Whether you’re planning a road trip abroad this year, or have a break where a car hire is required, driving abroad for the first time can be daunting for a young driver. Driving parameters can differ from country to country, however we’ve compiled 5 top tips which should help all new drivers heading abroad.
Plan your car insurance & hiring options in advance!
If you’re planning on driving your own vehicle abroad, you should let your car insurance provider know so they can extend your policy to cover you. Whether this is 3rd party or fully comprehensive will depend on your specific policy, so call your provider to discuss your options.
If you’re hiring a vehicle abroad, there’s lots of ways to avoid being over charged:
Local hire: It’s seems convenient to hire straight from the airport you land at, however often these prices are higher. Consider hiring from the town or local area you’re staying at to get a better deal.
Hidden costs: Carefully read the small print on any car hire. Hidden costs could include anything from mileage limits to VAT.
Check damage: Before driving away in your hire car, document any significant damage to avoid being charged when you return it.
Understand local driving laws
Often it isn’t just knowing which side of the road to drive on. Every country has different driving laws, and some are a lot stricter than others. You should take time to research speed limits and compulsory practices. An extremely useful summary of popular driving destination laws can be found here.
Get a GPS app!
Buying or hiring a Sat Nav abroad can be expensive, and using your mobile data for Google Maps can run up an even higher bill. There are multiple apps available for download that can provide a free to use service to navigate you abroad. Apps such as Navmii allows drivers to download full local maps onto their device to navigate without the use of mobile data.
Consider hiring an automatic
Driving on the opposite side of the road can be difficult enough for young and new drivers, however driving on the left side of a manual car can be even more. If you find yourself worry about left side driving, consider hiring an automatic to allow you to focus on the road as much as possible. If you’ve never driven an automatic before, try to take a ‘test drive’ before heading abroad so you’re prepared when you get behind the wheel.
Choose the right car!
If you’re planning a trip to somewhere such as the united states, it often tempting to hire a larger or faster car for the extra experience (when in Rome!). However stepping into a completely new style or size of vehicle can present more issues during your trip. This can be anything from additional fuel costs to parking in tight spaces. Consider a smaller, economical vehicle or at least something a similar size and engine to what you’re used to driving in the UK.