What to Know Before Leaping Behind the Wheel on International Roads

Flights, hotels, tours, etc. The price of good quality travel seems to be rising every day. If you are vacationing on a budget the choices might seem limited. It might feel impossible to plan your perfect retirement vacation with high front-end costs. But, with a little out of the box thinking you can complete your travel check list and still have money to spare.

By finding cheap car rentals, you become the ultimate decider of your journey. A lot of people don’t think about road trips when it comes to international travel. However with the rising cost of flights and hotels, going on a long-distance joyride is becoming a more affordable option for many people.

Just like preparing for a trip across our home turf in the U.S., there are a few things to know that will prepare you for driving abroad.

How to Get an International Driving Permit

A U.S. driver’s license is acceptable in a lot of countries by itself. If you’re traveling to the United Kingdom or South Korea, the U.S. license is all you need. But, if you plan to go road tripping around Germany or Eastern Europe you’ll need an International Permit.

The program to obtain an IDP is completed through the American Automobile Association (AAA) or the National Auto Club (NAC). All you need is to fill out an application with your license information, provide a travel start date, and have two passport photos ready.

The cost is $20 and must be mailed in or given directly to your local AAA or NAC office. It will take about 2 weeks for the IDP to arrive so make sure to plan ahead. When it arrives, you have a year of foreign road-tripping before the permit expires.

How to Get Foreign Auto Insurance

You know how car insurance is almost mandatory in the United States? The same thing goes for countries abroad. Unfortunately, most U.S. insurance policies don’t apply abroad. A lot of credit cards offer rental car insurance, but those policies could have a lot of hidden costs.

It’s best to purchase additional liability and collision damage coverage. These can be purchased directly from the car rental agency. Another option is going through a travel insurance company.

How to Rent a Foreign Car

You’ve got your IDP and your foreign insurance all lined up. Now all you need is the rental car. Booking ahead is key, since a lot of foreign airports only have limited cars available. Before booking, compare companies to see which is cheapest in your destination country.

Once you’ve decided on the rental company, they have online applications you can fill out. Most countries/companies require a minimum age of 18 to 19 to be eligible for a vehicle.

Choose a pickup location, how long you’ll have the vehicle, then the car you want. Remember that a reservation doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the car you want.

How to Read Foreign Roads/Traffic Rules

The road signs in Poland are completely different from the road signs in the United States. Before you head out, it is essential to study the road rules and traffic signs. Through a simple Google search, you can find road signs for the specific country you are going to.

If you are driving in Italy, for instance, there are mandatory customs and police stops. The signs are written in Italian “Dogana” (customs) and “Alt Polizia” (Police). Without looking this up beforehand, you could easily run past the stop and get in trouble.

Now you’re ready to take to the international roads and spend your new time as an empty nester on an exciting journey!

We are happy to present this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.

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