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Old 14th June 2013, 10:00   #46
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Default Re: Rent a car in the US

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Originally Posted by 275BHP View Post
Guys, I'm going to be in the US for a month. Was confident of renting a car here till some friends and family members advised me against it. They said it was better to take public transport and/or rely on friends rather than self driving. I have the following queries, would be of great help if BHPians with experience of renting cars can help me out :

1. How different/difficult is it to drive in America? I've never driven outside India till now.
2. Would Team BHPians recommend it?
PS: I have my IDP along with my original DL.
3. Any tips/advise on driving in the US based on your experiences would also be of immense help.
Also, I do not plan on going on very long drives. Max- 2-3 hours from the place of stay. The car will be used only along the East coast FYI.

Thanks in advance.

Mods: Couldn't find a more appropriate thread for this query. Please move the post if this ain't the right place.
Driving in US is the most easiest thing to do. Always remember a simple rule "The driver is at the center of the road"; Then there is no way you will get confused with left handed or right handed drive.

If your stars are lucky, you can persuade some of your American friends to give a stick shift (that is the terminology used for geared vehicles there) for a spin. Now, that *is* something !

So, just stop worrying and enjoy your time out there. Since you are there for a short duration, your Indian driving license is more than enough !

Shyam
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Old 3rd September 2015, 19:25   #47
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Default Re: Rent a car in the US

Hello folks, need some urgent advice :
# I might have to travel to the US early next week - my destination is Portland, Maine
# I would be travelling with a full complement of luggage, but would be the sole traveller
# I have two options :
- To fly into NYC, which is ~500 Kms away from Portland
- Or to fly into Boston, which is only ~180 Kms away
# From either, I'm thinking of taking a one-way rental & driving to Portland
# For someone who's never driven outside of India ( been driving here since 1997 ), how feasible is this plan ?
# Since my arrival time at Portland needs to be deterministic & also due to the presence of luggage, I'd prefer to avoid buses & such
# If this is do-able, what items would I need to have with me on arrival ? I'm thinking...
- Cash : How much would be considered 'safe' ( as to be able to handle exigencies )
- Data Plan : For Google-Maps & such ( or would Sat-Nav be sufficient )
- Permits : Is an International-Driving-Permit absolutely necessary ? I would be crossing state lines, & Hertz say they require an IDP
- Documentation : Is insurance or any kind of documentation required for the rental ?
If the above plan sounds naive or unrealistic, kindly excuse, but do advise...
.

Last edited by im_srini : 3rd September 2015 at 19:30.
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Old 3rd September 2015, 20:39   #48
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Default Re: Rent a car in the US

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Originally Posted by im_srini View Post
Hello folks, need some urgent advice :
.
I'd say take the flight when getting to Portland and then rent a car locally so that you get used to driving conditions there. Do a longer drive after a week or so when you feel much more comfortable - highway/expressway speeds are usually 60-80mph so it may not be easy getting used to that on your very first drive.

If you decide you're gonna drive, its no big deal really but keep a few things in mind:
1.check if Maine allows you to drive with an Indian Driver's License. If not you may need an International Driving Permit
2.you will be driving left handed cars on the right side of the road, do keep this in mind, may need some time (30 mins or so usually) to get used to this
3.most cars will be automatic so no issues (but some people do find driving AT's difficult ), be prepared for this
4.try to rent a car with a GPS navigation device, will be useful especially since it's your first long self drive there
5.you can get insurance also at an additional charge from the rental company Hertz/Avis, etc. Some corporates cover all their employees automatically - check this and if so mention your employer details at the time of renting the car

Last edited by Technocrat : 4th September 2015 at 01:37. Reason: Please quote selectively as a large quoted post causes inconvenience to our mobile readers, thanks
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Old 3rd September 2015, 21:09   #49
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Default Re: Rent a car in the US

Quote:
Originally Posted by im_srini View Post
Hello folks, need some urgent advice :
.

Fly to Boston.
Take a Bus to Portland. You will get there in 4 hours or so max. Get acclimatized and then start driving about. Always better and always safer because you've never driven abroad and you are not familiar with the routing signs etc. If you get into a town scenario with traffic snarls you're in trouble.
Always rent a car with GPS and CDW (Collision Damage Waiver).
In most of the US you can drive with an Indian Driver's license provided it is in English.
All the best
Enjoy your trip!

Last edited by Technocrat : 4th September 2015 at 01:37.
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Old 4th September 2015, 00:14   #50
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Default Re: Rent a car in the US

Quote:
Originally Posted by im_srini View Post
- To fly into NYC, which is ~500 Kms away from Portland
- Or to fly into Boston, which is only ~180 Kms away
Fly to Boston directly. NYC - Portland route is through the busy I-95 and it's always a pain to cross NYC and bypass the spaghetti roads around Boston.

Quote:
# From either, I'm thinking of taking a one-way rental & driving to Portland
# For someone who's never driven outside of India ( been driving here since 1997 ), how feasible is this plan ?
# Since my arrival time at Portland needs to be deterministic & also due to the presence of luggage, I'd prefer to avoid buses & such
As shankar.balan has advised, bus will be a good choice. You can choose Greyhound or Peter Pan. I think the bus services have a luggage limit. Just check their websites. You can also try Amtrak train services. They have train services (Downeaster) from North Station, Boston to Portland. Any of these have to be booked in advance.

Quote:
- Permits : Is an International-Driving-Permit absolutely necessary ? I would be crossing state lines, & Hertz say they require an IDP
I've never tried Hertz but have taken rentals from Enterprise and Avis before I got the driving license here. They just ask for the passport for identification and Indian driving license in English. They even accepted my book type of license issued by Karnataka govt. Their website had asked for local residential address proof. I had taken the bank statements but they never asked for the same. Indian license is valid for 1 year in Massachusetts. I'm not aware of Maine but it should be valid for atleast few months.

Last edited by guyfrmblr : 4th September 2015 at 00:31.
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Old 4th September 2015, 01:40   #51
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Default Re: Rent a car in the US

I wouldn't advice driving on US highways with no prior experience, take a bus they are pretty reliable.
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Old 4th September 2015, 14:06   #52
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Default Re: Rent a car in the US

Plus, isn't rental way more expensive if pick-up and drop-off locations are different?

I remember trying to pick from LA and drop at San Josť, but dropped the idea due to costs involved.
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Old 4th September 2015, 15:47   #53
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Default Re: Rent a car in the US

Two factors to consider:

1. One way rentals are really expensive.
2. Driving in the US without acclimatizing is a risky proposition. For instance, you should know when to yield, when to claim right of way, stop sign rules etc. On the freeways, changing lanes is also something you should know how to do.

I would strongly advise against driving in the US if you have never driven outside India so far. The right/left conundrum can prove to be very costly.

Regarding the validity of your license, Indian DL works perfectly fine if you are on B1. On long term visas, it is valid for 6 months to 1 year in most states of the US. There are a few where you need an IDP.
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Old 4th September 2015, 15:55   #54
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Default Re: Rent a car in the US

Quote:
Originally Posted by im_srini View Post
Hello folks, need some urgent advice :
Quote:
# From either, I'm thinking of taking a one-way rental & driving to Portland
# For someone who's never driven outside of India ( been driving here since 1997 ), how feasible is this plan?
One way rentals are slightly expensive, especially if the drop location is far off. If you consider renting a car just to travel from airport to your destination, I suggest a bus or a taxi. However, if you will be using the car at your destination for a longer term, the renting cost may be justified. Also, the long term rental has a lower cost than short term rental.

When I started renting cars in the US for business trips, I didn't find it much difficult as it is pretty well organized there. But you definitely need a GPS and that can be rented along with the car with an additional cost. Do research and read the driving manuals available on the respective state's motor vehicle department website. This is highly recommended as the rules are slightly different and are strictly enforced. For example, you have to stop at a Stop sign for a few seconds and look for vehicles before entering a new road. Even if the road is empty, you have to stop, else you will be fined if there are traffic cameras.

Please review Priceline.com for various options available - this covers Cars, GPS and Insurance.

Quote:
# Since my arrival time at Portland needs to be deterministic & also due to the presence of luggage, I'd prefer to avoid buses & such
# If this is do-able, what items would I need to have with me on arrival ? I'm thinking...
- Cash : How much would be considered 'safe' ( as to be able to handle exigencies )
- Data Plan : For Google-Maps & such ( or would Sat-Nav be sufficient )
- Permits : Is an International-Driving-Permit absolutely necessary ? I would be crossing state lines, & Hertz say they require an IDP
- Documentation : Is insurance or any kind of documentation required for the rental ?
If the above plan sounds naive or unrealistic, kindly excuse, but do advise...
I used to carry less than $100 in as much change as possible and rest in pre-paid cards. You may use any ATM there to withdraw cash from the pre-paid card, however, the banks charge a nominal amount for each withdrawal. The immigration rules states that one cannot carry cash of more than $5000 during international travel. I suggest you carry less cash as most of the places even accept card payments for as low as $1 or $2.

I have no experience using data plans outside India

You may require an IDP based on the state you are driving, every state in the US has their own rules. Do refer to the motor vehicle department website for details. I have driven in Florida multiple times without an IDP, they accept the driver license issued in India as long as that is in English.

You may purchase an insurance along with the car rental, they have various plans available. Please refer to the website - Priceline.com. You need a valid credit card with your name on it (pre-paid cards do not have names) to rent a car.

Enjoy your travel

DC
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Old 7th September 2015, 15:43   #55
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Default Re: Rent a car in the US

Quote:
Originally Posted by NPV View Post
I'd say take the flight when getting to Portland and then rent a car locally so that you get used to driving conditions there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
Fly to Boston.
Take a Bus to Portland.
Quote:
Originally Posted by guyfrmblr View Post
Fly to Boston directly.
NYC - Portland route is through the busy I-95 and it's always a pain to cross NYC and bypass the spaghetti roads around Boston.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Technocrat View Post
I wouldn't advice driving on US highways with no prior experience, take a bus they are pretty reliable.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheInterceptor View Post
Plus, isn't rental way more expensive if pick-up and drop-off locations are different ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by venuvedam View Post
Two factors to consider:
1. One way rentals are really expensive.
2. Driving in the US without acclimatizing is a risky proposition.
Quote:
Originally Posted by D C View Post
One way rentals are slightly expensive, especially if the drop location is far off.
If you consider renting a car just to travel from airport to your destination, I suggest a bus or a taxi.
Hello folks, many thanks for the responses - the collective wisdom is clear, it's not wise to try this 'renting' malarkey right-away.
The initial idea was to experience roads & driving over there since such opportunities would be next to nil once I reached my destination ( at least till Winter break ).
I'm not really that enthusiastic about buses & cost wasn't really a concern, hence the one-way rental idea.
Looks like it'd be best to not rush into this & to put some more thought & time into it - currently thinking of a one-way rental from Boston to Portland ( is this do-able ? ).
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Old 7th September 2015, 19:57   #56
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Default Re: Rent a car in the US

Quote:
Originally Posted by im_srini View Post
currently thinking of a one-way rental from Boston to Portland ( is this do-able ? ).
Purely my personal opinion... If you can drive from Boston to Portland, you can drive to any place in the US. The 100 mile journey will give you the required training. The best thing about driving in the US is - once you figure out how to handle the first 10 miles, the next 2000 miles are going to be exactly the same. (Of course, we are not talking about driving in extreme weather conditions.)

I would still put the drive as a risky proposition.
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Old 7th September 2015, 20:29   #57
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Default Re: Rent a car in the US

If this is your first time renting a drive in a developed nation (read: traffic rules are 'actually' enforced ), it would best not to start the experience at an urban location. Even though roads are well-laid out and signs are present everywhere, it takes a while to adjust to driving conditions and doing that in a possibly congested urban setting can be very stressful for a first-timer.

Best to start in a suburban setting with less traffic for your initiation, and once you have the confidence built up you can go anywhere as long as you meet license, insurance and other legal requirements.

P.S. If it's a personal rental, DO NOT even consider skipping the optional Loss Damage Waiver and 3rd Party Cover provided by the rental company. May seem like additional expense but absolutely essential. If renting through a Corporate program, confirm that your employer's rental program covers these items (most usually do, but may have a preferred vendor for it).

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 7th September 2015 at 20:30.
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Old 29th September 2015, 15:53   #58
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Default Re: Rent a car in the US

Hi Guys,

Will be travelling to Ofallon, MO next week for a months travel.

Can you guide me with the types of car insurance details that needs to be added to the basic rate ? [ Might as well include traffic tickets which might get issued ]

Have an Indian English Format DL in Booklet form. Hope this works.

Noob in getting the best rates on rentals. Any help will definitely be appreciated.
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Old 29th September 2015, 16:10   #59
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Default Re: Rent a car in the US

Quote:
Originally Posted by lambuhere1 View Post
Hi Guys,

Will be travelling to Ofallon, MO next week for a months travel.

Can you guide me with the types of car insurance details that needs to be added to the basic rate ? [ Might as well include traffic tickets which might get issued ]

Have an Indian English Format DL in Booklet form. Hope this works.

Noob in getting the best rates on rentals. Any help will definitely be appreciated.
Check the local State DMV rules for your place of visit as the US doesn't have uniform requirements across states.

You'll get cheap rates usually booking at least a few weeks in advance, but doesn't harm to try. Walk-in rentals (esp. at airports due to extra taxes) tend to be the most expensive so avoid if possible. Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) and 3rd Party Damage waiver should ideally be bought if it's a personal rental. If corporate, your company may have specific rates and tie-ups with vendors that cover your liability. Confirm before purchase.
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Old 7th October 2015, 08:59   #60
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

Request guidance from someone. It is for a close relative.

I am looking for guidelines for car rentals in North America.

What does one need to look out for?
Which are the most reputed car rental agencies?
What are the typical daily rental charges like for a small sedan / hatchback? Any other caution points.

The person in question is between 25 - 30 years of age and holds a valid Indian driver's license, but no IDP or US D/L yet.

Any specific information regarding Phoenix, Florida or New York will be appreciated even more.

Edit: Thanks Gannu_1 for moving my post to the right thread.

Last edited by Viju : 7th October 2015 at 09:19. Reason: Moved the post here. This is THE thread you were looking for. ;)
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