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First USA Road trip and Car Hire Question

Adelaide, Australia
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First USA Road trip and Car Hire Question

Hi all, we are taking our first road trip in September from Santa Barbara to San Luis Obispo and then from Vegas to Zion, Bryce Canyon, Page, Monument Valley and Grand Canyon.

We have never driven in the USA before and I have booked a hire car online through Hertz.

My question is with insurance......my rate includes loss damage waiver and liability insurance supplement. Is this all the insurance that you think is necessary?

Do I need to include personal accident insurance and personal effects coverage at an extra charge at $5.95 per day?

Plus I also have my own travel insurance from Australia.

This whole car hire "insurance" issue is making me feel nervous.

Thanks in advance!

Darling Downs...
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1. Re: First USA Road trip and Car Hire Question

We did a road trip in 2008 and I used Drive Away Holidays after a lot of research. www.driveaway.com.au All their prices include full insurance which was piece of mind for me. And I found other companies better priced than hertz.

Also, make sure you get a Sat Nav that tells you when to change lanes etc. It was our life saver in big cities!!

Enjoy your trip. The roads over there are fantastic and you can cross whole states in no time.

Adelaide, Australia
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2. Re: First USA Road trip and Car Hire Question

thanks for your reply Kelly W, the one thing I liked with hertz is that there was no charge for an additional driver compared to other companies (I joined as a hertz club member).

I will definitely have my own GPS with me so hopefully we won't get ourselves into too much trouble :-)

cheers

Lewes, United...
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3. Re: First USA Road trip and Car Hire Question

Hi Megabux

Welcome to the road trips forum.

Renting from Hertz will be fine, as long as, as you are from Australia, you have not used the USA domiciled .com website to make your booking. if you have used a .com.au one and got prices quoted in AUD$ and got the full insurance breakdown, then you should have the cover you want. (If there isn't an Ozzie website that works for the USA, use the .co.uk one.) If you do stick with Hertz please may I suggest you sign up, before your trip, to the Hertz No.1 Club, their FF scheme. That way, they'll have your preferences in their computer system so you can use the priority line at the rental depot, which will save time and may avoid some of the upselling that can be so tiresome. A minor bonus might be points for any airline scheme you're already a member of, too.

However, most travellers to the USA do fine better deals, price wise, by using the overseas car rental consolidators. Your booking will be with a third party, not the actual car rental company, but you can chose which rental company, if you phone them before hitting the confirm booking on the website. For you, the company that many recommend without worries or complaint, which operates in Oz (although I'm told the freefone number actual diverts thru to the UK) is Traveljigsaw. Rather than go into a lot of details, especially about the very important insurance element, and ensuring you really do have enough insurance cover, please may I post a link here to a topic I authored, which, as well as explaining how these deals work, in the many other replies, offers many more tips for overseas renters in the USA.

See:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i12567-k4713887…

BTW, regarding renting GPS. By all means do so, but please note that there are some areas in the USA where you can get poor reception or incorrect information, including the national parks. We always recommend travellers also have paper maps as back up.

If you have any other questions regarding your travel plans and the trip itself, please ask here as there are plenty of helpful folk able to answer lots of different queries.

Have a great trip,

SWT

Edited: 30 March 2012, 09:35
Perth, Australia
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4. Re: First USA Road trip and Car Hire Question

I agree with the GPS problems ... especially outside of cities.... some people have had a problem around the Death Valley region ... and we followed maps and didn't get lost at all.

If you are a member of the RAC ... not sure of the name of it in Adelaide, you will have reciprocal rights with the AAA in the United States ... this means discounts on motels ... and free road maps etc.

Go to their website and find a location where you will be first, and go to the office and pick up maps and booklets ... they may even have some online that you can buy, or even get for free. But maps are free in their offices.

National Geographic also has some great driving books which you can purchase from them online... and it takes about 2 weeks for postage.

Doesn't cost anything to have a look.

By the way, once you master the driving, its very easy. Freeways are wide and everything is well signposted ... and in advance, they will show you which lane to get into.

When on a very wide freeway, say 4, 5 o 6 lanes wide, I always drive in the middle lane so its easy to go left or right when you have to.

Adelaide, Australia
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5. Re: First USA Road trip and Car Hire Question

thanks SWT and eaglemaniac.....I appreciate your advice!

I did sign up to the Hertz no 1 club and put in all my preferences etc when I made the bookings but there was no mention of CDW insurance. Just everything else was offered!

I hope being an aussie driving on the other side of the road isnt as bad as it seems and we both dont get stressed about it! But we are looking forward to the freedom of having a car and as I have been to the USA several times, the "road trip" is a first for me!

thanks again!

Lewes, United...
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6. Re: First USA Road trip and Car Hire Question

Em - I have been told by a regular poster on this forum who is based in the USA that AAA, from the beginning of 2012, are no longer offering reciprocal arrangements to overseas motoring association members. I always used to recomend Brits who are members of the UK's RAC or AA to get the free maps from AAA offices in the USA, and claim the hotel discounts but it seems that's no longer possible. However, I've not had confirmation of this fact, and won't be in the USA myself until much later in the year to see for myself.

SWT

Lewes, United...
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7. Re: First USA Road trip and Car Hire Question

Megabux

As you are concerned about driving 'on the other side' please may I suggest you read some of the top questions, found on the top right of the front page of this forum. It does have a topic with tips for drivers not from the USA (although I think the word UK rather than overseas is used!). There are lots of other useful tips around, but in the topic I posted a link to above - which I do suggest you read - as car rental in the USA can be stressful if you aren't prepared for some of the issues that arise at airport pick ups. For general driving tips, also use the search function at the top of the forum page.

SWT

Adelaide, Australia
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8. Re: First USA Road trip and Car Hire Question

Thanks SWT, I will definitely check out all the info and be as prepared as possible!

Cheers!

Uden, The...
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9. Re: First USA Road trip and Car Hire Question

An important point is to check the rental car on dents etc before you leave the parkinglot. Do this before you're at the check out booth and report all dents you'll see. It's often dark in the parkinggarage so a small torch may be helpful. Don't forget to check the roof also. Also check the spare tire and find out where the usermanual is. Often you can find it with the spare tire.

With driving on the "wrong" side of the road we always put a little tag on the dash with a "keep right (or left...)" written on it. Pay special attention in the morning after a good nights sleep because that's the moment most mistakes are made for left or right. There are not many roundabouts in the USA yet but those can be tricky because traffic is coming from the left now.

And as a general rule, even numbered roads goes east west and odd numbered roads are north south.

Tet

Adelaide, Australia
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10. Re: First USA Road trip and Car Hire Question

Thanks Tet! Sounds wise to check out the car for dents before driving it away!

Also I remember you saying about a note on your dash to "keep right" as I posted a query about going to Page and what to do there! So I will have to that!

Cheers!