I plan to travel to the United States, landing in Los Angeles and buying a second-hand campervan or car. I would like to drive to Phoenix, Houston, Tallahassee, Atlanta, Washington DC, New York, Boston and Madison in Wisconsin. I believe I can stay three months on a visa waiver. Is my plan workable?
- A. Pipick, Blaxland, NSW.
I think your plan is fine from a driving point of view. By my calculations, you're looking at about 12 days of driving, which you can break up into reasonable chunks, leaving plenty of time to stop and explore along the way.
However, buying a vehicle in the US is harder than you might anticipate; I can tell you that from experience.
As a tourist, you're not really supposed to own a vehicle (we had to use someone else's address to get away with it) and getting insurance, which you absolutely must have, can be tricky.
These hurdles are not insurmountable but do allow a couple of weeks to sort out the purchase and paperwork, plus a couple of weeks to sell the vehicle at the other end.
I would recommend getting a campervan if you can because this will cut down on your accommodation costs.
If you're buying a second-hand vehicle in California, make certain it has passed the compulsory smog test or you will not be able to register it.
Don't fall for anyone telling you that you can re-register it in another state without the smog test; it is not that simple.
Every state has different rules on insurance and if you register the vehicle in a different state, you might need a new policy as well.
- Jane E. Fraser
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