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Buying a car or purchasing a Eurorail pass in Europe

My friend and I are traveling to Europe in April for 4 months (3 months in the EU and 1 month in the other countries) I have reviewed the car lease/Europass section, however, I have been trying to find out if I can buy a cheap dependable car in Spain or France, tour Europe and then sell it in Italy when we are done. I have discovered that I can. The Eurorail passes will cost us $3800, total. I have calculated the expected costs of buying a car, insurance and gas to be around $3000 (with buying a $1000 car.) We can then sell the car 3 months later and recover some of the expense. Other things to consider are parking and toll fees (which can be offset by camping a couple of nights a week.) We plan to do some camping and maybe even sleep in the car some to offset some of these costs. I would like to know if any other travelers have any imput or experience with purchasing a car... Thanks in advance!

Posted by
23469 posts

You are going to buy a $1000 car and drive it for four months? Get serious !! Do you have any idea what you could get for a $1000? Would you buy a car in the US for a thousand, and drive it four months? What happens if have a major repair in two months? This is not a plan.

Posted by
2 posts

Yes, I plan to buy a car for a baseline amount of $1000 to $2000. Actually if you do some homework on this site (www.ooyyo.net/used-cars-for-sale/spain) you will see that you can buy some nice cars for much cheaper in Europe than in America. I plan to get a small European car between the years 2002-2006, just like I would in America. Check it for yourself....

Posted by
20461 posts

I think you guys should go for it. What have you got to lose, $3000? Be sure to post back the results of your adventure.

Posted by
2829 posts

I don't know about legislation in all EU countries, but I can assure in many of them you simply cannot register and insure a car as a tourist, without a resident permit and/or civic registration number. Honest dealers will not sell you a car knowing that, not-so-honest dealers will sell you a car you can't drive, legally. US$ 1000 would get you mostly a piece of crap much worse than what you'd get at this price in US, since the second-hand market for used cars in EU is hotter (many exports by land to Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Balkans etc) That piece of crap would be subject to expensive registration fees that are tied to pollution/emission standards in many country. And they are charged per year. Europe has far less "wild camping" than in US, you can't just park your car and sleep inside. Also, the US$ 1000 to purchase the car would be the least of your financial concerns, parking and fuel are expensive, and so are tolls in some countries like France and Italy. Very expensive (often on the US$ 0,15-0,20/mile range). Mind you, I love driving in Europe and taking car trips around, but it is not something to make you save a lot of money. You do it for the scenery/experience/autonomy/freedom of the road, not for saving every penny. Finally, these are not your only feasible options. Smart advance-purchasing of rail tickets and low-cost flights and limiting your intra-European change of destinations (like spending at least 5 nights every place you visit) are more feasible alternatives to save money.

Posted by
984 posts

Just a few comments. '3 months in the EU and 1 month in the other countries' - I think you have done some research and may have discovered, but if you have done this properly it should read - 90 days in the Schengen area and 1 month in the countries outside. 'I have been trying to find out if I can buy a cheap dependable car in Spain ' Have you any of these? If not you cannot. An official residence permit. Proof that you are a Spanish home owner. Documentation as proof of being a registered inhabitant of a town in Spain. A rental contract for a duration of minimum one year. An NIE/NIF number. 'buying a car as a foreigner in whatever country' or similar as a google will probably give the above, similarly for France.
'I have discovered that I can' - Where? Or link please. Obviously I have no idea how you have made your calculations or compared rail pass purchase and come to the conclusion you have, but in order to do this you must have had some fixed rail journeys and in that case I strongly suggest you read this - http://www.seat61.com/Railpass-and-Eurail-pass-guide.htm#Should Typing at the same time as the immediately above was posting.

Posted by
33329 posts

Then there's the anticipated fun of selling a car which was registered in Spain in Italy.

Posted by
12040 posts

"I would like to know if any other travelers have any imput or experience with purchasing a car." Yes. I had to present proof that I legally work and reside in Europe (because the car was not intended for immediate export), my German driver's license, and auto insurance that covered Europe. And because I'm not a European citizen, I needed to have special documents prepared for the tax deferral... which reminds me, if you buy a car here as a non-citizen, don't export it, and sell it less than 6 months later, you're going to get a big tax bill. Others have already pointed out that you can't just stop the car anywhere to sleep. Expect to wake up with a police officer shining a light in your face. I suggest you read more about advanced purchase rail discounts and the option of leasing a car.

Posted by
10354 posts

Back in the day, when boomers were young, that was one of the favorite ways of getting around Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. People just stood in front of the now defunct American Express offices, buying and selling cars, picking up riders, etc. VW vans. Edit: To be clear, those were cash transactions between travelers, not locals, and the registrations were not always in order, much less the insurance.
Peace and love.

Posted by
14580 posts

Hi, My input deals with traveling by train or any other public transportation, not on leasing/buying a car over there, something of which I know nothing since it does not interest me as an option. Keep in mind that getting discounted rail tickets ( alot of tickets) for a four month period means you're locking yourself in to a time specific, coach specific train, ie., traveling by time table basically canceling out the flexibility option which a 4 month trip offers. Missing it because you couldn't be at the station on time or hopping on the wrong train say an EC instead of the RE means no refund or credit to a replacement ticket. I would not tie in every single travel route for a four month trip.

Posted by
1014 posts

I have bought 3 cars in the UK, insured them, drove them, left them in the airport parking lot. Buying vs renting. If only in Europe for less than 2.5 weeks, renting/leasing is cheaper. Once you hit 2.5 to 3 weeks, buying becomes an option. Over 3 weeks, it becomes interesting. When buying a car in the UK, be sure the tax and inspection lasts as long as you need the car. I bought the cars on Ebay UK. I also bought a car in Paris, France. If you do not read and speak French, or have a Frenchman with you who does, then buying in France is almost impossible. Never done Spain, so cannot comment.

Posted by
33329 posts

John, do you mean that you abandoned them? Took a ticket to go into the car park and just left them there? That's pretty cretinous. Sounds like you owe the carparks some money.

Posted by
1589 posts

" I plan to get a small European car between the years 2002-2006, just like I would in America." For $1,000.00 ? This tells me a lot.