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DRIVING • November 2022

Five reasons why hiring a car makes you a braver traveller


From tackling world-famous driving routes to simply weaving your way from the airport to your hotel, hiring a car on your travels might be for reasons of pleasure or practicality… or both. But getting behind the wheel abroad also takes mettle. Here’s why we think car hire makes you a braver traveller

You learn to adapt… quickly
You know the routine. You take the keys from the car hire booth and head to the kaleidoscopic car park. You open the door on the driver’s side. Only, it’s the passenger seat. And so starts a steady stream of wrong-sided shenanigans ­– hitting the door when reaching for the gear stick, or grasping thin air when trying to find your seatbelt. But persevere and you’ll find you adapt pretty quickly to the other side of the street… and the car.

Your language skills improve
While most countries use STOP to mean exactly that, depending on where in the world you are, you’ll need to put those GCSE modern language skills to the test. If you spot Salida, Sortie, Uscita, or Ausfahrt, you’ll learn that it’s time to leave the motorway. Not only that, but you’ll become privy to a whole host of both written and unwritten road rules. What side of the road are you driving on? What’s the speed limit? And, importantly, when does one honk? It’s these cultural nuances that will tell you a little more about a place.

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You embrace your inner adventurer
Even if you’re not willing – or ready – to channel your inner Ranulph Fiennes or Jeanne Baret, the moment you miss that junction because of a delayed sat-nav or an inexperienced map reader, you start to become an adventurer. On a grander scale, there’s nothing quite like taking off, either on a classic road trip – the USA’s Route 66 or Scotland’s North Coast 500 – or without a destination, and seeing where your drive takes you. One of the best things about hiring a car is that you’re not beholden to any rigid itinerary.

You see more
You’ve managed to drive from Palma airport straight up the MA-13 to your apartment in Alcúdia, and you’ve enjoyed the beach and sated your passion for paella but, in your mind, you know that the car outside is not being used. “I’ve heard there’s a market in Port de Pollença. Google says it’s only 15 minutes in the car. Should we go?” Then the famous Serra de Tramuntana mountains are right there, so you venture a bit further and, before you know it, you’ve circumnavigated the island.

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You forge friendships
It’s always good to have a navigator if you are the designated driver – as long as they’re competent. Otherwise, tensions can rise when too many bear lefts should have been bear rights and there’s nowhere to do a three-point turn. That said, travelling with friends or family abroad means you learn together and, of course, laugh together. Think of the playlists you’ll nostalgically listen to in the years to come. The endless chats about life with a blurry motion woodland backdrop. Your friendship might come under more pressure than your tyre tread depth, but the experience is guaranteed to bring you closer.

 Words by Charlotte Rickards

This article has been tagged Opinion, Driving