When one plans a vacation abroad and especially if he intends driving in that country he needs to make several preparations in advance. Apart from planning the itinerary and making the hotel reservations he also has to decide whether he will be driving his own car or hiring one in the foreign country.
There are several matters to consider before leaving on a driving trip abroad.
- One must be familiar with the driving laws in the foreign country as they may be different.
- The person should also check if the driving license he possesses would be acceptable in the other country or else he can apply for an international driving license.
- Some countries have driving on the left side of the road while others have it on the right. One must familiarize himself with this fact.
- If driving one’s own car the person must check if the insurance policy is valid in the country being visited.
- One must also carry the personal car’s registration papers and a set of spare keys if he is planning to drive his own vehicle.
- Carrying a basic tool kit would be advisable in case of a breakdown.
- In some countries it is mandatory to carry a reflective jacket, a warning triangle and even some spare light bulbs.
A bit of research and a lot of planning will make driving abroad enjoyable. If a person plans to hire a car abroad it will be prudent to compare rates from the websites of the rental car companies. It is not always wise to choose the company which offers the cheapest rates as there may be a lot of hidden costs.
- One should choose the correct size of car which would be most suitable for the trip.
- Shopping around for discounts would help in cutting costs. Sometimes discounts for rental cars are offered when presenting the airline ticket or boarding pass. Some companies offer off season discounts or even weekend discounts.
- Pre-booking the car before reaching the destination would guarantee the availability of a vehicle.
- One should also confirm what documents would be required for hiring a car in a foreign country.
- One should also check the minimum and maximum age for driving in the country being visited.
- One should be prepared for hidden costs such as airport surcharges, auto insurance, etc.
- Fuel can be quite expensive so one should have a sufficient reserve budget.
- One should also check the timings for picking up and returning the vehicle to avoid paying for an extra twenty four hours, uneccesarily.
After getting the car in the country being visited it would be wise to drive for a short while in a secluded area to get familiar with the local roads and driving rules, especially if one has to drive on the other side of the road. Carrying a GPS and a road map is necessary. Spending a little time studying the map and understanding the route would be helpful. One could also get in touch with the local embassy or consulate to find out the local driving rules.
Driving abroad would give the person freedom and flexibility to enjoy the vacation if he does his homework well and plans the trip in advance.