So you want to hire a car abroad? It’s always good to bear a few practical tips in mind so that you can make sure that you won’t be caught out by any last-minute snags. Whether you’re just doing a short hop or beginning an extended rental, you’ll want to make sure that you cover all these points.
Once you’ve got the keys in your hand, it’s always tempting to jump into your shiny new car and zoom off. But before you do, make sure you cover the basics. Check the car for any obvious damage, inside and out. Ask where the nearest petrol station or EV charging point is. Check the smaller features in the car that you might not be familiar with — popping the boot open, checking the lights, turn the air conditioning on and off, adjusting the seats. And last but not least, make sure you get away hassle-free by asking if there are any local traffic-jam hotspots that you ought to avoid.
Driving on the other side
If you’re a fairly frequent traveller and you’re used to driving on both sides of the road, this will be no problem. But if it’s been a while, or if you’re less familiar generally with right-hand-side drive, then it can take some getting used to. It can be helpful to start by finding a few quieter streets and then spending a little while getting familiar with right-hand-side turning, crossing, signalling, and the like.
The motorway systems of many countries are run on a toll-based, pay-per-use basis — sometimes with toll booths along the way, and sometimes with vouchers that you can buy and attach to your windscreen (commonly referred to as a vignette). The tolls and conditions vary from place to place, so best to do a little online research before you go to avoid any bother.
Yes, just like with everything else, Brexit is also having its effect in something as simple as hiring a car. If there is a no-deal Brexit, or even just a “thin” deal, then it may end up being the case that UK driving licenses will no longer be valid in the EU. If this does happen, then you may need to get an international driving permit in addition to your driving license. Make sure to check the details before you go — the best source is the government’s own website at gov.uk.
So, those are the basics. Of course, this is not a comprehensive overview, so make sure to check with the relevant authorities wherever you’re off to. And also, make sure to take a look at all the options for car hire with Sixt today — with something for all budgets and requirements, we make it easy and simple.