Recently one of our Global Gals reached out to ask us what our thoughts were about renting a car overseas. They were in Israel on a guided bus tour and were finding the schedule ‘grueling’ with several hours being spent on the bus each day. Because of this, they were considering whether or not they should just rent a car and go it alone…
We posed several questions for them to consider before doing so, so that they could make the best decision for themselves—taking into account their experience, risk-tolerance, understanding of potential liability, financial aspects, and so forth.
- Do you have previous experience driving in a foreign country?
- Do they drive on the left or right side of the road in that country?
- Is the steering wheel on the left or right side of the car?
- If you rent a car, do you need an international driver’s license or would your home driver’s license be sufficient?
- Do you know the local traffic laws, road signs, etc.?
- Are you able to pick the car up in one location and drop it off in another (if needed)? Some car rental companies don’t allow this, or if they do it will be at a really expensive price.
- Does your travel insurance cover liability, damage, collision, etc. if you get into an accident? And do you have enough medical evacuation and health insurance as well?
- Does your insurance company back in the U.S. cover you overseas when you rent a car?
- Do you feel comfortable driving in large cities or unfamiliar locations?
- Do you speak the local language?
- If you’re in an auto accident, what is the proper way to report it to the police or authorities?
Here at Global Gals we teach you to consider such questions BEFORE a situation like this occurs. At this point, they may not even be able to rent a car if they want to because they weren’t prepared or lacked the necessary documentation like an International Driver’s License, which is sometimes required.
Also, in their situation there are many questions they needed to have considered BEFORE they even booked the tour (which is what we teach our Global Gals—remember knowledge is power and it can prevent a lot of stress, frustration, and disappointment on that dream trip.)
For example, they might have asked themselves before booking a guided bus tour:
- Have you ever been on one? Do you know what to expect?
- What is the itinerary like? How long are you driving from point A to B vs. spending time in each place?
- Is the tour fast-paced, seeing lots of things in a short time? Or does it go at a leisurely pace with lots of free time? Do you have a preference?
- Do you like traveling with lots of people in a group (not everyone does)?
- Do you fully understand the pros and cons of a guided tour vs. going on your own?
- Do you prefer to see many things in a short amount time or to take your time wherever you go?
I remember my in-laws going on their “dream trip” to Ireland after they retired, and while they loved it they did talk about the challenges they had had as well—getting up early every day, packing/unpacking, long days, being around the same people all the time, not having time to really relax and enjoy each stop making them feel rushed.
While everyone may want to see 10 cities in Europe in 10 days, see all of the Holy Land, or cover as much of Australia as they can on that once-in-a-lifetime trip, you really need to ask yourself all of these questions beforehand. The good news is that Global Gals offers several LIVE and on-demand webinars which cover these questions and are designed to help you feel more prepared, knowledgeable, and better able to set realistic expectations. For more info, see www.globalgals.com/seminars.
Written by Chief Global Gal Brenda