About United States of America (US)
Spread out over 9.63 million square kilometers (5.98 square miles), the United States of America is the world’s third-largest country. Every year, it welcomes over 70 million international visitors, who are drawn to its diverse cities and breathtaking natural vistas. Large metropolitan areas—such as Washington, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago—offer world-class museums, excellent restaurants and a range of cultural attractions.
Booking a car rental is the best way to see the United States, which is well-connected by a system of interstate highways. You can easily drive between cities, or plan an itinerary to discover the charms and idiosyncrasies of a particular region, such as the Southwest, the Rocky Mountains, New England, or the Pacific Northwest.
In general, the road conditions are quite good.; however, when you rent a car in the US, you may encounter the occasional pothole or road closures due to construction work. Depending on which part of the country you are in, and the time of year, you may need to keep an eye out for inclement weather conditions, such as ice or snow storms, heavy rains and flooding, hurricanes, and even tornadoes.
It’s important to check the typical seasonal weather patterns of the area you intend to visit beforehand, as the U.S. has multiple climate zones. Temperatures range from very hot (if you are in the Southwest or Texas in July) or very cold (if you are in the Midwest in January).
Choosing your car
Some of the major car hire companies in the United States include Hertz, Avis, Budget, Alamo, Enterprise, Dollar and Thrifty. You can find a broad range of rental car options, including luxury cars, convertibles or trucks. Other popular rental options include SUVs, mini vans and 7—12 person people movers. Cheap car rental choices include budget compact cars, such as a Kia or Ford Fiesta.
Tips and advice
In most cases, you need to be at least 21 years old to rent a car in the United States. Furthermore, drivers under the age of 25 are usually subject to a young driver surcharge.
It’s always a good idea to consider a supplemental car rental insurance policy; furthermore, if you are visiting from abroad, you may be required to buy one.
Read up on the rules of the road in the U.S. before you take the wheel. There are frequent speed controls on the highways, and you can get pulled over (and fined!) for other things too, such as a broken brake light.
Keep in mind that the speed limit is measured in “miles per hour” rather than “kilometers per hour.” In general, speed controls in the U.S. can be quite strict.
While you can generally pick up your United States car rental in one location and drop it off at another, it’s usually cheaper to return the car to the same place you picked it up. You can plan a great road trip by doing this, for example through the stunning national parks of Utah (a great starting point for such an itinerary is Las Vegas).
In some parts of the United States, there are sizeable distances between towns. Keep this in mind when planning your trip, as you do not want to run out of fuel in a remote area.