6 Tips for Renting a Car Abroad
Renting a car abroad can seem like a foreign concept if you’ve never done it. A language barrier, some jet lag and new regulations can deter you from road tripping in far-flung places, but it shouldn’t. Use these six tips to embark on the ride of your life – without getting taken for a ride.
1. Do your research
General research of your destination is a must for several reasons. For starters, locals will be more prone to help you with directions if you make the effort to learn a little about their city. Doing research also gives you more car rental options.
You can plan your travels so you’re close to a car rental place that has great deals. A three-hour trek to pick up a rental car will only augment the stresses of being abroad. Make your life a little easier by looking at a map of where you’ll be staying and figuring out what businesses offer the best deals.
2. Book in advance
If you’ve traveled before, you know to expect the unexpected. Delays are bound to occur between construction, flight connections and other factors that are out of your hands, but that shouldn’t stop you from booking your rental car in advance. In many cases, waiting to make a reservation until the day of will leave you paying higher prices.
3. Ask questions
When you reserve a rental car, ask plenty of questions. Does the place offer a discount if you have a AAA card or a specific credit card? What should you bring with you to pick up your rental car? What factors affect the rate you’ll pay?
“It’s important to learn whether you need an International Driver’s Permit.”
Finding the answers to these questions ahead of time can save you from surprises and additional fees. It’s important to learn whether you need an International Driver’s Permit (IDL) or if your U.S. license will suffice. Some places won’t let you drive the car off the lot if you only have the latter to offer.
4. Have a credit card on hand
Even if travel checks and foreign currency are your preferred methods of payment when you travel, you’ll likely need a credit card to rent a car. Many companies keep your card on file until the vehicle is back in the lot and inspected for damage. Bring a credit card that’s accepted overseas with you.
5. Consult your insurance company
Before you depart the U.S., give your insurance provider a call to learn about overseas coverage. Find out if your current plan covers renting a car abroad. All reputable companies mandate insurance, so bring proof of it with you or you’ll be required to pay for it through the company.
6. Know the rules of the road
Look up road signs and rules of the country you’ll be staying in. Every detail from speed limits to pedestrian policies may vary depending on where you’re staying. Even something as minor as honking the horn might be illegal. Knowing the rules of the road will keep you safe so you can enjoy this experience of a lifetime.