As you know, I love to travel. There is something special about travelling to somewhere new. It lifts the spirit, and opens your eyes to different ways of doing things. As well as being a great excuse to eat plenty of lovely food, and enjoy new drinks.

With the number of flights that are available increasing all the time, getting to other parts of the world is easier than it has ever been. Once there, if you stick to the big tourist areas, getting around is usually easy. In most places the public transport networks are well developed, so it is easy to catch a bus, tram or train, and be taken where you want to go.

This is great, but if you want to see more of a country, hiring a car is the best way to do it. Getting off the beaten track allows you to see a different side of the place you are visiting, so it is well worth doing. Plus, with a bit of basic preparation, it is easy to do.

Finding a hire car

In most countries, hiring a car is easy. There are multi-national car hire firms that operate in virtually every country.

Using them makes it easy to hire a good quality vehicle, with all of the proper insurance in place. You can usually book online, which means that you can sit back and read the terms and conditions thoroughly before you book. That way you can be sure about exactly what you are getting for the money, and know in advance if there are any restrictions about where you can drive.

Learn the rules of the road

Before you arrive, and pick up your hire car, it is important to familiarise yourself with the rules of the road in the country you will be driving in. They are mostly the same, but there are important differences. For example, in Spain you behave differently on roundabouts than you do in most other countries. Knowing about differences like this will help you to stay safe, and avoid being fined.

It also makes sense to learn the important road signs and markings. Again, this is not as big a task as you may think, because many traffic signs look very similar to the ones you are already used to. For example, stop signs are almost universally the same. In most countries, they are the same shape, and colour. Only the size and language of the word stop is different.

If you want to learn the road traffic signs for a new country, this page, will prove invaluable. It covers the entire globe, but not every sign is covered, so you should use it as a starting point. In many cases, your car hire firm will be able to point you to sources of more detailed information.

Travel articles that speak about hiring a car and driving in a particular place are another good place to find out what you need to know. Just be sure to take the time to check that they have been written recently, to avoid using information that is no longer valid or relevant.