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The vast, varied United States is the ultimate place to take a road trip in 2023. Whether you're winding along the Pacific Coast Highway, cruising down Route 1 to Key West or following legendary Route 66 through the Midwest, exploring by car is a pleasure – and, in some of the US's wilder places, a necessity.

LanguageEnglish | Currency: US Dollar ($) | Average flight time: 10 hrs

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Driver requirements

What age do I need to be to hire a vehicle in the US?

Typically, you can hire a car in the US from the age of 21. There are some exceptions, however, and some states allow drivers as young as 18 to rent a car. It’s also worth noting that if you’re under 25, you may find that you’re limited to certain car types.

What do I need to hire a vehicle in the US?

If you’re based in the US, you’ll need a valid driving licence and a credit card in your name. If you’re travelling to the US from abroad, you’ll need a full driving licence, an International Driving Permit and a current credit card. An additional form of ID, such as a passport, may be required.

Do I need car hire excess insurance in the US?

When you hire a car in the US, you’ll usually receive a basic level of protection as a minimum. However, this tends to be limited in scope, so it’s worth taking out additional cover, such as car hire excess insurance. Opt for an independent provider – that is, don’t pay at the collection desk – to save on this essential cover.

Can I rent a car with a debit card in the US?

While you can rent a car with a debit card in the US, not all car hire companies accept them. And those that do accept debit cards usually have a number of conditions and restrictions in place. Generally speaking, you’re better off renting a car with a credit card.

Which rental companies are available at JFK International Airport?

Many of the major rental companies are available at JFK, including Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, Payless, Sixt and Thrifty.

Which rental companies are available at Los Angeles International Airport?

A number of major car rental companies are based at Los Angeles International Airport. They include Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Fox, Hertz, Midway, National, Payless, Sixt and Thrifty. If you’ve booked in advance, a representative from most firms will come meet you.

Is it cheaper to rent a car at the airport or off-site in the US?

The general rule is that it’s cheaper to rent a car off-site in the US than at an airport, as a surcharge can be added to the cost of an airport rental. It’s always best to shop around in advance.

Can you rent a car in one city in the US and drop it off in another?

You certainly can. One-way rental policies are commonplace throughout the US. Check with your hire car company for more info, as there can be additional fees, as well as cross-state restrictions.

Can you rent a car the same day in the US?

Yes. You should have no trouble renting a car without prior booking. That said, if you want to keep costs down, it pays to compare prices in advance.

Can I hire a vehicle at 21 years of age in the US?

Absolutely. In general, the minimum age you can rent a car in the US is 21. However, be aware that drivers under 25 will likely incur a ‘young driver fee’ and that some vehicle categories will be off limits.

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