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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 through your membership in WTA. Click here for WTA Travel Access Program.
  • 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 the car?
  • 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 trip.
  • 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 States ( 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 lost.
  • 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 consumer.
    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.
  • Before loading gear onto a roof rack, check your ownersí manual for the weight limit.