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Expat needs ideas for visits home

As an American expat teaching in Taiwan, I need ideas for transportation when I return to Oregon for two months this summer. I gave away my '04 Subaru Outback last year, and took my good bike with me overseas. I still have a current driver’s license in Oregon and can get around where I live just east of Portland on foot, by public transport, or on a townie bike that I had left behind. But, when I want to go hiking in the mountains, or go to the beach, what would you advise? Rent a car just for those times? Or buy an economical, used car to store later for the following summer? Which car would be best? I will take around my son’s Corgi dog with me since we are special pals. Thanks for sharing ideas!

I haven’t done the math, but my gut feel says to rent a car when you need it. The cost of depreciation, insurance, registration, and maybe storage for your own car probably adds up to more money. It’s also a minor hassle to prepare a car for storage and get it running again, not to mention that various critters might move in while it’s stored.

I agree, try renting first. There should be plenty of options in Portland.

PS…there are several online businesses now where people can sign up to rent out their own personal vehicles. You might be able to find someone near you who rents his/her vehicle out in this way. This is very convenient if there’s a car for rent just down the street.

Here’s one such website:

I’d rent. Is there zip car or something like that available?

Renting makes the most sense. After all when we go abroad we rent a car for the duraton. This summer we will be in the South of France for 3 1/2 weeks. We are renting a car in Nice at the airport and returning it there upon leaving.

Renting a cheap (economy) car in the USA is not expensive. You can also try “Rent a Wreck”. If you don’t rive a lot they are really cheap.

Rent. While your are checking, see if there is a price break for a long term rental. I know that we get a break in price at work going from a daily price for 2 weeks to a monthly price.

Even if you rented for the full two months, it wouldn’t come close to the overall costs of owning for that short a time and storing with the resultant cost and additional maintenance.

Me too on the renting recommendation. It just isn’t cost effective to do otherwise. And with a rental, you won’t have to worry about maintenance, inspection, registration, repairs, and all the other headaches that a used car would bring.

The last time I looked Zip car was all over Portland, there may be a car reasonably close to where you live, you’d have your membership which includes insurance as well as gas/repairs and you’d pay per day or just for the hours you need the vehicle. I believe an annual membership costs $60

Another vote for renting here…

I lived and worked in Mexico City for a year, Moscow for five years, a year in London, two years in Amsterdam and a couple in China. During those times, I did not keep a car in the US. I would rent whatever I needed when I needed it. The beauty of renting, is lower cost as others have mentioned, but you can rent whatever vehicle you need at the time – economy car, SUV, pick up truck, etc. Car2go is popular here in Denver, and at $038/minute can’t be beat for short occasional trips. No additional charges for fuel, insurance, parking, etc. That’s my recommendation.

My brothger lives in England most of the time. He’s home for the Christmas season and 3 weeks in the summer. He always rents a subcompact from the cheapest agencies. Enterprise Rent a Car has very competitve rates. I’ve used them myself a number of times.