5 Tips for Renting a Car Abroad

Posted on 2nd July 2021

Renting a car abroad can often lead to exciting adventures, memorable road trips, and the chance to really get to know a place. But before you set off, there are a few things that you might want to consider to help avoid some of the bigger costs that could be incurred if you aren’t careful. So here are our top tips on how to rent a car abroad without running up a huge bill.

  1. Shop around
    Rental prices from different providers can vary quite a bit, and the prices for different models of car even more so. So don’t be tempted to go with the first one you come across. Take the time to shop around, consider what size of car you really need - as you’d expect the fancier the model the higher the cost. You’ll also typically pay a little more for automatics, so if this is something you’d want to opt for be prepared to factor in a little more cost for that. It’s also worth noting that rental prices will vary hugely from country to country. In Portugal, for example, a week's rental could cost you around £200, whereas the same car in say, Sardinia could be as much as triple that. 

  1. Get your paperwork in order
    When driving abroad it’s typically advised to always carry your license and passport with you in the car. But that’s not all you’ll need. Making sure you have the correct insurance coverage is vital if you want to avoid any huge bills. Some drivers will find that their insurance coverage for their car at home also covers them for driving in Europe. It’s worth checking this because you purchase additional insurance as it’s more common to have it already included than you might think.

Aerial view of a coastline with a busy road going along side it

  1. Check the rules
    It goes without saying that you’ll need to check which is the correct side of the road to drive, but there are other rules to check that go beyond that. It’s worth having a quick read up on the driving laws of the country you’re travelling to such as who has right of way on a roundabout for example, it will only take a few minutes and save you from some potentially hairy situations. It’s also worth checking if you’re definitely within the age range the rental company will rent a car to. If you’re below 25 you might find with certain companies that you won’t make the cut.

  1. Prepare for hidden costs
    When budgeting for the car rental portion of your holiday, remember to factor in additional costs such as tolls, additional drivers, cleaning charges or costs to add a sat nav or child seat. You won’t necessarily always be charged for these, but it’s advisable to check where you stand in advance.

  1. Inspect the car thoroughly
    Finally, we can’t stress enough to check your car thoroughly before leaving the car park. Take photos, videos and whatever else you need to do to record the damage already done to the car. Your future self will be grateful - trust us!

Get car finance in 60 seconds