Renting a Car Abroad
There is no better way to really appreciate and explore a country than on a road trip. Problem is it can get complicated quickly and if you are looking at buying a car rather than renting, it can get even harder. Caleb and I been on road trips around the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and each destinations had their own list of problems and hurdles to overcome.

Below is some information to help you get started on planning and preparing for a road trip. For smaller road-trips in places like New Zealand and the United Kingdom renting a vehicle makes more sense.
The cost of renting a car or campervan is relatively cheap and there are plenty of companies to choose from which means you can get competitive prices.
Insurance is a good option if you heading off-road and a lot of companies also have road side assistance included. If it doesn’t have it included, it’s worth getting in case you break down. Your credit-card may have insurance already included or you may have insurance set up with your bank which will cover you as well. Alternatively certain types of travel insurance cover car rentals as well.

  • You must be 21 years old to rent a car or campervan in most countries, however some countries like Australia requires you to be 25 years or older, additional driver’s usually have to be 25 years and older as well and will be charged a low rate per day.

  • Most car rental companies will accept a foreign driver’s license. However it’s not a bad idea to apply for an international driver’s license or permit before you leave, this license allows you to drive in foreign countries and will translate your license if you are travelling to a country where your native language is not spoken.

  • Make sure that both your permit and license are valid and won’t be due to expire within the rental time. Many companies will only accept a credit card for payment or will require a large deposit from your debit card which will be released when you return the vehicle. Read the terms and conditions of your rental carefully, so you understand what you may be liable for.

  • Most companies will charge a large fee if they find you have been smoking in the vehicle.

  • You will need identification, so bring your passport. You are responsible for paying for fuel and almost always the car must be returned with a full tank.

The cost of purchasing a van, including insurance for 6 months, plates, registration, paperwork, road worthy certificates and taking it to a mechanic to check it was safe and ready to go, costs between $2000-$4000USD and you keep the car immaculate you should be able to sell it for the same price paid. If you make any alterations to the vehicle you should look to sell if for ¾ of the price paid.

If you are going to buy a car for a road trip, it is worth looking at making it your primary accommodation to cut costs. For this reason, it is in your best interest to buy van or larger 4WD. Rip out the back seats and build a frame for the bed in the back or put a mattress straight in. You can still sell the car for good money with the alterations in places like hostels and craigslist as many people will be looking for a car that is road-trip ready. Alternatively, bring a good quality tent, and find free or cheap campsites you can stay at.

Planning your route:
It is wise to plan out your journey before you set off, or at least have an idea of where you would like to go. Consider how much you want to spend for your trip, how long you plan on taking and what is most important for you to do. Your first couple of drives should be easy, so that you can gauge what kind of distances you can drive per day and as a result it should help you manage your time.
Useful Apps and websites:

  • Road-trippers – This will help you manage your journey and help you find places of interest.
  • Along the way (Mobile) – Will help you locate rest-stops, grocery stores and other amenities on your journey.
  • Rent-a-bomb – They come under all sorts of names across the globe. But they are essentially cheap rental services.
  • Gasbuddy – will help you find a petrol station.
  • Craigslist – to buy and sell
  • AAA – For road side assistance
  • Google Maps – To find your way
  • Trip-it (Mobile) – To log accommodations, sites and routes
  • – To find a cheap place to stay on the fly
  • Stay-du – To meet up with people along the way and potentially have a free place to stay
  • – To find cheap or free campsites
  • – Where you can pitch a tent in some-ones garden    
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