Looking to do exactly the same thing, just wondering if you made the trip and was it a success?
If you could give an idea of insurance cost, and the company you used that would be awesome. We are prepared to register the car at a hostel.
My current estimation of costs are
Car: $4000 (Chryslet Seabring)
Insurance 3 months: $500
Car Resale: $2000
Total: $2500/3 people = $833 Each
Obvbiously ignoring Gas and repairs :s
Any idea if it would be worth us registering with someone like AAA? Any other costs we may have missed?
Anybody with some extra feedback would be great.
Good to hear to your planning a road trip. I'm actually just at the end of mine now. Have been in the US for just over 2 months and leave next week. When are you coming over??
We started off in New York, and after a few days of searching for a car in Brooklyn and Queens, we ended up giving up and renting a car to Washington DC for a couple of days and buying one down there. Once we were down in DC it took us just 1 day to find one.
We bought a 1995 Dodge Caravan for $750 cash. It had 198,000 miles on it. We had a problem early on, about 800 miles in, and had to replace a front axle, brake disc and calpier. As well as the front brake lines. Ended up costing about $450 all up. After that we were pretty much right. We have driven about 9,000 miles on it, down the east coast to Miami, Florida and the Florida Keys, and then across the southern states to Los Angeles, California. The only other problem we had was a burst fuel line in New Mexico, but we were lucky enough to be in the city near a mechanic and got it patched up for free!
We planned on getting AAA but never did, and we made the whole trip without getting a spare wheel (which in hindsight was very stupid), as we blew a tire on the way to Las Vegas and had to pay $160 for a new one; whereas a second hand tire in the city's will go for about $20.
You can get AAA for about $60 i believe.
We ended up registering our car in Virginia, and were planning on using a hostel in LA as our residential address, but the Virginia DMV allowed us to use our Australian address to register it. it cost a total of $84 for 2 years registration. And when we cancel it we get some money back. What we were planning on doing with the registration was getting a temporary registration or "in-transit" permit, which costs practically nothing and can be used usually for about 30 days. And just doing that twice until we were finished with the car. It just happened to work out cheaper and easier by registering it permanently when we were in Virginia.
Our insurance was done through Geico. It is roughly $110 a month. Make sure you ask what your being covered for, as we end up paying a little more as 3rd party damage was originally only at $15,000 or something ridiculous. You also have to organise insurance before you buy a car, so if you find one you think you might buy, call up and organise it before hand. Pretty stupid, but thats the way it is.
Other than that, I can't think of too much else I can tell you about.
We are actually trying to sell our car at the moment. So, if your starting in LA this week or next feel free to buy ours!
What path or you thinking of taking? Let us know if there is anything else i can help you with.
Hi..Looking to do exactly the same thing, just wondering if you made the trip and was it a success? If you could give an idea of insurance cost, and the company you used that would be awesome. We are prepared to register the car at a hostel.
My current estimation of costs are
Car: $4000 (Chryslet Seabring) Insurance 3 months: $500
Car Resale: $2000 Total: $2500/3 people = $833 Each
Obvbiously ignoring Gas and repairs :s Any idea if it would be worth us registering with someone like AAA? Any other costs we may have missed? Anybody with some extra feedback would be great.
Insurance costs for the TP members I have helped averaged about $125/month. Of course it varies because to age, coverage wanted, cost of the vehicle, etc. Several have sold their vehicle, one here in Vegas to another TP member. Liza & Peter sold their van for what they paid for it. Some guys from the UK lost $500 on a $2,500 van. You should not lose very much in 3 months. Not if you buy it for market price and give yourself a few days to sell it. Good luck with your planned adventure.
surfrun & vegasmike,
It's really refreshing to hear a success story, quite a few of the forums i have looked at just have people pointing out the negatives and dont pose a solution so very greatful!
We won't be going until March, and the route we are currently looking at is
Chicago>Toronto>Ottowa>Montreal>East Coast>Mid West, ending in Austin, where we will be looking to sell and move onto central America for a month or so. Depending on how long it takes us, we may think about hitting the West coast before central America.
Sorry doenst seem like I'd be bale to buy the Dodge from you Mike, but wondering if you would reccomend one? We had entertained the thought of getting a camper to save on hostel costs etc but wernt sure what the laws where on sleeping in your vehicle when not in a camp site? Also, there will be 3 of us so do you think it would still be big enough for us to sleep in?
How many of you are there Surfrun, and do you think the extra hassle of finding a car was worth it as oppose say taking the greyhound? One of the main reasons we want to take the car is the freedom, and also between some of the longer drives, we figured we could hit some university towns to pass the time
Would be good if you have any tales of the trip any advice for us!
sorry, I blame dyslexia for the mixing up of names!
With 3, I would not go the van route and would buy a car that gets decent mileage. Most rooms in the US have 2 queen beds. Motel rates split 3 ways is not expensive.
I know this is an old thread, but wanted to come back and say that the trip was a massive success. We bought a car in Chicago for $2000, registered it in a temporary address, drove it around the east coast and deep south on temporary plates then sold it for $1800, including repairs and taking into account the loss on the car we spent around $800 total for 3 months between 3 people. Was it easy? No, we ran into problems but got over them, iv'e documented the trip on the link below.
The reason I am posting this is because it took us months of working out whether such a trip is doable, so anybody thinking of doing the same now, the answer is yes, and I couldn't imagine doing America other way but by car.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
[quote=tomr0b]I know this is an old thread, but wanted to come back and say that the trip was a massive success.
tomr0b you have made my day. I've spent all day looking for help on buying a car in the US and all i have read are people telling that it's impossible but i came across this thread and it has almost saved my trip for me. Plus the fact that this thread is 2 years old and you wrote in it about 2 weeks ago which is really helpful. It's great to see that you and others on this thread have had successful trips which is extremely encouraging.
I'm going to be travelling with one mate and we're starting north east and working our way across & down. Now i'm not going to lie when it comes to cars i'm not the most knowledgeable but if you could set out the fundamental things that have to be sorted before we leave and once we've got there then i'd be really grateful. Any useful tips that we need to know about sorting insurance, licence plates and permanent addresses....so basically everything that everyone keeps saying that'll stop us from getting a car haha.
Got an email with a new post on this thread and thought i'd let you know how I went buying a car in the states a couple of years ago.
I posted on this thread, may have even started it if I remember correctly, trying to get info about buying a car in the US. Had plenty of people saying you can't or it's too hard.
Anyway... did it, bought a car, travelled 16,000km through 19 states in it, no problem.
The hardest part was finding a good car. We were trying to keep costs to a minimum - but Willuk2USA if you have a bit of cash you'll be right. We budgeted $1-1.2k, end up spending 4 days in New York, venturing out to Queens each day searching for a car. After getting fed up with NY, we decided to rent a car and follow some girls down to DC, where we found a 1995 Dodge Caravan with 198,000 miles on it for $750, in a suburb some 40 minutes west of DC. Horn didn't work, had no spare, no aircon, but ran okay. We were over it and took the chance.
Went pretty good most of the time. Had a $350 repair very early on fixing wheel bearings and disc brake. Then half way through, burst our fuel line (just lucky we were 500m from a small mechanic who offered to fix it for free) and then at the end of the trip in LA blew 3 tyres in a week!
Anyway, in regards to all the other sh*t you have to worry about - apparently in the US if you sell a car, you're suppose to keep the number plates (they dont go with the car). The car we bought, the guy left them on, so we drove a few days with his plates. We then went to a DMV in Virgini. Rego is pretty cheap, about $80 including plates. I could register them to my address in Australia. Not sure if this is the same in all states, but just ask them, if not make up an address. For insurance, I think you're suppose to organise it before buying a car, which doesn't make much sense, but we called up GEICO and got insurance with them once we bought the car. Pretty expensive, about $110 a month, we just gave them an address of a hostel in LA we never went to. Don't think it matters.
You should be right with getting a car, I'm not majorly knowledgable when it comes to cars either, but if you're willing to spend closer to say $2k then you should be able to get something a bit more reliable.
A couple of tips: probably invest in a spare for $10 if you don't have one. We had to pay $160 for a new tire because we were in the middle of nowhere half way to Vegas.
Cops pull you over, let them know you're not from the states. They'll love it.
Alcohol blood limit 0.08 for driving - not sure if all states or not though.
Get a Dodge caravan and sleep in the car.
Going down the east coast? Daytona Beach is a bit of fun - drive the car on the beach. Florida Keys are unreal, get down to Key West. Get to 6th Street Austin Texas for a sick night out, or 5. Grand Canyon national park, i think has entrance fees. Just drive in at night and sleep in the car, avoid fees and wake up to sunrise - sick.
any more info let me know.
Just a few thoughts on 'surfrun' post.
All states require insurance in order to register a vehicle. They want the VIN number in order to know what vehicle you have and cost to repair or replace. Several large online insurance companies will insure your vehicle w/o seeing it. But you will need to provide photos if you take out collision/theft coverage.
Address in the US:
I have let TP members use my address when they buy a vehicle in Vegas. Both DMV & your insurance company will ask for an address. If you cannot find someone that will let you use their address, you can rent a mailbox forwarding service in most cities. Cost per month is not that much. Yes, you can use a hostel as well. However, you are depending on them to mail you the new title. Allow 3-6 weeks for DMV to mail the new title to address provided. Using a fake address will work as well if you are not planning on selling. Not many people will give you a fair price w/o a title.
Laws do vary from state to state. Some states will not let you register a vehicle w/o having that states Drivers License. NV does not care. NY does. Check with DMV where you plan on buying. NV and most states require an address in that state.
National Parks allow drivers to enter after the fee station closes. Some check for entrance fees when you leave, most don't. Sleeping in your vehicle outside of campgrounds is prohibited. If you are clever, the rangers will not know. Low profile is the key.
The first sentence out of your mouth will reveal to most police that you are not US citizens. Your DL will confirm it. TP members have told me that many police will get them a break because they are visitors. Or not. I am still getting letters demanding payment from TP members that got tickets and never paid them! One of the negatives of letting members use my address.
Good luck to members planning on buying/driving while in the US.
[ Edit: Edited on 04-Aug-2012, at 21:24 by vegasmike6 ]