Sometimes hiring a car when abroad is unavoidable. You want to be able to explore the area without relying on excursions and public transport. Or perhaps you’re avoiding the costs of flights this year and relying on a vehicle instead. But, how can you keep costs low when driving abroad?
Taking your own car
It might sound like a hassle, but often taking your own car abroad is cost-effective and straight forward. First of all, you save on the cost of hiring abroad. You have more flexibility as to what times you can travel and how far you can go too.
Make sure that you inform your insurance company if you are taking your car abroad and for how long, as you could have to pay an additional premium. You also must consider breakdown cover; many companies extend their cover to Continental driving. Although new cars are becoming more reliable, there is still a chance that it could fail you when you’re abroad. This can add reassurance to your trip too, which never goes a miss.
There might be extra kit that you need when driving abroad too. In Spain, you must have replacement headlamp bulbs and in Greece, a fire extinguisher and first-aid kit. Be prepared to avoid facing a fine.
Planning ahead can help avoid unexpected costs. You could spend hours driving and finding your way if you don’t have a set route — racking up a heavy petrol cost. Journey planning can also allow you to avoid toll roads. These again can add unwanted costs to your holiday and sometimes are avoidable.
Do your research on fuel prices too — look online or enquire as soon as you arrive. In the midst of budgeting for food, drink and day-trips, you might forget to think about the cost of fuel. It’s likely that it will be different to the price in the UK and it’s always best to be prepared.
As well as getting used to driving on the opposite side of the road in some countries, you must be extra aware of the country’s rules to follow.
There could be different speed limits, for example. Be aware that speeds might be shown in km rather than miles, so familiarise yourself with the conversion rate. The speed limits in built-up areas in the UK might be different to those in housing areas abroad. Similarly, motorway speeds could vary. If you’re travelling through a few countries in one journey, be aware that speed limits could change as you cross the border as well.
In most of Europe, police can issue on-the-spot fines for going over the limit — an unwanted cost that can be avoided with vigilance.
As we can see, there are a range of ways to save money when driving abroad. It’s mostly about being fully prepared before you go, planning your routes and being aware of the new rules of the road. Follow these tips to avoid unwanted fines and unintentional costs.