Planning on driving abroad? As many drivers soon discover, driving in another country can be very different. Here are a few important dos and don’ts to consider before taking to the road in a foreign country.
Do consider the costs
Driving abroad can be expensive if you’re unprepared. If you’re hiring a car, you may want to compare car hire pricing so that you’re getting the best deal. Insurance is something you may also want to shop around for, although many car rental companies can offer it for you. Other costs to consider include fuel, parking, tolls and permits such as vignettes – look into all these before you set off so that you can budget accordingly.
Don’t forget your documents
Without certain documents, you may not be allowed to drive abroad. In all countries, you’ll need your driving license and insurance documentation. If you’re taking you own vehicle, you may also want to take proof of car registration. An international permit may also be required when visiting certain countries.
Do research into the local driving laws
Local driving laws are likely to be different abroad. You may have to drive on the opposite side of the road, obey different speed limits and there could be different rules when it comes to giving way. On top of this, there could be stricter laws when it comes to drinking and driving. Always look up these rules beforehand to save yourself getting fined (or worse arrested!).
Some countries have higher speed limits, but you should take things slow until you’ve gained your confidence. Similarly, take regular breaks – the roads and the car may be completely different to what you’re used to and you’ll have to concentrate more, leading you to get tired more quickly.
Don’t pick up bad local habits
Driving can be fairly chaotic in some parts of the world, particularly in cities. You may see lots of drivers bending the rules – try not to imitate these bad habits. You don’t want to take these bad habits home with you.
Do plan your route
When driving somewhere unfamiliar, you should always plan your route ahead so that you know what to expect. Don’t just rely on GPS – in some countries you may not get a suitable connection, or you may find that the maps haven’t been updated. A physical map is a good backup and you should check this carefully before you set off. Planning ahead could help you to avoid certain routes that may contain dangerous or busy roads or roads with tolls. It can also allow you to plan stops when embarking on a long journey – in some remote areas of the world, you can’t just rely on stumbling across service stations and motels and so planning routes with places to stop is important.