Above: Private chauffeur in London - JACOBS STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY / GETTY IMAGES

Drive or Be Driven?

Private driver - Jacobs Stock Photography / Getty Images

Certain itineraries, like my recent Hokkaido trip, require the use of a vehicle, raising the question of whether to rent a car or hire a driver. Of course, in quite a few destinations, I wouldn’t attempt driving myself under any circumstances (Egypt, India and Central America come immediately to mind). But when there’s a choice, your decision of how to get around can determine whether you have a vacation or an exercise in stress management.

I will happily drive a car through the Italian countryside, for example, because I love cruising the scenically spectacular serpentine roads. But those same roads, often bordered by precipitous drops, understandably give quite a few other people palpitations. Many Europeans tailgate, which can also be tedious. Try not to let it worry you — their (usually needless) rush is not your concern. And driving on the left may provide additional complications, especially when your co-pilot tends to be an anxious passenger.

If motoring yourself around a foreign country sounds like a fun challenge that you and your companion(s) will enjoy tackling, then by all means, rent a car. It’s usually cheaper, and it provides more flexibility. But if getting behind the wheel will be a source of stress, it’s worth the extra money to hire a driver who knows the region well. Ideally, you shouldn’t return home from vacation more frazzled than when you left. Whatever you decide, our Travel Office can help with the arrangements.

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Above: Private chauffeur in London - JACOBS STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY / GETTY IMAGES