Spring and summer are for many the favorite seasons for a trip. Days are warmer and longer, snow is over almost everywhere and the world seems to be much more inviting to visit and discover new amazing places. Traveling abroad and warm sunny days seem to be a match made in heaven. Whether you plan to spend your holidays in a cottage by the sea or hiking up the hills or simply enjoying some cultural and shopping days in a big city, there are many chances that you are considering renting a car. If you’ve never done it in a foreign destination before, there are plenty of things you should take into consideration. Learn about them here.
Know What Car To Rent
Driving abroad during the holidays implies carrying a lot of gear and usually spending more time in the car. It is therefore very important to make sure that the car you rent is big enough to keep everything safe and passengers traveling comfortably. Looking for a rental vehicle with a spacious bonnet is a wise starting point as well as looking for an SUV or a large sedan. If you’re looking for a rental car in Europe, bare in mind that cars there are usually smaller than the ones in the States.
We know that it can be tempting to rent a luxurious car or an automatic one even though you’ve never driven one! However, we advise you to refrain from that; driving abroad can be stressful enough to add driving a vehicle you are not familiar with to the mix.
Book Your Car
It is definitely a bad idea to rent a car in a foreign destination at the last minute. If you are traveling during the high season or to a very popular destination, it is very likely that many people are also thinking about renting a car. Planning is essential, and if you want to get the best prices and the widest variety of rental autos, do your best to book your car as soon as you decide you’ll need one. Evaluate your options, visit websites of different rental car agencies and check their availability on your travel dates.
Don’t forget to ask about weekend-specials, upgrades, special offers, late penalties and anything you need or want to know before actually renting a car. If you can make all the arrangements before you arrive at your destination, the whole process will be easier and less stressing.
Make Sure You Are Insured
Just as you wouldn’t travel abroad without any travel insurance and you spend some time evaluating the different alternatives available in the market, you shouldn’t think of renting a car abroad without having considered the insurance policy issue first.
In fact, leaving the decision on insurance coverage to the last minute is a bad idea as you may end up choosing an option that is not the most convenient for you.
If you own a car, your car insurance policy may probably include car rental damage insurance if you have paid for that extra coverage, however, if you have to make a claim, you may be asked to pay a deductible between $500-$1500 and your policy will increase by up to 44%.
Many international credit cards offer some level of car rental insurance coverage but it is only secondary insurance, meaning that you can’t use it as a first option if you have others. Besides, it usually includes some hidden exceptions in the fine print.
For many, opting for third party car rental damage insurance is the wisest option. Bonzah.com offers a primary insurance, meaning that if you make a claim you will not have to use your auto insurance and, therefore, you won’t have to pay any deductible or auto premium increases. The insurance coverage offered is affordable and reliable.
Get the Papers Ready
Apart from your plane tickets and passport, as you plan to drive abroad you will need an International Driving Permit (also known as IDP). Even though it is true that Canadian or American citizens traveling to an English-speaking country usually don’t need one apart from their local drivers’ license, it is advisable that you ask first.
The International Driving Permit is a piece of paper that translates your information into 10 different languages and that is recognized in many countries. It is not rare for car rental agencies abroad to ask for one as part of the documentation package you are asked to provide so make sure you ask in advance if you’ll need it as it can only be issued in your home country.
It is not a bad idea either to check online or at the consulate or embassy of the country you are visiting if there are any specific regulations that foreign drivers should comply with.