Driving abroad for the first time can be a difficult task. Which is totally understandable because of the different set of rules that you have to follow. Also driving on the opposite side of the road and car can be a struggle. But that shouldn’t stop you from renting a car.
Here are a few tips that will help you while driving abroad
Before you hit the road, make sure you are aware of the local driving laws. Not every law is easy to understand after reading the signs. Make sure you know which side of the road you have to drive in, know the speed limits, understand if there are any special signs and signals, know if you need headlights on during a day, etc.
It is very important to get used to the driving style when you are in some other country. Driving in some other country can significantly be different from your driving habits but it will be very helpful for you if you drive defensively. Anything unexpected can happen and you have to be aware of it.
Choose A Car Wisely
When you choose a car, make sure you buy the one that suits the conditions you’re likely to face on the road. Choose a car type that you are used to. You should keep in mind the following stuff:
- Price of the car
- Type of car
- Restrictions if any
- Check the extras you get with the car (eg: GPS)
- Check if anything is damaged
- Take pictures
Take Time To Get Used To The Car
You will be driving a new car and if for some reason you couldn’t get the one you were looking for you should give yourself time to get used to it. You should build up your confidence by driving a car in quiet places like car parking. This will help you get familiar with the car and its controls.
Car rental companies require you to at least have third party insurance before you look for renting a car. Travel insurance can help you get extra coverage. So make sure you have one before you go ahead to plan your road trip.
You can not rent a car and not have relevant documents with you. Documents like your Driving License and Identity proofs are very important. Make sure you carry cards with you instead of cash. A few countries also require an International Driving Permit. This document is a temporary document with your license translated into multiple languages. Do a little research if the countries you are travelling to requires this document.
Navigation is the biggest help for you when you are driving abroad. But do not make the mistake of following the route blindly. Before you hit the route, check the routes well in advance and know where are you heading. Make sure you select a proper route for yourself. Ask for help if you face any difficulties.
Many rental cars include built-in GPS technology nowadays but the price for it is a little extra. In case you don’t want to rely on it, you can use the navigation on your phone through a nice app like Google Maps and MAPS.ME. Before leaving download the navigation so that you don’t get stuck even if your phone loses the network.
Take A Break
The fact is that you can’t just keep driving and make yourself tired. Go slow! Take frequent breaks and don’t drive way too much. You won’t be able to see everything in a day. Plan your trip and stops and place to visit beforehand.
It is harder to drive in the rain. Especially if you are driving in a new place you would not want to take risks. Check the weather in advance and also the road closures if any before you start your venture.
Parking is the only problem when you are driving in the city. At most of the places, you will have to pay for parking. It is better if you park in a place where you can access public transport so that you don’t have to move around in your car much. Park in a safe place.
Check beforehand which fuel your car needs and fill it before you start. You might also have to return the car at a certain fuel level so keep that in mind also. Another option is to pre-pay for the full tank and return it empty but you might not use that much of the fuel. So make all those decisions before you hit the road.
Your safety is in your hands. Especially when you are renting a car, you need to be critical about not drinking and driving, not using your phone when driving, wearing seat belts while driving, locking your car properly etc. Keep the emergency contacts saved in the phone.
If you are on a road trip and your itinerary includes crossing various borders, then you need to make sure your rental agreement allows you to do so. You just need to inform the car rental company and they will arrange the necessary papers for your trip. Some countries would want you to buy special insurance at the border. Make sure you read and know everything about it way before you start your trip.
Don’t Drive When Tired
When you are physically and mentally tired, it is not advised to drive. You need a lot of concentration when you are driving in abroad and you will be risking you and your companion’s life if you drive when you are tired. Instead, take a mode of public transport to commute or a cab will be a better option.
Also Read: Essentials for a Road Trip
These were all the points that will help you to drive free of hassles when abroad. You can make most of your trip if it is well planned!