Arriving in a foreign country and discovering that you will be required to navigate narrow, pedestrian-filled roads in a hired car on the wrong side of the road is bad enough without adding to the mix the risk of being arrested for driving illegally.
The Automobile Association of South Africa has compiled a list of things that everyone driving internationally should be aware of before the trip to ensure your holiday remains stress-free:
Do I need an International Driving Permit?
- Establish whether an International Driving Permit is required for the particular country you will be visiting.
- The AA is the only place in South Africa where you can be issued an International Driving Permit. You can apply at your nearest AA Accredited Sales Agent store.
- Although International Driving Permits are issued immediately, never leave enquiries until the day before departure in case there are unforeseen issues, for example if your South African driver's licence has expired.
- It is important to note that an International Driving Permit is compulsory in most international countries for car hire.
- Before visiting the store, ensure that you have the payment, two ID or Passport photographs (which can also be taken in store), a valid South African driver's licence, as well as a valid South African ID or Passport.
Do I need travel insurance?
- Travel insurance is vital to protect yourself against the risks that accompany all your travels, including lost baggage, medical emergencies, supplier defaults and cancelled trips.
- When selecting travel insurance, there are ranges of cost options available to suit all needs, but make sure you read the fine print as there are often exclusions.
What if I need to rent a car?
- Renting a car internationally can be fraught with difficultly, particularly with regards to language barriers. As such it is recommended that the process be done beforehand and online wherever possible.
- Check that the kind of car you wish to hire is suitable for the type of terrain you expect to pass.
- Never sign a contract in a foreign language - always ask for an English copy.
- Always check the type of fuel the car takes; it is easy to assume that most take unleaded, however, a number of international cars use diesel.
- Document all scratches and dents before driving the hired car and ensure these are all photographed.