A Foreigner Wanting To Drive Around America?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by wrkactjob, Apr 12, 2010.

  1. wrkactjob macrumors 65816

    wrkactjob

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #1
    No American address, want to cross several states.

    How to do this?

    It seems even the idea of buying a car and driving it would be more complex.

    Can you hire a car long term and drive it anywhere?
     
  2. eawmp1 macrumors 601

    eawmp1

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    FL
    #2
    1) You can rent a car most anywhere. Rentals usually allow unlimited miles (check first) and allow either return to original site or point to point rental.
    2) We are a large country. Remember, many of our states are larger than European countries. Plan your trip accordingly. We have great interstate systems, but to really "see" the US, take the back roads.
     
  3. niuniu macrumors 68020

    niuniu

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    A man of the people. The right sort of people.
    #3
    Most rentals I've seen had low mileage caps and steep cost per mileage after the cap.
     
  4. wrkactjob thread starter macrumors 65816

    wrkactjob

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #4
    So if I hire a car for two months and cross states, if I get stopped by the police it will be cool?...that the car has out of state plates will not raise eyebrows?

    Never done this before so just not sure, thanks.
     
  5. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #5
    Depends where you rent from and what sort of deal you get. I've had unlimited mileage rentals before.

    No, out of state plates are no big deal in the US. It's quite common to be in one state and see plates on a car from another state halfway across the country. And if you live in a city on a state border like I do, plates from the next state over are even more common - I see Illinois plates all the time.
     
  6. Macrovertigo macrumors member

    Macrovertigo

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Location:
    Vermont/España/etc.
    #6
    Well, you don't ever want to do anything that gets you stopped by the police, it can put a damper on the trip, but should you be stopped as part of a routine traffic stop check point of some kind there would be no real reason to detain you as a person who is just driving cross country in a rented car, and who doesn't fit a target profile.
    I drove a wealthy oriental client around the states a couple of years ago and we had a ball, she got a kick out of driving for most of the day and I took over when she got bored or at night (she said more than once that she would love to be a bus driver in America, go figure).
    Go for it, there is nothing like a cross country drive in a big black car.
     
  7. wrkactjob thread starter macrumors 65816

    wrkactjob

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #7
    thanks for the replies guys...can anyone recommend a rental company that charges by a day rate and not mileage?...ie unlimited mileage?
     
  8. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #8

    I don't know of any offhand, but there's Enterprise, Avis, Hertz, Budget, National, Alamo, probably a few others I missed. Check out their websites and you should be able to see what sorts of options they offer.
     
  9. kylos macrumors 6502a

    kylos

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2002
    Location:
    MI
    #9
    You may want to look into getting an International Drivers Permit. It's not required for UK drivers with a valid license, but can be handy for insurance purposes or to convince an uninformed cop that you have a legitimate right to drive. There is full reciprocity in all states, so if you can drive in one state, you can drive in all.

    Unless you plan on staying for a while, it's probably better to rent a car. Otherwise, you'll have to deal with purchasing, licensing & registration (tax), obtaining insurance, and reselling the car once you depart. You're not likely to get a good deal in finding a buyer once you've left, since it is more important for you to sell the car than it is for a prospective buyer to purchase from you. That, and the hassle of licensing and insuring the auto probably make renting the better deal.
     
  10. wrkactjob thread starter macrumors 65816

    wrkactjob

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #10
    OK Alamo looks good.

    "Our USA rental rates are inclusive, so you know exactly what you're going to pay. Basic coverages, damage waivers, and taxes are all accounted for. All our US car hire rentals are offered with free unlimited mileage"
     
  11. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #11
    This is definitely good advice--if nothing else, it makes you look like you've done your homework and care. When my nephew was here from Japan driving my car he got one first, and my insurance agent was fine with him driving under those circumstances.

    Also, when you rent the car, you should make sure that the agreement you sign includes permission to drive in whatever states you plan on visiting. It shouldn't increase the price at all, but the agreement will have specific permitted locations and not bringing it up in advance could cost you if something bad were to happen in a state not on the agreement.

    For example, I rented a car from Hertz in Chicago, Illinois and got included on the agreement permission--at no cost, and with no particular hassle--to drive in Ohio, Michigan, New York, and Canada (I was driving through Canada as a shortcut to get to Niagara Falls). You just need to ask.

    If you're doing back roads also check the fine print on the agreement if it prohibits certain places--there are often a few very specific exceptions (usually very bad dirt roads in isolated places--Alaska, for example), and since I think most rental cars have logging GPS units now they could well ding you for taking it somewhere you weren't supposed to even if nothing goes wrong.

    Funny note on out-of-state license plates: I'm in California, and in addition to the common Oregon, Washington, Alaska, New York, Rhode Island, etc plates, I've actually seen Hawaii license plates on more than one occasion. How the heck does that happen?
     
  12. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #12
    Gotta luv the Brits and their way with words. :p
     
  13. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #13
    I saw Hawaii plates in Missouri last week. I guess they ferry their car over, but I would think it would be cheaper to rent one if they're going on a road trip, or if they're moving to the mainland, cheaper to sell their car and buy a new one. Transporting a car to the mainland can't be cheap.
     
  14. acurafan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #14
    never seen hawaii plates in NY but alaska plates i have; actually met a couple earlier in life who drove all the way from alaska. i say, if you ever fly into southern california take the PCH up to washington, it's unbelievable pilgrimage of scenery.

    or california to chicago thru route 66.

    or new york down to florida key west and go through shandenoah skyline drive, or the blue ridge mountains, and tail of the dragon in north carolina.

    i make the coastal drives annually and it's unbelievable, especially in the autumn season!! make sure you rent a honda S2000, or a bmw M5. ;) edit: i forgot the acura NSX :D

    before i die, i will make a trip from duncansby lighthouse in scottland all the way down to plymouth. :p
     
  15. pukifloyd macrumors 6502a

    pukifloyd

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Scottsdale
    #15
    You should call enterprise/hertz/avis and ask them about rates and all...
    I also want to book a rental car (from az to california) and saw that the rates are pretty decent...i think hertz has one for around $100 a day...
     
  16. Jaro65 macrumors 68040

    Jaro65

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    Mar 27, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #16
    The Oregon coast is stunningly beautiful. Then you have Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, etc., etc.... The US is just a huge country and there is simply so much beautiful scenery here. There are plenty of hotels/motels pretty much everywhere and the road system is excellent. How about getting an iPad 3G to use as your map and guide? ;)
     
  17. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

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    Nov 11, 2005
    Location:
    Stuck in the middle with you
    #17
    How old are you? Many companies will not rent to anybody under 25. Those that will include a hefty surcharge.
     
  18. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #18
    I used Alamo when I drove from San-Francisco to Seattle, my only gripe was that they didn't have a Mustang available, so be warned, if you want a specific car, you're best reserving it before you fly out. ;)

    That said, by not doing so, they also seem open to a little bartering... regarding upgrading, or downgrading, so if they don't have a Mustang, they'll sort you out with a better car, at the lesser rate.

    They also hire to under 25's with a surcharge, and they also charge for dropping it off in another state, the latter wasn't especially expensive... unlike the former however. :eek:

    Incidentally, my hire car had Nevada plates, and I drove from California through Oregon and Washington, off the beaten track you're more likely to get people asking you where in (in my case Nevada) you are from, rather than having the state police thinking you're a drugs runner or anything. :p It's a good conversation starter if northing else. :)

    Everything was just dandy with the English language thanks, until the yanks came along and f**ked it all up with that 'American English' nonsense. ;)
     
  19. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #19
    Yup, common, someone probably rented it in Nevada and drove it one way to California, so it ended up there and you got it. Maybe it'll eventually get back to Nevada, maybe not. An individual might not be able to get away with registering a car in one state and living in another, but for company fleets, especially rental fleets, that situation is common and states' motor vehicle departments don't bother the companies.

    It's always interesting on road trips to look at other plates and see where everyone's driving from. You may realize it's a small world; last year we drove to Toronto, and then went to Niagara Falls, on the Canadian side, and at the falls, ended up parking next to somebody else with Missouri plates, not only that, they bought their car from the same dealership my dad bought his (based off the dealer license plate frames). We never met them, but coincidences like that are always pretty neat. And of course, Hawaii plates on the mainland will always make you go "WTF"

    I also learned that, after seeing British Columbia plates on a Jetta Sportwagen the other day, that it's not actually called the Jetta up in Canada, but it's called the Golf. At first I was like "Holy ****, the MKVIs are huge!" then I checked VW's Canadian website and saw what they did. They have a Golf City (Golf in the states) and Golf Family (Jetta Sportwagen in the states). The things you learn from out of state/country plates :p
     
  20. djellison macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Pasadena CA
    #20
    Just a word of warning - I know that Hertz rental from LAX (and Budget from Pasadena) only allow you to drive in CA, NV and AZ. Take it out of those three states, and you're in trouble.

    Phone up and ask - they'll be only too glad to take money off your hands if you explain what you want to do. There may well be a firm doing long term rentals specifically for uber road trips somewhere.
     
  21. Jett0516 macrumors 6502a

    Jett0516

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    Mar 5, 2010
    #21
    I would pass on america, there's nothing to see here but walmart.
     
  22. Disc Golfer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #22
    west coast in the summertime

    [​IMG]

    Have fun on your trip! Be careful of the middle part!
     
  23. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #23
    This is one of the most important points I can think of. As some rental companies have tracking devices so if you leave they hit you with additional fees. I don't know if they are still allowed to do this but some companies also tracked your speed and fined you in areas that you were speeding.

    You might also want to pick up a Tom Tom or other GPS unit if not included with the rental. If you already have a portable GPS the manufacturer will likely sell you a US road map kit. I wouldn't depend on a cell phone GPS that relies on the network as a lot of the areas you would drive through would have little to no cell coverage. Let alone sufficient towers for the cell network GPS to function.

    If you don't have one wait until you get to the US as you will likely find a better price. Just don't buy in New York City (if that is where you are starting) as the sales taxes are quite high if that is your starting point.
     
  24. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #24
    And remember..... as big as the US is, Canada is even bigger. And harder to get lost in during a cross country road trip.

    Just find the #1, the Trans-Canada, and decide whether you want to go East or West. If your route takes you through Quebec, remind yourself how to spell East and West in French. The #1 ends on either the Pacific or the Atlantic.

    No maps necessary.... just watch for the signs..... Make sure you get some Gordon Lightfoot and Stompin' Tom Connors for your tunes.... :D

    Seriously.... no North American road-trip is complete without the proper music. That should be your next question on this thread.

    Beware of the distances.... if your only experience is with European distances, then the scale of things here will boggle your mind. I've travelled by ground in Europe, and so I've seen it from the other side.

    If you come in winter, be very very prepared. If you get in car trouble, you can die if you aren't. Not necessarily in the built up areas, but there are many many areas that are not built up.

    Tunes.... make sure you have the right tunes.
     
  25. codymac macrumors 6502

    Joined:
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    #25

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