The decision whether to rent a car while abroad is a big one. Many destinations have great public transport and will fit your needs. However, public transport doesn't go everywhere and doesn't always allow you to have the control to do things when you want to do them. But renting a car may mean high gas prices and different rules of the road, such as driving on the left side rather than the right. If you look at your itinerary carefully, weigh the pros and cons, and decide you want to rent a car then read on. 1. The time to decide whether you'll need a car on your trip abroad is before you go, not after you get there. You can make arrangements for a car through a travel agent or you can work directly with car rental companies that operate worldwide. Be sure to book while in the US and prepay in US dollars so the fee is set and can't rise on you if the exchange rate changes. 2. If you're planning to drive across the border into another country(s), a rental company will charge you extra for the privilege. The additional charges can vary greatly so shop around for the best rental car rate for this. 3. Know your car insurance options. Start with your own insurance in the US and find out if it covers an international car rental. Learn and understand what insurance you have, then decide whether to accept or decline the coverage the car rental company offers you. Even if you have your own car insurance, consider accepting the additional insurance if it offers additional coverage as you may be driving on the other side of the road, with unfamiliar traffic laws, and around other drivers that drive "differently" than you're used to. 4. Get an international driver's license. This is easy to obtain through companies like AAA. There is a fee involved, as well as an expiration date. Be sure to bring along any paperwork such as your insurance information. 5. Many cars in other countries come standard, which means a manual transmission with a stick shift and no air conditioning. If you want an automatic transmission, air conditioning, or any other luxuries, you will be charged extra. Take into account the number and size of your suitcases and determine the size of the car you need based on trunk space. Make sure you're specific as to what you want so there are no mistakes when you show up at your destination to pick up your car. To recap, first decide whether you need a car abroad and where to get one in advance of your trip. Then determine where you will be driving and what extras you want. Get an international driver's license and make sure you're fully covered with car insurance. Now you're all set and ready to roll.
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