Guides

Hitting the road on holiday

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Hitting the road overseas?

The freedom to explore and go your own way is the essence of travel. Getting off the beaten path is exciting and almost always hugely rewarding because you get to meet real people and not just tour guides. It’s how those great travel stories are made.

Which is why renting a car or campervan or hiring a Harley is so appealing. No itineraries, no schedules, no annoying travel companions, just the freedom to go where you want.

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Sorry to bring you down to Earth with a thud, but that kind of freedom requires a little planning. Will I need a license? Is it safe to drive there? Will I understand the road signs? Am I insured?

Is it safe to drive overseas?

At home we might complain about speed limits and flashing cameras, but we have a very low rate of road fatalities, just 6 per 100,000.
Some of our favourite holiday destinations are not so safe. The rate in the US is almost double ours, and it’s still not even in the ‘worst’ category.
Sadly we do see a large number of claims for medical treatment as a result of vehicle accidents. Considering the cost of trauma treatment in some countries these claims can run into tens of thousands of dollars.

Do I need an international license?

Motor scooter related accidents in Southeast Asia – Thailand, Bali, Vietnam etc – are among the most common claims we have to deal with. Many are turned down because the traveller simply wasn’t licensed to ride a motorcycle.

Licensing can be a tricky topic, so we’ve tried to clear up the confusion in another post Do I need a motorcycle license in Southeast Asia? which addresses many of the myths and misinformation to set the record straight.

Happily most trips are less troublesome, but you’ll be glad of TID’s car rental excess cover if you’re one of the hundreds of self-drive travellers who bumps or dings or dents the hire car. European roads seem to throw up a lot of stones because we get plenty of claims for windscreen damage. And you’ll be surprised how often tyres and wheels get damaged – is driving on the right to blame?

And be sure to lock your car and secure valuables. In many countries hire cars are easily identified by the registration number, or a hire company sticker on the back window. Thieves figure your camera, laptop or passport could be in there and it’s easy pickings. Just a note, unless valuables are in a locked concealed compartment (or the boot) in your car we don’t cover them for theft. We don’t cover laptops left in a car- ever – or anything at all between sunset and sunrise.

But there’s a lot to recommend a driving holiday, not least of which is that the world is a wonderful place with a breathtaking view around the next corner.

Think about getting your kicks on route 66, or dropping in to a chateau in the Loire valley for a glass of wine.

Just use common sense and take a few simple precautions and enjoy the freedom of a driving holiday.


Author

TID is an Australian online travel insurance company.

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