It’s a little unfair to clump the entire world’s countries in this single driving abroad blog – every country varies, but of course there are a few precautions you can take regardless of where you are heading to!

Have a backup plan before driving abroad!

It seems a daft piece of advice but there could always be something that goes wrong – especially if hiring a car. You could turn up and there be some kind of admin mistake and your entire holiday is ruined.

Basic practise from my point of view is to just check out public transport to make sure that there is a viable alternative if you need it! Sounds simple but it takes 10 minutes and keeps you from worrying.

Book Accommodation you don’t have to pay up front!

Driving never really goes to plan, so be sure to booking accommodation that you don’t have to pay up front – and that have a free cancellation policy. [eafl id=”1635″ name=”Booking.com Genera;” text=”Booking.com”] is probably your best option as you can actually search using such criteria.

Get an international driving licence

Again every destination is different when it comes to driving abroad outside of your home country. Many destinations in Europe are happy to just take your standard UK driving licence (oh – you should make sure you have one of those too!). When I travelled to Sri Lanka and also in Malawi, both wanted to see an international driving licence.

The irony is that the official international driving licence provided by The Post Office is actually little more than a piece of cardboard with your passport picture glued in – perhaps also stapled if you’re lucky. A stamp seals the deal and you’re off. It costs all of £5.50. For that much, regardless of what any advice website says – it’s worth getting one and it lasts a year.

Fill up at every opportunity

Off course petrol prices will always vary geographically even within the boarders of a single country. The temptation, even when knowing you’re driving aboard, is to run down to two bars or that 4th 5th mark, and then start looking around for a station. Not every country works the same and that familiar shell garage just around the corner after the next roundabout can often be more illusive than you had hoped. Despite my travels in Asia and Africa, even in Italy I’d run down to half a tank and then fill up! Whilst driving abroad in Malawi – imagine how conscious I was then of keeping constantly topped up.

Take pictures – as many as you can

When driving any car, even in the UK or your home country, surely you pick it up and walk around with your smart phone taking pictures of every dint and crook in the body work? No? Most phones time stamp your pictures so you’ll proof when you go back and they argue a slight smudge in that ocean blue paint job. If you’re even more worried email the pictures to your self (check out my data roaming charges abroad blog first!) because that will certainly then show a date and time if you need it.

Additionally – and this is a key point. Make sure you photograph everything – not just the vehicle! Photography your international driving licence, all you hire car paperwork, your passport (I do this as standard), the fuel gauge, the mileage. So you may look a bit of pikey but who cares – you’ve got yourself covered then.

Try not to read too much into the reviews

Prior to driving in Sri Lanka I went on numerous advice and review sites to try and get a heads up. Sometimes it’s useful to just get a feeling for what you will face, but you will end up just being entirely worried and concerned.

If you are not a confident driver simply don’t drive abroad. It’s simple. If you are happy with your ability as a driver then be confident, keep your eyes forward, and expect that absolute worse.

For example, advice sites preach to never drive abroad in Sri Lanka or Thailand. I’ve done both and to be honest, if you keep your eyes open and presume that everyone will try and crash into your – you’ll be fine!

Jonny leaning against his rented 4x4 whilst driving abroad in Malawi