Car Rental Overseas: To Rent or Not to Rent? pt 1- Advantages

car rental overseas - travel tipsRenting a Car Overseas: To Rent or Not to Rent?

pt 1- Advantages

Renting a car overseas can be a fantastic way to explore a country. Known as ‘car hire’ or ‘hiring a car’ by the Brits, renting a car in foreign countries often has many advantages over using other forms of transportation, much like owning a car at home does.

In this post I discuss the advantages of renting a car, qualifications needed to rent, and things you should check out before plunging in.

In part 2 of this series, I will go over the many serious conditions you really should consider carefully before deciding to rent a car overseas  Please be sure to read this post before you drive overseas!

Without further ado, advantages of renting a car overseas:

 bus - Penang - Malaysia

waiting for a bus in Penang – Malaysia

1.  Avoid the hassles of public transportation:

Waiting for trains, buses and airplanes; sharing spaces with loads of other people, whom you don’t know; noise; crowded conditions  and in some countries, sharing space with chickens, goats, boxes and crates.

 2. Privacy:

With a rental car you’ve got your very own space. This allows you to set the environment and travel style to suit your tastes- music or none, windows up or down, a/c off or on, smoking or smoke-free, food in the car or not. When using public transportation you generally don’t have a say in any of those matters.

rental car - Bali - Indonesia

cool rental cars in Bali – Indonesia

3. Freedom:

Along with privacy comes freedom. Freedom to go exactly where you want, along the routes you want, when you want, at the pace you want. Stop as frequently as you want. Travel as long as you want to each day. Choose which way you want to reach your destination. And, as mentioned above, you have the freedom to set the car environment exactly as you please.

coastal road - west Lombok

charming coastal road in west Lombok, where there’s very little public transportation

 4. Reach places you can’t get by public transportation:

Even in countries with extensive bus and/or train service, public transportation still doesn’t reach every corner of the nation. Many of the best natural places, along with some great historic or cultural spots, you can only reach with your own transportation.

5.  Fun:

Road trips can be fun, exciting and adventurous. If you enjoy driving, renting a car overseas could be your most enjoyable way of exploring a new country.

 Qualifications for renting cars overseas:

driving - Singapore

driving in Singapore

Of course not every traveler has the choice to rent a car overseas. For one thing, renting a car is usually expensive. In fact, it’s usually the most expensive travel option available. In many countries public transportation is extremely cheap and quite extensive. So budget travelers might not have the financial means to rent a car.

( One possibility for budget travelers, however, is to pool up with other travelers to rent a car and share the expenses. That could work out to cost the same as public transport, per person, and might well be within the budget of backpackers. This is a standard practie in Australia, for instance, where drivers post signs at backpackers and youth hostels, looking for passengers to share costs and the journey experience. With one difference: usually the driver has bought the car, not rented it, and will sell it after the trip. )

Naturally, you must also hold a valid driver’s license. In most countries, travelers must also possess an international driver’s license in order to rent a car and drive legally. Fortunately, an international license is inexpensive and easy to obtain in your home country.

Finally, you need to own a credit card. Without that, rental car agencies are not going to hand over any of their vehicles!

So, in order to rent a car overseas, you need to have a fairly high budget, hold an international driver’s license and have a credit card.

Ready to rent?

highways - Singapore

highways in Singapore

So you qualify and like the advantages of renting a car to explore new countries?

Before you leap in don’t forget to compare different car hire agencies available in your chosen country. Check prices, terms of use and qualifications. Also check how they handle driving insurance for foreign drivers. Obviously, your own driver’s insurance back home won’t cover you for driving a rental car in a foreign country.

Also, please first carefully consider the potential hazards, unusual driving conditions, traffic and laws that you might face when driving overseas. They might be very different from what you’re used to back home!

I’ll be going over all the potential hurdles you might face overseas in pt 2- Disadvantages and Driving Conditions to Consider

Then… go out an explore!


Have you ever rented a car overseas? 

If so, how were your experiences? 

Can you think of any more advantages of renting a car overseas? Please share your ideas!


You might also find the following travel tips useful: 

Budget Traveers’ Guide to Adding Luxury to your Travels

How to Avoid Jet Lag




1 ping

Skip to comment form

  1. Andrea

    I love having a car when I travel overseas! Unless I’m in a city where it costs too much to park it, there’s nothing like the freedom and flexibility of having your own ride.

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi Andrea,

      Yes, for people who can afford it, having your own wheels is awesome! YOu’re right- nothing like it!

      thanks for stopping by and for commenting.

      cheers, Lash

  2. John Parker

    Thanks for sharing! I do a lot of traveling all over as well. I usually use the public transit though. I usually use buses and trains, because they are pretty cheap, sometimes I even hitch hike. I am a guy so I feel like this is ok, being a lady though I would not suggest this. I like to live dangerously. Although renting my own car would be lovely. I just might have to look into that next time I travel. Happy traveling!

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Oh, great another long-term world traveler! Nice to meet you…

      As a matter of fact, I have actually never rented a car overseas! I travel by a combination of rental motorbike, my own bicycle, trains, buses, ferries. I do that for exactly the same reason as you- it’s cheap… and also for the great cultural experience of traveling iwth local people.

      .. YOu might be surprised to learn that I’ve hitch hiked many times in various countries! But in places where I’ve spent a lot of time and really believe it’s safe. It’s fun!

      I would l ike to try rental cars, too, when I have the budget! For all the reasons I mentioned.
      btw – The reason I feel ‘qualifed’ to write this post is that while I have not rented a car, I have rendted motorbikes many times. And I’ve cycle toured through many Asian countries.. So the benefits are basically the same as for a car: Freedom with your own wheels!

      cheers, Lash

      1. John Parker

        Nice to meet you too!

        That’s great that you have given hitch hiking a try and that you did it safely!

        I always get a ‘man with a van’ to do the driving as I like my booze too much. Also it helps with local information if you have your own driver and local guide.

        1. Lash WorldTour

          Hey there,

          Well, if you like drinking at least you’re smart enough to get someone else to drive!

          It’s very common in Bali to rent the vehicle with the driver. Not so many tourists rent their own car. Last guy I knwew who tried it gave up after one day and got a driver! lol

          In which countries have you rented ‘a van with a man’ ?

          cheers, lash

  3. John Parker

    I’ve rented a ‘man with a van’ In Cuba, Jamaica, Kenya and Peru. Would do it in Europe but the wages are too high and public transport is good. Also the rental cars there are better quality for a fairer price.

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi John,

      Ok, thanks for sharing your travel car rentals. Good to hear the ‘man with a van’ system is done in other parts of the world.

      cheers, Lash

  1. Car Rental Overseas: To Rent or Not to Rent? pt 2- Cautions » LashWorldTour

    […] in Shanghai – ChinaCar Rental Overseas: To Rent or Not to Rent? pt 2- ConsiderationsIn pt 1 of Car Rental Overseas, I discuss the many advantages of renting a car to explore foreign countries. You’ll enjoy […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

8 − three =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>