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Road trip around America

(14 Posts)
exleodensian Sat 20-Jun-15 18:50:44

I am hoping to do a lengthy road trip in the US when I retire; (I shall be 60 so still fairly young).
My husband has suggested we fly to anywhere in America, and buy a car for our trip, selling it on at the end. This would in theory be more economical than renting a car for two or three months.
Has anyone done this, and if not, can any US residents give me advice on car insurance, and whether you can own a car without a valid US driving licence?
Thank you

SoleSource Sun 21-Jun-15 16:16:14

SoleSource Sun 21-Jun-15 16:19:32

Camper van hire?

exleodensian Mon 22-Jun-15 00:05:57

Thank you Sole source. We actually did a wicked campers trip in Australia a few years ago, and we have a campervan here in the UK, so we are used to that kind of holiday. I think a camper would be okay for two or three weeks but I don't much fancy it for three months!

Tuo Mon 22-Jun-15 00:20:30

It's very hard (if not impossible) to buy a car in the US unless you have a US Social Security number. It's possible to get a temporary SS number, but you probably need to have a fixed address in the US, which you won't have if you're moving around. I lived there for 5 months and intended to buy a car, but in the end it was just too much hassle to get around the SS issue, so I gave up. The cheapest way to do it, IME, is to arrange insurance separately (6 months was the minimum period for which you could take out insurance when I did it, but I got a refund for the period not used after i left the country) and then to rent from a local 'rent-a-wreck' (not actually a wreck - just not a brand new car) type company, rather than from one of the big car hire firms. This worked out much cheaper, though admittedly we were based in one city the whole time, not moving around. If you wanted to start in one city and end up in another it might be more difficult. You should be fine with a UK driving licence but check once you have an itinerary, because the length of time for which you can drive on a foreign licence without having to get a US one varies from state to state.


BackforGood Mon 22-Jun-15 00:51:49

I don't know if they still do this, but when my brother did a road trip, coast to coast across America many years ago, they came across an agency, where people wanted a car driven across the continent for them... I don't know for sure, maybe relocated and flown but wanted their own car, or maybe bought a particular special model but didn't want that long a drive themselves - I think although it's a long time ago now they just had to pay fuel and not hire the car, as the owners were paying the agency to find someone, and covered the insurance and wear and tear.

Might be worth investigating?

GemmeFatale Mon 22-Jun-15 01:13:50

Living in the USA. No SS. Bought two cars just fine. The insurance is horrifically expensive though as our UK history doesn't count.

AcrossthePond55 Mon 22-Jun-15 02:05:53

Financing a car without an SSN would be a problem. Cash purchase, no problem. Haven't a clue about the cost of insurance for tourists though. But I'd think it would be hellaciously expensive as you would be considered high risk. Most if not all states require at lease public liability/public damage.

It is NOT possible to get a 'temporary SSN'. They are issued only to those with 'work permit' visas (and in some cases their spouse). You can get a Tax Identification Number, which is used mainly for banking purposes.

AcrossthePond55 Mon 22-Jun-15 02:06:24

*at least, not 'lease'

exleodensian Mon 22-Jun-15 22:12:30

Thank you everyone. Looks as though we shall have to re-think this idea.

AcrossthePond55 Mon 22-Jun-15 22:42:47

I saw one of the posts on that Tripadvisor link spoke about buying a car in Canada and then traveling to the US. Since Canada is part of the Commonwealth and you are UK citizens I wonder if there's some type of reciprocity with finances and insurance that may enable you to buy your car there. May be worth checking into.

SquirrelledAway Sat 27-Jun-15 10:08:12

I just plugged in a 3 month car hire from NYC to LA for Sept / Oct / Nov into and and rates were starting at £3200 including unlimited mileage and all insurances with no excess (cars were from National, Thrifty, Dollar and Alamo).

If you book a package through a broker from the UK you'll get the full insurance package, no need for any additional cover. Some firms include tyres and windscreen cover (Alamo does) but you can always buy a separate car hire excess policy to cover this if need be (for about £50 for an annual policy). You'd also need to check regarding one way drop off fees if you're not planning to start and finish at the same point.

Here's a link to a company that does car delivery across the USA for customers - you can see what they have on offer:

lavendersun Sat 27-Jun-15 10:13:20

I lived in the US for a few years and transferred my proof of no claims bonus from the UK so I left here with max and started there with max, transferring it back when I came home.

If you still have your vehicles here you won't be able to transfer it as you will still be using it but you try to get a letter to say that you have x many years of claim free driving.

You will almost certainly be able to buy a car with $$$ rather than credit without a SSN.

lljkk Sat 27-Jun-15 12:00:50

That thing about driving someone else's car from one side of country to other is common, but whether you could take your time during the drive I dunno.

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