Driving abroad can be a great way to see a new country in a unique way. Driving in a new location is being able to travel the way to locals do. However, driving in different countries can be very different from your home country.
Here are five things to follow when you plan on driving in a foreign country.
Depending on where you are going, you may need to get an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). This is a very easy thing to get; both times I’ve gotten them from AMA for $30 CAD, but a local DMV should be able to do it for you. Not all countries will require you to have an IDP, but I always bring one just to be safe.
In Australia, I only had to show my regular driver’s license, but when I rented an ATV in Greece, I showed my IDP. When you are driving in a foreign country that does require an IDP, you must carry both your IDP and regular drivers license.
2. Which Side Of The Road
There are certain countries that drive on the left hand side of the road, while the others drive on the right side. It is important to know which side of the road they drive on in the country you want to drive in.
When I drove in Australia, it was the first time I had driven on the left hand side of the road. I found it to be a fairly easy to transition, but harder once I had come home to get used to driving on the right again. However, it is important to be prepared and always keep in mind what side of the road you are supposed to be driving on.
3. Road Rules
Different countries have different road rules. Before going to a new country to drive, make sure you read up on the driving rules. Also, be prepared for different types of roads that you may not be used to at home, like traffic circles or busy highways.
In Vietnam, for example, 80% of the vehicles on the streets are motorbikes and crossing the street can be a nightmare (especially with no street lanes!) Make sure to familiarize yourself with the driving rules before diving into it.
4. Shop Around
When choosing what type of car you want to drive while abroad, be sure to shop around. If you don’t know how to drive manual, learning it in a foreign country may not be the best idea. Also, you don’t want to rent a huge truck if you’re used to driving smaller cars.
Some countries are also used to having driving tourists, like Australia or New Zealand, so they have numerous rental companies geared towards that. It’s important to pick a car you will be comfortable in, as you will have it for while!
5. Look Into Insurance
Getting rental insurance is probably a good idea for driving in a new country. It can be challenging enough to drive in a new place, let alone having to worry about a small dent or scratch. Of course you don’t plan for anything bad to happen in a rental car, but it’s best to be prepared.
I made sure to get insurance when I was driving across Australia, and when I got a flat tire halfway through the trip, it was super easy to deal with. All I had to do was put on the spare tire, and purchase a new tire. The tire store called the rental company and they paid for everything and we were back on the road!
Driving in a foreign country doesn’t have to be a nuisance and can actually be a lot of fun! In my experience, driving made everything a lot more enjoyable since I got to see things from a different perspective. If you pay attention to these five things, renting and driving a car in a