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.