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Nothing is as fulfilling as traveling – and in almost all places, you can borrow a car, a bike, or travel by public transport. You’ll need to remember that not all cars will be driven on the same side – there is a difference between which side the UK drives on for other EU countries, for example.
Here are some tips that can help when renting a car abroad – or even in a different state!
1. Legally drive
Even if you have found a car, paid a deposit, and headed to pick it up, you might be surprised that your country doesn’t recognize your driving license. You might need to apply for an International Driving Permit.
The International Driving Permit is a piece of paper that translates all of the details from your driving license into different languages. This makes it easier for authorities to read your papers should they need them.
Getting an IDP isn’t expensive; getting one doesn’t take long. All you’ll need to have is
A license in your country and you are between the minimum and maximum driving age for your country.
Many insurance companies will not give you cover for driving in a different country, but getting a gap or lease car insurance is possible to ensure you are covered.
It is also a good idea to make sure that whatever travel insurance you choose to get potentially covers car rental.
It is also a good idea to book any car rentals with your credit card to have an extra layer of protection.
When you need to drive on the other side of the road, the inside of the car will feel odd for a moment. The driver’s seat has changed, and if you’re driving a stick, you’ll be using the other hand. Often it is better to use an automatic car if you aren’t feeling comfortable.
Before you head out on motorways or into cities, get comfortable sitting in the car. Driving in a new country isn’t the same as being at home, and you will also notice that some countries go by miles per hour or kilometers per hour – keep an eye out for the difference in the speeds.
4. Rules of the road
Some of the road signs will be different from what you are used to, and you might not be able to turn right at a red light either. Take a moment to get familiar with the rules of the road; using Waze or Google Maps can help you with that by giving you some notifications of speed cameras, lights, and speed limits.
If possible, before heading off, take a moment to look at how people are driving around you – so that you can judge how you will fit into the road.
Driving in a foreign country can be a very enjoyable experience when there are smooth roads or empty country roads that you can explore. Remember that you still need to drive carefully and within the laws of that country.
Once you have the confidence to drive in countries that are new to you, you can have some of the best travel experiences in the world.