Maybe it’s that sense of familiarity. Perhaps it’s an intimacy which has been developed through years of having your hands on each other. Or could it simply be a laziness about looking for a better model? Whatever the reason, it’s certainly true that most of us prefer our own wheels when driving abroad.
But what if you currently don’t own a car and need to rent, instead? Well, in some countries, the steering wheel and the gearbox might be on the opposite side. As such, it might take a while for you to get accustomed to the car no matter how good a driver you are. Because of this, another option has been gaining traction in recent years; leasing a car on home turf, getting used to it, and then taking it on the road on the continent, confident. Should you be curious about the feasibility of this, then read on; our 4 IDEAL tips for using your lease car abroad.
GET THE RELEVANT PERMISSIONS
To travel by your lease car abroad, you need to get the relevant documents to present to the authorities in a particular country. Usually, when driving to, and in, a foreign country, you’ll have to provide the authorities with proof that the vehicle is yours or you have the correct permissions to have leased it and left the country.
If you’re traveling by a lease car, you’ll need written permission from your personal car leasing company to drive the vehicle into another country. Remember traveling abroad will mean covering more mileage so ask about this and how it will affect your lease as well; some companies will put a cap on the amount of distance you can cover.
INSURANCE & BREAKDOWN
As the driver and contract holder, it’s crucial to make sure that your car has proper breakdown and insurance cover. Additionally, make sure that your cover is valid in the country you’re going to. If it isn’t, then the whole exercise is pointless. Some companies offer the most basic protection when traveling abroad, so be aware and make the necessary changes and adjustments before leaving.
If you’re traveling by a company car, be sure to go through your company policies to know to what extent you’re covered. You should note that you might incur some out of pocket costs when adding on to your insurance cover.
ALWAYS CARRY THE CORRECT PAPERWORK
Besides having written permission from your rental company, you’ll need other documents such as a valid driving license, passport, work permit, or visa, depending on the purpose of your visit. Most importantly, you need to know if you have the right type of license. You can currently use your GB or Northern Ireland driving licence in all EU or European Economic Area (EEA) countries, and Switzerland. Brexit-willing, these rules will stay the same. However, if you’re driving outside the EU/EEA you may need an international driving permit. You can get one from the AA, the RAC of the Post Office.
FAMILIARISE YOURSELF WITH LOCAL DRIVING LAWS
From one country to the next, each nation across the globe will have their unique set of traffic laws, some familiar, some obscure. In Switzerland, for instance, you’re not allowed to wash your car on a Sunday; so hands away from the soap and bucket! In Germany, it’s permitted to drive in nothing but your shoes; marvellous news.
Laws may differ from town to province and city, too, so you need to make sure you’re well prepared. By learning all you can about the specific rules of the road where you plan to go, such as seatbelt use, speed limits, and blood alcohol levels, you’ll avoid any hiccups (yep, stay away from the booze) with the local police. And unlike the UK, driving on the right-hand side of the road is universal throughout continental Europe. But you knew that already, right?