Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Driving in a foreign country

For our first eight days of our three week journey across Thailand we will be renting a car. Renting a car is not the first choice for many people in such countries but we discovered on a previous trip to Mexico that you get to see so much more if you have your own means of transportation. Obviously it's not always easy and sometimes going for organised tours or travelling by bus and/or train might be easier. Many people think that this would be tougher or dangerous.

Here's some tips on how to make travelling with a car in a foreign country easier:
  • Plan your trip in advance. Mark the places you wish to visit and be ready to miss some spots on the list to be able to reach the final destination;
  • Drive during the day and make sure to start searching for a lodging at least 2 hours before it gets dark;
  • Carry a travelling guide and use it to find paces where to sleep. We use Lonely Planet but there are many other good travel guides;
  • Make sure to have a satellite navigation. However this is not enough, sometimes it might not exactly match with the roads and might confuse you more;
  • So make sure to buy good maps of the country/area you're going to drive to. Buying in advance is safe, but in the country you're travelling you will most probably find better map at a cheaper price;
  • Fuel well in advance. You never know where the next petrol station will be especially if you're not travelling on the highway;
  • Add a few more hours to your planned day trip. On the map some roads might appear easier then they're really are. Sometimes you might also decide to be make more stops than planned.
  • Be ready to possibly use bathrooms which are not so clean;
  • Be ready to sleep in places that you would have never chosen if you had a choice;
  • Always rent a car with full cover insurance. You never know what my happen and you don't want to have a small scratch ruin your holiday.

I hope that these tips help somebody out there. In the meantime we'll continue our journey across the north part of Thailand.

[Image Source: D. H. @ Pinterest]

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