Can you rent a car in the US with a UK license?
If you are travelling to the US there are loads of different ways to get around but if you are planning on a road trip, or need the convenience of being able to get to lots of different places for sightseeing or to visit theme parks, then hiring a car may be the best option.
You can hire a car from all of the major airports if you are flying into the US, as there will usually be a range of car rental companies at each, providing different sizes and models of cars to suit your requirements.
For most companies, to rent a car you must be at least 21 years old. Some companies will allow drivers who are 18 years and over to hire cars, so you should check with the specific company that you are looking to hire from.
You should also check what level of insurance is included to ensure that you will be covered for different scenarios. Some states no longer require car rental companies to provide third party cover,
so you must be aware of that and work out whether you want to take that risk, especially as you are driving in a country that you are not used to driving in.
Younger drivers will usually be charged a higher premium when they rent cars, so be prepared for companies to quote some high prices if you are under 25 years old.
Using a foreign driving licence in the US
Before you travel to the US you should do some research to find out which car rental company you will use, as the rules differ from one company to the next.
Whilst some care hire companies will be happy to let you hire a vehicle with them using your UK license, other companies may ask you to also have an International Drivers Permit.
What is an International Drivers Permit?
An International Driving Permit (IDP) is issued to allow drivers to legally drive in another country to where their license was issued. UK drivers can legally drive in the US with a UK license but as some rental companies want added assurance, they require an IDP.
You can apply for an IDP in the UK from the post office and it currently costs £5.50. Whilst it is not compulsory to have an IDP for driving in the US, it is better to have one in case you do want to hire a car and they request one.
Driving in the US
In the US driving is on the right-hand side of the road, so if you do not have experience of driving on the right-hand side then it might be better to start off somewhere less busy whilst you get the hang of it.
Before you visit the US, you should check the laws that are applicable in the state or states that you are planning on driving in, as the rules can differ from one state to another.