Back in February we took our car to France and found that driving abroad isn’t as difficult as we thought it would be, although driving on the wrong side of the road did take some getting used to.
Before venturing across the channel we made sure that we familiarised ourselves with the rules of the road in France as they’re not the same as at home and we didn’t want to get caught out.
It is also important that you take your car documentation, insurance certificates, breakdown cover and passports with you and you must also ensure that you have a Euro Travel Kit which contains European driving must-haves including headlight converters, a warning triangle and Breathalyzers.
We chose to take our own car instead of hiring at the time, as all our car seats were fitted and they can be expensive to hire, plus we knew and felt comfortable driving our own car, but in hindsight I would now choose to hire a car for travelling abroad after my car engine seized whilst en-route to a short break in Cornwall. To cut a long story short, our breakdown cover was not adequate and it cost a small fortune getting home, so imagine what would have happened if it had seized whilst abroad.
My top tips on hiring a car abroad are:
Hiring a car anywhere abroad should be a relatively easy and transparent process and my top tip is to plan ahead and book before you travel as it is easy to be bamboozled with added extra’s if booking ad-hoc when you get there.
Planning ahead also gives you the opportunity to compare car hire companies for the best deals, including any fixed or optional extra charges, prices and terms & conditions between different hirers. There’s a good chance that the cost of hire will be lower too if booked in advance and you will have more choice on the type of car you want to hire.
Always read the small print!
When hiring a car it is advisable to go through the small print with a fine tooth comb. Are there unexpectedly big deposits required or excess fuel charges? Check the refuelling requirements in advance and keep fuel bills as proof of a full tank when the vehicle is returned (consider taking a photograph of the fuel gauge, particularly if dropping the car off without a hire company employee present).
You may be shattered from the flight, but check the car bodywork and interior with an employee before you are handed the keys as you don’t want any extra charges for damage that was not caused by you. Make sure any damage is recorded clearly and take some pictures too for added insurance.
Work out the total cost of car hire. It may be cheaper to bring your own car seats and sat nav as these can really increase the cost of car hire. For older children, we have a Trunki Boostapak and a Bubblebum inflatable car seat for these situations but lugging a stage 0-1 car seat about could be heavy work!
Finally, keep an eye on that credit card statement when you get back for any unexpected charges.
Written in collaboration with Holiday Autos
Disclaimer: This post contains affliate links: any purchases you make aren’t affected but I may get a few pennies to fund my travel habit