12 tips for renting a car abroad

by Ale Werner
12 consejos para arrendar un auto en el extranjero

Leasing a car abroad can have many advantages, as you can read in this post. However, you must be very well informed of the laws in force, what to expect at the time of the lease and how to avoid bad situations and fines. We have leased cars and motorhomes in more than 10 cities in the world, and here we give you our best tips so you have the best experience!

1. Calculating the cost of transfers vs a car

When we think about saving when renting a car abroad, you must go much further. It is not enough to compare the price of the rent for the necessary days with the tickets and tours that you will avoid paying. Think about the itinerary and find out the cost of gasoline, tolls, and parking that you must pay as well.

For example, we leased a car in Italy for 5 dollars a day for 14 days; but instead of 70 dollars, we ended up spending more than 500. We traveled a couple of thousand kilometers and the road tolls in Europe are very expensive. Luckily we look for accommodations with parking lots, if not the number would have continued to increase.

Car road on Positano

2. How to quote the best alternative

There are several platforms for making quotes in several companies that rent cars abroad at the same time. The ones we like the most and where we find the best prices are Rentalcars y Expedia. Quote in both before making a decision and read the fine print, there are some companies that charge mandatory insurance, include restrictions on the age of drivers, types of licenses, collection and delivery times and other issues that may affect you.

It is also necessary that you understand what kind of streets and roads you will be driving, in addition to the weather. If you are going to drive in mountains or with snow, then you should rent a jeep or truck with traction. Do not risk renting always the cheapest.

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3. Times and places of delivery

The cost of leasing the cars in other countries is per day of use, thinking in 24 hours. If, for example, you rent it today at 09:00 a.m. and return it tomorrow at 07:00 a.m., you will charge only one day of use. If you return it tomorrow at 11:00 am then you will be charged two full days. You must calculate very well the arrival times of your flight and departure to the next to avoid having to pay unnecessary days.

Regarding the places of collection and delivery, keep in mind that prices go up considerably when they are different. There are quite high extra fees if you want to return the car in a different city from the one you took it initially, so it may be convenient to make the return trip as long as it is not too many kilometers or too long.

carretera gigante en dubai

4. International licenses

Most car rental companies do not require international licenses if your country is written in Roman alphabet, ie as you see in this text. If your license is written in Chinese, for example, then you would need an international license.

You can find out more about this topic by asking the company to decide to lease your car.

5. Insurance

No one is accident-free… some companies require you to hire or have an insurance to rent their cars abroad. If you do not have one (our credit card includes ours, for example) then you will have to pay extra for each lease day.

There are also countries that require mandatory insurance against damages to third parties for all tenants, regardless of what you have. For example, it happened to us in Israel; We leased for $ 4 a day but ended up paying more than double for that famous insurance. Check the regulations of your country of destination well if you are short of budget and do not want surprises.

Not only does your car need insurance, remember that you must always have one. Here we tell you why.

6. Payment of the security deposit

Most car rental companies (if not all) demand to pay a deposit as insurance in case of accidents. This can go between 200 to 1000 dollars or more. For this you need a credit card; the system will “block” the amount of your quota for the duration of the car lease. The moment you return it, the amount is automatically unlocked and absolutely nothing is charged.

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7. The driver must be the same cardholder

Some companies require that the driver be the same person who pays for the rental of the car and leaves the deposit document in case of accidents.

8. Take photographs for safety

Check the car perfectly when it is delivered, ideally in the eyes of a worker of the company. Ask him to write down each scratch as small as it may be and take pictures of any crash, scratch or problem you may find in the car; inside and outside. There are thousands of cases in which accidents are claimed from the previous tenant, all because the new one did not check everything well.

donde ir de vacaciones

9. Maps

Even if your leased car brings an integrated map, always have another one on your cell phone on hand. We recommend the maps.me application to download the map of the area you will travel. You can see it without an internet connection, it has all the tourist sites and roads perfectly marked and show your location second by second.

Do not run the risk of losing yourself, especially on desert or less traveled roads. If you rent a car abroad you are in unknown territory.

10. Find out the laws and regulations of the roads and cities where you are driving

It is your responsibility to be informed of the traffic laws and parking of your destinations when you rent a car abroad. There are cities that have “limited traffic zones” where only residents can circulate, in general, we speak of historical centers. There are also parking lots only for residents, which have their patents registered in a special system that when the police officers check they can see if they are ok or not.

Some countries do not mark the maximum speeds in streets and highways; not because they do not exist, but because they should be known by the entire population.

You can ask for all these issues in the same company that you lease the car, so you leave doubts and avoid fines.

Fines can arrive at your home until months after you returned the car, and they may not even leave a piece of paper on the glass warning you of it. They stay in the system and reach your mail when you least expect it … so comply with the rules.

mosaicos en Palm Dubai carretera

11. Payment of tolls and fines.

Some companies include within their services to pay the toll collection and then charge them to your credit card. In other cases, you must register the car’s license for the time you rent it to avoid charging fines for not paying the tolls.

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Find out if there are these types of tolls on the roads you will travel and how you should pay them.

12. Border crossing

Not all companies allow cross borders between countries in their rented cars. So, if it is in your plans to change countries, find out this and ask where the necessary documents are before paying.

Not a car person? Then maybe renting a motorcycle is a better alternative. Here we give you our best tips for renting a motorcycle. They are for Southeast Asia but apply to any country in the world.

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