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Tourist buying a car in USA and travelling 2 months across

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12. Posted by tomr0b (Budding Member, 12 posts) 9 Sep '10 04:38

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.

13. Posted by surfrun (Budding Member, 7 posts) 9 Sep '10 10:28

Hey TomRob,

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.

14. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru, 3537 posts) 9 Sep '10 16:44

Quoting tomr0b

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.

Tom,
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.

Posts 15 & 16 were removed by moderators
17. Posted by tomr0b (Budding Member, 12 posts) 13 Sep '10 04:31

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!

cheers,
Tom

Post 18 was removed by a moderator
19. Posted by tomr0b (Budding Member, 12 posts) 13 Sep '10 07:54

sorry, I blame dyslexia for the mixing up of names!

20. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru, 3537 posts) 13 Sep '10 11:01

Tom,
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.

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