Traveling to large cities often means that you can rely on public transportation to get around while you’re there. However, if you are trying to see many sights and different places, mass transit may not be a feasible option. Instead of spending endless hours switching between different forms of transport, from planes and trains to ferries and buses, some exploring is best done via car. While renting a car abroad isn’t as easy as at home in many cases, there are many countries where Americans can rent a car without too much hassle.
Before renting a car, there are a few things all Americans should check on to avoid breaking the law abroad or running into surprise fees or issues while traveling. Driving abroad can differ from driving at home, ranging from which side of the road to use to what kind of insurance is required.
First, check to see if an International Driving Permit (IDP) is required. An IDP can be obtained through AAA, and it will spare you the fine if you’re pulled over in a country that requires them. Anyone over age 18 can get an IDP.
Americans traveling abroad should also look into what their auto insurance and rental insurance provided by a credit card will cover abroad. A credit card rental policy may exclude some countries and your existing auto insurance may not extend overseas. If a traveler does not have sufficient existing coverage, insurance is available from the rental car agency. Whatever coverage you choose, make sure it fulfills the minimum insurance requirements of the country where you’ll be driving.
Lastly, before renting a car abroad, be sure to do your research. Make sure you know the rules of the road where you are going and the severity of penalties for common traffic violations. Also look into what types of cars are common in the area you’ll be traveling. In some parts of the world, smaller cars with manual gear shift are favored. Make sure to book in advance so you can get a car that you are used to handling.
It is easier for Americans to rent cars in some countries than others:
Renting a car while visiting our neighbors to the north is typically easier for Americans. Not only do they drive on the same side of the road as we do, many auto insurance policies can provide coverage there. Whether you’re hoping to explore the Canadian Rockies, Banff, or one of Canada’s great cities, like Quebec or Toronto, traveling by car is a great way to see all that Canada has to offer.
Renting a car itself is easy in Mexico and much like at home, however, there is one major difference. Drivers are required to carry insurance in Mexico, and this coverage can be costly, but even more costly would be to drive without it. Whether you’re looking to explore the ruins and lush forests near Tulum or the splendor of Gogorron National Park, renting a car in Mexico is worth it for the roadside sights.
Your driver’s license should be sufficient and major rental names that are familiar in the US can be found down under if you are looking to rent a car in Australia. Like driving anywhere, looking into available insurance coverage is advised. Renting a car is a great way to take in several of Australia’s bigger cities, like Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne, while enjoying the impressive landscapes and coastlines along the way.
Renting a car in Italy is most easily done in advance from the US, which will get you the best rates. When renting a car in Italy, be sure to read the fine print about what type of car you are renting, however – you don’t want to end up with something so small your party won’t fit! Renting a car makes visiting the vineyards of Tuscany and the beautiful coastal towns, like Polignano a Mare, more accessible and your trip more memorable.