Hiring a vehicle abroad

Blog post posted on 11/05/16 |

Planning a road trip for your next holiday abroad? Then be sure to read our latest tips from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman, who will guide you through hiring a vehicle abroad.

  • Take some time out to familiarise yourself with the rules and laws of the country you’ll be travelling to. The European Commission’s website has everything you need to know about differing regulations across continental Europe: http://bit.ly/1fUlidw.
  • Don’t forget to go online and get a 'check code' for your driving licence up to 72 hours before you travel: http://bit.ly/1Mes73Q. This is so you can give it to the hire car company if they ask for it. Codes are valid for 21 days, and can only be used once - so if you will be making more than one hire, you need to get more than one code.
  • Upon collection, give the car a thorough inspection. If you spot any signs of wear and tear, damage to the bodywork, windscreen or wheels inform the rental company. If you’re still not 100% happy, don’t be afraid to ask for another vehicle.
  • Keep some handy telephone numbers with you – particularly of a breakdown recovery service in case of an emergency. And should you inadvertently find yourself on the wrong side of the law, the Foreign Office has some useful information about what you should do: http://bit.ly/1giXBwX.
  • Pack your sat nav and programme in your destination beforehand. But don’t forget to switch off any speed camera information as it is illegal to use in many countries.

Richard said: “It’s an easy one to overlook, when you’re trying to fit your suitcases in the car and the kids need the loo. Again, always check the boot before you drive off. Some countries require a warning triangle by law. Others a high-vis jacket. Do your homework so you know what you need. And make sure you’re given it.  

”Also, if you have a smartphone take some pictures of all four sides of your hire car beforehand – this can be useful evidence if any damage claims arise. Have a read of the small print in the hire agreement so you know exactly what is covered, who can drive and what the excess will be. Most importantly, enjoy the drive – happy travelling!”