About 98% of the time I travel around using the excellent train systems in Europe. They are so efficient and far more advanced than what we have here in Southern California or the US for that matter.
However, there are times when having the use of a car is essential to what I want to accomplish in my itinerary. And when that’s the case, I have no problems getting in the driver’s seat to get from point A to B with scenic stops along the way, of course. 😀
Do your Research. Some people use agencies like Auto Europe which is great and I have used them in my research. But to date most of my rentals have been directly with companies.
Make sure you order the right kind of car. For those of you who don’t know how to drive a Standard Transmission car, make sure that you request that when making your reservations. When I rented a car in Salzburg so I could drive to the town of Hallstat, I didn’t think about it and was automatically given a Standard Transmission. It was fine for me because I know how to drive Standard and have no problems driving one. But when I visited Scotland in 2009 and had to rent a car, I specifically requested an Automatic transmission. I just felt being that I was already having to learn to drive on the Left for the first time, I just preferred an Automatic.
Standard Transmission – My Car in Salzburg, Austria
Learn about Driving Rules: I think it is very important to do a little bit of research when driving in a different country. I really did my research in preparation for my trip to Scotland. I learned about some of the signs and the rules about driving the Single Track Roads which the Isle of Sky in the Highlands was famous for having. It really helped me a lot when I was there. I also did a big bright sign for myself that said “KEEP LEFT“. It stayed on the floor of my passenger side seat the whole trip. I thought it would be an added reminder.
But I don’t think all the research in the world could’ve helped prepare me for those “Round-a-Bout” intersections that they have in many European Countries. For example, when I first got in my car in Fort Williams in Scotland, the first intersection right out of the gates from the Train Station where I picked up my car was a round-a-bout. I went around three times before I was able to exit. 😀
Flexibility: As much as I love using trains while traveling, there is a really good side to driving. It really allows you the freedom and flexibility to stop between destinations and explore little places that you would not be able to do while on a train. In Scotland, I drove the famous and very beautiful Road to the Isles and there were many stops along the way that were very beautiful and deserved a stop.