Should you hire a car overseas?

Getting around on your overseas holiday presents a number of options. You can forge out on your own by hiring a car, but there are always some inherent risks. Whereas if you stick with public transport or tour groups, you can find it difficult to get off the beaten track.

Here is our list of the pros and cons of hiring a car overseas to help you make your decision for your next holiday.

PRO
Freedom and flexibility

If you don’t want to be stuck to a hard and fast itinerary, car hire is definitely the way to go. Arrive at your destination in your own time, stay longer in places that have tickled your fancy or taken you by surprise, or get away from a city that isn’t living up to expectations.

Money-saving option
Depending on where you are travelling, hiring a car can sometimes be the cheaper option, especially if your alternative, when getting around cities, is with taxis or Uber. Countries with vast distances between tourist hotspots, like Canada and the United States, can make hiring a car the more cost-effective option.

Save your back
Not having to cart your luggage from one mode of transport to another is perhaps the best reason to consider hiring a car. The longer your holiday, the more luggage you are likely to pack, and the more appealing car hire will become.

CONS
City driving

Even in your home environment, city driving can be difficult. Once you add in an unfamiliar car, potentially driving on the other side of the road, and different road laws and behaviours, this can really test your ability behind the wheel – and potentially your relationship. There is also the added expense of parking and the trouble of finding parking once you’ve reached your destination.

Getting lost
If you are going to hire a car, make sure you invest in a good GPS device for the journey. You may think you will be able to rely on your smartphone to perform this function, but if you happen to lose your signal, you will need to have a very good sense of direction to find your way. Of course, getting lost could also add to the sense of adventure on your holiday, and may lead you to discover unexpected highlights.

Drinking problem
One of the most important things about going on holidays is letting your hair down and if that means having a few drinks, car hire is probably not for you. Getting around the wine regions of France is so much easier with a car, but it defeats the purpose if the driver has to stay dry during the day. Bus tours have a distinct advantage in this regard.

Have you ever hired a car when travelling overseas? Would you do it again? How did you find the experience?

Related articles:
Avoiding car hire problems
Travel insurance and car hire
Driving the sublime Cabot Trail

Written by Ben

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