Following more than two years of living through a global pandemic, the chance to finally jet off and explore the world this summer is something that surely can’t come soon enough for many travellers.
For those who may feel restricted by the offerings of all-inclusive hotels and resorts, the opportunity to hire a car and explore a chosen destination on their own terms is a huge lure, so how straightforward is the process?
By planning in advance and making sure you have everything you need, you can relax and enjoy your holiday and the freedom of being out on the open road in a new environment.
- Ensure you know what documentation is required
It hopefully goes without saying that anyone hoping to hire a car abroad will need to show proof of their driving licence before they can drive away. The paper counterpart is not valid proof, but the plastic photo card will suffice, and it’s also likely you will need to provide a driving licence check code.
A DVLA licence check code is a personal code that you can request from the DVLA up to 21 days ahead of travel if you are planning to hire a car whilst abroad. It allows hire firms to check for points on your licence.
Other vital documents to provide if planning to drive abroad this summer include your passport and travel insurance documents.
- Ensure you meet age requirements
No one likes to be disappointed and told they can’t do something they were excited about, so first and foremost it’s wise to make sure that you’ll be able to hire a car in the country or area that you are travelling to.
Around the world, there are various minimum and maximum age limits for hiring a car, and additional fees may be imposed that will increase overall costs. Drivers aged 26 and below may find themselves charged an additional daily fee, commonly known as the “Young Driver Fee”.
While requirements related to car hires vary according to country and hire company, typical age limits in some of the most popular holiday destinations for Britons are as follows:
- France – 21 years old (no upper age limit)
- Spain – 21 years old (no upper age limit)
- Germany – 21 years old (no upper age limit)
- Greece – 21 years old (maximum rental age is 75)
- Portugal – 18 years old (maximum rental age is 80)
- Italy- 19 years old (no upper age limit)
- Shop around for the best hiring companies and avoid hidden costs
With various media outlets reporting that the cost of car hires abroad has doubled this year, it’s never been more important to ensure you shop around for the best car hire companies to suit your requirements.
Several of the most famous car rental with a debit card in the UK, including Hertz, Europcar, Enterprise and Avis will operate overseas, and you’re likely to be able to find these recognisable brands at most international airports.
However, to make the process of landing and exiting the airport to begin your long-awaited holiday as smooth and stress-free as possible, you should choose and book a hire car before travelling.
As well as saving time by not having to queue unnecessarily, booking in advance should also mean you are able to secure your desired car make or model for less money by searching around for a deal or special offer in advance.
- Research local laws and driving regulations of your destination
Depending on the country you are visiting and how long you plan on staying, you may need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in some countries abroad. In order to receive an IDP, you will need to have a Great Britain or Northern Ireland driving licence.
There are currently 3 different types of IDP (1926, 1949 and 1968), and holiday destinations that currently require one include:
- Australia (1949)
- Barbados (1949)
- Canada (1949)
- Egypt (1949)
- Israel (1968)
- Jamaica (1949)
- Mexico (1926)
- Morocco (1968)
- New Zealand (1949)
- South Africa (1968)
- Turkey (1968)
- United Arab Emirates (1968)
- United States (1949)
- Check any pandemic-related restrictions ahead of travel
Despite the fact that many countries have now returned to a ‘business as usual’ approach as far as tourism is concerned, it is still wise to ensure that you are aware of the specific laws in the country you’re travelling to and any rules set by the car hire company. This is especially important when it comes to the potential wearing of face masks and COVID testing procedures/vaccination status.