Driving abroad can be very different to driving in the UK – every country has its own rules and cultural differences. If it’s your first time driving in another country, here are five tips that can help you to have the best driving experience possible.
Look up the local laws
The laws of the road vary from each country. Many countries drive on the opposite side of the road and have different speed limits and different approaches to drink driving. There could even be obscure rules to look out for. For instance, in Thailand it’s illegal to drive shirtless and in France you must always carry a breathalyzer and fluorescent jacket in your vehicle. Make sure you’re aware of all these local laws so that you don’t end up in trouble (you can research these laws online before you go abroad).
Bring the right documents
When driving abroad, it’s important that you bring all the right documents – especially when renting a car. In most cases, you’ll need to bring your full driver’s license and your car insurance documents. An international driving permit may also be needed when visiting certain countries – you can find out more about this document here at The AA website.
Choose the right vehicle
Depending on the type of roads you’re taking on, you may need a certain type of vehicle. If you’re taking on the outback of Australia, find a car rental company such as Bayswater Car Rentals that has appropriate vehicles. You don’t want to be attempting a road trip across challenging terrain in a small city car – a large 4X4 is likely to be more appropriate. Research the local terrain and what vehicle you’re likely to need.
Understand the costs
Driving abroad can come with certain hidden costs. Many companies across western Europe such as France and Italy have toll roads which you’ll need to budget for, whilst a lot of Eastern European countries require drivers to apply for a vignette in order to use motorways. Some countries may require you to take out local insurance, which varies in cost across the world. Fuel can also vary in cost from country to country (although you can use apps like Gas Buddy to find the cheapest fuel rates around). Make sure to budget in advance for these costs so that you’re burning through all your spending money on driving in the first few days of your trip abroad.
Plan your routes
It’s unwise to rely on GPS when abroad. Internet connection can be shaky in some countries, which means you’ll need to rely on old-fashioned maps. Planning ahead will ensure that you know where you’re going if GPS fails. It could also allow you to avoid toll roads and steer clear of dangerous/busy routes, whilst also allowing you to plan stops on long journeys (it’s worth also researching into the time that it will take to complete your route).