Having a car at your disposal when you travel overseas can be a huge convenience. A car can give you that extra independence and also be an economical travel option when you have to take that extra long road trip.
Here are nine things you should consider before hiring a car overseas:
Compare prices to get the best deal
Once you have the model or type of car figured out, compare prices of the chosen car offered by different car rental companies around the area on your specific travel dates. Also, make sure you check for all inclusions in the mentioned per-day hire price. Some rental companies include insurance and other charges in the daily rental price whilst others force you to take these as “add ons”.
Book your car in advance online to save more
If you book your car from your home country itself, you might stand to save a pretty penny. In addition to getting a better rental price, you save yourself from exchange rate fluctuations and other unexpected issues. You can even try and ask your company to deliver your rental car to the airport.
Pay attention to “hidden costs”
Before you commit to a car rental by booking online or signing on the dotted line at a rental company office, make sure you’ve asked about all possible hidden costs. These costs include penalties, gas charges, billing cycle rules and more.
Check you age-eligibility
Make sure to confirm whether you are age eligible to drive in the country you’re traveling to. Usually drivers under 25 years of age or over 70 years of age are either not permitted to drive or have to pay extra to do so. Check the driving rules and regulations for your travel destination before booking a rental car.
Make an estimate of your fuel expense
Fuel is really expensive in some countries. Make sure to budget for your fuel expenses before committing to a rental car. Websites like this one can help you with your fuel budget planning. At times, taking public transport may work out cheaper than renting a car.
Check if you need an international driving permit
It is advisable that you check with the local embassy of the country you are traveling to about specific rules for international drivers. Your national driving license might work in friendly neighboring countries, but not much more. Most countries would require you to have an International Driving Permit (IDP).
Car rental insurance: read into the details
Your domestic car insurance policy will not cover an overseas rental. If you have an international travel credit card, you may want to check if it extends some insurance benefits for accidents or thefts when traveling abroad. Otherwise, your best bet is to get basic insurance from your local car rental. Remember to go through the insurance document carefully to check for any exclusions which limit the insurer’s liability.
Study the traffic rules beforehand
It’s essential that you are comfortable with the traffic rules of the country you are traveling to before you get on your flight. Learn about which is the “right” side of the road, speed limits, rules on overtaking and rights of passage and much more from the country’s traffic guidebook/official traffic rules website.
Invest in a decent GPS
A good dashboard GPS device or a reliable GPS mobile app like Google Maps can help you get around a new country with ease. The days of the good ol’ map are definitely out.
Renting a car in a new country can be an exciting experience. Make sure you do all your homework before jumping into a car rental deal abroad.