Travel Tips on Ground Travel
- Driving in India
can be a harrowing experience for a tourist. Accidents are common
since there are no stop signs or traffic lights. Instead of driving
yourself, arrange for a shuttle from the airport. Taxi drivers may
press you into paying more than is reasonable.
- You can get
reduced rates on car rentals from the major rental companies (Hertz,
Avis, Enterprise, and Budget) through your membership in WTA.
Click here for the
Auto Rental Discounts
- Although your
U.S. license may be valid in the European country to which youíre
traveling, itís still a good idea to bring an International Driving
Permit (IDP) along as well. Take your license, and a passport photo
to your local automobile association to get one for a minimal fee.
- Touristís rental
cars are prime targets for petty criminals, but you can do several
things to make yours look like a local car. First, take off any
rental-agency sticker or cover it with another sticker that a local
might have. Donít leave maps or luggage in plain view. Buy a local
paper and place it on the front seat.
- If you are
driving in Europe, take the time to find out the blood alcohol legal
limit. In many countries itís lower than the U.S. (.05-.08).
- Before renting a
car on vacation, check out the coverage provided on your private
auto-insurance policy and/or the credit card you plan to use. Then
decide whether or not to purchase the rental companyís coverage.
Find the answers to these questions
- Are you covered while renting on vacation, or just when your car
is in the shop?
- Does the type of vehicle matter? Sometimes SUVs arenít covered.
- Are you covered if the car is stolen? What if the belongings in
the car are stolen?
- Does your coverage apply for the country in which you are renting
- If you decline
the rental car companyís collision coverage and rely on your credit
card companyís coverage, donít split the bill between credit cards.
The entire bill must be paid with that credit card or any claim will
most likely be denied.
- Some car rental
companies put a Ďholdí of several hundred to several thousand
dollars on your credit card as a deposit. Ask about this practice
when you make the reservation. This will reduce your available
credit balance, so you may need to bring along another card on your
- Most Caribbean
driving is done of the left-hand side of the road. If you rent a
car, be aware that the only places that follow right-hand side
driving practices are Aruba, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe,
Haiti, Martinique, and the Netherlands Antilles.
- You can save
money, help the environment, and reduce stress by taking public
transportation when you travel rather than renting a car. Plan ahead
and develop your itinerary around the train and bus schedules.
- When renting a
car abroad, realize that most countries have smaller cars than the
U.S., and there are many more manual transmission cars. So you may
not be able to rent the large, automatic transmission car with which
you may be more comfortable.
- Car rental
agencies overseas usually provide auto insurance, but in some
countries, the required coverage is minimal. When renting a car
overseas, consider purchasing insurance coverage that is at least
equivalent to that which you carry at home. In general, your U.S.
auto insurance does not cover you abroad. However, your policy may
apply when you drive to countries neighboring the United States.
Check with your insurer to see if your policy covers you in Canada,
Mexico, or countries south of Mexico. Even if your policy is valid
in one of these countries, it may not meet that countryís minimum
requirements. For instance, in most of Canada, you must carry at
least $200,000 in liability insurance, and Mexico requires that, if
vehicles do not carry theft, third party liability, and
comprehensive insurance, the owner must post a bond that could be as
high as 50% of the value of the vehicle. If you are under-insured
for a country, auto insurance can usually be purchased on either
side of the border.
- Countries have
different driving rules. If possible, obtain a copy of the foreign
countryís rules before you begin driving in that country.
Information may be available from the foreign embassy in the United
foreign government tourism offices: (http://www.towd.com/),
or from a car rental company in the foreign country.
- Many countries
require you to honk your horn before going around a sharp corner or
to flash your lights before passing. Certain countries require road
permits, instead of tolls, to use on their divided highways, and
they will fine those found driving without a permit.
- Paying for an
additional driver on a rental car can definitely add big bucks to
the bill. But donít be tempted to let someone else drive the car
without adding them to the contract ahead of time. Having an
unauthorized driver at the wheel when an accident occurs, or when
the car is pulled over by the police, can cause legal and financial
headaches. Police could arrest the driver, and insurance claims
might not get paid. Be smart and get the extra coverage if you are
planning on having an additional driver.
- If you are
renting a car for more than a very brief period, or if there is more
than one authorized driver, ask the rental agency for a second set
of keys. If they donít have one to give you, get a second set made
yourself for a few dollars. This can be a godsend if one set gets
- Take a quick
refresher on the metric system before traveling abroad. This will
help you gauge distance and gas prices much easier. Remember 1
kilometer is equal to .62 miles, so driving 100 kilometers/hour is
like driving 62 miles per hour.
- Stop every few hours to stretch your legs and do some physical
activity. This will help improve blood circulation.
- Arranging a trip through the region of Russia and Central Europe?
Bring food and water along if you are traveling overland as goods
may not be available along the way. Also, research the route ahead
of time and be sure to obtain visas for all countries through which
you will pass, not just the destination country.
- When traveling by train through a foreign country, take along some
bread, cheese, and water with you. Food prices tend to be high and
quality tends to be low when there are no other options for the
Discover all of Britain by train using a
BritRail pass. Passes must be
purchased prior to your arrival in the UK, so investigate the
various options and purchase ahead of time.
- Make room in your trunk for an emergency roadside kit. Carry jumper
cables, a reflective warning triangle, an approved gas can, a tire
puncture repair kit, some Q20 lubricant spray, and a flashlight.
Also have a first aid kit and a warm blanket.
- Did you know that there are more than 16,000 RV parks and
campgrounds in the U.S.? Reconnect with nature by spending a few
days in the great outdoors this year.
loading gear onto a roof rack, check your ownersí manual for the