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## NEED HELP WITH VEHICLE ADVICE ##

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Nov 6th, 2013, 07:04 PM
  #1
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## NEED HELP WITH VEHICLE ADVICE ##

Hello all!

I've just come over from Australia on a 12-month work & travel visa and I'm looking to buy a vehicle but wanted to get some insider knowledge first..

Right now I am working in Oxford, MS probably for the next month or two.. After leaving here I'd like to be able to drive around the country (no set destinations, I just want to have the freedom to drive somewhere when I feel the need).

I'm looking for something fairly versatile that can handle long drives, but also something that's not going to be a hassle to drive in urban areas.. Also preferably something that I am able to sleep in (comfortably)..

I'm thinking some sort of van is going to be my best bet, maybe a truck with a slide in camper?

Thank you in advance for any advice you can send my way!
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Nov 6th, 2013, 10:37 PM
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Dodge Journey.

Mark
cdnyul is online now  
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Nov 7th, 2013, 07:13 AM
  #3
 
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your needs are common over here but unfortunately are oxymoronic. sleep indicates a larger vehicle. long trips here can be several thousand miles which suggests a high mileage small vehicle.
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Nov 7th, 2013, 08:07 AM
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Sleeping in the vehicle can be problematic depending on where you are. Illegal in many places. Some big box stores used to allow small vans/campers in their parking lots overnight but I believe this is becoming less common for security reasons.

You might be better off with a small vehilce and budget motels.
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Nov 7th, 2013, 08:09 AM
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People sleep in rest areas along Interstate highways all the time in the US.
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Nov 7th, 2013, 08:10 AM
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Several issues to address before choosing a vehicle.

1. What about registration and insurance? You need a residence address to register the vehicle and buy insurance. If you are not a resident, that's a problem. If you try to use an 'address of convenience' that may work to register the car but while you might manage to buy insurance what you might find in the event of a claim is that your insurer will not pay out as you 'lied on your appplication'.

There are specialist insurers who will insure a 'foreigner' (that's you) but they cost an arm and a leg.

Do some reading/research here: https://www.google.ca/#q=car+insuran...n+residents+us

Which brings us to 2. Budget. The insurance could cost more than the vehicle is worth depending on your total budget for this. So you need to figure out if it is even doable on your budget. Tell us a number.

3. Selling when you are going home. You need to allow time to do this. Buying is easy, selling is a whole other issue. You can end up signing it over to a scrap dealer for $50 just to get rid of it.

If you can afford the insurance and don't care about how much you will get back at the end then I would suggest that what to buy is easy. The long time most popular minivan for the school run is the Dodge Caravan. Therefore, there are countless numbers of them available used at all price points. You just have to find one in decent mechanical condition.
https://www.google.ca/#q=dodge+carav...rd+mississippi
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Nov 7th, 2013, 09:02 AM
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Rent an economy car only when you need it up to 30 days at a time. You might want to take a train or bus to a new city and then rent another car from there and make a loop returning where you rented it. There are too many pitfalls to legally purchasing, licensing and insuring a vehicle in the US for a foreign national.
Stay in cheaper motels a few miles outside the big cities.
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Nov 7th, 2013, 09:09 AM
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I should have added that you need to do a cost analysis comparing buying vs. renting. You can as tomfuller suggests, rent to see an area and them make a 'jump' by bus/train/plane to another area and rent again.

There is no doubt that renting is by far the easier way to do it. You need a decent cost difference to make buying worth the hassle.
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Nov 7th, 2013, 12:58 PM
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I love my Toyota Prius, which not only has a really tight turn radius and gets great gas mileage, but the back seats fold completely down to provide an amazing amount of space for hauling. Depending on how tall you are, in could work well for sleeping.
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Nov 7th, 2013, 01:06 PM
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You're REALLY considering sleeping in your vehicle during January and February?

Seriously?

I'd avoid travel by train outside the Northeast, and by bus generally. Fact is, if you want to travel around and see the most scenic parts of the country, you won't be able to navigate without a car.
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Nov 7th, 2013, 01:24 PM
  #11
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Thanks everyone, I appreciate the input!

As far as I'm concerned, renting is not really an option as I'm looking to have this car for the next year at least.. Also purely taking into account the independence factor that I would like to be able to pack up and head off to wherever/whenever.

What I need it for right now is just getting around (maybe a few short road trips) until next year comes around which is when I hope to signup on www.workaway.info and spend a few weeks here and there with various hosts across the country (quite often housing is supplied, if not a place to camp).

The sleeping option is just that.. an option if need be, by no means am I planning on living in the vehicle. I'm starting to think something that is going to be reliable on long drives, but with a bit of extra space (just incase). But most likely I will just carry a tent with me.

I guess a rough budget would be between 3-4K
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Nov 7th, 2013, 01:28 PM
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You should expect a vehicle to need work or breakdown for that budget.
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Nov 7th, 2013, 01:54 PM
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Are you saying you want to buy a car for $3,000 to $4,000 drive it a year then sell it to recoup some or most of your money or do you mean you want to buy a car for say $15,000 drive it for a year and then sell it for around $12,000 so your out of pocket expense is in the $3k to $k range?

If your plan is to buy a car for $3k to $4k it's going to be a real "klunker" needing lots of repair during the year you drive it and it will be worth about a 1/3 less when you go to sell it (assuming you can find a buyer). That means your out of pocket expenses just to keep the car on the road will be at or over your budget.

If you mean you want to purchase a better car for say $15k to $18k - you could probably drive it for the year, have lille or no repair costs and then resell it for something in the range of $12k to $14k putting your actual out of pocket expenses at or near your budget.
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Nov 7th, 2013, 04:46 PM
  #14
 
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I agree that buying a more expensive car and then reselling it so that you only "spend" $3-4K over the course of the year is a good idea if you can manage that.

Another option could be a lease. I don't know what the lease options are like, but I see commercials for leases advertising $300/month and so on. There are probably other costs, but you might look into it to see if the math works out.
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Nov 7th, 2013, 05:38 PM
  #15
 
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You don't need a van or truck to be able to sleep in your vehicle - as jayne1973 pointed out, fold down the rear seats and you can actually fit yourself in the trunk/rear seat area. It's not incredibly comfortable and definitely not something you want to do on a regular basis but it will work in a pinch. I've done it with a Dodge Neon.

Obviously you are better off in a tent so you can stretch out and move around, but if the weather really sucks and/or you just don't want to pitch a tent, folding down the rear seats will work. *and now everyone can chime in and scoff at how that can't possibly work because they would never do it*

As for sleeping in a car or tent in January/February, people do it all the time especially in the southern half of the U.S. Get a good sleeping bag that's rated for colder temps and you will be fine.

Your biggest issue is cost as everyone else has said.
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Nov 8th, 2013, 05:01 AM
  #16
 
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I agree that cost is an issue but I also think having palace to register the car and buy insurance is a bigger issue. Finally, The OP's expectation of staying here for more than a year and finding work on the fly is not realistic if he plans to do it legally, and having a car if you plan to do it illegally makes it all the more likely to have contact with the authorities.

I like the combination of Tom Fuller's and WhereAreWe's suggestions. Rent a sleepable car 30 days at a time, and renew if you find a place you like or be one of the many thousands of people who travel from one part of the country to another by bus. Few of them, Big Russ, are raped and murdered and some gain valuable life experience.

Of course, you have to be over 25 to rent a car in most places.
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Nov 8th, 2013, 07:59 AM
  #17
 
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A 30 day USA Rail Pass is $679 and the 45 day Pass is $879.
You can see at least 6 cities by getting there by train. Sleeping on the train is a little more comfortable than sleeping in a car and you are getting closer to your destination while you are sleeping
Chicago has a very large HI Hostel on Congress. It is the safest/cheapest place for a single person to sleep in Chicago IMO.
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Nov 8th, 2013, 11:34 AM
  #18
 
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You don't have to be 25 to rent a car, but you will pay a surcharge for the privilege.
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Nov 8th, 2013, 11:56 AM
  #19
 
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I think registering and insuring the car is going to be your problem.

You can;t register without a fixed legal address. And if you buy insurance in one state and then they find out you are actually living someplace else it may well invalidate the insurance. You need to look into this very carefully. And if you want a car for $3 or $4k - it is very unlikely to last out a year with out major repairs - or at all.
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Nov 8th, 2013, 12:14 PM
  #20
 
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We have a Mazda3 hatchback and have slept in the back of the car. We are short, so the 2 of us fit back there quite nicely - a taller person wouldn't be able to stretch out, but you could curl up and be reasonably comfy. We don't sleep in the car as a matter of course, but it is preferable to a soggy tent in the rain
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