Are you traveling abroad and need a car to get around? You can always rent one. However, you should note that the laws governing rental cars differ from one country to the other. You need to figure out how to go about getting driving permits and insurance coverage among other things. Here’s what you need to know when renting a car in a foreign country.
1. Find Great Deals
Make sure to secure a rental car well in advance. But before you book and pay, make sure you’ve scoured the internet for discounts and promo codes. If you’re a senior citizen ask whether there are any discounts for you. While you can always use international car rental agencies such as Avis, Hertz, and Enterprise, you need to be aware that they will be slightly more expensive than local agencies.
2. Choose a Vehicle
Choose a car based on your needs. If you’ll be traveling with your family, then an SUV or sedan would be ideal. If you’re traveling to Europe, it is worth noting that their vehicles are smaller than those in the U.S. If you want to save on gas, you might want to pick the smallest available model. Confirm whether you’ll be allowed to rent a car in your destination. Drivers aged below 25 and those over 70 years may not be allowed to rent in some countries. Make sure to select the type of transmission you’re comfortable with. Many countries around the world have predominantly manual transmission cars so you’ll have to make advance reservations to get an automatic.
3. Get an International Driving License
Your valid driver’s license will be accepted in most countries as long as it is accompanying by another form of photo ID such as your passport. You will need an International Drivers’ License (IDP) for some countries. You can get one by visiting the American Automobile Association (AAA) travel office. You won’t need to take a test or be a member of the AAA. The license simply provides a multi-lingual translation of your existing driver’s license. You’ll, however, be required to pay a small fee for the IDP.
Before leaving for your destination, check with your auto insurance to find out if you’re covered for rental cars in foreign countries. If you’re not, then you’ll be required to take out insurance coverage from the rental company you use. Companies such as car rental offer collision damage waiver. It covers some damage and loss to the rental car.
5. Local Routes and Rules
Acquaint yourself with the road regulations of the foreign country before you travel. Find out which side of the road you will be driving on, illegal turns, and who has right of way in traffic. You can always get a guidebook from the car rental company. Make sure to take a printed map with you to help you get around. You can always use mapping apps in your smartphone but they tend to be cumbersome to use in some countries. You could also rent a GPS unit from the rental car company. It’s always best to have some sort of guidance for navigation after renting a car in a foreign country.