driving in the states, you'd be surprised just how quickly you adjust to driving on the other side of the road. Plus, in my experience, whilst the freeways are much larger, they're much better signposted than here and there is more than ample warning about entrances/exits. The only times I found I had to concentrate on driving more in the US than here in oz was when turning right on the smaller side streets... less markings on the road and much easier to make the mistake of turning down the wrong side!
Car rentals are a pain here. But with a car, you're free to go wherever you want. In the main cities in the US it may be hard to find parking on the streets but giant parking garages are prevalent throughout major US cities so that shouldn't be too much of a problem. However, $645 for 2 months of unlimited travel and stops on Greyhound is an excellent deal compared to what I'm about to tell you about renting a car. I went ahead and did a search for a rental car using Hertz (Major chain rental company) and found that for a mid-sized car (small) it'd be $1800 for 60 days. This does not include gas (Currently $3 a gallon in California) and personal insurance. Also, You must be 21 to rent a car in most places in the US. All the major lines charge an additional fee to anyone under 25 who rents a car. Take for example, Hertz. You'd have to pay $27 USD a day to rent a car if you are under 25, which you are. This means you'd have to shell out $1620 total along with the $1800 + gas + insurance just to rent a car. With everything included you're looking at around $4000. Remember, this is just an example of one place so perhaps you might find something a little cheaper but you won't beat the $645 for the Greyhound. Now, if you were travelling as a group or 4 or 5 and one of you were at least 25 years old then you'd definitely rent a car but that's not the case now is it?
Hope I've helped you somewhat
Hello there Steph. Oh dear! What was the disturbing thread you read about greyhound travel? I am thinking of travelling round Kansas via greyhound in Oct. Any info appreciated, Julia.