Skip Navigation

Car hire

Travel Forums North America Car hire

1. Posted by mariia32 (Budding Member 29 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Car rental

So I'm just after some advice on renting a car/camper van in the US.

So the plan is to travel from New York to San Francisco across the course of three months.

1: has anyone done this before and can recommend a cheap car hire company.

2: we're thinking hiring a camper van will be cheaper in the long run as we will spend less on motels and that. (Even though they cost a lot more to hire). Are we right in thinking this?

3: do people recommend hiring a car/camper van in a few cities rather than hiring it just the once from NY to SF.

4: we are 21 and 24, so we understand that we will be charged more as we are under the age of 25, are there different packs/deals to get the cheapest ratings? (As in is every car hire company different in costs regarding this?)

5: as one of the guys will be 20 when we first sign up/collect the car, when he turns 21 along the trip, is he okay to drive? For example can he put his details on any paperwork when we first pick up the car, or would we have to go back to the company when he actually turns 21?

Many thanks

2. Posted by geraldphoto (Budding Member 10 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

A few things to consider...
NY to SF is a bit of mileage...
Anyone below 25 yr of age will have problem renting from known rental company. It will be worst to rent a camper.
The camper rental is going to be very expensive due to mileage.
Train might be one way to travel that distance or even the bus.

3. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3573 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

I usually recommend buying a vehicle if you are in the US longer than 6 weeks. A 3 month rental with drop off charge is going to be substantial. Most national companies charge those under 25 a daily surcharge. Figure appox. $20/day surcharge. I will crunch some numbers for you tomorrow, but I am going to guess it will be over $3K for your plan. This is for a small car getting decent gas mileage. A camper or RV would be much more than that. I will up date this tomorrow when I get some figures from rental companies.

4. Posted by mariia32 (Budding Member 29 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Thanks a lot for looking into this vegamike6.

How would we go about buying a car. Would it be best sorting that out here over the internet, or waiting till we get over to america?

5. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3573 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

I checked online and called several rental companies. You need a national company because you are dropping it off in another city. Most quotes were what I thought. A few under $3K, several a bit over. However, all these quotes were before adding the surcharge because of under 25 yr old drivers. A 3 month rental for the cheapest car was right at $4K for your age and dropping it off in San Francisco .

Buying, registering, insuring a vehicle is easy in NV, not so easy in other states. Unfortunately for you, both New York & New Jersey won't let you register a vehicle w/o their drivers license. You cannot get one, so you have to buy, register in another state. New Hampshire will let you register with your DL, as will Florida. If possible, I would head down to Florida to buy something if that is your plan. Cold weather states use road salt and all the older, cheaper vehicles have rust damage. Most Florida or Las Vegas vehicles for that matter, don't.

I usually suggest a minivan like this one. Easy to drive, heaps of them out there, big enough to sleep in. Check page 1 of my photo gallery. These are the last 3 TP members that I helped. One problem with buying the minivans is the back seats. You have to pull them out if you plan on sleeping in it regularly. Not a problem for those TP members that buy here and return to Vegas. I store the seats until they return to sell. Or you have to buy a stow & go van. The seats fold flat, allowing you to sleep in it. Then put then back up when you need to seat more that 2 people.

One a the big pluses of buying a van is that you can sleep in it. If you sleep 1 out of 3 nights in the van, you will save around $1,500. If you sleep half the time in a van during your US adventure, you can save $3K by not paying for a motel/hostel every night. Something to consider when you are figuring costs.

Send me a PM if you are considering buying instead of renting. Good luck with your planning.

6. Posted by Ronaldo Pt (Budding Member 2 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

In your case i guess that would wait to turn 25 years old.
It is ti much cash for that rental.