I am going to San Francisco on study trip around April. We have the possibility to stay longer in the USA. We only need to get to Los Angeles. So we looked for a rental car because we would like to do this trip. I have looked at Avis and Hertz. I looked at Avis on this website: https://www.avis.be/ I am 20 years old. The cheapest car I could find is Chrysler Town & Country for €239.35 for 5 days. Then later I looked at this website of Avis: https://www.avis.com/en/reservation/make-reservation I get an error

Based on your age selection, there are no cars available at this location

So my question is why do I get that error? Is possible for 2 guys with the age of 20 years to rent a car in USA and do that trip?

  • 2
    Most places will require you to be 21, with an additional charge if you are under 25. When I was younger I had some luck with local non-franchise places that rented cars that had been in accidents ("rent-a-wreck" or the like). But even then I think I was 21, not younger.
    – phoog
    Oct 1, 2017 at 16:33
  • 1
    1. Budget and Enterprise are two rental companies that IME generally have better prices than Avis and Hertz. 2. I don't know if any of them will rent to 20 year olds 3. Will you still be 20 at the time of your trip? 4. Megabus may be an alternative low-cost way to get from SF to LA.
    – The Photon
    Oct 1, 2017 at 19:59
  • 1
    OK, before I clicked on your GMaps link, I didn't realize that "only need to get to" meant "plan to travel 1000 miles extra on the way to"... One other thing you may need to look out for is that many car rental contracts will be good in one state only. You may have to pay extra to be able to take your rental car to another state.
    – The Photon
    Oct 1, 2017 at 20:06
  • If you're not going in the winter, I recommend crossing the Sierra by Tioga pass (google it) rather than going so far south before heading east.
    – The Photon
    Oct 1, 2017 at 20:07
  • Watch out for the small print in rental agreements. Is it unlimited mileage, or chargeable? Was the pre-booked insurance adequate, or just the minimum legal requirement? When you take the car there might be a hefty all-inclusive insurance charge. Beware of fuel scams too, such as "the car has a half tank of fuel, we are charging you for that, bring the car back empty". That can happen with well a known name, which might be a franchise. When picking up the car at an airport desk, perhaps with high unbooked demand, it is not easy to resist a game that they know better than you. Oct 1, 2017 at 20:35

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, yes, you will have problems with most large rental car companies. Accident risks for young drivers are significantly higher, so they either avoid the risk completely, or charge an arm and a leg if you are below 25.

Your best chances are to browse local companies; consider also companies that are not located at the airport. Paying a taxi to get there is annoying, but nearly always cheaper than paying the 'airport rental' fees, and many smaller companies have no presence at the airport to save cost.

Another tip: one-way rentals are sometimes a lot more expensive as they go by miles driven. If you see this, consider driving a one-way directly to LA, with a car change there for the rest of the trip (which is then a round-trip).

  • 3
    Note that one-way is likely not an option with a local company. Oct 1, 2017 at 22:51

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