A long distance road trip gives ample opportunity to get off the beaten path and explore a destination’s hidden sights at your own leisure. Choosing the right vehicle for a road trip is essential. You want something that will fit within your budget, provide plenty of room for your gear, and lessen the likelihood of a breakdown. Your car will feel like a second home for the duration of your trip, so you’ll need to choose one wisely. One of the first decisions to make is whether to rent or buy a car.
The Case for Renting
For road trips lasting under a month, renting a car will probably make more sense. It’s less hassle, and can be quite cost-effective if you shop around early to find good rates. Many rental companies provide breakdown assistance and insurance as part of their package, so you won’t have to worry about sourcing these separately. Another benefit of renting a car rather than buying is that you’ll have access to newer models at lower prices. This can be useful if you want a car with the latest electronic safety features or a built-in satellite navigation system to help you find your way in a foreign country. Finally, you won’t have to worry about buying a reliable car or selling it at the end of the journey as you would when making a purchase.
The Case for Buying
For longer journeys, however, buying a car is at least worth looking at. Buying your own car helps ensure that you won’t have to worry about mileage restrictions. You have the freedom to drive it where and when you want. When you rent a car, you pay for the use of the vehicle and never see this money again. Yet buying a car means that at the end of the journey you have the chance to resell it and get some of your money back. There are even sellers who offer guaranteed buyback as a part of their contract, which ensures that you’ll have a definite buyer at the end of your trip. If you’re taking a road trip as part of a longer round-the-world journey, this can be gratifying because it helps you budget for the next adventure.
Choosing the Right Car
Whether you rent or buy, you’ll need to choose a car that will be suitable for your itinerary. If you’re travelling to remote, rugged regions you’ll need a car with 4WD. Always look at the car’s service history if buying, and compare different mileage ratings to find a car that’s both efficient and affordable. It’s helpful to compare models on listings sites before you rent or buy, to get a sense of what’s out there in your price range.
The Bottom Line
There are benefits to both renting and buying a vehicle for a road trip. The right solution will depend on your budget, the type of travelling you’re doing, and the duration of your journey. Although buying a car will cost more upfront, you can get a good percentage of your money back in the end. Yet renting offers a higher level of convenience and you may find a package with features like insurance and emergency assistance built-in, providing greater peace of mind. To find the best fit for your needs, it’s best to compare all options.