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Hi, as of last week I have been made redundant which was a bit of a bugger and straight out of the blue, but hey why not take the opportunity to travel.

So after some Internet research I ended up here, as forums goes it seems to be very comprehensive and very active!

I am 23 years old I live south of London and was an IT technician until Thursday smile.gif I have saved up just over 2000 pounds which I may as well travel with. I have always wanted to go to the USA, backpack, buy a car etc who knows. I personally like the idea of the desert states but also seeing the cities too.
So I really don't know where to begin so many factors flights insurance, whether to go alone or with someone else or with a group.

Ideally i would love to buy a cheap car out there 2nd hand, and go cross country but the cost of doing that on my own will probably be too high, so i guess the ideal would be me and 1 or 2 travelling partners.

Has anyone had experience of this sort of thing? Ideas on a next step? cost etc? sorry if I am being vague here


That sounds incredible. What a great attitude to see opportunity where others would see hardship. Testify!
Dude, I already know what the experienced in the group are going to say...just go.
I have found on my roadtripping that budget is not overly important. When I have money it goes fast. If I find a good place, I can make a few days spending darn near nothing but time.
The cheap car idea should be do-able. Spring for an inspection and keep in mind fuel consumption. I don't know about down there, but I'm in Alberta, Canada, and about $1.20 per litre is the average price I've seen. Some rumors it could get worse into Summer. It wouldn't stop me, but you should know.
I've never really been a real sites guy. I like nature, weather and people. You can't count on the weather, but the people Are the place. Meet as many as you can, and you'll have an amazing time!
'GO!' goes without saying. You just have to. I did a road trip across California and Nevada in January and it was totally random, definitely my preferred method. To be honest it was costly, but that's cos' we ate out a lot, went mental in Vegas and kept having to pump fuel into the huge V8 monster of an SUV we were cruising around in. I'd say you'll have a ball and Finding's right, it's more about the people and nature than anything else. For me anyway. Can't wait to go back..
I don't know the logistics of non-residents buying a car, but if you can get that taken care of, there is no better way than by car to see the US (maybe by bike or foot, but that takes a spell longer). I've done it multiple times for various lengths of time (five days to three months), and I've never run out of new things to see. American Southwest is a must. I recommend following Highway 89 -- pick it up in Montana at the Canadian border and follow it clear to the Mexican border, taking in Glacier National Park, Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and the Navajo Nation, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Rocky Mountain National park -- yeah, a pretty uneventful drive. Pacific Coast is great, and US1 down the east Coast is good if you like big cities and lots of traffic. US20 can be followed from the tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts to the Pacific Ocean a couple thousand miles away, with Chicago as a halfway point.

Summer is a nightmare for fuel costs by US standards -- pushing $4 a gallon in some places (cheaper, usually, in the south and west). But you have the benefit of coming from a country with a 2-1 exchange rate against our in-the-toilet dollar.
Wow, those are some fantastic replies, I didnt expect more than a couple of 2 line posts! I am at a loose end and really need to so this , although I reackon your right about the difficulties of a non US resident buying a car out there, i doubt the car or road tax will be a problem, but insurance may be!

What i need to do is find a like minded individual or individuals who have the same idea as me this summer, most of my friends have got work or relationship commitments. So, whats the best way to find people who want to d othe same thing?


Well, you can always check out our "Find a travelmate" forum - post your ideas and itinerary there, and see if anyone bites!

Also, if you've got a car, you can camp to save money. But you might want to stop in some hostels to see if anyone wants to catch a ride with you. In my experience, travellers with cars are always popular because when you have more than one person, it becomes more manageable and you can get to out of the way places.

Keep us up to date on your travel plans - sounds like fun! smile.gif
QUOTE(battlemonkey @ May 22 2007, 06:09 PM) *

Summer is a nightmare for fuel costs by US standards -- pushing $4 a gallon in some places (cheaper, usually, in the south and west). But you have the benefit of coming from a country with a 2-1 exchange rate against our in-the-toilet dollar.

$4/gallon is half the UK price so stop whinging tongue.gif Serious $1/litre is a joke compared to the 0.97/litre it is here.

I haven't personally spent much time in the States but found the costs more reasonable than I expected. Sure it's $2 to 1 at the moment which helps but it'll still comparable with UK, but seeing as you live south of London like me you'll be used to rip-off prices.

I'm the same age and rented a car with a mate in Vegas for the day. A car which was advertised as $22 came to $75 in the end after filtering in tax, insurance and higher rate for being under 25. Still reasonable for a days real hard driving.

Not sure what the car sharing thing is like in USA but all the hostels in Aus had message boards advertising people driving all over the place looking for people to share petrol/driving. Could be similar in the major cities in USA. Top Gear managed to find dirt cheap cars and drive around with no trouble.

Only problem I think you'll have is 2 grand isn't a great deal of cash. Sure it'd last you 4 months in Asia but probably only 1 month in the States.
Regarding finding fellow roadies, I'd put up a post on the 'Find a travelmate' forum like Jess said. I found mine through putting a similar post on Couchsurfing. It made the trip. Not only do you meet new people but you get the opportunity to score free accommodation too..
i doubt the car or road tax will be a problem, but insurance may be!

A car which was advertised as $22 came to $75 in the end after filtering in tax, insurance and higher rate for being under 25. Still reasonable for a days real hard driving.

Hey there! You're trip does sound fun! I don't know your situation, but sometimes you can get a credit card that covers the insurance portion of the car rental. We arranged it on our visa when we went to Ireland and it saved us a bundle. The insurance they were charging was pretty much equal to the rest of the costs! Worth looking into anyway, but as Rich said they do charge more if you're under 25.
Hi there!

I'm presently in the desert southwest and first let me say - it's hot. 101 to 105 degrees for the last 2 weeks. You MUST have air conditioning here in the summer.

You can buy a car here from someone for cash and just sell it before you leave. Just don't transfer the title. That would be much cheaper than renting. A motorcycle would be even better if you ride.

I've been traveling around here for the past few years. To stay cool travel the mountains. New Mexico around Sante Fe and Taos is gorgeous, likewise Sedona, Arizona and Southern Utah. Las Vegas slows down in the summer, but it's still fun.

A great way to stretch you dollars is to look for house sitting positions, that way you can stay in one place for a week or two, watching someone's house and feeding the cat. Sometimes they pay you, and often give you the keys to a car. Check out House Carers - right now they have several house sits in the southwest. Another great resource is hospitality exchange.

US hostels can be expensive. But the summer is great for camping and there are lots of places to camp for free.

Your biggest expense should be getting here. . .but DO IT! I've been traveling the US for 10 years and still haven't seen half of what there try to stay as long as you can.
I admire your passion!! The problem is the days of backpacking the US are not as they used to be. Used cars tend to be gas hogs and burn thru the tanks and with gas from $3 to $4 dollars per gallon her it costs me $75 for one tank of gas in my Acura small SUV. Desert states are in the 120 degrees in the summer and present health risks for those outdoors in the sun. The south is miserable in humid and hot. The east coast also suffers from the humidity in some areas and the west coast is at it's worst and best. Summer travelers make no discounts available and Northern California Cities such as San Francisco are bittlerly cold due to the fog. The best time to travel is September and October and yet you as a young person will find more young people traveling such as you are in the summer. Being close to the San Fran I do know of many who hook up for part of a trip and then go their own way. The best place to find freindly foreigners is in the cities, Boston and San Fran especially. We love an English accent here and love hosting those from Europe so I would ask everyone you know if they know of anyone who is in the states and set up some free stays. I know we want our visitors to have a great time and with a sister in law from England it seems she is always housing a freind of the familiy's. Staying outside the main cities can help save money and for example here a hotel room in Oakland Ca is the fifth of the price of san francisco and yet only a 12 minute Bart train ride away. (Our public transit) check to see how amtrac train is these days. They used to sell a cross country pass and the train comes from chicago to Oakland Ca and one to Los Angeles. Other trains connect to chicago from the east. Driving across the country is only good if taking your time and going all thru the 50 national parks. Our state parks in caliofornia have a res number and many sell out such as Yosemitee one year in advance. Different parks such as the grand canyon, (Bryce is a must) reach capacity early in the day. Tahoe campgrounds fill up as well as do sites in the east. I remember the seventies when a man with just a backpack on his back was respected and taken care of if nothing more than to send him to the corner of Haight and Asbury. Research before you come. Find your embassies, your friends and all the young people hostels and deals you can. Most major cities have agencies for the protection of young travelors. Start with city websites or go to the national park website or the park system of the state you are visiting. Good luck. I would offer you a place but at 49 and an angry estranged husband I can hear him in court now saying what a bad influence I am for the kids housing a stranger from London at 23. Wish I script:emoticon(':air_kiss:',%20'smid_1')
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