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3 Months driving across America - UK Citizens

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1. Posted by Jmitchell5225 (Budding Member 3 posts) 5y

Hello Travellerspoint!

As the title suggests, we are looking into driving for 3 months across America. There will be 4 lads aged 22-23 from England and we are looking for advice for basically everything.

We are looking to travel around September/ October time next year.

What would be the best thing to do:

  • Buy a car/van
  • Rent a car/van

How much would it cost (roughly) to rent a car?

Would there be any problem as we obviously only have UK driver's licenses?

Also, where would you suggest to stay, motel's or hostel's? We have no trouble sleeping in the car a few nights to save some money.

What kind of budget for the trip are we looking at? Any rough estimate would be helpful to know.

If anyone has actually done this before i.e. coming from England and traveled across America please could you let me know what you did, it would be much appreciated. Especially how much money did you end up spending, need to start saving up for some Dollar's!

Thanks in advance!

Jack

[ Edit: Edited on 22-Apr-2011, at 11:45 by Jmitchell5225 ]

2. Posted by LaurenLolz (Respected Member 226 posts) 5y

Renting a car for 3 months... even if you book a cheapo that would be roughly $25US a day * 90 days?! $2,250 for 3 months?!! Woah! And most companies let you rent one way, but I am not sure if you can rent and drive cross country. There is usually a milage limit when renting and then you will be charged a surplus for every mile over what is allowed. So say they allow you to drive 1000 miles and it is 2400 miles roughly, youll be stuck paying $0.40 a mile for the extra 1400 miles .. another $550. Then on top of all of that ... being that you are not 25 or older they will add on $50 because you are under age.

I would say you are better off buying a car, but I can not tell you if or where you could find one for less, and if it's crappy there is a high chance that it will break down along the way. And say you are driving through Nebraska and it breaks in some crummy small town, and your car needs a certain part, it could take a few days if not at least a week to fix...

Not to mention .. I don't know how you would figure out insurance (which is pretty much required if you plan on driving the vehicle), and registration for tags and title.

I would really look into A. train, B. Greyhound bus (probably the cheapest), C. flying.

To answer the rest of your ???s. You should not have a problem driving on a UK license. There a tons of motels you can stay for a night.. depending on your location they may range from $20 -$60 a night.. more than that is pricy. There are some hostels even .. but usually is larger cities like Chicago, San Fran, etc.

Have you decide where you are entering/leaving from???

P.S. and gas for the car.... oh boy!!! It's about $4 for a gallon ... 3.8 liters and most cars are 15-20 gallons. I just filled my car up the other $51 and it can run about 250-300 miles before it's out...

BUS or TRAIN is much cheaper, and good luck to you!

[ Edit: Edited on 22-Apr-2011, at 17:13 by LaurenLolz ]

3. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 5y

Jack,
I have helped 12 TP members buy cars/vans in the US. There are 2 guys from Denmark on the road now in a Ford Expedition. They will be in the US 6 months, return to Vegas to sell their vehicle before flying home. Photos on page 1.

I will send you more details in a PM. Mike

4. Posted by DaveinMD (Respected Member 198 posts) 5y

Boy vegasmike's deal sounds perfect. I was going to suggest buying a van and then reselling it but it may be a hassle. By the way with gas heading over $4 for a US gallon you do not want an SUV, you want a van that will get 10 MPG higher. With 4 guys and all your stuff I really can't see a car working.

As for the timing as I said in another thread (there are a lot of UK travelers about to come over apparently) Sept is perfect weather for the east coast but it's still going to be really hot in Florida, New Orleans etc. Keep this in mind and try to save your southern states for the end of the trip.

5. Posted by LaurenLolz (Respected Member 226 posts) 5y

Quoting DaveinMD

Boy vegasmike's deal sounds perfect. I was going to suggest buying a van and then reselling it but it may be a hassle. By the way with gas heading over $4 for a US gallon you do not want an SUV, you want a van that will get 10 MPG higher. With 4 guys and all your stuff I really can't see a car working.

As for the timing as I said in another thread (there are a lot of UK travelers about to come over apparently) Sept is perfect weather for the east coast but it's still going to be really hot in Florida, New Orleans etc. Keep this in mind and try to save your southern states for the end of the trip.

You want a vehicle that gets like 35 miles to the gallon or you will be broke.

They could do a car, but might have to put all the luggage on the roof.

September in Florida is only hot to those that don't belong there .. come in the effing summer and see if you can stick it out. Don't bash my state, my weather .. and we are happy to say, "If you don't like .. go home."

6. Posted by mojorob (Moderator 1047 posts) 5y

Quoting LaurenLolz

P.S. and gas for the car.... oh boy!!! It's about $4 for a gallon ... 3.8 liters and most cars are 15-20 gallons.

That may appear cheap to the OP, who lives in the UK. $4/US gallon = 65p/litre.

Petrol price in the UK is currently around £1.35/litre - which works out to be approx $8.50/US gallon.

7. Posted by ankitjha (Budding Member 17 posts) 5y

Hey,

You should look for a rent car if you want to be free from all the bounds.
It will cost you $25US/day. But it's better to use train and bus, as it will be the cheapest and the easiest mode to travel from one place to another.

Regarding the license i have no idea. And budget is concerned the way you live your life. So you people need to plan that.

Happy journey!!! :)

Ankit Jha

[ Edit: Edited on 25-Apr-2011, at 20:31 by ankitjha ]

8. Posted by LaurenLolz (Respected Member 226 posts) 5y

Quoting mojorob

Quoting LaurenLolz

P.S. and gas for the car.... oh boy!!! It's about $4 for a gallon ... 3.8 liters and most cars are 15-20 gallons.

That may appear cheap to the OP, who lives in the UK. $4/US gallon = 65p/litre.

Petrol price in the UK is currently around £1.35/litre - which works out to be approx $8.50/US gallon.

Yea you also don't drive the largest truck/suvs in the world.

9. Posted by DaveinMD (Respected Member 198 posts) 5y

Quoting LaurenLolz

Quoting DaveinMD

Boy vegasmike's deal sounds perfect. I was going to suggest buying a van and then reselling it but it may be a hassle. By the way with gas heading over $4 for a US gallon you do not want an SUV, you want a van that will get 10 MPG higher. With 4 guys and all your stuff I really can't see a car working.

As for the timing as I said in another thread (there are a lot of UK travelers about to come over apparently) Sept is perfect weather for the east coast but it's still going to be really hot in Florida, New Orleans etc. Keep this in mind and try to save your southern states for the end of the trip.

You want a vehicle that gets like 35 miles to the gallon or you will be broke.

They could do a car, but might have to put all the luggage on the roof.

September in Florida is only hot to those that don't belong there .. come in the effing summer and see if you can stick it out. Don't bash my state, my weather .. and we are happy to say, "If you don't like .. go home."

WTF is this post all about????? Florida in September will seem very hot considering the lads are coming from the UK. Period. Why you are getting defensive about this fact and are saying "if you don't like it get the F out" is beyond me. We are here to offer helpful advice, not getting into pissing matches over our home turf. If you cared to notice even though I live near the Appalachian Mountains in a similar thread I recommended the Rockies. Get over yourself and if you aren't here to help then it's you that needs to get the F out.

As for a 35 MPG car I drive one of those and no way 4 guys and their gear will fit. A roof rack will help but unless they guys are jockeys they will be miserable.

[ Edit: Edited on 26-Apr-2011, at 04:43 by DaveinMD ]

10. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 5y

Though the banter is quite entertaining, I think Jack (the original poster) should be allowed to answer some of the basics - if possible - before replies to this thread become too confusing...

But, to start - as some has been mentioned above:

  • Your UK driver's licenses will be sufficient.
  • Some, but not all, car rental agencies do have a 25 year old age limit. A few still are at 22-24 years of age. That will take some investigation.
  • Hostels are more prevalent in larger cities on the east and west coasts. The central states have more motels and 'chain' lodging (La Quinta, Motel 6, etc.). Campgrounds/state parks also start to close right after Labor Day weekend (Labor Day is September 3rd for 2012).
  • Car rental can be as cheap as $14/day for economy size. Van rentals can be as cheap (with some investigation) as they are not as preferred as SUVs and 4-wheel drive vehicles. BUT, a one-way rental will be 3-4 times the price of a 'round-trip' rental. Meaning, if you don't drop the vehicle back at the original place of pick-up, it costs ya big time.

Questions for you:

  • Are your US entry and US departure sites the same (example: entering via New York and leaving from New York)?
  • Have you thought about a route at all? Taking the coasts all around or going across country?
  • Are there particular 'must see' sights, national parks, cities?

Answering some of those things will help people with answering your budgeting questions. Also, Vegasmike is the man to talk to about buying a vehicle. He knows the ins & outs of purchase, insurance, and all the other things that go along with ownership. He has also helped people sell their vehicle after their trip is over.

We've just finished making our travel plans to Louisiana and Florida in June. While checking out vehicle rentals, we could rent a 16 passenger van for the same price as an economy car so I know those options can be found. You can sleep in the van but not a Ford Focus.

As for the temps in Florida... If you are not from a warm climate, September can still be hot for many people. We've been there several times and during all 4 seasons. April to October can be hot. Take sunscreen if you get there. I've been there when it's been 90F in January though that is unusual for that time of year. I'm in Illinois so anything above 60F is t-shirt weather.