Modhop Basics

3 Starter Tips for Driving Abroad

Contributing Author June 6, 2023

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While out and about on your travels abroad, you may need to drive for several reasons. For instance, you might be a solo-traveler looking to explore remote parts of the country. Or, you might be there for business and find it easier to have a personal vehicle to drive various locations. No matter the reason, using a rental car to get around can be quicker, easier, affordable, and less stressful. But remember, you must be very aware that you are now driving in a different country, so driving won’t be exactly the same as it is at home (and sometimes VERY different). That being said, here are a few tips to remember when driving in abroad.

Motorcycle traffic on Phuket Island. Defocused background
Motorcycle traffic on Phuket Island. Defocused background
  1. Know the driving culture

Yes, there is such a thing. You may have seen images of traffic situations in Thailand or India and wondered— how do people get around here?! Well, that’s because they have a series of unspoken rules that everyone consents to and follows. This is what is known as the “driving culture”. So before you get a vehicle in the city, you should inquire about local driving customs. Much of the research can be done online, reading reviews, or participating in forums on this subject matter. You can also ask at the rental desk once you arrive. Lastly, if you’ve got the opportunity to observe local driving habits before hopping behind the wheel yourself, it may help you see the driving culture in action so that you’re better prepared when you get on the road.

  1. Get the right licenses 

Like at home, ensuring you have the right documents when driving in a foreign city is vital. To do this, you must consult a professional in the space or conduct research. Generally, you would need to produce your domestic license as proof of already being a driver in your country of origin. However, it would mean ensuring you have the right license for the type of vehicle you want. For instance, if you want to be eligible to drive a van, you should book a drive test to receive the right license. to receive the right license. However, in some countries, your domestic license may not suffice. In that case, you must apply for an international driving permit (or license). These permits translate your domestic license into that of the foreign country to allow you to legally drive through the cities.  

  1. Understand the traffic laws

Contrary to what you may think, traffic laws actually vary from country to country. There are several reasons for this, though. One is the fact that some countries have different sides of driving. For example, Americans drive on the left side of the road, while the British drive on the right. Naturally, there would be differing traffic laws in this regard. However, even countries that would have left-side driving would still have differing laws. To avoid being surprised, you should consider researching the various traffic laws of the country before getting a vehicle. It would be best if you also took note of various documents that are legally required to have on with you when driving, such as insurance and a copy of vehicle registration. 

Share your experiences of driving abroad in the comments or @modhop on socials.

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Contributing Author

General travel tips and advice on destinations, hotels and flights.

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