If you are doing any international driving, you’ll want to be familiar with the use of a manual transmission (stick-shift) vehicle.
Driving a stick-shift vehicle can be scary for many people, regardless of their international driving experience. However, there are times that this type of vehicle is the only option you have. Considered a dying art, unlearned in America over the years, manual transmission or stick-shift cars are still widely used worldwide – from Europe to Brazil and even India.
In 2021, as many as 44% of the vehicles on the road in the U.K. used a manual transmission! In fact, in 2016, stick shifts cars accounted for 65% of the vehicles, down from routinely making up 85% of vehicle sales in the U.K.
Needless to say, it is still essential to understand manual or stick shifts during international driving.
Don’t underestimate the benefits of manual transmissions. In the U.S., most cars are automatic. Driving a stick shift is a skill that not many people have these days, but it’s essential for international driving. With alittle driver education, you can quickly learn how to navigate driving in the U.K. on a stick shift.
Why Driving Stick Shift Is Essential for International Driving.
As a traveler, you have many options for transit when in the U.K. and England, but using a car gives you the most freedom. Touring Europe by car is one of the best ways to get around, especially since most of their roads are made for driving a stick shift. Therefore, it is essential to get a stick shift to save you the most money and offer the most convenience while traveling.
One of the most common mistakes Americans make with international driving overseas is renting a vehicle with an automatic transmission. For example, if you’re taking a trip to Europe, be sure to rent a stick-shift for maximum savings as they are much cheaper than their automatic counterparts. The same goes for anywhere else in the world. In addition, renting a stick shift vehicle gives you more control over your speed and gives you more options for finding parking spaces because it’s easier to parallel park. These two benefits alone might save you quite a bit of money while driving internationally.
Another reason that it’s advantageous to go manual transmissions is that it’s easier on your brakes. You don’t need as much force on the brake pedal if you’re driving manual transmissions because it uses different parts of your leg muscles.
If you drive an automatic transmission, your leg muscles are constantly pushing down on the pedal; this leads to muscle fatigue and brake damage over time. You also have more choices when renting stick shift vehicles with international driving because they are still widely available in many countries.
Finally, if you want to do any international driving, it’s essential that you can drive your vehicle anywhere. Manual cars are versatile enough to work anywhere globally, so they’re ideal for international travel!
How to Rent a Car for International Driving.
In 2021, nearly 2.5 million different people in the U.K. rented cars for various reasons. This number is a dramatic drop off from history as a result of COVID-19. Still, the industry is projected to rebound strongly over the next few years and will eventually exceed all averages to nearly 6.5 million users in 2026.
If you’re traveling abroad and want to rent a vehicle for international driving, then chances are you’ll have to drive a manual transmission.
There are many different types of cars to rent. Most rental companies will offer you options from small hatchback compacts to medium-sized sedans, large family vehicles, convertibles, and more. During an international trip, the most popular vehicle class you’ll find is the small hatchback and compact. This car style allows for easy parking and maneuvering of smaller streets while still holding all of your luggage and other passengers.
You can rent a car through a traditional rental agency like Hertz or Budget, or you can get personal attention by dealing with an owner directly through sites like Airbnb or HomeAway.com. Check out TripAdvisor reviews or Yelp to find out what other travelers recommend. It’s also good to check the credit card coverage of your own credit card company, particularly if you’re planning on paying for the trip using plastic.
Before booking, check that your driver’s license and passport are valid for driving (and riding) in the U.K., Canada, and the United States. Also, make sure that your auto insurance covers rentals in the U.K. If not, it’s wise to buy temporary insurance from an auto association such as AAA before leaving home. This coverage will mean you don’t have to worry about being stranded if something goes wrong during your trip.
Tips for International Driving.
Many travelers don’t plan to drive through a country, which is ok. But, others want the flexibility and freedom provided by having your vehicle.
International driving requires a good deal of responsibility. There are many obstacles to overcome on the way to your destination. For example, it can be overwhelming to understand different languages, new laws like driving on the opposite side of the street, and new distractions and sites to see along the road. Not to mention, you must be concerned with the safety of the other drivers and pedestrians.
Obtaining an International Driving Permit (IDP) is recommended for many countries worldwide, including the U.K, England, Scotland, and Wales. To get an IDP, applicants must first apply for a U.S. driver’s license at the local motor vehicle department and pay the applicable state licensing fees. The information is then entered into the National Driver Register (NDR). Once the IDP is approved, it is mailed to the address on file with NDR.
The IDP is valid when used in conjunction with a valid U.S. passport or driver’s license issued within one year before travel and remains valid for one year from the date of issue.
Once you are familiar with the laws and rules for driving in the U.K, you should address any need to understand manual transmission or stick shift cars. Seeking education and driver’s courses before traveling to Europe or the U.K. could save you money, time, and a lot of driving stress. Not to mention, it is an outstanding skill for you as a driver.