We suggest you go by car, because riding a unicycle cross-country is hard on the knees. But if you don't own a car (or you own a real crappy one that would never make it across town, let alone across the country), you do have other options. Here are some other ways you can get your hands on a car:

Rent a car: If you want to drive across the country on your own schedule, there's always the reliable option of renting your fantasy car. The main benefit to renting a car: IT'S NOT YOURS! That means you don't have to worry about wear-and-tear. With rental cars, as long as the car isn't returned damaged, you can drive that baby through hurricanes (can you say, "renter's insurance?"). Keep in mind though that many rental companies only rent to drivers at least 25 years old. Some car companies, including Enterprise and Dollar, dropped their age requirement to 21; however, these companies usually charge an additional fee for younger drivers (it's discrimination, we tell you!). Renting a car can also be pretty expensive. But if it's freedom and irresponsibility you're looking for, this is the way to go.

Rent an RV: Some say that if you've got a crew of 6 or more, renting an RV (recreational vehicle) is the best way to make a cross-country journey. Think about it: you've got a motel, a restaurant, and a ride all in one-a road-tripper's oasis. Prices vary greatly depending on the size and amenities of the rolling motel; for an average Winnebago, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $500 a day, depending on the season. Sounds hefty, but do the math: if you have a 6-person party and you figure a rate of $250 a day for the Winnie, a two-week trip comes out to less than $600 a person. Plus, you can pretend you're on Road Rules and get special treatment wherever you go.

Catch a ride: No, we don't mean hitchhiking. Rather, many people just want a little companionship (or someone to chip in for gas) when going on a long drive. So check the bulletin boards of your local college or the classified sections of the newspaper. Chances are, there'll be some wandering soul seeking to find a partner for his/her next trip. Just be sure that you meet with the person for coffee or lunch beforehand so you can figure out just how big of a freak the driver is.

Drive someone else's car: There are people out there who are moving from one coast to the other, want to bring their car along with them, but don't want to drive it themselves. What do such people do? Ask someone else to drive it for them. Agencies known as "drive-aways" hire people to drive other people's cars to specific destinations. Here are the general requirements:

  • Prove that you are trustworthy (if you have a criminal record, don't even bother applying).

  • Pay a sizeable but fully refundable deposit.

  • Get the car there within a certain number of days.

  • You must be at least 19 years old.

  • You must have a valid driver's license (surprising, isn't it?).

  • Usually, you've got to pay for the gas.

You can find these agencies online (try www.movecars.com or www.shipcar.com) or in the phone book under "moving" or "drive-aways."

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW drive cross-country?