Travelling Around the US with a Rental Car
Replies: 20 - Last Post: Sep 19, 2012 1:54 PM Last Post By: LongIslandBob
Sep 16, 2012 4:42 AM
Travelling Around the US with a Rental CarHi,
I and my two friends want to travel around the us with a car.
Iittle about me:
I'm Mechanical Engineering Student in Turkey.
I went to Europe with interrail program in 2010.
i have stayed 11 days and see 8 countries 10 cities.
I went to US with work and travel program and stayed 2 months in 2012.
I worked as a lifeguard in Germantown and travel around Washington, Virginia Beach and New York.
Next Summer(2013 August-September)
I and my 2 friends want to travel around the us with car like 40-45 day trip.
New York-Boston-Cleveland(or Toronto)-Chicago-Rushmore-Gillette(?)-Salt Lake City-Winnemucca(?)-Sacremento-San Francisco-Fresno-Los Angeles-San Diego-Las Vegas-Grand Canyon-New Mexico-Dallas-Houston-New Orleans-Tallahassee-Tampa-Miami-Orlando-Atlanta-Charlotte-Virginia Beach-Washington-Philadelphia-Atlantic City-New York
This is our plan.
I dont know maybe i can eliminate 2-3 cities.
Cities with `?` means just want to relax and sleep in night so i only check them from google earth and street view .
Our main problems and questions are about rental car, transportation.
We will be 3 people.
We all like classic and sport models but we think they'll be unconfortable for long long roads.
We're looking for SUV models.
We're not looking any luxury thats for sure
I want to hear some advice from you
This is our conditions
- We all are 21 years old
- We all have a driving license from Turkey.
- Our first choice is SUV. But if we cant find any of these we can look for standart sedan models.
- Our calculation was like 14000 km for this trip and for some addition we count this as 15000 km so i think we need free mile distance or sth like that.
- Of course we're students and looking for cheapest solution
- I dont know anything about insurance things. I'll have some travel insurance for me as always but i dont know about car.
- For 9000 mile i think we'll need some road service if necessary.
I think thats all.
i had some friends who buys used cars from craiglist and others but i'm not sure to buy a car for 40 days trip.
i'm open for any ideas.
you can tell me about how its driving coast to coast .
i heard some offers like going 4-5 main places of that region and renting a car for one week each. we dont want this but if it would have more advantages than our plan maybe we can think about it.
i post this message maybe early but i think earliest is best.
In my calculation this trip would cost each of us 4000$ at least including flight.
Sep 16, 2012 6:06 AM
First of all, you don't need an SUV. They drink lots of gasoline, expensive to rent, are uneccessary and less comfortable for a long trip than a passenger car. Instead I'd rent a comfortable mid-sized sedan for the three of you. Also be aware that being 21 years old you will pay a premium rate for renting a car. You will also pay a high fee for renting a car one-way (renting at one location and dropping it off at another). As for insurance, you can buy short-term insurance from the car rental agency. If you know how to change a flat tire I don't know why you would need "road service."
Second, your itinerary is full of unlikely places to visit (Cleveland? Sacramento? Fresno?) Without questioning your choices, I'm sure you have reasons for them, I will say your trip is spread out all across the country, will add to the cost of your trip and is probably too ambitious for a 45-day driving trip. I'd focus on a couple regions of the U.S., maybe even three, and restrict travel to within those regions (for example, the west coast, the inter-mountain west and Florida. Better yet, (and cheaper) do a loop trip where you rent the car and drop it off at the same place (like Los Angeles for example). Then you could drive up and down the west coast, into the Rocky Mountains and through the southwest deserts before returning the car to L.A. You could do the same type thing on the east coast.
Finally, to help advise you please tell us your interests and priorities (hiking, camping, strip clubs, museums, art, gay scene, music, partying, sports, meeting women, etc). Don't be shy - we have all types on this forum.
Sep 16, 2012 6:10 AM
There is also a fee for additional drivers
It's the gas budget where the mileage matters.
I dont know anything about insurance things.
There is no set "cheapest car rental." Any agency may be the cheapest at any time, dependent on dates, routes, age, etc.
kayak.com, priceline, expedia, travelocity, orbitz, hotwire, the individual agencies, etc., etc., etc. Sometimes foreign versions of these sites or other foreign brokers will include one-way fees, mandatory insurance fees, etc. in the rate.
Make sure you compare prices like for like (some show subtotals, others totals). Also, be aware that sometimes one-way fees, etc. are hidden in the base rate (i.e. a company may not charge a one-way fee, but may raise the daily rate accordingly).
It will take a lot of effort on your part.
See FAQ 146, which also discusses the insurance.
you can tell me about how its driving coast to coast .
But I don't know your interests (history, art, music, food, hikes, bikes, night clubs, strip clubs, etc.), so it's impossible for me to suggest better for you until you do.
Sep 16, 2012 6:34 AM
Sep 16, 2012 9:06 AM
4And there is a lot more to the US than just cities. In fact, some of the National Parks are among the most beautiful places in the world. Do some research into the Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevadas, Pacific Northwest, Utah, California coast, and Great Smokeys to see if those areas appeal to you (hiking, camping, fishing, etc). If not, then hopping from city-to-city is a good idea, though, as some others have pointed out, some of those cities aren't that interesting and you are missing some other good ones (e.g. Austin is better than Houston or Dallas, Boston is better than Atlanta or Charlotte). If you can get Canadian visas, you might want to visit Montreal and Toronto, just for something different (since you've flown across the ocean...)
I also agree that the SUV seems an unnecessary expense. Have fun!
Sep 16, 2012 6:07 PM
5I rent a lot of cars, and a regular sedan is fine, some loyalty programs you may be able to choose a small SUV instead of a sedan for same price, but you never know, Hertz, National and Alamo all offer a type of choice options once contract is completed.
But they usually dont get as good of mileage. though I had a FWD Chevy Captiva and it was a capable little guy that was super comfy and got 33MPG on the highway, though it was kind of slow.
I would also look into breaking up the country into sections, you really dont need one for NYC/Philly/Boston and DC, you can train and bus. You dont need one in New Orleans, Vegas or San Fran either, but you do need one in LA.
The drive from NY to Cleveland is rather boring, and also to Chicago, and from Chicago west its a major drive the Rockies and western areas. I would fly personally. Then get a car in Vegas, LA or Salt Lake City.
You could also rent a car in DC after touring, and do a loop to inlcude Charleston, the Smokies and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Another option is to fly to Chicago and train to St Louis, Memphis and New Orleans, then fly onward.
Another fun trip is from the Louisville area and hit the Kentucky Bourbon/Whiskey trail. (if you drink)
You have Napa Valley outside of the San Fran Bay, another 3-4 day loop. I would drive the california coast, its stunning.
Nothing in Texas worth driving to IMO besides Austin.
As above mentions the National Parks are what to focus on, and they require a car, a nice 2-3 week loop in the west would be great, you can camp in all the parks too, as well as all along your route in the US, if you use Google Map, you will see areas in Green, these are National or State Parks, or Federal land, and they all usually have camping, some is with lodges/cabins, some is tents only, and some is hike in/hike out with everything. For instance, Pennsylvania has many great parks and camping north of I-80. Also just south of Cleveland, and just outside Chicago.
When you drive into most states on the interstate, there is a welcome center, that have free maps and brochures of all the parks, and tourist activities, the maps even show which ones have what type of camping, and many have toll free phone numbers to reserve.
Here is a list of Americas top parks, if you get to most of these, you will see more than most Americans.
Some things to consider, you could get a car in Chicago and drive north to Upper Michigan, corss over Macinaw, and back down the Wisconsin side, camping and fishing and partying the whole way, taking 1 week would be a rush.
Sep 16, 2012 6:34 PM
6Out and back, with sight seeing touring etc. along the way . . . 40-45 days is a little faster than most folks would do it. Around 28-30 days each way is the “norm” but you are certainly within the range of sanity.
It looks like you are taking the northern route west, the southern route back and working your way up and down each coast.
Personally, (and this is just my personal opinion) I think of Cleveland, Sacramento, Fresno Winnemuca, Gillette and Virginia Beach as hotel stops. Nothing wrong with stopping there, and on a good day Virginia Beach can be a lot of fun, but I wouldn’t plan on spending much time in any of those locations.
I guess so far we are on the same page. Sometimes traveling means stopping in an obscure town and getting to know Americana, not going there with the purpose of seeing something. I am not telling you to avoid these towns, I’m sure they are great places to stop for the night.
Tampa, Miami AND Orlando, sounds like a lot of Florida to me. Do your own thing ,and take your own trip, but I’d skip Tampa.
If you still need to shorten your trip I’d put Sand Diego, Houston and Tallahassee on the chopping block first.
I would try to add in (if calendar allows)
- Niagara Falls (even if only for 4 hours)
Again there is nothing wrong with stopping for the night in a town that is not a tourist destination. 3-4 of the towns you named sound like minor destinations and I have named 3-4 you have not. Don’t let me tell you how to travel.
I’ve had some great times in some pretty odd and off-the-beaten track places so I’m not going to tell you to stay on the beaten track. Sometimes hanging out is the best part of travelling.
Oh did I tell you your schedule is a little ambitious but not totally crazy?
Sep 16, 2012 8:15 PM
Sep 17, 2012 4:22 AM
8Thanks for all the answers.
You all are so helpful for us with better ideas and some totaly new ideas.
After your suggestions and talking with my friends i think we dont need an SUV.
Mid-size sedan would be enough.
We wont bring the car to another destination we'll bring back the car to NYC again so we wont one-way drop fee.
I think we wont use the car for new york because i have been there and i think its not necessary public transportation was very good.
I and my friend use some greyhound and megabus for travellin around ny-washington-virginia so maybe we can take this i dont know.
This is our map as an example.
We can change some of our stops.
We'll add niagara falls, yellowstone with some little changes.
Its not necessary to winnemucca,fresno,santa rosa, talhassee or charlotte.
Its just for a show on map and calculation about the sleeping in hostels and other day counting staff.
We dont need the stay at these locations.
But my friend stay 2 months in Virginia Beach so he wants to go there.
Maybe my cousin will come with us and we'll go as 4 people but he's not sure about the finding the money he'll need.
But if he comes he'll definetly want to go Fresno because he lived in there 1 year.
We're not a so much camping people.
But we can try it because we want this to be once in lifetime experince.
We dont know about which routes are hard to go which are good for going with a high avarage of speed so we're open to suggestions about this too. (for this much road i'll prefer to use cruise control for resting my legs)
I dont know much about these cities but i heard their names are they good to go ?
in this cities we'll stay for a night and i think we'll have 7-8 hours to go for some sightseeing than a sleep for 7-8 hours more than next day continue to road.
- houston (are there any NASA buildings to visit and see sth interesting?)
- dallas (one of our friends told he stayed 4 months in dallas, he loved and there is so many place to see in dallas is it true ?)
- talhassee (i dont know anything)
- charlotte (only know bobcats)
- atlanta (i think its a big city but i only know hawks :D)
- sacremento (my cousin had a travel in west coast and he said best was san francisco and sacremento so i dont know is it worth to go if we'll go we'll stay for 1 day)
- san diego (we'll miss Comic Con so i'm not sure to go or what to do one of my girlfriend stays in san diego this summer and i loved her pictures in San Diego so i think we can stay for 1 day)
- boston (i know some of famous univercitys around there and celtics. i'm not sure 1 or 2 days)
- philadelphia (i saw some movies and know 76ers and its close to washington so maybe we'll travel these to cities in one day and than sleep in philadelphia)
Edited by: ozwizard7
Sep 17, 2012 4:24 AM
9Its like 44 days. We'll add 3 joker days if sth happens. If nothing happens or we'll fast than schedule maybe we'll stay more in miami,new york,san francisco i dont know we'll see.
We can eliminate some of cities.
But we should keep some of them because we'll need to sleep and rest i dont more than 4 hours driving for each person in a day and sleeping in car wont be so restful.
Expect the route car rental is still a question.
- foreigner driving license
- 21 years old 3 or 4 driver
- and we dont have US credit card if its necassary
- we all have credit cards with low-limits like 500-1000 $ , however we can raise the limit before go, its not much problem i'm just asking for if you know some extra info about this.
I had travelled and lived in US and Europe so i think i can survive, i can finish this tour without any major problems.
Maybe we'll need to change the tire or oil. Maybe we'll robbed or maybe our money wont last to much for last stops but i think we can handle it.
Sep 17, 2012 4:26 AM
-Omaha(1)-Rushmore,y.stone(1)-Salt Lake City(1)-Winnemucca(1)
-Sacremento(1)-San Francisco(3)-Los Angeles(5)-San Diego(1)
-Las Vegas(2)-Grand Canyon(1)-New Mexico(1)-Dallas(1)-Houston(1)
Washington,Philadelphia(1)-Atlantic City(1)-New York(5)
Sep 17, 2012 7:17 AM
11New York doesn't have good public transportation? The subway hits up every corner of the city. I don't see how driving could be quicker or more comfortable. The streets of Manhattan are quite clogged...but, as you say, you've been there so you obviously have some very high standards when it comes to public transportation. Sorry for being so defensive but I always groan when people choose to contribute to traffic and pollution rather than make use of a very efficient subway. It doesn't seem like you heeded any of our advice, e.g. drop Florida, trade Houston/Dallas for Austin/San Antonio, visit some of the great National Parks (1 day for Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone? That doesn't make much sense) but you know what you want better than any of us. Have fun! It's still a good route (though ambitious and busy...but you can always change things only the fly).
Sep 17, 2012 8:26 AM
12I think we wont use the car for new york because i have been there and i think its not necessary public transportation was very good.
İ think you miss understood me.
İ tried to explain in one sentence.
Maybe its confusing :S
i' couldnt decide which to go.
My turkish friend told dallas is very good .
İ have a relative who lives in houston.
I couldnt go to this year.
Sep 17, 2012 9:04 AM
13#11 they never said NY didnt have good transport, they said it did and they dont need the car there.
NYC is the most expensive city to rent a car in the USA, think again, do a loop to Boston and Philly and then to DC via train, then head west from there, and do the route, hitting the Smokies on the way to Lexington and Chicago.
As for the CC, you will have a credit hold on the card in addition to the actual rental amount, usually another 30%. Minimum is $250 deposit, read the agency websites.
As for schedule. That is all driving and nothing else? you are going thru some great areas like Yosimte and Yellowstone that deserve 2 days each minimum. Boston and Philly no need for a car, take the train with NYC as a base.
Philly and Boston are very historic places, need entire day in each to say least.
Nothing to see or do from New Orleans to Orlando, stop in Destin/Seaside areas great beaches, then to Orlando.
What about Charleston SC? what are you doing in Orlando for 1 day, and Tampa 1 day? Unless you are going to Disneyland, skip south Florida and hit the beaches in the panhandle (Destin) or go to beaches near Charleston SC or in Cape Hatteras NC.
Overall its a terrible plan and you will see nothing but interstates and McDonalds and Truck Stops. A waste of Gas.
Sep 17, 2012 10:25 AM
Nasa is a one-hour drive south from downtown Houston. If you love space stuff, it is interesting to visit, but then again, so is the Smithsonian in D.C. (The exception is if you have a friend who works at NASA who can get you the VIP tour, which is amazing.) Houston also has fabulous restaurants and bars, but the again, so does New York City. So I see no reason to stop here, unless you are passing between New Orleans and Austin.
This is not true. Dallas isn't worth a visit for people who live in Texas, let alone for foreign visitors. Your friend was probably just enjoying the novelty of being in the U.S. Dallas is nothing special.
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