If you have the time and want the most flexibility on choosing where you want to go and when, a car will probably be your best bet.
For taxi like service, running errands, and taking day or weekend trips:
- Lyft is a popular ride sharing program. You can download their app to request rides and can now schedule rides in advance. Best used when you might want a Taxi.
- Uber is another very popular ride sharing app. Good to use for point to point transportation.
- Zipcar is a short-term car sharing/car rental company. For a monthly membership fee, you have access to their fleet of cars throughout the US. You can rent by the hour or for up to a week. Good for day or weekend trips.
- car2go is another short-term car sharing/rental company. No membership fee, you can pay by the minute or for up to three days. Good for quick trips or errands.
For longer term travel plans or doing long distances:
If you need a car for longer than a few days, you will need to look at other rental options. There are popular car rental agencies such as Herz, Enterprise and Avis or you can use a service such as rentalcars.com or europecars.com to find the best deals.
Cost of Fuel (Gasoline) in the US:
- The American Automobile Association has a handy chart on average fuel prices in the US. Currently the national average is $2.638 per gallon. This works out to be about to be about €0,58 per liter. This is probably much cheaper than most Europeans will be used to.
- Note: This was calculated with the fuel and exchange rates from 9/4/17
When renting a car, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- Drivers under a certain age (usually 25) often have to pay an additional deposit or daily surcharge.
- If you pick up a car in Seattle and want to drop it off in Orlando, you may have to pay a one way drop off fee.
- Make sure you have the proper licensing and documentation required by the rental agency before you go to pick up your car.
Buying or leasing a car:
If you will use a car on a daily basis and plan on being in the US for longer than a month or two, it may be more cost-effective to purchase or lease your own car.
- Don’t buy a car if you haven’t seen it in person.
- You might want to have a mechanic look at it before purchasing.
- You will need to have insurance for yourself and/or the vehicle in order to legally drive it. Requirements vary by state, so make sure you have your insurance lined up.
- Purchasing from an individual may be less expensive than a dealer, but you may have less protection if something goes wrong with your purchase. Read up on what are referred to as “Lemon Laws“, which vary by state, before making your purchase.