Things To Consider When Driving Abroad
Traveling the world by car is an exciting opportunity. But unfortunately, it’s not as romantic as jumping in and driving off into the sunset. Navigating roads in the modern world can be confusing.
Crossing borders means new regulations, alternating rules, and extra costs. Making a success of it takes planning and meticulous consideration. Here are some important things to understand before driving abroad.
Make sure you know the general costs
Running a car is expensive, but when traveling abroad, familiarity is thrown up in the air. You are potentially driving on roads you have never seen before, in areas where you have little knowledge.
And with that comes a tonne of general costs: filling up on gas, toll charges, paying fines. Incremental costs soon add up; make sure to prepare and protect yourself against paying more than you should. Footing a nasty bill at the end of your trip is the last thing you want.
Consider putting a few extra liters of gas in the tank each time you pass a garage, you never know when the next station will turn up. There is no point footing the risk of breaking down, the costs far outweigh a little extra fuel. Additionally, research highway regulations in the country you are traveling to, assuming the speed limit is a sure-fire way to a fine.
To accommodate general costs, think about using budgeting apps and set funds aside. Apps like Tripcoin are great for showing currency exchange rates and separating your budget into categories. However, there is no way to pay digitally, so you are still limited by the cash in your pocket.
Another good preparation tip is to use payment methods like a fuel card. Take the Shell Tankkarten card, for example, which allows for a cashless way to pay fines, fuel bills, and tolls. But there are hundreds of fuel cards around, so do some research on comparison sites like iCompario to find what suits your needs.
Make sure you have the required personal information
Faffing around with documents and licenses takes some of the enjoyment away from a continental road trip. But unfortunately, they are a vital difference-maker.
All your paperwork needs to be in check before setting off. And to make matters worse the required information changes all the time. For example, in the wake of the Brexit vote, the UK will soon be operating under different regulations than the rest of Europe.
Despite changing circumstances around the world, there are steps you can take to cover yourself wherever you go. First, you must confirm your insurance includes overseas travel. Whatever country you are traveling to, you must be insured.
Ring up your provider and put your mind at ease. If you want to find more comprehensive coverage — including breakdown cover — compare deals on Money Supermarket to find the most suitable offer. Second, you need to possess a valid driving license. And in certain circumstances, even that must be accompanied by an international driving permit. Do some background checks and confirm the exact documents needed. And don’t leave it until the last minute, these things can take months to organize.
It may be a small world, but not without the necessary papers. So, it’s a good idea to bring official documents along for the ride: driving license, visas, green cards, travel, and motor insurance. Essentially, be prepared for any scenario. If your worried about losing anything, bring copies or invest in a travel wallet.
Make sure your vehicle meets environmental standards
In attempts to improve air quality and combat carbon emissions, many countries have implemented driving restrictions. As world cities shun busy roads and look to reduce our impact on climate change, your car may not be welcome. The model of car and where you want to use it is now a big question.
Here are some measures to look out for:
Congestion charges: Malta, Oslo, London, and Milan are just a few locations where congestion charges are enforced. Each city will charge you a fee to drive in particular zones. As a result, traveling by car can get very expensive. If you want to visit I’d recommend parking outside the city and entering via public transport.
Emission stickers: There are many green zone locations scattered throughout Europe, which require your vehicle to meet certain emission regulations. Either you plan your journey to avoid these locations, or apply for an emission sticker. Most new cars rank highly between Euro 1 and Euro 6, meaning they can be used pretty much anywhere. But if you have a vehicle that is over twelve years old, then you may be in some trouble.
While driving over borders is an exciting prospect, there remains a lot of boundaries to overcome in order to do so. Next time you set off on an adventure, make these considerations first. Otherwise, you will be in for some costly surprises.