Tips for Driving a Rental Car While in a Foreign Country

by - 9/12/2018 12:00:00 AM


You may have a fun vacation on the horizon in a country you have never visited before. Whether you plan on visiting Paris or Rome, you should be ready for one very important thing. You will need to drive on the other side of the road. It can take many people off-guard at first, but with adequate preparation, you can head out in your rental car with peace of mind.

Take It Out for a Test Drive First

After you pick up your rental car, you do not want to head out on some of the busiest streets in the country. Instead, you should familiarize yourself with this new way of driving. Find some side roads if possible next to the rental car dealership. It is even better if you can find an empty parking lot somewhere nearby. The important thing is to get comfortable driving in a different kind of car in another country.

Read Up on the Country’s Driving Laws

Every country has different laws, and you should research them in-depth before your trip. For example, the traffic lights in Belgium are red, amber and green instead of red, yellow and green. Amber means the same thing as yellow, but it can catch tourists by surprise.

Utilize GPS

No matter how much research you do, you can still get confused by foreign roadways. You do not want your trip to be hampered because you got lost. Therefore, you absolutely want to have a reliable GPS system on-hand. Most people will be able to download a GPS app onto their smartphones. This will take a lot of the stress off you, so if you end up getting lost, then you can at least find your way back.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time Between Spots

When going on vacation, many people feel compelled to fill their days with non-stop destinations and excursions. However, if all those excursions are scheduled back-to-back from one another, then you may feel the need to speed to get to them on time. You do not want to risk getting a ticket by speeding. Additionally, traveling faster than the recommended speed limit increases the chances of being in an accident. Give yourself plenty of time to get from point A to point B.

Get the Rental Car Insurance

Rental car insurance will be an optional feature, but you would be wise to get it. Many people become easily confused when driving in a new environment. You are responsible for every bit of damage on your rental car, even if it is a slight scratch. Insurance provides you with peace of mind. However, in the event, you end up in a serious car accident while on vacation, you should still contact your local insurance agents because they may need to get involved.

Focus on Yourself and Not Other Cars

You may need to travel well below the speed limit or make some funky moves when driving for the first time in a new place. It is completely okay, but other drivers may get agitated. You should not allow their road rage to distract you. If you ever feel frustrated or stressed out, then do not hesitate to pull over. Take a minute or two to calm down and head back out. You are learning a new skill, so do not beat yourself up over it.
Going on vacation to another country is a lot of fun. There is no need to feel anxious, but if you are uncomfortable getting a rental car, then there are plenty of other ways to get around. You can look into the country’s public transportation system or see how sizable of a presence Uber and Lyft have there.

Do you have any travel plans on the horizon? 

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19 comments

  1. Love these tips! The wrong side of the road thing scares me, so I would probably just rely on public transportation.

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  2. We rented a car in France a few years ago. Thank goodness we took the insurance because we had a flat and they would have charged us a lot for that!

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  3. I believe when you are driving in a foreign country, that it is best to purchase the insurance. Insurance laws are different in each country, and that saves the headache of trying to figure it out if you have a problems.

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  4. We drove a rental in England and Ireland and had no problems. Just understand and know all the rules. You can practice driving in foreign country on the computer.

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  5. Good to know! I'd be a little nervous to do this, but if I were with my husband, he'd do all the driving and he's confident.

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  6. Nope, no plans but I love your tip on learning the countries road laws beforehand!

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  7. I have never tried renting out a car during a travel and I guess this is a good experience too but I need to take note of this and of course learn more about the driving rules on the country I am going to. It is a must.

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  8. We've been to a couple of forms entries and I know one thing for sure is I always get their insurance. My husband and I traveled all over the world and I always try to familiarize myself with the country rules. These tips are right on the point.

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  9. These are some great tips! I've yet to rent a car in a foreign country, but a reliable GPS would definitely be needed.

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  10. I RARELY ever opt for the insurance UNLESS we're in a foreign country. It just gives me an assurance of sorts I guess. I mean I'm not that versed in my auto policy outside the states.

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  11. I use GPS every single day. I can't remember what it was like driving without a navigation system. These are all fabulous tips!

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  12. So glad to know about this we are thinking about going to Greece. Since this is our first time going out of country my husband and I are pretty nervous about it.

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  13. It's a great idea to get a rental car insurance and read their traffic laws. GPS is a must have especially if you are not familiar with the place.

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  14. I like your tips, especially focus on your car than others, also taking rental car insurance. Next time when we plan trip to foreign country I will keep in mind these tips.

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  15. Great tips! I would be so worried I'd break the law immediately, so my first thing to do would be to read up on the laws!

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  16. When I was in Rome driving was insane. I was so glad I read up on it before I went though.

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  17. Driving a car in a foreign country scares me. A friend of ours is in Paris right now and took a video of the traffic. I would never leave my hotel room lol.

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  18. Awesome tips for everyone! We usually rent a car in Europe to make traveling easier. I think it's something people should consider doing when in a foreign country. I love this guide!

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