Author Topic: Cheaper travel-buying a car while abroad  (Read 1569 times)


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Cheaper travel-buying a car while abroad
« on: March 30, 2016, 11:23:05 AM »
I have been making plans for traveling to Europe in a few years (current family of 5). trying to find the cheapest time to fly, renting an apartment instead of hotels, for a month, etc. I have come to the conclusion that a Eurorail pass is a non-starter, just for the cost. So my next best idea is to buy an old van/minivan. sell just before we leave and hopefully our intra-continential travel costs will be kept to a minimum(or even a gain).

Has anyone ever tried something like this?
what would be involved in registering the car?
Can a foreign traveler even buy a car?
Any other legal issues I should be aware of?

Any other ideas for traveling through the continent? Are cheap inter-city buses available? (kids are too small for hiking/backpacking a lot, but if you have done it I would like to see thread/blog)

*I think we need a travel section in the forums*


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Re: Cheaper travel-buying a car while abroad
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2016, 11:28:29 AM »
I lived in France for a year after school.  While I was there, I used the Renault Eurodrive program.  In essence, it's a buy-back leasing program where you get a brand new Renault for up to 170 days.  I drove an awesome little Clio all over Europe during that time, putting thousands of kilometers on it.  Would do it again in a heartbeat.

Now, I did this pre-mustachian days, so I can't tell you that this is probably the cheapest option, but it was cheaper by far than a rental at that time (over ten years ago).  It was also completely hassle-free.  Picked up the car near Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, and drove it from Spain to Croatia and back.

ETA: It looks like the first 21 days are the most expensive (~$50/day), so this plan may not actually be good for you unless you're spending months there.  At the maximum number of days, the average cost per day on a five-seater is under $20. 
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 11:41:50 AM by iamlindoro »


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Re: Cheaper travel-buying a car while abroad
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2016, 11:45:13 AM »
I'd say it depends on your itinerary; how often you want to move and how long you expect to be there for.

If you just want to explore cities, seeking out the cheapest intercity fares will be best - and if it's countryside you want to see, wheels are a must.

If you are only going for a month, hiring a car will be easier and much less red tape. If you pick the right landing point you can get good rental deals.

Eurail has never been cheap, has loads of restrictions  - not sure who they are marketing to, perhaps those who don't want the hassle of buying tickets in foreign  languages?


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Re: Cheaper travel-buying a car while abroad
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2016, 11:57:39 AM »
I don't think it would be cost-effective to buy a car/van for a month or two, that is, if you can buy one legally. In certain countries such as the UK where the used-car market is relatively large compared to France for example where used cars are hard to find and expensive for their age and condition, a foreigner can buy and register a vehicle but as a non-resident, getting proper insurance could be problematic and expensive. 

On the other hand, if you plan to travel for several months, it might be a good idea to look for a used vehicle in the UK. I have friends who just purchased a nicely-equipped Toyota Hiace camping van in London for 2500 GBP and they will be touring Europe and Eurasia for the next year or two.

For a short period of time (1-2 months), I would recommend renting, along the same lines as what IamLindoro is suggesting. I did that back in the mid-eighties and it was relatively cheap and hassle-free.