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Young Driver/Car Decisions
January 2, 2013
1:51 pm
paul
United Kingdom
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Hi all,

 

I was just looking to see if anyone had advice about the best rental companies to consider as a young driver (most seem to charge a fortune because I'm under 25!). I noticed that there are young driver waivers but are there any specific companies that are worth a look?

 

Also, I was wondering how well an "economy" car would stand up to the journey (Chicago -> L.A.)? Does anyone have experience of doing the trip in a small car? My main concern is rental cost (young driver + one-way = crushing fees) and fuel economy but obviously there is a trade-off to be done with comfort and the likelihood of it not surviving the distance/terrain...

 

These are the initial stages of planning for September 2013 so lots more questions undoubtedly coming up!

 

All thoughts and advice greatly appreciated!

 

Paul

January 2, 2013
11:34 pm
frank
usa
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Paul–

Sorry, can't help much with the first part.  But if the fees are ridiculous–and you are 23 or 24–you might want to just wait them out!

On the second part: If you are traveling alone and not more than say 6' 2" or 200 lbs, you will be okay in an economy rental car. Typical vehicles are Toyota Corollas or Honda Civics…plus comparable models from Ford, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia etc. Maintenance is up to the rental company and their vehicles are new (or nearly so) and your chances of a breakdown are very low.  If it did happen–you call a toll-free number.

If you want/need the extra comfort and space, you could upgrade to a Toyota Camry, Honda Accord or comparable vehicle. Even in these larger vehicles, gasoline (petrol) will not be a major factor on the trip–compared to airfare, car rental and motel costs. (Currently you can do the one-way trip in a Camry for less than $300. in fuel.)

Some parts of Route 66 are a little rough–especially bypassed sections–but nothing requires an SUV or 4-wheel drive.

January 20, 2013
12:23 am
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WillC
Oxford
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Paul, if you're travelling with just one other person, then a small economy car would be fine. But if you're travelling in a small group of 3 to 4 people, then I'd get an SUV since you'll need room for luggage.

Even if there's just 2 of you, it can get a bit claustrophobic in a small car.

My fiance and I hired a midsize SUV for our Route 66 adventure and were glad that we had a (relatively) powerful and big vehicle. It was perfect.

Regarding your age, I went to the USA with friends when I was 24 so we let our older mate (aged 25) do all of the driving since it worked out cheaper that way. Personally, if I were you, I'd wait a few years until you turn 25. That way you have more time to plan the trip to perfection!

Best of luck.

Will

--- Drove Route 66 in August 2012 ---

January 20, 2013
10:30 am
Jamieripley
London
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STA Travel mate can give you the best deal, I'm doing the route on June 1st, got quoted 1000 quid to have a economy car for a month and half and I turn 23 this month. Def the cheapest around.

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