The Dos and Don’ts of Driving Cars Abroad

Traveling can be a rejuvenating and wonderful experience. With airlines able to take people all across the globe, the world has never seemed so accessible and open. Sometimes we take all that openness for granted and forget to check on things we would normally remember. One such example is driving and renting cars abroad. Too often, its only when a traveler reaches his destination that he realizes the requirements needed to drive and rent cars abroad.


If you plan on getting behind the wheel on your next vacation, you should do some research before hand on what it is like to drive in that country. You don’t want to end up in the UK driving down the wrong side of the road, wondering why everyone else is driving funny. Many countries also rely on manual transmissions more than automatic, which is standard in other countries. Being aware of the differences will give you time to prepare for the differences in driving abroad. If you plan on renting your vehicle, it’s worth it to book your car in advance. Not only will you get lower fees than if you were to book over the counter, but you will likely be able to reserve the car you need, rather than be stuck with one that doesn’t fit your travel needs. Doing everything you can before you leave minimizes the chance of you having to pay hidden costs or getting mixed up in a language carrier misunderstanding. Also many countries restrict young and old driver (under 25 and over 70) from renting vehicles. Research ahead of time to see what specific requirements you need to satisfy.

International Driving Permits

A big question in many tourists minds, beyond just getting ahold of a car, is if they are even legally allowed to drive in a foreign country without some kind of permit or license. While in most English speaking countries, you will be fine with a license that is also in English, in other countries your home license might not work. If you plan on driving abroad you might want to consider getting an International Driving Permit (IDP). An IDP doesn’t require any extra tests; it just translates the information on your drivers license to 10 different languages. Many rental companies will require you to have an IDP in order to rent a vehicle, so get one before you leave home.

Bringing Your Car Abroad

When it comes to bringing your personal car abroad, things can get a little trickier. You want to cover all the basics we mentioned above, such as obtaining an IDP, and you also want to inform your insurance. If you are looking to explore some rugged terrain or test your cars abilities on the Autobahn, you might want to consider breakdown coverage as well. This will cover you in the event of malfunction. Doing your research on what certain countries allow versus your own should cover you though. As long as you are respectful of their laws, you shouldn’t experience any problems.