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3 Months Travelling Across America - British Citizens

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11. Posted by Dodger (Inactive 875 posts) 4y

Quoting vegasmike6

Quoting Dodger

Quoting vegasmike6

not many station wagons around anymore.

LOL Mike, you are living in the 70's still mate. I'm not talking about station wagons like National Lampoons Vacation kind wagons, but ones like this Ford Wagon that are everywhere on Craigslist.

It is decent looking car, but which one would you like to sleep in? The Taurus or a minivan? I will vote for something like this Dodge over the Taurus.

Mike you have to remember this isn't about YOU. The Dodge has a sell now of $6000 the wagon $2500, the cost of gas will be nearly double in the van and they are harder to re sell. These guys are 22. When I was that age and doing my bumming around the states I slept on the back seat of a Chevy Caprice and was quite happy. The wagon has as much sleeping room in it as the Dodge, the only difference is the Dodge has more headroom, which is why it sucks with gas mileage. Personally I wouldn't like to sleep in either anymore, but were are not talking about us, we are talking about 20 something guys, that want cheap transportation, that meets their basic needs.

12. Posted by sprite0226 (Budding Member 4 posts) 4y

First, congratulations on your trip! I wish I had 3 months to spend in the UK!

Second, if I were you, I would look into either long-term rentals (many car rental agencies will rent by the month, which is a lot cheaper than the advertised daily rate) or a short-term lease. The lease might be difficult, given your circumstances, but not impossible. My personal choice would be a 3-month rental, and buy the optional insurance so you have piece of mind (we Americans, unfortunately, sue everyone for anything. Protect yourself!).

Third, I would never buy a car with the intent to sell it in 3 months. I've sold many cars and unless you are willing to take a huge loss, you can't sell a car on the spot. It could take a long time to find a buyer. Anyone advertising "will buy cars" will give you an incredibly low offer. Added to the cost of the car, you will need to pay for registration, and buy insurance (needed by law in most states), and you're quickly up to the price of the rental.

Greyhound buses are not terrible. They are basically comfortable touring buses with reclining seats and a bathroom on board. The problem is the VERY limited schedule. It would not be unheard of to have 1-2 departures a day going the way you want to go, but with proper planning, they could work. I've taken them on occasion, if they were going the way I needed. They have a few deals right now, such as unlimited travel for 2 months for $550 or "buy one regular price and get 3 companion tickets for 50% off". If their schedule fits into yours, that would be my second best option (after a long-term rental). Their website is www.greyhound.com

Trains here are not convenient. Some metro areas have really good local trains (New York, Chicago, DC area, etc) but that's about it. Whenever I am in Europe I am green with envy at your rail systems. To go 100 miles (160km) took me 2-3 hours every day when I took the train to Los Angeles (I live just north of San Diego), depending on how many freight trains needed to pass ahead of us, which have the right-of-way for some unknown reason. Amtrak is our national railway and it does go across the country, but you're looking at a 2-3 day train ride, sometimes with bus transfers. Not worth it imo. But if you're adventurous, their website is www.Amtrak.com

As far as going to Mexico (entering from San Diego), if you have a rental car, you would have to park on the US side of the border. There are pay lots within walking distance from the fence-US companies do not allow their cars into Mexico- just follow the signs from the freeway. Then you walk through a revolving gate right into Mexico. There is no border check, customs, immigration or anything going into Mexico. Coming back INTO the US, Americans need to show their passport. Being that you are not a US citizen, I am not entirely sure if that would be sufficient for you. I'm thinking that your passport stamp will allow you to enter the US for a period of time and it would not be a problem, but I would check with your embassy just to make sure you aren't stuck in Mexico. As I'm sure you've read, there are many travel advisories against going to Mexico right now. The border towns have become very violent within the past 5-10 years with a lot of drug violence. I wouldn't recommend going at all, but if you do, I would go during the day. Spend your night time hours in San Diego! We have a great downtown:)

Hopefully some of this information was helpful to you. Have a great, great trip and welcome to the US!

13. Posted by Dodger (Inactive 875 posts) 4y

Quoting sprite0226

First, congratulations on your trip! I wish I had 3 months to spend in the UK!

Second, if I were you, I would look into either long-term rentals (many car rental agencies will rent by the month, which is a lot cheaper than the advertised daily rate) or a short-term lease. The lease might be difficult, given your circumstances, but not impossible. My personal choice would be a 3-month rental, and buy the optional insurance so you have piece of mind (we Americans, unfortunately, sue everyone for anything. Protect yourself!).

Third, I would never buy a car with the intent to sell it in 3 months. I've sold many cars and unless you are willing to take a huge loss, you can't sell a car on the spot. It could take a long time to find a buyer. Anyone advertising "will buy cars" will give you an incredibly low offer. Added to the cost of the car, you will need to pay for registration, and buy insurance (needed by law in most states), and you're quickly up to the price of the rental.

Just doing the basic math, if you rented a car long term, the cheapest you could expect to find would be in the ball park of $1800 per month with insurance. times 3 thats $5400. And thats not including the huge fee they will pay for a one way drop off. If they bought a car for $2500 and got 6 months insurance, they could leave the car on the side of the road when they leave, and still be better off! If they sell it even a "huge loss" how much less could they loose when they only paid a couple of grand for it? I think you are talking about entirely different classes of vehicles. If you bought something for 15k you'd certainly take a bath on trying to sell it quick.

14. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 4y

Dodger,
I used the picture of the Dodge Caravan as an example, not one I expect them to buy. Do you expect that Taurus you featured will be the vehicle these guys choose to buy? Are you serious? They won't be until May, nothing now on craigslist or ebay will be available in May. I can find a picture of a $2.5K minivan, does not mean they should buy it.

Take a look at the estimated MPG on that Taurus and a Ford Windstar, same year. 25 MPG for the wagon, 21 MPG for the Windstar. My math skills are poor, but the difference is 25 vs 21 is a very long way from 'nearly double'.

Minivans are not any more difficult to sell than a Taurus wagon. Make it as presentable as possible, make sure everything works, price it right and most vehicles will sell in a week or less. I suggest these guys allow a week to sell in order not to take a beating on the re-sell price. 1-3 days are not enough to sell IMO.

15. Posted by Dodger (Inactive 875 posts) 4y

Quoting vegasmike6

Dodger,
I used the picture of the Dodge Caravan as an example, not one I expect them to buy. Do you expect that Taurus you featured will be the vehicle these guys choose to buy? Are you serious? They won't be until May, nothing now on craigslist or ebay will be available in May. I can find a picture of a $2.5K minivan, does not mean they should buy it.

Take a look at the estimated MPG on that Taurus and a Ford Windstar, same year. 25 MPG for the wagon, 21 MPG for the Windstar. My math skills are poor, but the difference is 25 vs 21 is a very long way from 'nearly double'.

Minivans are not any more difficult to sell than a Taurus wagon. Make it as presentable as possible, make sure everything works, price it right and most vehicles will sell in a week or less. I suggest these guys allow a week to sell in order not to take a beating on the re-sell price. 1-3 days are not enough to sell IMO.

Blimey Mike you seem to get more and more weird with things you say.
You seem to have gone into great depth to try to prove your point. You started out saying wagons were rare, and all I was saying was that they aren't, and in my opinion a better choice than a van.

16. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 4y

Roger.
Let us end this right here. I responded to the last post of yours because of 2 things. First: Fuel economy. Your remark of a station wagon getting 'nearly double' mpg than a minivan. Obviously false. Second: That the Dodge I used as an example cost $6K, the Taurus your featured $2.5K. Irrelevant. Neither vehicle will be for sale in May. The UK guys will decide once they test drive a few vehicles. It will be their choice, not yours or mine. IMO minivans offer a better compromise between space, mpg and re-sale. You disagree. Fine. Let's leave it at that.

17. Posted by Dodger (Inactive 875 posts) 4y

Quoting vegasmike6

Roger.
Let us end this right here. I responded to the last post of yours because of 2 things. First: Fuel economy. Your remark of a station wagon getting 'nearly double' mpg than a minivan. Obviously false. Second: That the Dodge I used as an example cost $6K, the Taurus your featured $2.5K. Irrelevant. Neither vehicle will be for sale in May. The UK guys will decide once they test drive a few vehicles. It will be their choice, not yours or mine. IMO minivans offer a better compromise between space, mpg and re-sale. You disagree. Fine. Let's leave it at that.

Mike, it could have ended 10 posts ago after your claim that "not many station wagons around these days" was untrue too. I'm not sure why you refer to your Dodge as an "example" and the Taurus wagon I used as an example as my "featured" vehicle. You seem to think that I think those are the vehicles they have a choice between. That's your misunderstanding, not my stand on it at all. If you read my post, I don't say that is the vehicle they should buy, I say "ones LIKE this"

Yes what they decide on is totally up to them and I'd suggest looking at both types of vehicles. But the fact is, a wagon will return better gas mileage,(as you pointed out) and they are generally cheaper to find than minivans. (the windstar you pointed at as an example is on Ebay which is an auction, and now up to $3k. The wagon I pointed at is on Craigslist and is offered at $2.5K and probably can be had for less) Phew lets hope we are done here.

18. Posted by NiciMeyers84 (Budding Member 6 posts) 4y

Quoting vegasmike6

Aaron,
If you price a rental car for 3 months at your age you will quickly dismiss this option. Most companies add a surcharge for those under 25. I feel if visitors are in the US for more than 2 months, it makes sense to buy a $3-4K vehicle and sell it when you leave. I usually recommend buying a van as you can sleep in it while on the road. Each night you sleep in the van will save you around $50-60. Spend 30 nights in the van and you save at least $1,500. That can really help if you are on a budget. Vans really come in handy when you are visiting our national parks. Accommodation in the parks can be very pricey. It is very rare to find a room under $150/nite in our large parks. You have to drive out of the park to find something under $150. Camping is usually $20/nite and having a van makes this feasible. Something to consider.

I have helped 12 TP members buy vehicles here in Vegas. It is easy here for foreigners buy and license vehicles. You will have to get out of New York to buy. New Jersey will let you buy a vehicle with your UK driving license, NY will not. Good luck with your planning and send me a PM if you have questions.

Just out my own curiosity, do these new foreign car owners need -snip- temporary car insurance? I know several states require it and I can't imagine the hassle it would be if an international traveler were to have an accident in a car they own in the US...

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]

Post 19 was removed by a moderator
20. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 4y

Agree, generally, the best plan on car hire is to get at least a 7 day rental.

Do be aware that if you plan to drive into Mexico, you simply must have Mexican car insurance--which can either be bought at the car rental place in San Diego--or else in San Ysidro (on the California side just before crossing the border). The reason for this is simple--US car insurance is not valid in Mexico. Also, if you have an accident and no one is injured--get quickly to the other side of the border--and then deal with the insurance issue there. Mexican authorities (in Baja Norte only) are notorious for handling car accidents in less than ethical ways;--for some reason Mexicans always get the better end of the bargain and foreigners end up in jail until things are resolved. Thank goodness it is not like this in the rest of Mexico.

Personally, I agree about Tijuana. It's a nice town, but the tourist section sucks--and is a great place to get in trouble--or find drug dealers. Better to go south to either Rosarito Beach (20 miles south of Tijuana on the toll road) or else all the way down to either Puerto Nuevo (45 miles south--and its a village with 20 Pacific lobster restaurants where prices are really cheap) or Ensenada (90 miles south)--a fishing village that is one of the larger towns in Baja south of the border--and has the most active nightlife in the area.

Enjoy--and be safe if you go to Mexico--stay out of Tijuana's tourist area--and enjoy your trip by picking one of these other options.

[ Edit: Edited on 11-Jul-2012, at 21:29 by Calcruzer ]

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