T Nation

Road Trip (East to Westcoast)


Hey everyone,

me and 2 friends are planning a road trip from New York to Los Angeles. We wanted to go to the US for 1 or 2 months and wanted to buy or rent a car in the US.

A friend of mine just came back from the States (he made the trip for 3months) and he told me that the car search was pure horror. Everybody tried to rip them off. And they luckily found someone in Miami who sold them his car for 1700$. But with insurance and other costs it would probably be cheaper to rent a car.

Now my question is if somebody has any tips for us, can we find a car under 1000$ or are we better of renting one?
It doesn't have to be a great car, we just need room for 3 guys.

Thanks in advance


You are better off renting one. A $1k car will not make it across the country and you'll have to rent one anyways.

Just be present when the rental agent documents current damage on your lease and don't let dents, dings, rips et cetera go unmakred.

Then don't fuck up the car. People treat rentals like shit and then blame the agency for collecting like they said they would. It's never their own fault of course, for leaving cigarette burns and spilling taco sauce.

/soap box. I just hate the mentality and it applies to much more than rental cars. I rent cars frequently and have never had a problem.


Oh man I'm too into Game of Thrones as I read this thread title as "Trip to Westeros"


If you can plan it right, buying a used car and selling it at the end of your trip can be a lot more affordable than getting a rental.

On a rental, you gotta think about insurance, extra driver costs, and some states and companies restrict you to neighbouring states, unless you pay further premiums. And like HoustonGuy said, you'll be paying out of your ass if you bang up the car in any way.

Finally, there is always a one-way trip premium on a rental. I've done one-ways within the same state and across a single state border, and that has been an extra $150-250 per trip.

As for planning your roadtrip, I hear polygamy is legal in Utah. Just sayin'


Why not rent an rv? cruise america or something like that? You can actually crash in the walmart parking lots for free!


Renting an RV is going to cost $7k+


What? Do RV insurances have special Walmart clauses now?


oops - Long Island slang coming through. - Crash - to sleep wherever one lands. Wally Worlds have been cutting campers slack as of late. 7k is a lot for a short trip though, though it would be cool. Seemed easier and more care free than trying to buy a somewhat reasonable and safe and functional car. It's a rental so they fix it, some can sleep while others drive, no packing and unpacking of clothes into a motel, etc.








whoever said its a short trip, youre wrong. driving across the country is not a day trip, yano its kinda big.......


thanks for the replies!
well right now I think we'll rent a car. But we're not sure yet.
I guess we could buy a car for ~2000 and sell it again, if we ever reach LA.
Man I really need to calculate this through. Don't want the trip to be more expensive than it has to be.


Also remember that both buying (and titling, insuring and registering) and selling a car does take time unless you're willing to over pay for a car and under-sell it later.


The way ot looks right now, we're going to rent a car and go from NY to LA and back to NY.
This is a lot cheaper than just one way even with the extra fuel costs because additionally to the 500$ one-way fee we're saving, our plane tickets get a lot cheaper, too.

We appreciate every advice you got for us. So far the only planned stops are: NY, Miami beach, Las Vegas, LA, San Francisco and Seattle. And then we'll just stop anywhere we see fit. We can't make too many stops because we only have a limited time frame. Any city we should definitely check out?


New Orleans.


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This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


If you are going from NY to Miami you might as well take a tour of DC for a day.

I would visit San Diego before LA.

Avoid Texas.


Assuming your from Germany you do realize your planned route around the US is about the same as 12 round trips from Frankfurt to Paris and back?


Yes we're aware that it's a huge route. Maybe we leave Seattle out of it, this would save us some time and money. But I guess we just look how much money and time we got left once we reach SF.
So yeah, I guess we won't see Seattle.