5 Things You Should Know When Hiring a Car Abroad

Hey all! There are many places to travel in the world that don’t require you to rent a car. Take for example Tokyo or Taipei, where you can rely on public transportation, as it is very efficient and cost effective. But in other places it can be more convenient (and sometimes necessary) to rent one.

A few years ago Dom and I hired a car to take a road trip around France. It was a great experience! However, we did have a little fender-bender along the way, (bye bye tail light!) and for that reason I’m so happy we paid extra for insurance.

So if your next travel destination requires a rental car, here are some tips for making sure you have all your bases covered.

6149131086_9fd30c2cae_oDriving a car on holiday doesn’t have to be daunting – it’s one of the best ways to get around on your travels, as well as one of the most reliable. Here are some necessary tips to make sure you’re in good hands when hiring a vehicle abroad.

1. Know the rules of the road

It’s likely driving laws and rules won’t differ too massively wherever you are – following the speed limits and sticking to the right side of the road should be fine. But it’s important you brush up on the local driving regulations just in case there are some peculiarities you need to look out for.

Did you know in Beijing you’re legally not allowed to stop for pedestrians?It’s likely there’ll be some different laws wherever you go, and hopefully your hire firm will point out to you things to be aware of, but do your own research first before running into any unnecessary trouble.

2.Know what to do if you break down

More often than not, hire companies will include breakdown cover with the car. Make sure you’ve got it, though. You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere in an unfamiliar country, so it’s important you know what to do. Write down the number to call in case of a breakdown, and take a few extra ones too as a precaution. It’s also important to ensure there’ll be no extra charges waiting for you once you’ve been rescued – some companies like to make you charge for towing, for instance. A good car company will have everything covered so there are no nasty surprises once you’re back.

3. Assess any pre-existing damage


Depending on who you’re renting your car with, there’s a risk of being charged for damage to the vehicle that was already there when you picked it up. To avoid this happening, you’re advised by experts to take pictures of any cosmetic damage you can see when you first get the car, and make sure the rental company is aware.

You’re also usually able to note the damage down in your rental agreement that is signed both by yourself and staff, so nothing can be changed upon returning the vehicle.

4.Have the right insurance


It’s important to have the right travel insurance that will cover any eventualities in regard to your hire car. You’ll be able to get insurance that covers theft from the vehicle, but you’ll have a number of responsibilities worth considering, such as ensuring items aren’t left on display or in the car overnight. You’ll be insured for things that go missing from the boot, for example, but if it’s visible through the windscreen you won’t be covered.

Usually you’re better off finding insurance that isn’t through the same firm you’re hiring a car from – this way you’ll find better deals and save money. There will obviously be an excess to pay as a result of any damage, but this is the exact same as back home.

5.Make sure the car is licensed and serviced

If you’re choosing a decent car company, chances are you’ve got absolutely nothing to worry about here – but you need to take precautions. Before going anywhere, check the car’s oil and coolant if you’re concerned about its condition. Look at the rental paperwork and check for any previous incidents with the car, so you’re absolutely clear of any risks you could potentially face.

A good way to avoid any chance of this happening is by going with a company that has a strong reputation worldwide so you know they’re trustworthy, as opposed to a small and purely local firm.

Happy Travels!




  1. Good to know.

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