4 Things You Need To Know When Road Trippin’ Abroad

The idea of exploring abroad unlimitedly is but a dream to many travel junkies, backpackers, or even casual vacationers worldwide. These people certainly know that the best way to spend it is to shy away from tour packages where it’s always a race against time to follow your itinerary.

That’s why it’s always highly recommended to go for a more viable option: buy a ticket, book your accommodation, and just explore the country yourself.

Why Is It A Better Idea?

Because by doing so, you get to discover the hidden gems in every country, apart from the tourist-packed attractions listed on itineraries of tour packages. Other than that, here are the other reasons why it’s a better choice:

  1. Saves Time

    Time is always an issue when visiting another country. And if you’re visiting a larger nation that would take more than three days to a week to explore, you would know the importance of not wasting it. Moreover, some countries strictly allow foreigners to be in the country only for certain periods, such as 180 days.

  2. Freedom of Movement

    When you choose a fixed itinerary of tours, it restricts your movement as you are only allotted a particular amount of time to explore, take photos, and that’s just about it. When you travel on your own, it makes things easier for you, and you get to dive more into the history of places, spectate the other wonderful sights to behold, or even have a taste of the local food you’ll encounter along the way.

  3. Explore Less Popular Landmarks

    If you’re traveling during vacation season, it’s a given that the main tourist spots in the country are packed with a lot of vacationers just like you. That’s why deciding your own itinerary allows you a more convenient and exclusive trip to another country.

So, which is the better option, public transport or driving a private vehicle?

Public Transport

The pros of public transportation are how it allows you to experience how the country’s citizens live their daily lives. Other than that, you can bond or talk to the locals to better understand their culture and other activities you should not miss out on while in the area.

Its cons, however, is the long wait. Given that, most citizens will be using public transport for work or simply going to the different places they usually travel to. Also, some areas you might want to explore could be inaccessible to the bus routes. Thus, the possibility of spending more money on transportation is high.

Private Vehicle

Whether you bring your own vehicle or rent a car, you have more freedom to explore around every corner of the country when you’re the driver of that mode of transportation. Although others might say that renting a car could take up around one-fourth to half of your entire budget in traveling to that country—one thing’s for sure, at least you know the fixed price.

Uncertainties like transportation costs while traveling bring a lot of trouble to the minds of the supposedly rejuvenating tourists. That’s why most businessmen, students, or even other travelers, consider this a smarter option.

With the price fixed, you’ll be sure about how much money will go directly to your accommodation, food, and other extracurricular activities in that country.

However, before you get excited about traveling to another country, you need to bear in mind the things that could happen while on a road trip in unfamiliar territory. So, not in any order, here are four important things you need to know about when road tripping abroad.

  1. Renting a car in advance is much cheaper than bringing your own.

    If you’re traveling to a country wherein, you need to use a vessel to transport your vehicle, that would take a huge chunk off your vacation budget. Renting a car is more advisable since it gives you less of the stress when traveling.

    Although some vacationers would say that renting a car is expensive, especially when it comes to gas, but isn’t that normal in your life? Moreover, a number of vehicles that are open for rent in car rental companies are usually equipped with GPS and map, to help you get to your destination quickly. So not only does it save you the effort from hopping onto different public transport, but it also keeps you from getting lost.

    But, did you know that renting a car in advance is cheaper than renting a car directly from the airport?

    The reason for this lies on the tax, additional fees, or costs for doing their business at the airport. That’s why they charge more if you rent a car straight from the airport. It’s highly recommended that you rent a vehicle in advance online before you visit the country.

  2. You can’t drive abroad without an international driving license.

    Its official name is an International Driving Permit (IDP). In most countries, you can’t drive without an international driving license. This document helps every foreigner with the intention to drive overseas to have their valid driver’s license translated into 10 or 12 of the widely spoken languages worldwide.

    So, when do you usually need this?


  3. At border checkpoints
  4. When renting a car
  5. If stopped by traffic authorities
  6. Stores or occasions that may require a valid ID (in which your driver’s license will be used)

However, you must always bear in mind that you can’t make a road trip abroad if you don’t have your valid driver’s license with you, regardless of the presence of your IDP. Your IDP will still be deemed invalid when your National Driver’s License is revoked, expired, and, as mentioned, not with you.

Aside from an International Driving Permit and your valid driver’s license, the following are the documents that should be ready in case of an inspection:

  • Visa (optional)
  • Passport
  • Vehicle Registration Certificate (or V5C, in case you are bringing your vehicle)
  • Vehicle Insurance
  • VE103 certificate (if you’re hiring a car)

3.         Prepare items you’ll need in case of emergency.

As mentioned above, when traveling abroad, over-preparing is a smart move. Anything could happen to you while road-tripping abroad, that’s why preparing the following items would be best:

  • Flashlight
  • A Reflectorized Triangle
  • First Aid Kit
  • Extra Food and Water (in case you get stuck for a long time)
  • Contact Numbers of Emergency Services
  • Extra tire(s)
  • Car tools (in case you know how to do the repairs yourself)

If you get into an accident like a breakdown or flat tire, these are things you need to do:

            In the middle of a busy street:

  1. Do not panic. Call the number of the car rental agency’s roadside assistance, in case there is. If not, call the local emergency roadside assistance to report it. (in case it’s a breakdown)
  2. Take out the key to switch off the engine and ensure that the vehicle is locked before going out, especially when you have valuables inside.
  3. Place the reflectorized triangle at the back of your vehicle to inform the other drivers that there is a breakdown. Otherwise, they won’t be pleased getting held up in traffic.
  4. If it’s a flat tire, and you know how to replace it yourself, go ahead and replace it. However, you will need help in moving your vehicle at the side of the road first before doing so.

            In case you’re in the middle of nowhere:

  1. Do not panic, but lock your doors.
  2. Call emergency services immediately and inform them of your location.
  3. Never open your door to strangers, as it’s unavoidable that there might be dangerous people waiting for their next victim in these deserted areas.
  4. Simply wait for the emergency services to arrive at your location. Take note; you still need to be cautious and make sure that those who arrived are actually from the emergency services.

4.         Learn about the country’s road rules and traffic signs.

Although there are common traffic signs and rules found in all countries, there are also a set of rules that could be unique in that particular country you are visiting. That is why studying the local road rules in advance is crucial to avoid breaking road laws and getting stopped or fined by road traffic authorities.

Here are some things you need to study before going to that country you’re visiting:

  • Road Right of Way
  • Driving Side
  • Overtaking Laws
  • Drunk-Driving Laws
  • Driving While Distracted Laws

It is highly recommended that you study the road rules of the country and road conditions which you can expect before traveling there. Moreover, learning a few words in that foreign country, in case they don’t speak English, could come in helpful when asking assistance from the locals in that country.

Noah Murphy

I have a great interest in travel, adventure and politics. I moved to Australia age 25 from England. From a young age I have always viewed the world as an opportunity. My travel and current affairs writing offers me a opportunity, my approach to life is a shared learning journey, were we meet many travelers along their life's journey, what matters to me is capturing the moments. I reflect, grow and share as much as possible on my journey towards self actualization.

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