The first thing you must do before renting a car abroad is to obtain an international driver license or permit. Do this well in advance of commencing with your trip. Once you have got it, you can start with the rental process of your vehicle.
Plan well to give yourself ample time to secure the vehicle that you want. Your desired vehicle will not only provide you with peace of mind, but the process will also save you money. You will then have a choice between different types of vehicles from various rental companies. You will also be able to compare the different rental companies' fine print with each other. If you do not plan and pitch up at the first rental company, they will overcharge you almost every time. Your vehicle choice might not be available, and after a long flight, you would not be interested in reading the fine print anymore.
Once you have received your vehicle, go through the following checklist with care:
Accidents and breakdowns - ask what you should do if you have an accident, breakdown or when the car is stolen, and make sure you have an emergency contact number. If you can, additional insurance chooses comprehensive damage cover without excess but check what is covered.
Age restrictions - there are no general rules, but you may come across a minimum, maybe 21 or 25 years, or maximum age.
Credit card and documents - you can not rent a car without a credit card, and the card must have sufficient funds. It would be best if you had your international driver license or permit. Getting an international driver permit allows you to easily get around in a foreign country.
Controls - if any switches or controls do not appear to work or you do not understand them, ask for help.
Damage - check the car carefully, and make sure any damage appears on the rental agreement. You may even take some photos of the damage.
Fuel - keep fuel receipts in case there is an issue later. It is a good idea to take a picture of the fuel gauge when you leave the car.
Mileage limits - make sure that any daily mileage limit is enough.
Rules of the road - check the road's local laws, so you know if you have to carry things like a warning triangle or reflective jackets in the car.
Theft insurance - recommended if not included in the comprehensive insurance.
Tolls - keep toll receipts so you can prove you have paid if there is any doubt later.
Speed limits differ in different countries. In some countries, they are guidelines, and elsewhere they are very rigorously enforced. Be alert and keep your eyes on the various road signs.
Ensure that you choose the right vehicle to hire
Are you traveling with children or a lot of gear? Choose a large sedan or SUV. Remember, European cars are smaller. Be sure to order the size you need in case you do not get an upgrade. Looking to save money on rental rates and gas? Reserve the smallest available model. Make sure about any age restrictions regarding drivers of rental vehicles.
In many countries, manual transmissions are the norm, and you'll have to pay a premium for an automatic and reserve it in advance. Familiarize yourself with the local rules of the road long before you get there. Know which side of the road to drive on, who has the right of way in a traffic circle, and whether you're permitted to turn right (or left, in some countries) on a red light.
This information can be found in an up-to-date guidebook. Smartphone mapping apps can be expensive to use and hard to access, depending on your cell phone plan. Take a printed road map as a backup. Renting a GPS unit from your rental car company is another option; set it to English if you don't know the local language.
Having only one driver reduces the cost hugely, but you might want to consider adding a second driver. Make sure what your car hire company rules are.