10 Things to Know Before Renting a Car Abroad

our rental jeep in atacama desert - chile

our rental jeep in atacama desert - chile

1. License:

Before even looking at renting a car, it is essential to be sure that you have a valid license to drive within your destination. Most countries will allow you to drive with your home license, but your safest bet is to get an International Driving Permit (IDP). An IDP is a document that translates your home license into different languages but should always be carried in conjunction with your regular license

2. Insurance:

Insurance is another an essential factor to consider because most countries require drivers to have coverage of some sort. It is possible if you have a car at home that your car insurance may cover you abroad but it is essential to know this information beforehand so a quick phone call to make sure would not be a bad idea. If not, most rental car companies will have the options of various insurance packages and should be examined which ones will best fit your current insurance plan and trip.

3. Comparing Costs:

Like with booking anything, it is a good idea to compare different car companies to check for various rates and read lots of reviews, so you feel confident with your rental. Some things to look for is the quality of cars being rented and the quality of the service of the rental company in case of any emergencies.

4. Age Restrictions:

It is also important to check the age requirement at different renting companies. Most rental companies will require you to be a minimum age when renting a vehicle or charge extra fees for people under a certain age. Unfortunately, we don’t have any tips to avoid this.

Roadside rapids in Southern Iceland

Roadside rapids in Southern Iceland

5. Check Your Car:

Before you sent out with your rental, give your rental a quick check for any scratches and bumps so they cannot hold you responsible for these when you return the car. Although most companies will have an employee do this for you, it never hurts to take some notes and pictures of your vehicle yourself just in case.

6. Driving Your Rental:

To have a successful road trip in a foreign country, you should also do some research into standards of driving in foreign countries such the road laws and driving curtsies. One crucial thing is to know which side of the road to drive on! Also, make sure you know how to drive the car you’re renting before signing off. Many country and rentals default to manual vehicles which are not a very common thing in North America.

7. Directions:

Having a backup map or GPS in the car just in case all your phone run out of battery. Since you may not always be able to catch a signal for google maps, you can always download an area so you can return to it even when you’re offline. Always try to know where you’re going so if you do get lost you can ask someone for directions.

8. Road Costs: 

Once on the road, be prepared for anything, and small fees such as parking at specific locations and toll roads. Although these are usually smaller fees over time, they can add up and is vital to keep this in mind and carry some local change to avoid setbacks.  Never forget to calculate the cost of gas into your trip as well and always return your rental with a full tank.

Windy roads in the Atacama Desert

Windy roads in the Atacama Desert

9. Driver Care:  

Since renting a car will often entail driving longer distances, always make sure your driver feels comfortable and fully alert. Getting a full night’s sleep before a long stretch will not hurt but we also recommend taking some breaks along the road which can always be combined with some beautiful photo stops! ;)

10. Playlist :

Never forget an AUX cord and always have an impressive queue lined up. Not only will this keep up good vibes, but it’ll also help you avoid listening to the same 13 songs over and over again and ripping your hair out.

Atacama desert

Atacama desert