A road trip abroad is a bit different than taking a trip to one destination. Of course, like any trip, you need to plan your hotels and flights. However, with a road trip, you’ll need to decide on a route, as well. Also, you’ll want to bring along certain items to help you along the way. Make sure you add the 5 items below to your must-pack list.
- GPS and Printed Maps: Though the world is becoming increasingly connected, you can’t always rely on your smartphone to access maps on internet, especially in a foreign country. So if you are driving in an internet-free zone, you will get handicapped with these maps. A GPS device or a smartphone with built-in GPS comes handy; however, you will need to download the maps for the countries you are visiting. GPS works both in the presence and absence of internet. Typically, the car rental companies will have a GPS to rent, which can be a cheaper alternative, though you should check ahead with them for availability. Also, consider carrying an atlas of the area you’re traveling in as backup for your GPS. That way, you won’t be stranded in a foreign country, unable to find your way back to the airport.
- Driver’s License, Proof of Insurance, and International Driving Permit: Since you’ll be flying or taking a boat to your first destination, having your proof of insurance may not be the first thing on your mind. Call your insurance company before you go to find out whether or not you will be covered when renting a car in a foreign country. If you aren’t, you may need to buy insurance from the rental company. You’ll need to carry your driver’s license and possibly an International Driving Permit (IDP). Many countries will allow you to rent a car with your home country license; nonetheless, some countries may require you to have an IDP, which is just a translation of your license. Check with your destination countries before leaving, as you must obtain an IDP before you go. You can get an IDP from the motoring organization of your home country.
- Medications and First Aid: Of course, you’ll need to carry any prescription medications you’re taking, all in the original bottles. However, you should also take a supply of basic medications, such as pain relievers, antacids, and a first aid kit. The travel-size versions will help keep the bulk and weight down.
- AC Power Adapter and Chargers: To keep all your gadgets charged up while on the road, many auto stores sell AC power adapters that convert car plugins to a standard electrical plug. These adapters can be useful if you don’t have a car charger for certain devices, such as laptops and digital camera batteries or even items like electric toothbrushes. Most rental cars will have a cigarette lighter plugin that is a standard 12V, though you should check with your rental company to make sure you get a car with one. Also, don’t forget to take the car chargers that you do have.
- Cash in Local Currency: You will run into tolls and places you need to pay for parking. Having cash on hand in local currency will make things easier, as some places will not accept credit cards.
With some cash on hand, your route planned, and medications in place in case of emergencies, your overseas road trip will go more smoothly. Just don’t forget your camera to capture the best road-side shots!