Ask the experts: Planning a California road trip

Our panel gives advice on cruising the US West Coast highways in style

By National Geographic Traveller (UK)
Published 6 Jun 2015, 11:00 BST

QI'm planning a two-week California road trip later this summer, flying in/out of Los Angeles. I want to hire either a classic or sports car, definitely a convertible. How much more costly — and tricky — is this?

Nik Gupta, Skyscanner:

The USA is one of Skyscanner's most popular destinations for car hire, and many of our customers choose it as an ideal fly-drive destination. People can often be under the impression that renting a sports/convertible will be

much more expensive than a regular economy car, but this need not be the case as there are some great deals to be had.

For instance, a two-week car hire from LA in July, costs around £450 for an economy car while the sports car/convertible is just £20 more per day, at just over £700. This offers far better value for money, especially as they both have the same basic insurance and the same extra coverage regardless of car type.

However, a word of caution: sports and convertible cars are very popular and rental agencies tend to have limited stock, so book as early as possible.

Emily Morrison, My America Holiday:

There's nothing better than cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway with the wind in your hair. Why not start in San Franciscoand drive down through Monterey and along the famous Big Sur coast? The only problem

you'll have with hiring a convertible is availability, especially in the summer.

The cost for a two-week hire from LA is around £175 more than an economy model, with the same fully comp insurance package. At My America Holiday, there's no excess on car insurance, so you'll be covered even if you have a minor scrape. Just bear in mind, though, that a convertible will have less passenger or boot space than a standard car, if you were thinking of packing heavy.

Gareth Robinson, Carrentals:

At the time of going to press, a search on our [car hire comparison] site, with real-time prices from over 50 suppliers, showed a basic'economy' car starting at £308 — based on hire from Los Angeles airport for two weeks, from

  8 August.

A convertible came in at £608-£817, depending on the supplier; a sports car, from £1,226-£1,428. The convertibles on offer ranged from an Audi A4 Cabriolet, Ford Mustang and Chrysler 200 Convertible, while sports cars included a BMW Z4, Nissan 370z and a Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Impala or similar. The insurances included with the price vary widely, listed online under each supplier's individual T&Cs. Read carefully.

Get in touch: If you're in need of travel advice, email our team –

Published in the Jul/Aug 2015 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)


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