Driving Abroad for the First Time: 6 Things you Need to Know

Driving abroad, for the first time, can be a daunting experience. However, there are a few steps you can take to avoid the possible problems that might occur. Plan for an international driver license, a permit that will allow you to easily get around the new city legally. 


drive in a foreign country


I’ve driven in many countries around the world with rental cars, and I can’t say it was a great experience every time (in this article I talk about my experience in Armenia), but with some simple attitudes it is possible to do well in most countries driving abroad and it’s really something I recommend in most situations.

But first of all, plan an international driver’s license. This is a license that will allow you to get around the destination easily, you can easily find companies providing this service online.

Your newly acquired license will give you some peace of mind. Travelers who are driving have more control over their time and attractions to see during their trip. Below, I will be listed some tips for driving abroad for the first timer:

Driving travelers have more control over their interactions with other people, the attractions they will visit, and their travel itinerary in general. Below are some tips for driving abroad for the first time, and our indications of the 5 best and cheapest sites to compare and rent cars around the world:


    1. Get Used to the car (the ideal would be to rent the same model you are using at home).

Before you start your first drive abroad, sit in the car for a bit, and take your time to familiarize yourself with it. Find out where all the controls are, and make sure your mirrors and your seat are correctly adjusted. To become more confident, consider driving around a quiet parking lot, which is a great way to practice the auxiliary controls and further familiarize yourself with the car.

Laws differ from one country to another, making it wise to do your research before you start driving abroad. In some countries, traffic already on a roundabout has the right of way; in other countries, traffic entering the roundabout has it, while vehicles already on the roundabout must yield.


    2. Opt for an Automatic Car, if possible, a small car

My number one tip for anyone driving abroad for the first time. It is a bit more expensive, but I can’t tell you how much easier it made things. It means you can concentrate on the road rather than stress. Because you will be nervous about driving in a foreign place, opting for an automatic car, which is almost impossible to stall, might be an excellent choice. 

Familiarize yourself with some of the road rules beforehand. Pay attention to the road. Depending on the country you will be driving in, you might find that the drivers are more aggressive than those back home. However, it would help if you did not let them intimidate you and not respond to any rude gestures, no matter how tempting it is.


    3. Stay in the Slow Lane while driving abroad

When driving abroad for the first time, it is quite natural to feel anxious. If you want to feel relaxed when going, you should move at your own pace on the slow lane. Once you feel ready to drive on the faster roadways, move over. If you feel nervous about switching lanes, wait for a significant gap in traffic before you do it. 

No matter how short your drive is, make sure you take a break whenever you feel your concentration lapsing. A quick nap at a service station and a cup of coffee can do wonders and will help you feel more awake.


    4. Do not Be Over-Ambitious

Try to avoid long drives when driving for the first time in a foreign country. Opt for shorter purposes until you gain enough confidence to go for more extended periods.

And if possible, take your first drive abroad when the weather is good.


    5. Request a GPS (or download an offline map on your phone)

When driving abroad, getting lost is one of the biggest concerns that people have. If you are worried about losing your way, consider asking for a GPS from the rental company. Not only will a GPS help you to avoid arguments over destinations, but it will also help you to find some must-see attractions on your own. 

With a GPS, you will be able to enjoy your trip peacefully without the fear of getting lost in foreign territory. Alternatively, if your mobile phone works in the country you are traveling to and you have enough data, Google Maps usually is what I use to find my way around.

But you can also download the map of the city you are visiting before the trip, and use it offline once you are there.  


drive in a foreign country


    6. Driving Abroad Safely and With Confidence.

Understandably, most people are anxious about driving abroad. The above tips will help you to feel more confident as you move around a foreign country. And of course, the more often you go abroad, the easier it becomes. So, take your time, and your experience driving abroad for the first time will be fine!


Best car rental sites around the world

To help you drive abroad for the first time, we have listed here the 5 best sites for renting cars around the world. I know that this process of choosing a company, insurance and which extras to choose may seem like a concern. But do not worry! We’re here to help make this experience easier.

Here are the top 5 sites for renting cars on international trips:


If you want to know more about important information when renting a car, insurance against theft and accidents, among other tips. Check out our article with 5 Best and Cheapest Sites to Compare and Rent Cars Around the World.


Concluding …

Driving abroad can seem daunting, but we hope that with our tips you will feel more prepared to live this experience and enjoy the benefits of having a vehicle at your disposal during your international trip.

And remember, always research the laws in force in the country you are going to visit and do not forget to provide the necessary documentation to drive abroad.

If you have any doubts regarding our tips, car rental, traffic laws, necessary documentation to drive abroad, or any other topic. Do not hesitate to write in the comments, we always strive to help the most in any problem!


Before you leave… Check out some articles that may be of interest to you:

5 Best and Cheapest Websites to Compare and Rent Cars Around the World

The 13 Most Incredible Road Trips in the World!

14 Essential Things to Consider Before Renting a Car for Your Trip

9 Tips to Save on Your First Rental Car


Planning your next trip?


simbolo cruz vermelha Then don’t forget travel insurance! You don’t want to get stuck paying a ton of money and ruining your trip if you get sick or have an accident without travel insurance. WorldNomads is ideal for adventurous travelers, backpackers, or anyone looking to be protected during their trip. They cover almost every single activity you can image! Plus, you can have a 5% discount with the coupon code comfort5.


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Already reserved your hotel or hostel? If not, we recommend Booking.com. They have a huge selection of hotels and hostels all over the world. Plus, in most cases, you can cancel your reservation without any costs up to a few days before the check-in date! 


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Still haven’t booked your plane ticket and want to save big? Take a look at Momondo and Kayak. They are flight aggregators that combine several other ticket search websites to make it easier for you to compare prices and make sure you are getting the best deal. 


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And finally, will you need to rent a car during your trip? Then check out Rentalcar.com to search and compare car rental companies from all over the world in a single website. Then, you can find the cheapest price for the best car!


One Response

  1. 7 Best Tips on How To Find The Right Rental Car - The Art of Backpacking & Adventures to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

    […] small and narrow streets which aren’t suitable for large vehicles. Renting a smaller vehicle when traveling to such countries is more advisable than choosing larger […]

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