Having a car by your side while travelling abroad means you get to stay away from the local transport and can leave and come back to your stay whenever you want. You have the freedom and choice to explore the country on your terms. Apart from this, renting a car may also prove to be more economical if you are on a long trip. However, it comes with its own set of complications. Valid international driving license, driving on the right side of the law, manual versus automatic, permitted blood alcohol levels, and authentic car insurance are some of the vital things you have to keep in mind while renting out a car in abroad.
Let's learn about them in details-
Consider an International Driving Permit
You cannot drive in a foreign country with your domestic driving license. Check with the country's embassy you are travelling to be sure about the policies and clauses. You need to have an International Driving Permit (IDP) if you want to drive in most foreign countries. An IDP has your information translated in 10 different languages, which is recognized in more than 150 countries. You can quickly get an IDP in India from nearest RTO for a fee of just Rs. 500. To get the permit, you will have to submit the following documents-
Copy of passport and visa
Copy of air tickets
Copy of driver's license
Five passport-sized photographs
Medical certificate (can be obtained from the RTO)
Proof of Indian citizenship
Copy of address and proof of age
Know the Rules of the Road
Get acquainted with the traffic rules and driving norms of the country you are visiting. This becomes even more important if you are going to use a different hand drive or going to drive on the 'other' side of the road. Learn about the details such as rules on overtaking and speeding, the permit to turn left or right on a traffic signal, which lane are you supposed to drive in, etc. Go through the country's traffic regulation guidebook/website for the most credible information.
Book Your Ride Online in Advance
Booking rental cars online is always cheaper than booking them at the counter. Hence, booking your car and paying before you leave your home country helps you save a great deal of money. By doing this, you even eradicate the risk of unfamiliar rental clauses, erratic exchange rates, and other unforeseen problems. In several countries, a car with a manual transmission is given for default rental. If you are not comfortable driving a stick-shift, then you should reserve an automatic vehicle well in advance.
Hidden Costs Can Spring Unpleasant Surprises
When you find a lucrative deal, it's hard to resist from hitting the 'book' button, but before you go ahead, enquire about any hidden costs, gas charges, weekend specials, penalties, billing cycle and so on. However, there is no damage in trying your luck by asking for additional discount or add-ons.
Know Your Limit
Know the limit up till which you can drink at your current destination before embarking on a wine tour or having a beer with lunch. Permitted blood alcohol concentration levels are different for each country. For example, Hungary has a zero-tolerance policy while Italy's toleration limit is .5 grams/ltr of blood.
Car Rental Insurance – Get into Details
Your national car insurance won't cover an overseas car rental. Hence, it is essential to get basic insurance coverage for your rented car and read the terms and conditions carefully to ensure no tricky exclusions or clauses are restraining the liability coverage.
Above all, have lots of fun and don't let little things ruin your trip. Therefore, you should cover your trip with a comprehensive travel insurance policy to stay worry-free abroad. A travel insurance policy covers your trip against lost baggage, passport, and offers much more benefits.