Navigating toll roads in a rental car
When you travel, do you usually rent a car to get around at your destination? Depending on the type of trip, and the particular destination, car rental can be a convenient and affordable option. That being said, there are a few factors travelers should take into account when renting a car. For example, when traveling internationally – do you need an international driver’s permit? Do cars drive on the same side of the road at your destination as in your home country? Are you unfamiliar with the city or the terrain you will be encountering at your destination? And the focus of today’s post: will any portion of your travel take place on toll roads?
Toll roads are common in many parts of the world, but there are quite a few different ways that toll collection is managed. Some accept credit card payments. Some require cash payments, and accept only exact change in the local currency. Others are monitored by toll booth operators who will collect your payment and make change. Many now include options where a transponder in the vehicle records the tolls a driver owes, or a photograph is taken of the car’s license plate for toll tracking purposes, and the amount due is either deducted from a prepaid account or billed to the owner of the car.
Depending on where you’re traveling, and what policies the car rental companies have in place regarding toll road payments, the process may be simple, or could potentially be complicated. Below are some tips to keep in mind before and during your trip to limit any additional cost or hassle associated with toll payments.
Before your trip
- Map it: Map out some of the routes you expect to take at your destination, and check to see if any of the roads you’ll be traveling require tolls.
- Check the policies: When reserving your rental car, check the company’s policies regarding toll roads. Some offer the use of a transponder in the car for a fee; others may charge penalties on top of any unpaid tolls the driver incurs.
- Ask the locals: If you have a local contact at your destination, check with them to find out if there are routes that avoid toll roads, find out the pros and cons of these options, and ask about the specifics of toll payment requirements.
- Carry some cash and change: If you think you might possibly encounter a toll road, bring along some cash and change to ensure you’re covered.
- Double-check with the rental company: If you’re not sure how to use the transponder, or you need additional information about the toll payment policies, check with your car rental company when picking up your car.
- Keep your ticket: If the toll road issues a ticket to cars upon entry, be sure to retain the ticket until you exit the toll road.
- Stay alert: Many toll roads funnel cars from multiple toll booths into a limited number of traffic lanes. Be sure to pay extra attention while merging back into traffic on the other side of the toll booth.
Do you have any tips to share from your experience driving rental cars on toll roads? We’d love to hear them in the comments below.