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Old 24.04.2011, 11:51
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Renting a car in the USA - age 21

My son, Swiss and American citizen with Swiss driver's license, is travelling to the USA this summer with 2 young ladies (Swiss). They are all 21. They want to rent ou buy a car in the Boston area (end June) and return the car in San Francisco (end July). We are having a very hard time finding out how to go about this. Any ideas?
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Old 24.04.2011, 12:38
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Re: Renting a car in the USA - age 21

There is no shortage of car hire companies in the US.

The way to go about it will be to visit the various car hire sites in Boston and see what they have to offer. Gogle Boston airport car hire etc and you will get a list of companies. Then just call the company and ask them. It shouldn't be too hard. They will give you all the relevant info, price, insurance, age restrictions etc.

I just googled Boston airport car hire, chose Hertz and it gives you the option to drop off the car in a different location. I chose SF airport. They priced it between 1300 and 2000 dollars but I just chose random dates. So, the dropping off at a different location won't be a problem but cost and your age might.

Enterprise, Avis, Budget, Nova, Alamo etc
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Last edited by kevlegs; 24.04.2011 at 13:43. Reason: added car hire names
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Old 24.04.2011, 13:00
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Re: Renting a car in the USA - age 21

I suggest you take a look at each car hire company website to see their policy. This is what I found on the Hertz website for Boston for example:

Quote:
"On most rentals the minimum age is 25 without an additional Age Differential Charge, and 20 with an additional Age Differential Charge.

Age Differential Charge Policy

Hertz will rent selected car class vehicles (Prestige Collection and high performance cars such as Corvettes and Shelby Mustangs excluded) to customers who are age 20-24 with an Age Differential Charge, in addition to the normal rental rate at Corporate and participating locations.

Most car classes will require a USD 15.00 per day surcharge, while higher end cars may require a USD 25.00 per day surcharge. See the counter representative for details."
Budget will allow younger renters also, but ask for a 27 USD surcharge per day.

Looks like it will be quite an expensive undertaking... Buying a car may well be cheaper, but I have no idea how to go about doing that. Maybe someone else can help?
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Old 24.04.2011, 17:53
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Re: Renting a car in the USA - age 21

You can find used cars here:
http://boston.craigslist.org/
The problem with a used car is that you don't know the quality and they are going across the country... Seems risky to go that distance in a used car that is not purchased from a dealer. A used car from a dealer is going to cost at least 3 or 4k more for the same thing but it will be certified and usually has a warranty.

As for renting, there should be tons of rental places at the airport in Boston. It seems like city rentals are more than outside of the city, usually a car rental is $30 or $40 a day but I've seen in NYC it was $350 for 3 days! I need to do it regardless, I need a car...

There is also a service:
http://www.zipcar.com/
which is good for short distance and sporadic use.

Do they really want to drive across the whole country? I've done it a few times and the entire middle of the US is corn fields.
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Old 24.04.2011, 19:19
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Re: Renting a car in the USA - age 21

Aren't there companies that let you drive cars across the US on behalf of their owners, who moved places?
From a quick google-search, I yielded: http://www.autodriveaway.com/

Maybe worth a try.
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Old 24.04.2011, 19:33
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Re: Renting a car in the USA - age 21

Wow - you guys have been busy for us! Thx! I also looked into renting with Almo, Budget, etc. for 3 drivers it's an extra charge (about 25$ per day for each driver) plus a charge for under 25 (about 9$ per day per driver). And depending on the car rental agency, about 500$ for not dropping off where picked up! Buying a car seems like a better deal, but not easy. Will check out the links.
Thanks so much!
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Old 24.04.2011, 20:58
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Re: Renting a car in the USA - age 21

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Aren't there companies that let you drive cars across the US on behalf of their owners, who moved places?
From a quick google-search, I yielded: http://www.autodriveaway.com/

Maybe worth a try.
This seems to me like a really good idea.

Another thing to check out (not sure where / how you'd search for it though) is that sometimes it is possible to get position as a courier for such trips.

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Wow - you guys have been busy for us! Thx! I also looked into renting with Almo, Budget, etc. for 3 drivers it's an extra charge (about 25$ per day for each driver) plus a charge for under 25 (about 9$ per day per driver). And depending on the car rental agency, about 500$ for not dropping off where picked up! Buying a car seems like a better deal, but not easy. Will check out the links.
Thanks so much!
A different transportation option also may be worth checking out, particularly giving all the extra fees ya'll are encountering all over with age and drop off destination and such is to maybe book seats on a train for parts or all of the trip.

I've taken Amtrak when visiting family before (I was living in the Chicago area at the time) and it was a comfortable trip with plenty of opportunity for window-gazing (and no worries about the driver staying awake). Just like trains here, they do stop in cities along the way AND the route is of course along set lines but perhaps you can work it out to stop in some cities for a few days, renting a car from "Joe Schmoe" local rentals while you're there, then heading off on the train again to the next place to see.

Quote:
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There is also a service:
http://www.zipcar.com/
which is good for short distance and sporadic use.
The above link from Cali might work for that... train for the major travel, auto for sight-seeing.

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Do they really want to drive across the whole country? I've done it a few times and the entire middle of the US is corn fields.
So far as this goes, well...

If you drive through the center of Iowa and Nebraska, it does get a bit somewhere between sleepy / boring and bring about childhood nightmares inspired by Children of the Corn BUT if you take either a more northerly route across the Dakotas and west or a more southerly route across west Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, there is certainly some breathtaking scenery.

The last time I took such a drive though was coming back from Japan when I was 10 so perhaps my "vision" of the trip is a bit rosey tinged.

IF you have the option though, I personally (after living here!) would go for the southern route to see the desert then head north through Arizona into Navada before west again. The route across the north, while it does have some amazing things to see (Yellowstone National Park and Mount Rushmore to name two), the general landscape is pretty similar to much of Switzerland.


Something else I was thinking but forgot before I hit post:
Another of the factors that may help in deciding your travel methods and route is the "mosquito factor"... July is rough for mosquitoes, if you have sweet blood, this may be another reason to opt for the southerly route as although it IS more hot (much, much more hot), the mosquitoes are not the size of small cottages like they tend to be in the north.

Choice between hot (but air conditioned car / train) or mosquitoes pestering while I'm site seeing, I'll go for hot.

Another "oh, and!"...
You could also rent a motor home / rv for all or part of the trip. I'm thinking that it would be at least as expensive as renting a car, and reading the faq from Cruise America (of course, there are some other rv rental businesses as well), similar age restrictions (and fees) apply. However, looking at some of their current "hot deals", it is possible to pick one up in Arizona and drop it off in Oakland, California... perhaps they will have similar deals available during your travel dates that will make for a further interesting leg of your trip.
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Last edited by Peg A; 24.04.2011 at 21:14. Reason: oh, and!
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Old 25.04.2011, 11:35
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Re: Renting a car in the USA - age 21

Buying a car in Boston and then 'flipping' it in SF can be a smart idea with a few provisos

Craigslist is a great, easy & cheap way to buy things, even cars...However, it's frought with scams & people trying to unload cars that are about to or are already dying...It's not like en Suisse where you are obligated to get an expertise etc...People can sell a box with 4 wheels and call it a car...So if your son can find a reasonable car and knows their way around a car, then a decent can be found...I wouldn't however, recommend buying in Boston proper - higher rates for cars...Plus, Craigslist organizing of a purchase can be time consuming...And there's the cost you'd have to consider...Buying a cheap car, even for 3-4,000 is a considerable investment - especially if the car dies along the way (And leaves the kids stuck someplace)

If I were you, the simplest way would be to rent a car with a one-way rental...Rates can be higher but it's simpler that way...Hertz can be relatively affordable

Shop around on quotes would be my advice for a one way rental, especially the location of pickup and dropoff - it can vary greatly...I don't know Boston well enough but I would imagine it will be much cheaper to rent from the suburbs...As for SF, which I do know well, look at suburbs as well (i.e. Oakland, Daly City) rather in the city...It can save you some money...Good luck, it can be a lot of fun to drive across America (I've done it)
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Old 25.04.2011, 18:39
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Re: Renting a car in the USA - age 21

I don't know how easy it would be to buy a car in the US if none of the drivers has a US license or a US permanent address. You would need to register the car, get tags (license plates) and insurance - all of which I would believe would need the US license and address. It does vary widely from state to state so if you really wanted to explore the buying option I would check all the surrounding states to find which was easiest and which had the best insurance rates. I moved from New Jersey to Pennsylvania and had to redo everything - for being right next to each other the car driving/owning process in the 2 states was very different!!

Personally I would go for the car rental and train combination.
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Old 26.04.2011, 02:18
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Re: Renting a car in the USA - age 21

Hi, i did a roadtrip in USA when I was 21.
I rented my car with enterprise company. I can't remember the code i used but i found it on internet. and i rented my car as a special rent (usually for soldier in us army under 25...) So i cheated. They never asked me to explain about this code.


But i know that if you rent from a place to an other there's some fees and it's easy to rent from san francisco to san diego but when you travel around the country, you can't do that.

What will they do with a car from NYC in california? they won't let the car in california they have to bring it back...


The best solution would be to buy a car. but I don't knot about insurance there sorry.
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Old 26.04.2011, 09:17
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Re: Renting a car in the USA - age 21

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Hi, i did a roadtrip in USA when I was 21.
I rented my car with enterprise company. I can't remember the code i used but i found it on internet. and i rented my car as a special rent (usually for soldier in us army under 25...) So i cheated.

First: That's fraud.

Second: However much you may have been "lucky," generally if military personnel are receiving discounts from someplace, the employees of said place are required to ask to see the military ID.

Third: That's fraud!
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Old 26.04.2011, 18:12
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Re: Renting a car in the USA - age 21

I agree, don't think I'll suggest to my son to do anything slightly illegal
He has read most of your replies and is quite impressed with this forum and advice from you all. Thanks. He will be doing some cost comparing - looks like a combo of public transportation (bus, train, plane) and renting might be more workable. Hasn't given up on the idea of buying and selling a car, but from most of our searches, this option seems more complicated.
All other ideas are still most welcome!
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Old 26.04.2011, 18:41
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Re: Renting a car in the USA - age 21

Here's a couple of sites that may be of help.
The first is a comparison site, so the terms and conditions of each company apply.
The second, I believe is it's own company, and surcharges for u.25's apply.

http://www.kayak.com/h/landing/right...i=803-527-2209

http://www.carhire3000.com/locations/usa/
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