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Buying vs Hiring a car in the US

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 DanDDJ 18:57 Tue

Hi all,

Looking at a 3 month trip in the states from mid september this year and have come to looking at vehicle access.

Getting loads of conflicting advice from people on the subject of buying vs renting so am reaching out to see if anyone has recent experience they can help me with.
Hiring/Renting seems to be realllly expensive for that amount of time (£4000+) whereas buying seems to be a massive faff with all the paperwork, insurance, breakdown cover and selling it again.

Many thanks in advance for any help you can give me,

Dan

 RobAJones 19:54 Tue
In reply to DanDDJ:

> Getting loads of conflicting advice from people on the subject of buying vs renting so am reaching out to see if anyone has recent experience they can help me with.

Not me but friends have just returned having bought and then sold a campervan. 

> Hiring/Renting seems to be realllly expensive for that amount of time (£4000+) whereas buying seems to be a massive faff with all the paperwork, insurance, breakdown cover

They found someone/a company in Montana (I think) who did a lot of that for them, as it was cheaper to do those things there than other states. They actually bought the van in Florida

>and selling it again

They were lucky, and sold privately in Portland for only 5k less than they bought it ( Dealers were offering 21k less) but they were there for 2 years rather than a few months. Personally 4k for three months doesn't sound too bad compared with the stress of buying and selling. 

 jimtitt 20:14 Tue
In reply to DanDDJ:

Look at something like Hertz Multi-month rental program.

 Clwyd Chris 09:06 Wed
In reply to DanDDJ:

Have they got something over there similar to rent a reck or shed ? I was looking at the same thing for New Zealand where routine car hire is really expensive, but managed to find somewhere you could hire a 10 yr old vehicle quite reasonably for

 Offwidth 09:24 Wed
In reply to DanDDJ:

People have had problems doing this due to strict rules, especially on vehicle registration (you need a US address). These pages claim to help (the second being the most important).

https://www.visitorus.com/resources/how-to-buy-a-vehicle-in-the-united-stat...

https://www.visitorus.com/resources/how-to-register-a-vehicle-in-the-united...

 Alex Riley 10:05 Wed
In reply to Offwidth:

A few ways to bring cost down

Hire a van from u haul. Can work out slightly cheaper

Use a third party excess insurance rather than the hire companies own one( this one was about £100 for annual worldwide cover).

like https://www.icarhireinsurance.com/?gad_source=1&gclid=CjwKCAjw4ri0BhAvE...

A quick search in LA for three months, no extras was £2350 for a 5 seat economy car.

Post edited at 10:07
In reply to DanDDJ:

Don't know if this is compatible with your trip itinerary, but would it be possible to use public transport (trains/buses) for long parts of the trip and then just hire locally when you need a car?

5
 jimtitt 11:11 Wed
In reply to LastBoyScout:

Trains and buses in the USA???

Some years back a buddy went to the US for a month and bought an unlimited flight pass, he zigzagged across the country choosing the longest possible overnight flights each time to save on hotels. The rest of the time he was on a Greyhound bus but they are kinda rare nowadays. His route on the map was amazing! Frontier Airlines do All-you can fly deals.

5
In reply to DanDDJ:

Having bought and sold many cars, and rented many times a yr in the US, my advice would be to rent, not buy and sell. Second-hand cars in the US are often poor value for money for the condition they are in, and you could pick up a dog requiring expensive repairs. (Several secondhand cars I bought ended up costing about as much as a new car.) Unfortunately, prices in the US of just about everything have skyrocketed in the last couple of years, so I don't think there is a cheap option.

In reply to jimtitt:

> Trains and buses in the USA???

Would have added planes, but was trying to be greener

 Pedro50 13:53 Wed
In reply to jimtitt:

> Trains and buses in the USA???

The USA has the greatest length of rail tracks of any country. Whether this helps access to climbing destinations is doubtful.

3
 dsh 14:13 Wed
In reply to DanDDJ:

Used cars are very expensive in the US, and if it's a private sale it will be a hassle to register while on vacation in most states. 4000 quid might not get you anything decent from a dealer.

Conversely renting in the US is pretty hassle free and you don't hear the stories of made up fees and bait and switches than you do in Europe. I've rented dozens of cars over the years here and had no issues. (Enterprise would be my choice).

Your choice but if it was me and I was spending money and time to come on vacation I wouldn't want to be wasting that dealing with car ownership.

 redjerry 14:21 Wed
In reply to DanDDJ:

It might be worth checking what the rental costs are in different locations (ie LA, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City etc.) There are usually quite large regional variations.
I'm doing the reverse trip next week and flights seem pretty cheap right now at least. (Vegas to Heathrow return was $1100).
 

 Toerag 14:40 Wed
In reply to DanDDJ:

If you're under 25 (as per your profile) then you may find renting from the normal global rental companies difficult. I had this problem when I went to California, none of the companies with desks in San Francisco airport would touch me or my GF as we were 21, luckily one employee knew of a local business that would. One short taxi ride into the depths of a tatty industrial estate resulted in me being the proud 'owner' of a drastically under-powered 1.6l automatic Toyota corolla saloon for a month.

 artif 14:49 Wed
In reply to DanDDJ:

Look for an old beater 70's 80's 90's  barge and scrap /give it away it at the end of the trip. Or buy something a little better and ship it back to the UK and sell for a profit. 

Makes for a real adventure if you don't know when it'll break down.

Friend bought an old hot rod years back, drove cross country to ship it back to the UK. The seat was a beer crate, to give you an idea of the state of the car

4
 jimtitt 15:40 Wed
In reply to Pedro50:

Your not kidding, passeneger trains especially in the west are kind of rare (I've never seen one) and you'll want to pretty dedicated. A quick sample Portland Oregon to San Francisco. Train 19hrs and $214, car 10hrs, air 1hr 48min and $38. As the rail line isn't electrified and takes a tortous route I suspect the planè is the clear environmental winner.

 Dunthemall 17:46 Wed

Crag access by Public transport is pretty grim, and remember how big the national parks are.

There is one bus a day Yosemite-Touloume Meadows-Mammoth Lakes (i walked the last 4 days of the John Muir) and the Meadows and Yosemite Valley both have free (but unlinked) park buses. Half-dome by the chains needs a pass, half are reserved for thru hikers.

The www says there is a bus four times a week Yosemite to vegas (via Death Valley)

Joshua Tree park, Smiths Rocks, Needles none to my knowledge.

I agree with City of Rocks+Castle Rocks Idaho as a possible destination but that is a long way even from Smiths Rocks.

Post edited at 17:55
 seankenny 18:02 Wed
In reply to artif:

> Look for an old beater 70's 80's 90's  barge and scrap /give it away it at the end of the trip. Or buy something a little better and ship it back to the UK and sell for a profit. 

Dealing with customs and shipping companies is way better than climbing splitter cracks under perfect blue skies. 

 DaveHK 18:30 Wed
In reply to seankenny:

> Dealing with customs and shipping companies is way better than climbing splitter cracks under perfect blue skies. 

I used to work for a company that did import customs clearance. Maybe half a dozen times a year we'd get a customer who'd bought something abroad and tried to ship it back to the UK. Almost without fail it turned into an expensive ball ache.

 artif 20:13 Wed
In reply to DaveHK:

My neighbour does it regularly, plenty of company's who will do all paperwork etc for you. 

 seankenny 21:57 Wed
In reply to artif:

> My neighbour does it regularly, plenty of company's who will do all paperwork etc for you. 

Well it all sounds much more fun than climbing. After all, how many big trips does one do in a lifetime? Not that many. Best to spend them in some quasi-commercial enterprise rather than actually cragging in amazing places. 

2
 artif 22:10 Wed
In reply to seankenny:

It might pay for another trip. 

But if climbing is your only thing, then yeah it would be a waste, and if you look at the op's other post, climbing isn't the only objective 

Post edited at 22:12
1
 Crest Jewel 11:59 Thu
In reply to DanDDJ:

Investigate U-Haul. A van will allow you to sleep in it. This maybe cheaper than renting a car. Buy car insurance in the UK to cover period. ChatGPT states that drivers aged 21-24 may face additional costs and restrictions. 

Post edited at 12:09
OP DanDDJ 17:53 Fri
In reply to DanDDJ:

Many thanks for all the info everyone! Still seems many people are split on this but I've decided to hire and go high cost/low faff.

Stay psyched everyone, I know I am!!

 Alex Riley 18:34 Fri
In reply to Crest Jewel:

You can't buy UK insurance to cover the excess on UHaul because they are vans rather than cars. (Or at least you couldn't when I did quite a bit of research a year or two ago).

Last time I was in Canada I hired through a commercial business leasing company and it worked out way cheaper, that's another option to look at (ford truck at £20 a day). This option works with the UK insurance because it was hire for a car rather than a van.

Post edited at 18:36
 pec 23:09 Fri
In reply to DanDDJ:

Have you tried Happy Tours Car Rental?

I've found them to be significantly cheaper in the past?

https://www.happytoursusa.com/en?gad_source=1&gclid=CjwKCAjwqMO0BhA8Eiw...

 Dunthemall 09:18 Sat

I would get an "SUV" - 2WD will be adequate, for the ground clearance. What the americans consider a 2WD drive dirt road will still have quite large bumps (some of solid rock). 

i.e.

In JT the road to Keyes Ranch (booked tour) is a single track dirt, depends when it was last plowed flat.

Take in Indian Cove, not sure who maintains the dirt there, it was very rocky when I was last there

State Route UT261 (a possible Moab to Monument Valley). Mostly tarmac, but the very steep hill is dirt!

https://www.google.com/maps/@37.2714088,-109.936789,3a,75y,240.11h,90t/data...

 Rick51 12:53 Sat
In reply to Dunthemall:

 

> State Route UT261 (a possible Moab to Monument Valley). Mostly tarmac, but the very steep hill is dirt!

If you're going down Moki Dugway it's well worth the side trip out to Muley Point, turn off just before the tarmac ends. Again it's dirt road but well graded. A magnificent view across to Monument Valley and we had it to ourselves.

 dsh 13:20 Sat
In reply to Crest Jewel:

U-haul charges by the mile as well as a daily rate so probably not cheaper give OPs itinerary!


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