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Top Tips for Driving Abroad

When you’re booking a trip to a foreign country, it’s an exhilarating experience. You get to choose where you want to travel, you get to map out an itinerary, and you get to list all of the places you want to go on your trip. The thrill of researching things to do and picturing the things that lie ahead can make you feel excited with anticipation.

As you’re planning your adventure, you’re also planning how you are going to get there and how you’re going to get around when you arrive. That’s where planning your transport comes in. Whether you choose to rent a car or you choose to hire a motorbike to get around easier and make moving more convenient, the thought of driving abroad can sometimes trigger a little anxiety.

For first timers heading to a new country, that’s perfectly normal. You may be a competent and able driver where you live, but if you’re moving or you’re visiting the other side of the world, it can feel quite overwhelming to then have to get your head around a whole new set of driving rules.

You’ll also have to know things like where to find auto accident lawyers if you get into a crash while you’re abroad. However, we don’t want you to get into a crash, so what we’re going to do instead is take a look at some of the top tips that you will need for driving while you are traveling.

1. Research and Preparation

You are already obsessing over all of the things that you’re going to do on your break and researching every possible thing you could be doing, so you need to be looking up the rules and the regulations of driving in the destination you’ll be visiting. You may find that in order to be able to hire a car and drive internationally, you may need to apply for an international driving permit.

There are plenty of ways that you can do this, and they can be obtained within six months of your effective date. You’ll have to fill out an application form, bring some passport pictures and your current driver’s license with you, and might even have to pay a fee, but it’s super worth it if you can hire a car in your country.

2. Picking Your Vehicle

Have you ever wanted to ride a Vespa around Italy? Or drive a top down car across the Grand Canyon? Either way, when you’re traveling abroad, you might be inclined to rent something snazzy for the time that you are there. When you’re traveling domestically, you might want to rent A larger car for comfort and that extra luggage space, but there are so many reasons to rent those. All the cars when you go abroad.

Not only are they better for city driving, but you’ll be able to be more cost effective with it when it comes to rental fees as well as fuel charges.

Cars in the city

3. Get a GPS

If you’re hiring a car or a motorbike, then make sure that you have a GPS attached to it. You are going to be in a new place, which means you’re going to need some help with getting around.

If the place you’re visiting doesn’t have English as its dominant language, then you’re also going to need a GPS that can translate for you so that you’re not trying to understand someone in French while you go around roundabout.

4. Check out Insurance and Documentation That You May Need

The standard auto insurance that you currently have in your country might not cover you while you’re driving internationally, but there’s no harm in calling your insurance provider to find out. Reviewing your policy before you leave will help you to ensure that you are fully aware of the scope of the coverage that you have.

If your current insurance doesn’t cover it, then you can always choose to pay for additional coverage through the higher car company. You should keep all important documentation with you, so maybe buy a wallet that you can put your license, international driving permit, your passport and your insurance documentation in one place.

5. Pay Attention to Safety

Wherever you’re driving, safety should be a top priority for you. Wearing a seat belt is mandatory no matter where you are driving in any country, especially those within the EU. Not only will they keep you safe, but it will keep you from accruing any particular seat belt fines. If you are driving in a new area then don’t drive at night time or when the weather is bad if possible.

Not only is this an added stress for you, you’re going to end up turning up the risk of an accident. It’s a good idea to limit the amount of hours that you need to drive in a day if possible, so that you can accommodate any unexpected weather. Nobody wants to try their luck driving through a snowstorm if they’ve never driven in snow before, right?

6. Budget All of Your Costs

When you’re traveling, costs seem to come out of the woodwork to surprise you. No matter where you are, you can plan ahead for these extra costs. These include tolls, potential parking fees, and additional insurance. When you plan for these costs in your travel budget, you’ll be able to know whether or not you need to have spare change ready in the car for toll booths, or whether you need to have cash on hand for added insurance coverage.

You could also speak to your credit card company to see whether or not you have insurance that can work internationally. If you’ve already got it, then you don’t need to pay out.

Woman driving a car

7. Consider Communication

You do not have to be fluent in Spanish to travel to Spain, and you don’t have to be fluent in Polish to drive the Polish streets, but it is helpful to learn important phrases in the local language that do relate to driving. There are plenty of options that you can use for translation apps on your phone.But those may not always have the perfect translation.

Check to see whether or not you can learn a few phrases that pertain to directions or asking how to fix things in your car. While we’re talking about communication, don’t forget to check with your cell phone provider to see if your phone can be automatically connected in another country. If you get into an accident, you want to know that you can call the local emergency services, which is yet another thing to consider.

8. Search Parking

It can be hard to find a spot when you’re familiar with the area, but it’s not as easy as that when you’re abroad. When you’re driving locally, we often assume hotels and resorts have parking included.

If you’re planning on road tripping across Europe, or you’re heading to a new resort that you’ve never been to before, calling ahead to find out what their parking availability is is just good sense.

Final Thoughts

Going abroad is exciting, but that doesn’t mean you’re not going to get flustered by the idea of driving in a new place. Driving somewhere new, even in your home country, can be unsettling and stressful, but with enough planning and research, you can ensure that your trip is going to be one to remember for all of the right reasons and not the negative ones.

It’s a new situation and it’s natural to feel a bit out of sorts when you’re first planning, but once you get those plans underway, you’re going to be too excited to feel anything else.

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