Choosing and hiring a car abroad

One in every three drivers would prefer to rent a car when abroad. In a foreign country with a different currency and language that you aren’t used to, navigating the local public transport system could be simply too tricky or even perilous. The big secret in dealing with car rental abroad is to prepare well. Knowing what to look for and what questions to ask could save you a lot of money in the long haul.


Book from Home
It is easiest and safest to do all of your arrangements for your car rental from home. With tailor-made packages for your country, it makes the process not only easier, but also cheaper. Trying to rent a car when overseas can cause extra problems and you will be dealing with the frustration of cultural differences, unfamiliar clauses, language barriers and exchange rates. It could also cost you a lot of precious holiday time.

Car to Suit Your Needs
When choosing a rental car, you obviously need to assess what your needs are for the trip. A smaller car will most likely be more efficient on fuel but not as comfortable on long trips. You might also need a 4×4 vehicle if you are going to travel over rough terrain. Extras, such as air conditioning, navigator systems and infant seats will usually cost more money, so you need to apply for a quote beforehand. Be sure to specify which transmission you prefer; in some countries, stick shift is the norm and requiring an automatic will cost extra.

Comparing Prices
It is vital to do some research before settling for a car rental company. You might want to consider a package deal, where your car hire and accommodation is included with your flight ticket, but ensure that it does work out cheaper than going with your own choice of a car rental company. Keep in mind that prices that are displayed online usually only cover the basics, so find out what it includes rather than going for what looks like the lowest price. Extras could include your insurance cover, allowing an extra driver and location surcharges. To avoid penalties after extensive road trips, opt for a package that allows unlimited mileage.

Although it is unlikely that you will be in an accident, it is very important to make sure you know what to expect, should it happen to you in a foreign country. Always ask what the insurance cover offered by the car hire company entails and what the excess is. Explore the option to take out your own insurance to cover the excess. Be sure to ask the rental agent what the expected procedure is in case of a breakdown, along with emergency telephone numbers.

Pick up and Drop Off
When picking up your car, be sure to inspect it thoroughly, along with the rental agent. Take note of any damages or defects, so they can’t claim later that you caused it. Always ask about the company’s fuel policy; do you need to drop it off with a full or empty tank? Be sure to find out exactly at what time the car is expected back, as some companies charge a full day extra if you are only a few hours late. For more information on car maintenance, visit





Morris Barris Written by:

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