Fly-drive holidays are popular with all age groups as a great way to stay mobile and independent when you travel. For older travellers in particular, who have the luxury of time at their disposal to really explore a destination at their leisure, hiring a vehicle and hitting the road can be an ideal option.
Will I be allowed to drive abroad?
To be strictly correct, the answer to this question is that it will depend on where you are travelling to. But in general, yes – in most countries around the world, there is no upper age restriction on driving.
There is a lot of debate over the relationship between age and driver safety, but the majority of countries recognise that more accidents are caused by drivers at the bottom end of the age scale than the top, so choose not to impose upper limits.
What you should check, however, is if your destination country has any rules on renewals or competency tests for older drivers. In the UK, for example, people have to reapply for their licence and take a new test once they reach 70.
Will I find it easy to rent a vehicle?
This really does depend on where you are travelling to, plus the firms you look to hire from. In Europe, some countries have maximum age limits for hiring a vehicle while others dont, which can cause a headache if you are planning on exploring across the continent.
In Bulgaria and Croatia, the upper age limit for hiring a car is 70; in Greece and Ireland it is 75, and in Hungary it is 85. These limits are mainly imposed by domestic insurance companies which will not provide hire firms with cover for older drivers. You may also find that some hire companies are willing to let you have a vehicle, but others refuse, again because they cannot get insurance.
You may find in some places you can hire a car, but not a larger vehicle like a van or campervan. Also, beware of inflated charges – car hire companies routinely put prices up for drivers aged over 70, so be thorough in shopping around for the best deal in advance.
What if I have a medical condition?
The rules on whether you can drive with a particular medical condition in another country will generally be the same as driving at home. If you do have a condition that affects your fitness to drive, then you should already have undergone examination and tests to see if you can keep your licence. If you have kept you licence at home, you should be ok to drive abroad.
If you have a condition you are concerned about and have not yet told your domestic driving authority, see your doctor before you start to book your trip to ask their advice.
Also be aware that any medical condition you have will impact on your travel insurance as well as being over the age of 70. Under no circumstances take out travel insurance without declaring a condition – it will invalidate the cover, putting you at huge financial risk if you have an accident driving and need medical treatment.