How you can save money when driving abroad

If you want to make the most of your family holiday, consider hiring a car at your destination. It allows you to explore unfamiliar cities and towns at your own pace, and you can visit areas you might struggle to otherwise. Also, having to rely on public transport or pay for countless taxis can quickly become frustrating, especially if you have your own car at home. This is why it is becoming increasingly common for families to hire cars while they’re away.

However, everything comes at a cost and, if you don’t plan well or put in the necessary research, you could end up paying a lot more than you’d like to. If you are thinking about driving while you’re abroad, here are our tips for saving as much money as possible.

Book your hire car in advance

To get the most affordable deal, you need to be thinking ahead. Use a comparison site such as to search the car hire market and consider your options in advance. The earlier you do this the better, as prices tend to rise quite significantly as your departure date draws nearer.

Not only will you save money by doing this, but you’ll also give yourself more time to read the necessary terms and conditions, as well as consider any additional charges you might have to deal with. Every hire company has its own rental policies, and some charge for the likes of cleaning, refuelling or servicing, so it’s best to look into this to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal.


Don’t pay over the odds for insurance

It can be incredibly easy to spend too much on unnecessary car hire cover, so it’s wise to put some research into choosing your insurance policy — don’t just opt for the first plan you’re offered.

Your insurance should cover things like the theft of the vehicle, or damage to it, as well as any property damage or injuries suffered by a third party.

As you’re responsible for the car once it’s in your hands, you should check it over for any scratches or marks and record them before you set off. This is because, technically, car rental companies are within their rights to charge you the full ‘excess’ cover for even minor damage to the car. So, when you return the vehicle, make sure that you and the company are in agreement about the condition of the car.

Also, don’t be tempted to buy top-up insurance from the car hire firm. It can be very expensive, and often doesn’t cover the likes of theft, vandalism, lost keys or use of the wrong fuel so, more often than not, it’s not worth it.


Plan your journeys

You should always try to plan your journeys as much as possible when exploring an unfamiliar place, but this is especially true when you’re driving abroad. You want to avoid getting lost or taking unnecessarily long routes, as this can cost you precious fuel — not to mention time that would be much better spent relaxing. Plus, toll charges are a lot more common outside of the UK, and the cost can mount up if you’re driving a lot. Therefore, it’s worth researching where you’re going and seeing whether there are alternative roads you can take in an effort to steer clear of extra charges — it will definitely pay off. Check out Lookers’ guide to navigating European toll roads for more information about dealing with them.

If you follow all of these guidelines, you’ll be sure to have the best, most affordable experience of driving abroad possible. So, what are you waiting for? Time is of the essence — look into your options now!