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Driving in a Foreign Country: Learn Lessons While Driving and Renting a Car

Updated on May 20, 2018
Pam Morris profile image

Writing is my passion. I have an undying thirst and quest in the field of writing. Some eat, smoke, drink or use drugs when stressed, I writ

Trying to find the way from Point A to Point B in a foreign land is an essential part of exploring — and should be one of the most enjoyable aspects of discovering a new country. Whether you are on vacation, taking a business trip or a family trip; we all make our choice of transportation — very seriously.

The experiences I have had on previous trips with buses, trains and taxi drivers inspire my desire for independence to rent a car. Most important there are car rental companies exist in almost every nation in the world. If you want to keep yourself steering in the right direction, what you need to know before you get behind the wheel of a rental to get a private tour is vital.

“I travel the world, and I’m happy to say that America is still the great melting pot – maybe a chunky stew rather than a melting pot at this point, but you know what I mean.” – Philip Glass

Driving is a convenient way to get to your destination, but it is almost impossible to travel without knowing all the road rules as well as what you need to know before you get behind the wheel to exploring a new country. Nevertheless, this is mainly because of the particular methods most foreign countries have to reduce insecurity.

Therefore, to start the destination on a strange road trip, there are a lot of factors to consider before you get behind the wheel or for people to independently travel to foreign countries for all roads are not created equal. There is a lot for you to understand before you commit renting a car in another country. As Individual states may allow you to drive there for up to 30 days, but after that insist on you to apply for a local license.

A person has to look for alternative measures, and it is essential that he or she make oneself familiar with the traffic laws of the land they are visiting after taking the wheel there. The most convenient way to travel is to depend on the best car rental serviced available. Also, it best to plan the trip and make arrangements well in advance.

Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends… The mind can never break off from the journey.” – Pat Conroy

After an ultimate disappointing weekend getaway, lots of headaches that came with the out of the ordinary road trips there were quite a few valuable lessons I learned about driving in a foreign country that most people might not know.

For many years, I thought renting a car in a foreign country is something as quick as swiping a credit card to pay your bills. However, the last trip I made to a foreign country was a hectic one especially when I needed a car to travel the country. I realized I was eternally mistaken to think that renting a car in a foreign country is something that only takes a few minutes just by paying the rental fees to rent a car quickly.

Furthermore, the mentality I had that being an Americans citizen will guarantee me special treatment, oh what a big disappointment. It was a very unpleasant experience to be precise and as discussed from now on is what I had to go through. For starter, I learned no two countries are the same when it comes to driving laws, and it's best to check the country's embassy before traveling.

If you want to rent a vehicle in a foreign country, it is a requirement to follow certain steps. The step that was evident it was a “first” for me.

  • All Americans citizen are required to have a map, passport/visa, and US driving license

Well, back at home, I did not need a road map to get around the country or to visit any town or city; I know my way around. I did not need a passport either and sometimes I can get around traffic barricades without a driving license provided I am a resident. However, driving in a foreign country was a shocker. Being an Americans citizen, having a passport and the US driving license was not enough. It was a requirement that I have a detailed map of the city as well. At some point, it became tough for me to drive because it was not easy to follow the traffic rules.

I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” – Rosalia de Castro

  • The Transmission manual vehicle was a shocker.

Being used to driving an automatic transmission car can be an Americans citizen biggest nightmare when to rent a car in foreign countries because most foreign countries require everybody be able to drive a manual transmission car. This is the ultimate driving test I had to go through to be allowed to rent a car.

  • The New Traffic Rules

Back at home, I am required to keep left while driving while pedestrians maintain the right to the pedestrian walk. However, my stay in my last foreign country was quite a shocker. I had to keep left all the time which meant being extra vigilant and conscious considering the new traffic rules was as necessary as the driving test itself.

  • High occupancy lanes

Using the high occupancy lanes was something peculiar. In fact, my inability to use them for the first time having crossed the buffer pavement almost landed me an enormous penalty for violating traffic rules. Worse yet, because rules regarding high occupancy lanes are different from the general traffic rules, it was hectic learning the same.

The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” – Shirley MacLaine

Three Ways I learn how to Avoid Getting Lost in a Foreign Country

My first few hours in a foreign country was spent getting lost. Just imagine trying to find your way around a foreign country. It's not easy finding your way around an unfamiliar area in your hometown but try asking for direction where English isn’t that big in the streets. Here are ways to avoid getting lost in a foreign country:

1. Don’t panic: Getting lost in a foreign city can happen to the best of us as we all get disoriented sometimes. What's important is knowing what to do when you don’t know where you are. The essential thing is not to panic and if necessary ask the locals for direction.

2. Grab a multi-language map; more than likely will find yourself hesitating and reading signs as you try to figure out where to go. To get around most need to drive and if you must, take the time to learn each stop, study what you need to know by watching a video of the area's traffic.

3. Prepare in advance is a necessary step to prevent getting lost. Plan how you will get to your destination by studying street view, although some might see it as time-consuming it is worthwhile. Also, stop by convenient places like the tourist information, the airports, a train and the bus stations for free advice or a map.

More often than not when we take a trip, we do not anticipate any problem. However, there is no reason to mess up a great trip by driving for hours being lost. I learn there is always a solution and people are willing to help, but you need to open your mouth to ask.

Most urban areas offer some form of public transportation, would you use the country transportation while visiting or rent a car?

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Travel Tips: Things to Know About Renting a Car in Europe

© 2015 Pam Morris

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