Tips for driving on holiday

Luke Pereira
Tips for driving on holiday

Driving on holiday can be an exciting experience, but here’s what you need to take note of when you’re setting off on your next overseas road trip

They say to look at life through the windshield, rather than the rearview mirror. Besides, you tend to see more when you explore a country on wheels. You’re the boss, you make the calls on which route to take, and which places to stop and dictate what you want to see, 

But driving overseas can be overwhelming to some, especially if you have little prior experience or are visiting a country for the first time. If you’re heading abroad for a driving holiday, here are some useful tips to take note of.

Prepare your documents

Tips for driving on holiday

You might want to get your International Driving Permit (IDP), which essentially legalises your driving licence in recognised countries. The IDP is useful in countries where English is not commonly spoken and may be helpful when communicating with car rental companies and other authorities.

Applying for an International Driving Permit is not difficult either. The Automobile Association of Singapore (AA) is the authorised organisation to issue International Driving Permits in Singapore and is valid for one year from the date of issue.

Other essential documents to have with you include:

  • A valid driver’s licence
  • Passport (for verification purposes)
  • Vehicle registration and insurance documents (if you’re renting a car)
  • Travel Insurance

Check your car

Tips for driving on holiday

Whether you’re driving your own car (i.e. if you’re going to Malaysia) or hiring a rental car, it is important to give the car a thorough check before you set off. Make sure that the car is in good working order, and that there are no major faults or damage like leaks. Ensure that the tyres are filled to the correct pressure too and that they are not overly worn.

Plan your route

Tips for driving on holiday

It may be fun and tempting to just go ‘YOLO’ and drive around with no plans in mind, but planning your route helps you save time, especially in an unfamiliar foreign land. It also lets you see more on your trip instead of ending up getting lost and wasting time driving around aimlessly.  

With modern navigation apps, planning your route should be a piece of cake. If you’re travelling with a companion, it may be helpful as well to have them keep a lookout and ensure that you don’t go off track.

Familiarise yourself when driving in left-hand drive countries

Tips for driving on holiday
“Bro, my body is ready for LHD, but my left hand is not.”

If you’re driving in America and Europe, do take note that the cars are left-hand drive, unlike in Singapore. Therefore, do take some time to familiarise yourself with the car and the fact that you’re driving on the other side of the road.

Be careful when driving in unfamiliar weather and environments

Tips for driving on holiday

You may encounter weather and driving conditions overseas that can be unfamiliar to you as a Singaporean, such as fog and snow, strong winds, or winding mountainous roads. These adverse conditions can be tricky to navigate, so it is important to take extra care so that you don’t get into trouble.

Do note that if you travel to a country that is experiencing winter, or has temperatures under seven degrees, you should switch to winter tyres. This unique type of tyre consists of a rubber compound that allows the winter tyre to stay flexible and provide traction, even when the temperature drops below 7°C(45°F). However, if misused under heat-ridden temperatures, your winter tyres will wear out quicker than usual as they are not intended for such use.

If you feel unsure of the surroundings, always reduce your speed and keep a safe following distance. Do keep a lookout for road signs that indicate if there are animals crossing, and slow down when travelling in such surroundings for your safety.

It may also be wise to prepare a good music playlist to keep you awake and alert during your drive. Keep track of how long you’ve been driving too, and take a break to rest if necessary.

Drive safely

Tips for driving on holiday

As always, the most important thing is to drive safely. The usual rules apply: belt up, follow the road signs, be courteous, and take it easy if you’re unsure at any time. It also helps to read up on the rules, regulations and driving customs of the country you’re visiting too, so that you don’t get a nasty culture shock once you’re there.


driving holiday roadtrip

About the Author

Luke Pereira

CarBuyer's content creator loves producing entertaining, relatable content. He spends all year waiting around for Mariah Carey. Rumour has it he was married twice and is 'Luke Perry' incarnate are unfounded. @lukeypereira

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