At first sight, you may think that only a handful of countries drive on the left-hand side of the road. It may surprise you to hear that there are over 60 countries that drive on the left! That’s roughly a third of all countries in the world!
It’s crucial to know what side of the road to drive on, especially if you’re visiting a country for the first time. Driving “on the wrong side of the road” may seem a little scary at first but you should be able to get the hang of it fairly quickly.
A quick tip: If you’ve never driven on the left side of the road before, you may want to get an automatic instead of a manual car.
These countries are scattered all across the planet.
Why Do Some Countries Even Drive On The Left?
First of all, let’s understand why nearly a third of all countries in the world drive on the left side of the road. It’s time for a quick history lesson.
Let’s go back a few hundred years, way before cars were even a thing and people used horses as a primary source of transportation. Back then, horse riders in the UK would ride on the left-hand side of the road. This meant that their right hand was unobstructed. That way, they could easily access their swords and always had a free hand to greet passersby.
In America, on the other hand, a wagon led by two horses was a very popular setup. Riders would sit on the horse on the left-hand side, leaving their right hand free to whip the other horse when necessary. As the wagon was usually pulled by two horses, riding on the right-hand side of the road provided better visibility.
The trends carried over when people started switching from horse-drawn carriages to cars. As a result, most countries influenced by the UK still drive on the left-hand side of the road to this day. Roughly 70% of the world drives on the right.
Without further ado, let’s jump into the list of countries!
African Countries That Drive On The Left
A total of 15 countries in Africa have traffic on the left side of the road. These include the well-known tourist hotspots, such as Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa. Keep this in mind when renting a car there.
American Countries That Drive On The Left
As previously mentioned, there aren’t any countries that drive on the left in North America. However, the same cannot be said about the Caribbean. In fact, 19 countries in Central and South America drive on the left side of the road. You may be surprised to hear that this includes the US Virgin Islands!
Antigua and Barbuda
Guyana and Suriname
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos Islands
British Virgin Island
US Virgin Islands
Asian Countries With Left-Hand Traffic
15 countries in Asia drive on the left side of the road. If you’re planning to go to Bali, drive across Malaysia, rent a car in Singapore, or any of the other countries listed below, be ready to drive on the left. The traffic culture may seem a little chaotic in some Asian countries!
4 European countries have traffic on the left-hand side of the road. Europe is the continent with the fewest amount of countries with left-hand side traffic. Aside from Antarctica and North America that don’t have any, that is.
Last, but certainly not least, is Oceania. Most travelers know that Australia and New Zealand both drive on the left. However, a whopping 14 countries on this continent drive on the left-hand side of the road.
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Planning a road trip can get tremendously overwhelming sometimes. Afterall, there are lots of different things that have to be planned out prior to leaving. Packing your road trip essentials is one of the last things you do before setting off, but it cannot be overlooked.
We’ve compiled a handy list of 30 items you have to take on your next road trip. They’re split into the following categories:
It may seem like common sense to take all of the items listed below. The stress of planning a road trip can make us forget the most basic stuff.
Check out this blog post to make sure you take all of your road trip essentials!
13 Absolute Essentials For Every Road Trip
The items below are your absolute essentials for your next road trip. Make sure you don’t forget any of them!
The Most Basic Items You Always Need On A Road Trip
Driving License & ID
Car Documents & Proof of Insurance
International Driving Permit
Roadside Emergency Kit & First Aid Kit
Emergency Contact Info
Driving License & ID
First and foremost, you have to make sure that you packed your driving license and ID. A driver must be able to provide a valid driver’s license and proof of identity. Any passengers in the vehicle need to have their IDs, as well.
Note that some countries require foreign drivers to have their passports with them at all times, too. Check the local regulations before departing to avoid any mishaps during the journey.
Car Documents & Proof of Insurance
The paperwork of your vehicle is just as important to have as your driver’s license and ID.
If you’re traveling by rental car, the car’s paperwork will either be in the glove compartment or handed to you when picking up the vehicle. Always double-check before setting off.
Different types of car insurance may be obligatory, depending on the region you’re driving in. Rental cars in America, for example, will typically only come with a very basic protection plan. Check with your credit card company, as they may offer additional insurance.
When traveling by rental car, it is crucial to have the vehicle properly insured. You can check out this blog post to learn more about rental car insurance.
A roadside emergency kit is crucial to have on a road trip. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use it. Unexpected accidents could happen, hence it’s best to have one laying around just in case. The same goes for a first aid kit.
A roadside emergency kit should have the following items:
first aid kit
tow strap ropes
a set of tools, including screwdrivers and sockets
As you can see by its components, a high-quality roadside emergency kit will keep you prepared for any unexpected scenarios. You’ll be able to deal with technical breakdowns, dead batteries, medical emergencies, and any other situations that could happen during your road trip.
A flashlight should be a part of your roadside emergency kit. If it is not, then ensure you pack at least one working flashlight. It is one of the must-have road trip essentials, that’s for sure.
Don’t forget spare batteries!
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the way we travel. Depending on the region you’re going to, face masks may be required indoors as well as outside.
Make sure you take enough masks. Don’t forget to pack spare ones, too!
Any traveler going on a road trip in 2021 should take a bottle of hand sanitizer.
While many local businesses set up hand sanitizers near the entrance to their premises, it could turn helpful to have your own bottle.
Not all surfaces you’ll come across are going to be particularly clean. What’s more, you may have to open the hood of your car to check the oil levels.
You’ll definitely end up having to go to the bathroom at a gas station. Taking a pair of gloves with you certainly won’t hurt. It could save you from coming in contact with some disgusting surfaces.
Emergency Contact Numbers
Ensure that you have the emergency contact numbers saved on your phone, or written down on a piece of paper. Ensure you have the contact details for roadside assistance, too.
Don’t forget that the emergency numbers can change depending on the region you’re in!
You can check out this Wikipedia page to see emergency telephone numbers in different countries.
Not all local businesses will accept payment by card. It’s always good practice to have some local currency on hand at all times, hence we recommend cash as another thing to take on a road trip. You never know when a small purchase may come up!
Naturally, you don’t want to take too much cash with you either. An amount that will be enough for the duration of the trip, plus some more just in case anything happens, should be sufficient.
Remember to take the money with you, and not leave it in a car unattended.
This is crucial if you are going on a long-distance road trip in your own vehicle. Regularly checking the engine oil level is a must. Otherwise, you could risk damaging the powerplant of your car.
I cannot stress this enough. Having a bottle of engine oil in the trunk is extremely convenient. Some local gas stations may sell the right type of engine oil, though it is not guaranteed.
Credit Card (if necessary)
A credit card may not be a road trip essential for everyone unless they’re renting a car.
If you are traveling by rental car, you’ll need to take your credit card (with enough funds to cover the security deposit) and present it when picking up the vehicle.
Note that the credit card has to be under the same name as the renter. Click here to learn more about the pick-up process.
It goes without saying that water is an absolute necessity. While any local grocery shop or gas station will sell water, it’s always a good idea to have a few bottles in the car with you whenever you get thirsty. Especially if you’re traveling in rural areas.
Water bottles could come in handy if you go on a hike, or in case of a breakdown in the middle of nowhere.
Pack These 14 Items To Make Your Road Trip More Comfortable
Although the items below are helpful to take, we don’t qualify them as absolute road trip must-haves. Nonetheless, consider packing these convenient items to make your road trip more comfortable.
These Items Will Improve The Comfort of Your Road Trip
Sunglasses with a Polarizing Filter
Blanket and Pillow
Handsfree Bluetooth Kit
Insects of all sorts can be annoying, especially when hiking out in the wild or trying to enjoy a barbecue with friends. Don’t even get us started on mosquito bites. Yikes!
Pack some bug repellent and you’ll spare yourself from
A shovel is a great multi-purpose tool you should definitely pack with you on your next road trip.
You’ll surely find it useful if your car gets stuck in mud or snow.
An ice scraper is a must for any driver during the wintertime. It’s the most efficient way to remove ice and snow from your car’s windshield and mirrors.
Some people attempt to save time by pouring boiling water directly on the windshield. Do not do that. The temperature difference could cause your windshield to shatter to a million pieces.
Going on a winter road trip? Check out this guide for more helpful tips.
Headaches are never fun, but they’re even worse during a road trip. Riding in a car for hours with a constant headache can be a terrible experience.
It’s best to be prepared and take some painkillers and medication that could become useful.
Yet another must-have on any road trip during the summer. Particularly handy if you’re driving down a coastal road and decide to stop at a scenic roadside beach. Perhaps you want to get out of the car and hike around the wilderness?
Sunscreen is super useful, yet it is easily overlooked and forgotten. Don’t forget to pack it!
Don’t overestimate local gas stations and small restaurants. You may often see that public bathrooms either provide rough, low-quality toilet paper, or they are out of it altogether.
It’s best to bring your own rolls with you, just in case. A roll of toilet paper could double as tissues or a paper towel for cleaning up any spilled liquids, too.
Ideal for protection from the rain. It can also serve as a great way to protect yourself from strong sunlight.
Sunglasses With A Polarizing Filter
Sunglasses can dramatically improve your driving experience. Being blinded by harsh sunlight is dangerous and could lead to a collision. Sometimes there’s so much light that the car’s sun visor just won’t cut it.
Instead of just any sunglasses, try to get ones with a polarizing filter. A polarizing filter will eliminate reflections, such as the ones on your car’s windshield. Trust me, you will not regret it.
Speaking from experience, it’s best to pack more than one phone charger on a road trip. They can get broken, lost, or simply disappear into the “black hole” between your seat and the center console.
Despite what some people may say, it is impossible to retrieve anything once it falls into the black hole. Really.
If you’re traveling with friends, it’s safe to assume that at least one of them will forget their charger. Better safe than sorry.
Blanket & Pillow
Who would not want to enjoy a nap during an endless road trip? As long as you’re not the one driving at the moment, of course.
Blankets and pillows can easily qualify as road trip essentials. While not taking them would not affect the safety of your road trip, it is a nice touch to get a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.
Experienced roadtrippers can all agree that there are some unwritten rules for every road trip. One of them states that the front-seat passenger’s main role is being the DJ for the duration of the road trip. They control the magical AUX cord and select the music played in your car.
Make sure you have a way to connect your phone to the car’s audio system. Newer cars may have Bluetooth connectivity. If you have an older vehicle, an AUX cord is your best bet.
Handsfree Bluetooth Kit
Talking on the phone while driving is not only illegal in most countries, but also very dangerous. Instead, you can connect a handsfree Bluetooth kit to safely make phone calls while behind the wheel.
Newer vehicles often have this feature as a standard option in the infotainment system.
Staring at a phone screen for hours on end can drive your passengers crazy. Instead, pack a few of your favorite books that they can read through during the road trip.
Any proper road trip begins with a shopping stop to gather snacks. When it comes to piling up road trip snacks, it is always best to come overprepared. There is no such thing as not having enough snacks, that’s for sure.
Don’t just stick to junk food, purchase some healthy foods as well. Fresh fruits are both nutritious and tasty, for example.
The items below are far from road trip essentials. However, it could be useful to pack them. Check out our recommendations!
A million things can go wrong with your phone. Anything from your battery running out to shattering the screen will leave you stranded with no map. A regular paper map is something you can always count on. Sure, it may not be as sophisticated as a fancy navigation app with real-time traffic warnings. However, a paper map will never fail you.
Take a paper map. It may just come in handy.
Pen and Pencil
Doodling, drawing, writing down any important information or leaving a note on a car you’ve dented at a car park. Whatever the reason may be, it’s always a good idea to have a pen and pencil along with a few pieces of paper.
Don’t have a car you can take on a road trip? No problem!
Head over to Rentalmoose and book a rental car for your next journey. Choose from the most trusted suppliers at over 15 000 different locations worldwide.
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You’ve decided to rent a car, that’s great! We’ve prepared a detailed car rental checklist of all the important things to keep in mind during your rental period. That way, you can focus on making the most of your trip!
For maximum convenience, consider saving the infographic below.
This car rental checklist is divided into four sections:
This section of our car rental checklist is useful prior to making your booking.
Make sure you meet the driving requirements
First, double-check that you meet all of the driving requirements. They are specified by the rental company.
These requirements vary depending on the company and the rental location. Make sure you check the ones relevant to the country you’re visiting.
Most rental companies require the renter (as well as any additional authorized drivers) to have a driving license that’s held for at least 1 year. Drivers younger than 21 may not be able to rent a car at all.
The requirements can be found in the rental company’s terms and conditions.
Check the local traffic laws
Double-check the speed limits and other traffic regulations in the country you’re going to. If you are a young driver, make sure you are eligible to drive at your destination.
Make sure you know who has the right of way at a junction, for example. Save the phone numbers for local emergency services.
Don’t forget to check which side of the road you’ll be driving on. Otherwise, you might get surprised at pick-up.
Review the rental company’s terms and conditions
I cannot stress this enough, it is crucial to read through the rental company’s terms and conditions before even finalizing your booking.
Pay extra attention to the fine print. The T&Cs are lengthy and boring to read through, though you will find important details regarding your rental car booking within this document.
Still not convinced? Check out this blog post to see why you should always read the terms and conditions when renting a car.
Don’t forget your International Driving Permit (if necessary)
Whether or not you need an International Driving Permit depends on the country’s regulation, as well as the rental company itself.
If an IDP is necessary, you will have to obtain it before leaving your country of residence. Click here to learn all you need to know about IDPs.
Some companies can require an International Driving Permit, even if it is not obligatory in that country.
Make sure to check the terms and conditions before leaving on your trip.
Valid credit card with enough funds for the security deposit
When picking up your rental car, you will be asked for a valid credit card in the name of the renter.
If you booked a car via Rentalmoose, remember that you have only paid a fee to reserve the vehicle and will have to cover the rest at the rental desk.
Keep in mind that you will need enough funds for the security deposit as well. The amount varies depending on the company, refer to their T&Cs for more details.
Don’t forget that only you can drive the rental car. Unless you have additional drivers noted in the rental agreement, don’t let anyone drive your rental car. Doing so is a serious breach of the rental agreement.
Every additional driver has to be mentioned in the agreement and approved by the car rental company.
Rentalmoose tip: Additional drivers are subject to a daily additional driver fee.
Note: Additional drivers have to meet the same driving requirements as the renter. Don’t forget to get an IDP if necessary. Make sure you have enough driving experience to be eligible to drive a rental car.
A rental car that’s driven by an unauthorized driver is considered a serious breach of the rental agreement. In effect, all of your insurance will become invalid in case of any damage. You will be responsible for covering 100% of the damage costs.
Make sure you know what kind of protection package is included in your car rental booking.
If you want to opt for additional coverage, you can do so before setting off on your trip. You can also purchase insurance from a third-party company.
Remember that adding insurance at the rental desk will be more expensive than purchasing the same package in advance. Refer to the rental company’s T&Cs for more details.
Remember that rental cars in the US and Canada often don’t come with a Collision Damage Waiver!
Learn all you need to know about rental car insurance in this blog post.
Prepare your voucher
Lastly, get the voucher for your rental car ready.
If you’ve booked your rental car with Rentalmoose, you can find the voucher in your inbox together with the booking confirmation, or under the My Account section on our website (click at the top right corner to log in).
Download the voucher on your phone (make sure you can access it when offline), or print it out.
You will be asked to present it at the rental desk during pick-up.
It looks like you’re ready to go! Save your car rental checklist and get to your destination 🙂
Once you arrive at your destination, it’s time to head to the rental desk and pick up your rental car!
You can check out this blog post to learn more about the pick-up process.
This section of our car rental checklist is useful during pick-up.
Arrive on time
Are you running late?
Be sure to contact the rental desk and let them know if you can’t make it on time.
If you don’t notify the car rental company in advance, you risk being charged a no-show fee and losing your booking.
Note that a surcharge may be applied for late pick-up. If the delay will extend to the out-of-office hours, another charge may be added to your bill.
Present all the necessary documents
During the pick-up process, you will be asked to present all of the necessary documents.
Make sure you have your:
IDP (if necessary)
Once again, ensure that you have enough funds on your credit card to cover the security deposit.
Right before receiving your rental agreement along with the keys to your shiny rental car, you have the chance to add any additional services.
Some of the extras, depending on the rental company, can include:
premium coverage of elements of the car that are not covered by the basic insurance
additional driver added to your booking
Keep in mind that all these services and items are subject to availability, it is best to book them in advance.
Ask the rental desk staff what kind of roadside assistance (if any) is included in your rental package.
You may want to add roadside assistance, as breakdowns can happen and they are often impossible to predict.
The last thing you want is to be stranded on your holiday.
Write down the contact number to call in case of a breakdown, too.
Read the rental agreement & terms and conditions
If you haven’t already, be sure to thoroughly read through both the rental agreement, as well as the terms and conditions.
Don’t feel rushed and take your time to make sure you don’t miss any details.
If you’ve read the documents already, have another look as a recap.
Make sure that the rental quote matches the offer you saw online.
Point out any mishaps immediately.
Inspect the condition of the rental car
Checking the condition of the rental car before driving off is an absolute must.
Rentalmoose strongly recommends taking check-in photos of the condition of the car both inside and out. If you booked your car with Rentalmoose, you will receive a reminder to take check-in photos.
Rentalmoose insider tip: It’s best to take check-in photos with your smartphone. They are tagged with the current time, date, and location and can serve as evidence in case of unfair damage charges.
Pay attention to any existing damage and make sure it is noted in the check-out form. Don’t forget to check the tire wear, too. Photograph the car’s current odometer reading to avoid disputes over mileage.
Any damage found at drop-off that’s not documented on the check-out form will be considered to be inflicted during the rental period. In this case, the renter is subject to pay for the repair costs, as well as an administrative fee to the rental company.
Check if the car’s safety and comfort features work
Get familiar with the rental car and its features.
Make sure that all of the lights are in order, check if the A/C works, the powered mirrors, and all of the gauges.
Make sure that there aren’t any warning lights when the engine is on.
Check the fuel gauge, the rental car should come with a full tank of gas. Double-check if your car is powered by diesel or gasoline.
Contact the rental desk staff if anything is out of the ordinary before you leave.
Once you’re sure that everything is in order, you can begin your adventure. Have fun!
As your rental agreement is coming to an end, get ready to return your rental car at the desired location.
This section of our car rental checklist is useful right before dropping off your car.
Ensure the rental car is clean
Most car rental companies will allow reasonable wear and tear during the rental period.
However, it is rarely specified what that means.
Imagine the rental car was lent to you by a friend and ask yourself whether you’d give it back in its current condition. If not, you may want to visit a car wash before drop-off.
If the car is too dirty at drop-off, you may be charged a cleaning fee. Note that there will be a service fee added on top of the charge. It’s going to be cheaper if you clean the car yourself prior to drop-off.
You can add a paid cleaning service at pick-up, that way you can return the car dirty. Generally, the upfront cleaning service is cheaper than the cleaning fee.
Check the rental desk’s opening hours
If you’re returning the car outside of the rental company’s business hours, you may be subject to an additional fee.
Fill up the gas tank
Your rental car will come with a full-to-full gas tank policy unless you’ve pre-purchased another package that allows you to return the car with less gas.
Try to find the time to fill up the tank before drop-off.
Take the receipt with you, just in case.
If you return a car with less fuel, the rental company will refuel it and charge you for it.
A service fee will be added to your bill on top of the refueling fee. Once again, it’s cheaper to do it yourself.
If you know you won’t have the time to refuel the car before returning it, consider purchasing a full tank of fuel at pick-up. That way, you won’t have to worry about the fuel level when dropping off the rental car.
Check the return procedure (self-service return)
If you’ve chosen a self-service drop-off, make sure you are aware where to drop the keys off.
Where will you leave the car? Is it a safe environment (look below for details)? If you’ve added optional equipment, where should you drop it off?
Your rental agreement will have details for the self-service return process.
Arrive on time
Check the rental agreement to see the drop-off time. Make sure you arrive on time, similarly to the pick-up.
Inform the car rental company if you’re running late, or if you want to extend the rental period for another day or two.
Generally, car rental companies offer a grace period for late drop-off. It is up to the company how long it lasts, and it is mentioned in the T&Cs.
The grace period for late drop-off is usually 29 minutes.
Document the rental car’s condition
Once the car is returned, take another set of photos documenting the condition of the rental car inside and out.
Take a picture of the mileage, too.
If you’ve booked your rental car via Rentalmoose, you will receive a reminder to take check-out photos of the car’s condition. The check-in and check-out pictures will be stored with us in case of any disputes.
If there are any disputes regarding the damage, you can use the check-in and check-out photos as evidence, along with the check-in and check-out forms with any existing damage written down.
Check the car for your belongings
Once you’re ready to leave, check the rental car thoroughly for any belongings that you may have forgotten to take. Have a look inside of the glovebox, in the center console, under the seats, in the trunk, and in any other compartment in the car.
If you rented any additional equipment, such as a GPS satnav, return it to the rental desk.
If you’ve selected self-service drop-off, enquire about the return process for additional equipment in advance.
Consult your rental agreement for details.
Ensure the rental car is left in a safe environment
This is crucial if you’re dropping the car off outside of the desk’s business hours. In the terms and conditions, it is stated that the renter is responsible for the rental car until it is inspected by the staff the next business day.
In practice, this means that you have to leave the rental car in a safe environment (ideally a car park monitored by CCTV cameras) when dropping it off outside of business hours.
It is your responsibility as the renter.
Return the car keys and check the final bill
Lastly, don’t forget to drop off the key(s) to the rental car along with any additional equipment.
In some countries, you may be asked to return the car’s documents too, while in others the documents should be left in the glove compartment. Consult the rental agreement for details.
When receiving the final bill or invoice, make sure that the price matches the one you were quoted.
Consider that additional charges may be added to your final bill, click here to find out about the most common extra fees when renting a car. Inform the rental desk staff if there are any mishaps.
It may seem like a lot of points to remember, though I can assure you that the rental process will be smooth and simple if you follow the steps listed in our car rental checklist.