A road trip in another country requires a little more preparation than a domestic one does. On top of sorting out the car rental, packing your bags, and planning an itinerary, you need to make sure you’re licensed and insured to drive in that country, as well as learn any differences in the rules of the road. If you’re getting ready for a foreign road trip, make sure to do the following.
– Check government websites. If you’re a U.S. citizen, you can turn to the State Department’s website for useful information about driving in other countries. Go to travel.state.gov and navigate to the country information page for the country you’re visiting. Then, scroll down to the Travel & Transportation section to read about traffic safety and road conditions.
– Find the best way to rent. Many of the websites you might use to book international flights can help you find a good rate on a rental car, too. In addition, keep in mind that you typically pay more to pick up your car at an airport versus elsewhere in a city. If you want to drop the car off at another location, you can sometimes find coupons that make such one-way trips a little cheaper.
– Know whether you need an International Driving Permit. In many places, a valid license from your home country will be enough to permit you to drive for the length of your trip. But in others, you’ll need a document called an International Driving Permit, which is accepted in 186 countries but must be obtained before you leave home. In the U.S., the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the National Automobile Club offer the permit for $15.
– Check your insurance. In many situations, you’ll receive a certain amount of insurance automatically. Your credit card issuer, for instance, may cover you if you use your card to book your car rental. However, you should always double check how much coverage you have and make sure you’re complying with local laws for insurance coverage before you leave.