me and my gf are going in october for 6 months and want the best/cheapest way to drive around. We have bin quoted $10,000 for 3 months to hire a motorhome which is way too pricey.... other options are to buy a motor home there or buy/hire a car n stay in motels.
what is the best way or we are open to new ideas??
if it helps our plans are to start in san fran, drive down the cali coast then hit up vegas. follow route 66 to chicago. after that head to new york for xmas n new yrs (already booked accom.) then drive down the coast stopping along the way to florida n depending on time head back to cali stopping where we want.
Why are you going in October for 6 months? That is winter in America and apart from much of California and Florida, parts of the country gets very cold with Chicago so cold that it's like the Arctic. At worst, people can get frost bite after being out for 10 minutes in mid winter.
You could try flying long distances after checking out the weather at possible destinations beforehand. Then hire a car or use public transport as necessary.
Motels are expensive if you just turn up. Better to book accommodation on the internet where you can sometimes get a good hotel room for less than the cost of a lousy motel room nearby. But still not cheap.
On a recent TV programme, the couple bought a car to travel in America and it broke down after a few days, needed to be towed in, they had to stay at a hotel for it to be repaired at a small garage in a small town and all told it cost them a lot of money, on top of what they paid for it.
I have driven around a lot of America but in the summer months. I'm not a fan of ice and snow so go to hot places like Asia in the winter. A month's apartment rental in Thailand can cost around £300 for a good apartment.
I advise TP members to rent if they are here 2 months or less. More than 2 moths, buy a vehicle. There are heaps of minivans that are big enough for 2 to sleep and they still get OK gas mileage. I have photos of several couples I have help buy vans here in Vegas. Page 7, 12 in my gallery. Others photos after that. Take a look at the vans and see if that is something you might consider. Most decent vans are between $3-$4K. Figure to lose about $3-500 when re-selling. I have had several couples sell for what they paid, but you cannot count on that. Insurance will be approx. $125/month for decent coverage. Add another $100 to put license plates and for your new new title. These are NV prices, other states maybe more, some less.
If you want more info on buying a vehicle in the US, send me a PM.
Since you're starting in October, it makes more sense to start in the areas most subject to winter weather (Chicago/Midwest and New York/Northeast) and then hit the southern and southwestern areas. No form of transport will be cheap since your plans call for one-way travel - they hit you hard for drop fees in this country.
I think you'd be better off doing one region at a time by car or RV and then flying to the next region of interest. Southwest Airlines has the most extensive network and does not charge change fees - the best overall airline, and they do have some good sales in the fall and winter months. Any travel at all during the holiday period (Thanksgiving/late Nov, Xmas/NYE) will be expensive.
Websites like Airbnb allow you to rent apartments cheaper than hotel rooms, and has proved invaluable to me personally. Hotels/motels are pricey here, and you really get very little for the price.
Please be aware - the USA is far from a cheap destination - bring many many credit cards!
Buy a cheap car off of www.craigslist.com (but BE CAREFUL! Make sure that you take it to a shop to have it checked out, this usually only costs $40)
THEN...register on COUCH SURFERS!!! This is a WONDERFUL online community of people who have opened up their couches to fellow travelers. Couch Surfers is international and it is a great website. Most everyone is screened on the website to make sure they do not have a criminal background etc... (an icon will appear telling you they were screened). I personally have my couch open to travelers but I live in Omaha, NE (nothing too interesting here...).
Hope this helps
I am a member of couchsuring as well. Perhaps it will give them another option on keeping down travel costs.
thanks for the replies and to daawgon we have planned our trip so we experience both hot and cold weather and the starting/finishing destinations work well for us.
To Brooke, thanks for the info about couch surfing we didnt know about things like that so we will look into it!