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Quick Guide: Tips for Driving Abroad

By February 10, 2016November 24th, 2018No Comments

Are the king or queen of all road trips? Can you barely wait to hit the open road with your squad every summer? Do you conquer summer festivals from east to west coast? How about simply heading south to catch some rays?

I’m crazy about driving. While living in London I miss my car (Jose) terribly. Londoners aren’t as keen on driving, mostly because there’s no need for cars here and traffic can be a nightmare getting out of the city! But that hasn’t stopped me from a few epic experiences, including a road trip through Northern Ireland and Ireland, driving through New Zealand and a winter adventure in Iceland.

sunrise over road in west iceland during the winter

I will say, driving in Europe is very different from the states. Sign symbols mean different things, speed cameras are used way more often and the traffic can be super tedious. But once those roads open up, some of the most incredible views can be savored along sunny coastlines, through endless fields and even in some urban sprawls. Not to mention, having a car allows you to visit smaller villages off the beaten path or explore attractions not seen by group travelers who stick to a tour bus. With a little practice and preparation, anyone can venture out on the road.


Know your destination well

I’m sure people have lots to say about how others drive in your own hometown. This is true for anywhere in the world – drivers have nuances and rules by region everywhere in the world. With that said, just because you know Spaniard drive on the right or people in the UK drive on the left, you will need to dig a little deeper to master the art of foreign driving. This handy guide helps discover real tips from locals willing to assist in those who want to take road trips abroad.

road in cornwall, england with shadow and surrounded by small village


Here’s a few things to check off before hopping in the car, no matter where you drive:

  • Is your license legal in the country for driving?
  • What is the weather like? Do I need to prepare for heavy rain or snow?
  • What conditions are the roads in?
  • Do they use speed cameras?
  • Are there toll booths where you’ll need local currency?
  • What are the general parking rules?
  • Will you need extra insurance for a rental car?
  • Are there laws for restraining pets and children?

Would you ever take a road trip in a new country? Where is your dream place to try a road trip?

Thanks to Accident Advice Helpline for providing their interactive infographic for driving abroad!

Eileen Cotter Wright

Author Eileen Cotter Wright

Eileen Cotter is a freelance travel journalist and owner of Pure Wander. She's our resident expat extraordinaire and falls down a lot in yoga class. Follow her on Instagram @Pure_Wander.

More posts by Eileen Cotter Wright

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