Car Rental Hacks Abroad

In this article, we’ve compiled all of our best tips, tricks, and hacks when it comes to renting a car abroad.


There are infinite rental car companies out there, and renting a car while abroad is a great way to get around and explore the local scene! Oftentimes, bringing your own car abroad is a huge hassle. When you rent a car abroad, you can simply focus on your vacation and not worry too much about how you’re going to lug your car around in a place that’s unfamiliar to you.

That being said, car rental can occasionally be tricky, especially when you’re abroad. There are a number of things you’re going to want to keep in mind, and it’s a good idea to do plenty of research beforehand as well. For example, you might not be sure whether you want to rent a petrol car or an electric car like the Kia EV6 or the Tesla Model 3. In this article, we’ve compiled all of our best tips, tricks, and hacks when it comes to renting a car abroad. Keep reading to find out more!

Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3

Always Book in Advance

When it comes to traveling abroad, there is something oddly satisfying about a full, well-organized itinerary. Planning ahead doesn’t come easily to everyone, so don’t hesitate to ask a friend to help you out with this! It’s smart to plan out your trip abroad to the fullest — including details concerning when and where you are going to rent a car when you need one. This is also a good way to do price comparisons of the different car rental companies in the areas you’ll be visiting.

Read the Fine Print

Car rental companies aren’t inherently manipulative, but they can be if you’re not careful. Sometimes, what seems to be the cheapest option could end up being awfully expensive with all of the hidden extra charges rental companies may try to add to your bill. To avoid this, make sure you read the contract carefully. We know the lettering is small and not very fun to read. That’s how they get you! Some things you should always be on the lookout for before booking a car rental include excess charges, fuel policy, insurance details, and premium location fees.

Inspect the Rental Car Before and After Using It

When you rent a car, you’re going to want to take pictures of any scratches or dents you might see. This is mainly for self-protection purposes. You don’t want to accidentally get charged for damage you did not cause to the car, so it’s smart to have photographic evidence. You can also take pictures after you’re done using the car so that you have before and after photos of any pre-existing damage. It’s pretty common for people to accidentally scuff the boot of a rental car while loading their suitcase, so that’s definitely an area to focus on when you’re taking pictures.

Do Not Rely Solely on the Rental Company’s Navigation System

renting a car abroad

Instead, download Maps or a similar navigation app onto your phone. Most car rental companies will offer navigation services for an extra charge, but it’s much better to use a system you already know you can rely on. Car rental company navigation systems aren’t always great. They can be buggy, which can lead to you getting stranded in a place you’re not familiar with. If they offer this service to you, say “thanks, but no thanks” and go download Google Maps.

Always Carry All Paperwork and Credit Cards On Your Person At All Times

On that note, keep these things organized the best you can! You don’t want to be holding up a line at the car rental desk because you’re frantically shuffling through a mountain of paperwork. Not that there’s usually that much paperwork, but still. Most car rental companies will also require you to leave them a refundable deposit in case something happens to the car.

This means they will hold money from your account until you return the rental car. This money isn’t actually taken away, it’s just temporarily held. However, it could eat into your travel budget if you’re not careful. For this reason, it’s best to keep a credit card on hand for these refundable deposits. You’ll definitely thank yourself for it later!

Final Thoughts

Traveling abroad is a fun, once-in-a-lifetime experience. You can travel by yourself or bring the whole family! No matter what you decide to you, you’ll want to carefully plan out your car rental strategies. Hopefully, this list of hacks will make that process a little bit easier!

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Travel Begins at 40

Travel Begins at 40 Editor

Travel articles, news, special offers, festivals and events from the Travel Begins at 40 Editorial team and our global network of travel industry contributors.

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