Some cities, such as Paris and Tokyo, have elaborate public transportation systems, so that travelers and their families may not need to rent a vehicle to get around. Other popular travel destinations, however, are simply not as accessible without a vehicle to transport us from A to B.
Whether you’ll be soaking up tourist attractions or taking a drive off the beaten path, use our guide for renting a car abroad to make sure your next overseas road trip goes off without a hitch.
Begin With Research
Before you start searching for your perfect rental car, you need to be sure that you’re actually able to rent a car in the country to which you’re travelling.
Most countries around the world offer car rentals, but the details for eligibility can depend on factors such as age and licence type. To make sure that you are able to legally rent and drive a car during your vacation, do the proper research by consulting your rental car company, travel agent, or the embassy or consulate of the country you will be visiting.
Be sure to research the type of vehicle you will be driving abroad. For example, if you’re renting a car in Europe, you will most likely receive a car with manual rather than automatic transmission – that’s why it’s important to research your options and choose a vehicle that you will be comfortable driving.
What’s more, make sure that your license is valid overseas. Find out if your current licence is valid in the country to which you’re travelling, or if you will need to get an International Driving Permit, which you can obtain from the Canadian Automobile Association.
Make Sure You’re Insured
If you rent a vehicle during your next overseas trip, it’s vital that you make sure you’re properly insured. In many cases, the insurance protection that comes with your rental vehicle is limited. Before you leave for your trip, call your insurance provider to find out if your current insurance coverage covers overseas rentals.
Be sure that you’re covered for basic liability, collision, damage, theft and fire. If you find your current plan lacking, contact your provider and get the proper coverage needed to make sure you’re protected on the road abroad.
If you choose Desjardins’ Trouble-Free Option, you can rest easy knowing that you’re fully covered driving your rental car overseas.
Don’t Forget to Shop Around
Just as you would shop around for a rental car in Canada, you should also be a savvy shopper when renting a car overseas.
Avoid the last minute stress (and extra expenses) of booking your rental car last minute – book and pay for your rental in advance, especially during peak season. This will save you time and money, and give you peace of mind as your travel date approaches.
To steer clear of extra fees and expenses, avoid renting a car at the airport – just as is the case in Canada, in many other parts of the world renting a car at the airport is more expensive than renting one from an independent rental company.
Call your car rental company and inquire about any hidden fees that you may have missed, and find out if you’re eligible for any discounts.
Put Safety First
Before you set off, make sure your fuel tank is full, and inspect your vehicle – check your tire pressure, then look under the hood to see that your fluids are at the proper level. Peak inside the car to check for any damage to its interior, then make sure the radio, air conditioner/heater and GPS are functional.
Before you get behind the wheel, get to know the rules of the road in your vacation locale – such as which side of the road to drive on, basic traffic signs, speed limits, and local driving laws.
No matter how close or far your next overseas destination, if you plan to take to the open road, then the same safe driving rules apply. Practice defensive driving when you’re behind the wheel on your trip to make sure you and your passengers reach every vacation destination safely.