Three Thing Thursday: Tips for a one-way US road trip

tips for a one way us road trip rental car NZMUSE ROAD TRIPPIN USA

It’s the ultimate dream. Driving across the USA, freedom to move at your own pace, answering to no one. Wide empty roads stretching out ahead of you. Wind in your hair. Chilis blasting Road Trippin’…

I highly recommend it. Best way to travel. Here are my suggestions:

1. Scout out the best car rental prices. If you’re going for a one-way car hire, there will be a premium, but it might not be as much as you think. For us, the best car rental booking website turned out to be CarHirePlanet. We paid about $42 per day for 37 days, insurance included, which came out to under $1600 for the five weeks. That was miles better than anywhere else, with the next best being VroomVroomVroom at closer to $2000, excluding insurance.

2. Always research gas prices before filling up. Petrol is insanely cheap in the US, which was one of the big arguments for driving – I’m talking at least half the price of petrol in NZ. (We were filling up our beast of an Impala/Corolla/Charger – yes, we went through three different rentals for various reasons, but all were uniformly enormous by NZ standards – for about $40). Nonetheless, you should still shop around for the best price. Even if you can’t get the GasBuddy app – I couldn’t, because of stupid App Store/Apple account country restrictions – you can still go to GasBuddy on your phone browser and use the web app to search for the cheapest gas prices near you.

3. Get a decent prepaid mobile plan (we went with T-Mobile, which included unlimited data for about $50 for a month) and use your smartphone to navigate around. We did actually opt to buy a GPS – T wanted it for the bigger screen and the dash mount – but it was cheap and crappy and annoyed the hell out of us. As a rule of thumb, I’d just go for the phone + mobile data + Google Maps.

13 thoughts on “Three Thing Thursday: Tips for a one-way US road trip

  • Reply Taylor February 28, 2014 at 14:01

    Good tips, it’s funny hearing that gas prices over here are really cheap because when I pass the gas stations I always think how expensive it is and how much more it’s getting and then I remember that it’s $5-$6 per gallon everywhere else in the world and only $3 here :p

  • Reply Becky Padmore March 1, 2014 at 01:02

    Good advice, our US road trip was one of my favourite travel experiences!

  • Reply Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life March 1, 2014 at 06:55

    Bring snacks! Long stretches with no other food options other than McDonalds will make you crave some healthy trail mix like nothing else.

  • Reply Jef March 2, 2014 at 03:02

    Have you done this one NZ Muse (the US road trip)?
    Tell you what you haven’t got a bad little country there yourself πŸ™‚

    Where about’s in NZ are you from

  • Reply Jenna March 2, 2014 at 19:26

    Good tips! I love taking road trips in the U.S. and hope to do some more this year now that my kids are a little older and can actually stay in the car for a while.

  • Reply Nell @ The Million Dollar Diva March 2, 2014 at 21:17

    Love it! Bookmarking for our trip planning. I might have to pick your brains a bit further NZ Muse on travelling in the US.

  • Reply Jon @ Our Fine Adventure March 4, 2014 at 04:11

    Good call about doing a lot of research for rental cars… we rent cars for most long trips (our car is old and we don’t really trust it long distances!), and it seems like each time we go, there is a different site or car rental place that has a better deal – there is no real consistency! Researching everything you can think of for a good deal there is definitely very necessary!

  • Reply Ryan @ Impersonal Finance March 5, 2014 at 13:05

    A good road trip across the US is amazing. It’s such a vast land, there are so many different types of scenery, it’s just an incredible experience. It can be pricey, but worth it, in my opinion.

  • Reply Molly S March 11, 2014 at 10:08

    Good tips! I’d love to do a long road trip one day, especially somewhere like the US where the scenery is so amazing and varied.

  • Reply Ashley @ A Southern Gypsy March 11, 2014 at 10:33

    Great tips! I’d love to do a huge US road trip–I’m from here and I’ve driven cross country but for a move, not a vacation. Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler.

  • Reply SJ @ Chasing the Donkey March 12, 2014 at 07:09

    Really great tips! I also loved when we drove across the USA how cheap the petrol was (compared with Aust), and I also loved how so many stations have someone do it for you πŸ™‚ Thanks a bunch for linking up with us for #SundayTraveler again.

  • Reply Adelina | PackMeTo March 13, 2014 at 08:39

    I’ve always wanted to drive across the US. One day hopefully. Going one way definitely makes it easier! Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler πŸ™‚

  • Reply Jess March 16, 2014 at 11:40

    Ha, it seems like over here you can’t go anywhere without hearing people complain about how expensive gas is now! And the Charger is the only one of those that’s even classed as a ‘full sized’ car!

    Yeah, we’re kind of addicted to filling our tanks here in the USA.

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