Traveling always includes a bit of culture shock. While foreign foods or local customs may surprise and delight us, it’s often hard to adjust to differences in driving habits – especially if you must drive on the opposite side of the road. If you want to travel to a country, like the U.K., Japan, or Australia, where they drive on the left side of the road, here's some advice.
How to Prepare for Driving on the Opposite Side
1. Learn More
As you look into the best restaurants and hiking trails, take some time to read about driving laws. Once you know your destinations, plan your route in advance to minimize confusion. Research doesn’t have to be boring – binge-watching TV shows or movies set in that country is a fun way to gear up for your trip while also giving you a clear visual on the way traffic flows.
2. Get Your International Driver’s Permit
Most countries allow you to drive with your American license for a few months, but others require an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) from the get-go. You'll need to fill out the application and wait for it to get processed. Apply well in advance; in some instances, it may be done in a day, but in others, it could be a few weeks.
3. Take Time to Adjust
Don't stop by the car rental agency right after you get off the plane. Take some time to investigate the new landscape. Besides, you may feel jet-lagged. Get a cab, take public transportation, or travel by foot until you’re settled in and well rested.
4. Use a Small Car With Automatic Transmission
It’s no secret that smaller cars are easier to maneuver. Even if you’re comfortable with a large SUV at home, on foreign roads it’s best to have something small, especially if there are narrow streets. As for the transmission, if there’s one less thing to worry about, the better. Depending on where you go, renting an automatic may be pricier, but it’s worth the cost.
5. Avoid Busy Streets
Until you’re comfortable, stick to the quieter roads. You’ll be able to practice without the added pressure of intense traffic. Schedule a scenic route and take your time getting familiar with the rental car itself and the flow of traffic.
Feel ready to drive on the opposite side of the road? If you want to go any country that drives on the left, DiMaria Travel Agency will help you get there. Located in Rochester, NY, they’ve crafted vacation packages for honeymooners, families, and solo travelers alike. No matter what your financial situation may be, they’ll make sure you have the trip of your dreams. To learn more about their services, visit their website or call them today at (585) 271-0100.