Driving & Car Rental

If you want to be independent, car renting is an obvious option. In most cases it is best to stick to one of the internationally known rental companies. With internet information readily available often best deals can be made by contacting the rental company of the country you are visiting directly and compare prices in the same class of vehicle. Make certain that they are all inclusive prices (taxes, insurances etc). Often one may be quoted a restricted number of kilometres. Do some calculations and make the most reliable estimate of how many km you expect to travel. It might well be more economical to rent with “unrestricted” kilometres.
Take maximum car insurance and watch for how much access you are accepting. Nowadays many general travel insurances include “car-rental access” (see travel insurance).

Also watch that driving habits and rules might differ considerably. Examples are the need to “stay in your lane” or “move back” to the curb-side lane after passing. Another matter to watch is local speed limits. And note that onsome of the very fast free-ways also a minimum speed may be applicable!

Although many countries accept foreign driver’s licences, it is best to carry an International Driver’s Licence which may be obtained on presentation of your usual driver’s licence from places like your local automobile club; if not so at least they should be able to advise you where to get one.

Many countries drive on the other side of the road than you are used to. That is not as dramatic as its sounds. One major condition is that the steering wheel is also on the other side. One of the conditions to watch is driving off after one has parked on the for that country wrong side of the road. You will have a “built in” tendency to continue on that (for that country’s) wrong side.

When renting a car walk around the car together with the agent for any existing damage and get it properly documented and signed for. Otherwise you get blamed for it on return.

Fuel prices may differ considerably. Although you might find that where fuel prices are high, cars are modern and economical on fuel usage. Also check the local diesel fuel prices which in many countries are considerably lower than petrol. In those cases it might pay to rent a diesel engine driven car. With many car rental companies having a modern fleet of cars, you will be surprised with the incredibly low fuel consumption of modern diesel cars.

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