28 Jul What to do when planning a road trip abroad
Plan on driving while overseas? This may seem like no problem to you, but there are a number of things which need to be addressed before you can get behind the wheel. Below, we’ll discuss a few issues you’ll have to handle while planning a road trip abroad.
Secure an International Driving Permit
Your driver’s license may be recognized in America and Canada, but elsewhere in the world, possessing this card is often not enough for rental car agencies to supply you with a vehicle. Avoid having your road trip plans ruined by obtaining an International Driving Permit before leaving the USA.
To do this, apply through either the AAA (American Automobile Association) or the AATA (American Automobile Touring Alliance). Supply a photocopy of your driver’s license, two passport-sized photos signed by you on the back, complete the application and attach a form of payment, and you’ll be ready to submit it via mail.
In a few weeks, you’ll receive a card which translates the English details of your license into the language of the destination where you plan on travelling. Once you have this, rental agents should have no reservations supplying you with a car.
Take out travel and auto insurance
As fun as road tripping can be abroad, it is a high-risk activity. All it takes is one accident to plunge you into a world of financial hurt. As such, it is vital to protect yourself with an insurance policy before hitting the road. At this point, experienced travelers might be confused – why? They know they need to get travel insurance before heading abroad, and they also know it’s important to protect themselves when renting a vehicle.
This begs the question: “Can you bundle travel and auto insurance?”. Some providers do in fact offer this service, so if you plan on renting a vehicle in a foreign country, you can save money, time, and hassle by having all your insurance needs handled all under one umbrella.
Teach yourself how to pilot right-hand drive cars
All our lives, we’ve grown up thinking that driving on the right-hand side of the road is the proper way to pilot a car. However, there are many parts of the world where the opposite is true. The United Kingdom, Ireland, Barbados, Japan, Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand are just a few of the places where you will have to get used to the idea of driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. If you can, try to rent an automatic, as all you will have to do is remind yourself to stay left and how to turn safely at intersections. If you are forced to drive a manual, though, the awkwardness of having the clutch on the right and having to shift with your non-dominant hand makes it a good idea to practice in a parking lot before hitting the road for real.
Learn location-specific rules of the road
The basic rules of the road are universal no matter where you are in the world. Having said that, however, every nation has its own specific conventions which can take foreigners by surprise.
The roundabout is a feature which trips up Americans, as they are used to intersections rather than these intimidating, multi-lane free-flow circles. There are also many unspoken traditions which those from abroad are unaware – before setting off, ask locals what you should keep in mind before speeding off into the sunset, and you should be fine.