14 tips for renting and driving a car abroad

Tips renting and driving a car abroad


  1. Susan

    Good tips. Like you we have rented cars in countries all over the world. We have an annual policy for reducing the insurance excess. Not only is it cheaper, but you also save time with the rental agent who will try to sell you as many extras as possible. Another tip is to examine the car carefully before you set off. In most countries you can agree with the agent where all the existing scratches are on the car and get them marked on a picture of the car on the rental agreement. Some photos are a good idea too. Well worth doing, especially if you have to drop the keys in a box if the office is closed when you return the car. I hear of people being charged large amounts for damage which they did not do. Also, beware of high drop-off fees for a one-way rental. We saved ourselves a huge amount on a 3-week one-way rental in Argentina by taking the bus for the last 400 miles.

    1. Trails Unblazed

      We definitely agree with the one-way rental advice. We usually keep our rental car costs as low as possible, but one-way rentals can have outrageous fees. Learned this the hard way on our trip out to Yellowstone.

  2. McCool Travel

    Wonderful tips for renting vehicles around the world. One thing I would add is upgrades and extras. In Iceland, we would $5 extra per day for a wifi hotspot. That was great since we had 3 persons.

  3. Pilot Mark

    Road tripping in a foreign country is one of life´s simple pleasures. I´m also a fan of island hopping by plane, but thats not such a simple pleasure! Thanks for the tips…they´ll definitely come in handy!

  4. Ryan Biddulph

    All are super helpful tips guys. If I learned anything from driving abroad – or at home – it is to keep your head on a swivel. I am alert, on the ball and always checking my surroundings no matter where I drive.

  5. WorldGlimpses

    I love driving and have enjoyed few road trips abroad, driving my self. But I have to admit, didn’t try to drive on the “wrong side” of the road yet. 😀 Nice tips, I like that you’ve covered the navigation thing as well. Will have to check out that app, thanks. 😉

  6. Karla

    These are really important tips. We needed to learn all this in our driving trip in Scotland. Driving condition is really important and all those insurance.

    Thanks for compiling this.

  7. Patricia Steffy (@PLSteffy)

    Great tips! When we were traveling in Europe, we got an International Driving Permit just in case we needed one in one of the countries we wandered to. In the end, we only rented a car in Greece, but it was helpful. The hardest thing for me to get used to is the different driving styles (and sometimes the speeds!). But road trips are so fun, it is worth adapting!

  8. Alina Popescu

    You are right, the driving style is the biggest challenge at times 😀 I went on a road trip in a rental that took me through 3 different countries, and I had to adapt every time I crossed a border. I try to stick to the rules first, and then see what I can incorporate of the driving style.

  9. Paige Wunder

    These are really great tips! I rented my first car abroad in February and this post would’ve made me feel much more at ease. Luckily, Iceland was very easy to rent / drive in! Great tips!

  10. Laura Lynch

    As you show, there are so many things to consider before renting a car in another country. You can’t really know what they required until you look into it, and I think a lot of people don’t think to check that out. Like in Italy, during certain times of the year, it’s illegal to drive without chains in the car.

  11. Cai Dominguez

    This post is truly helpful. You cover everything here. Though, I don’t drive. I find this really worth reading especially for people who are planning to do this 🙂 Thanks for writing this!

  12. Christopher

    Humph for some reason I thought renting a car in another country would be a lot more difficult. It’s pretty much the same as renting a car here at home. You have some fantastic points. I remember being in a car out on the autobahn in Germany. It’s craziness. Lol

  13. Life is a Hotel

    Hi Hugo and Cristina. Thanks for your post. I wish I had it earlier as lat month I was traveling to Hawaii for the first time and had no idea how to rent a car without any problems so I gave up. But your blog shows all the necessary details I wasn’t sure before.
    Do you always rent a car when you travel abroad?


  14. Trails Unblazed

    All great advice. When we went to England, we thought driving on the other side of the road would be the hardest thing to adjust to…turned out that was easy. It was the narrow country lanes that was the hard part. We had a small rental car, but having an even smaller one would have been preferable.

  15. john smith

    nice to read. when we are getting ready to go on vacation, but we are in need of getting a rental car to help us get around. It’s good to know that when it comes to picking the car that one thing we need to do is asked the service when the last time the vehicle received maintenance. This will be helpful so that we will get a car to get around in.

  16. Autonuoma

    I really like what was said about renting a car abroad. I am sure you can find cheap rentals out there as well! The point I really appreciate in this article is to reserve an automatic. Those will just save you so much headache!

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