Each country has its own rules. Below are a few items that you may want to consider.
You may want an international driver’s license or permit in addition to your U.S. driver’s license.
Some countries charge a fee for a permit that allows you to drive on their roads.
On some occasions, the rental agreement may not be in English. Ask if they have at least an explanation of contract terms available in English. Try to find an English speaking counter agent if possible, to assist you before you leave.
Remember, your personal insurance or credit card coverage may not be valid in some countries. You may need to purchase extra coverage.
Be aware that most rental cars outside the U.S. are much smaller than we are accustomed to.
Most foreign rentals have manual transmission automobiles.
A car with air-conditioning may be hard to get and is probably considered an upgrade, with an additional cost.
Road signs may be confusing, due to unfamiliar language and the types, colors and shapes of signs often are different from those in the U.S.
Sometimes the direction of lanes may be opposite of those in the U.S.
Road conditions are often much worse than in our country.
Gauges probably will read in the metric system. Remember, 100 kilometers equals about 60 miles.
Gasoline or petrol is usually more expensive and is sold by the liter, 3.78 liters equalling 1 gallon.
Most foreign countries assess higher taxes on rentals than in the U.S.
Fuel prices are higher than ours, although not as dramatically as a few years ago.
Some countries have both a minimum and a maximum rental age restriction.
Many companies will rental to those less than 25 but over 21. They will charge a daily surcharge between $5.00 to $25.00 a day.
The minimum age and surcharge policies vary from company to company and sometimes even between different locations.
Shop around to find out who will rent to you and also their surcharge fee.
Many companies that have a policy of renting only to those over 25, have agreements with certain corporate accounts that permit renting to younger employees on business. Often they will waive surcharges for those employees. The company employees are usually limited to renting the car for business purposes only. Check with the company or your corporate travel department to see if you are eligible.
U.S. Government employees or military personnel as young as 18 years old can usually rent, if on official business and traveling with orders
No, not always. Most companies allow you to drop the car at another of their other locations. Sometimes even in other states.
Ask about each individual case to see if it is allowed.
Make sure that you find out about the cost involved since there is usually a charge for this convenience.
Some companies discount the "drop charges" between two popular locations.
Often companies offer low rates if they need the car moved to the other location. Seasonality affects rental fleets. Some are moved south to north for the summer and north to south for the winter. If you happen to be going the right way you may find some very good deals.
Try the American Automobile Association’s International Driving Permit web page. The site contains information on how to get an International Driving Permit. This may be used in conjunction with your valid U.S. driver’s license and is valid in 150 countries. Check out the site’s IDP FAQ link for further information.
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