Saturday, March 27, 2010

Atlantic Coast road trip - in a classic car? or camper?

Hi Jamie

We're flying to NYC for the start of our own road trip... spending 5 days in the city and have found a cool place to stay in Harlem (without car), then have 5 glorious June/July weeks to travel down to Miami.

We saw your book which will really help us plan a cool drive down, seeing the sights. To save money we can sleep cheap but the biggest expense it seems is the car hire to pick up NYC and drop off in Miami. Have you any recommendations/tips of the best way to go about the hire or even buy cheap? What about renting VW camper which we could sleep in? Is it better to sort out before we come over to the states or get something sorted when we are in the city?

This will be our first big trip at ages of 48 and 46!, so sorry for all the questions. Thanks for your help.

yours excitedly

Lorna and Del


Hello Lorna and Del --

Many thanks for your message, and sorry it took me so long to reply. The issue you raise about car hire / rental is a big one -- my first suggestion would be that you consider doing the trip as a loop, rather than a one way -- rental rates are usually much lower if you return the vehicle to the same place you get it.

You're lucky to have so much time to travel around -- plenty to go back and forth (and maybe add in a trip west to New Orleans and Memphis, or along the Appalachian Trail, or who knows where... Five glorious weeks, indeed!

About renting a camper -- there's clearly a market there, but the only camper van rental company I know of is out in California . To my mind, buying your own car can work, but it can be a hassle too -- trying to arrange insurance and all the legalities, not to mention finding a reliable machine, is fraught with complications.

Then again, you could buy yourself a pretty cool machine, while rental cars tend to be anodyne and not much fun to drive. Classic American cars like these are pretty mouth-watering compared to their contemporaries! (I too am a child of early 1960s design... and I dream of cruising along in a convertible 1963 Corvette!)

If you do want to buy a car, I recommend you take advantage of websites and line up some candidates well before you land -- buying a car is a time-consuming business.

Well, OK -- I hope you are still excited about your East Coast road trip.

(And by the way, I have just come out with new books, updating all the material on Atlantic Coast and App Trail chapters into handy mini-guides -- On sale in the UK for under £5!! :-)

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA


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