Hiring a car abroad, or taking your own, lets you meet the country on your own terms. But remember that when travelling on foreign roads different rules may apply. Read on to find out how to make the most of your driving experience.
Rules of the road
Before you set off, you’ll need to consider the driving regulations and requirements of the country you’re visiting. Understand the local rules and regulations, for example about insurance, seatbelts, speeds and in-car equipment. Familiarise yourself with the differences between home and local driving customs.
Some countries require you to carry certain equipment in your car at all times, from the moment you reach their roads. For example, drivers in France must travel with a warning triangle and reflective jacket.
Check the AA guide to local rules for drivers for up-to-date tips, country by country.
Make sure your car is roadworthy before long journeys. Check the oil and coolant levels are adequate, your tyre pressures are as recommended by the manufacturer, and your tyre treads comply with home and local law.
Carry a blanket, emergency rations and a large bottle of water in your car. You never know when they might come in handy, especially on long journeys.
Insurance and breakdown cover
If driving your own car overseas, check with your insurance company that your car insurance covers you for driving abroad. Also check that your breakdown cover will be valid and find out the numbers to call in case of emergency.
Make sure your documents are always in order and readily available. You should have:
- A valid, full driving licence and paper counterpart
- An international driving permit (where necessary)
- Vehicle registration documents
- Letter of authorisation (for borrowed, hired or leased vehicles)
- Motor insurance certificate
- Travel insurance documents