This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that if you click and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.
This is a sponsored post in partnership with Tripiamo. As always, all opinions are my own.
Last Updated: July 18, 2023
Does the thought of driving in a foreign country feel daunting and stressful to you? How do you feel about driving on the opposite side of the road?
While planning our travel to Scotland, Jonathan and I quickly realized that the best way for us to explore the country would be as a road trip adventure. So, we rented a car and put his name down on the rental agreement as the sole driver. No need for discussion on this point.
There was absolutely no way this American was going to drive on the left side of the road in the UK, or so I thought…
Freedom & Flexibility to Travel Further
As an American accustomed to driving on the right side of the road, I had ZERO intention of getting behind the wheel during our stay in the UK. I knew that renting a car in Scotland was the only way we’d really be able to see the country, but driving on the left seemed like a terrifying feat of mental gymnastics. So, I was not only happy but downright grateful to pass this task over to my French husband.
As fate would have it, a week before our departure to Scotland, Tripiamo, an online guide teaching Americans how to safely drive abroad, popped up in my inbox. Certain the world was mocking my weakness but intrigued nonetheless, I jumped on a call with John Cortese, the founder of Tripiamo.
In the past, John has felt somewhat limited by where he could travel as a tourist. Fueled by a desire to make car travel accessible and safe for adventurous travelers like himself, he launched Tripiamo as the ultimate international driving resource. He assured me that I’d have everything I needed all in one spot and that I’d be driving like a local in no time.
Ok, John. Challenge accepted.
Upon landing in Scotland, we added my name to the car rental agreement, and I immediately began to wonder if we’d end up seeing more of Loch Ness than originally intended.
Comprehensive International Driving Guides
When I logged into my Tripiamo dashboard the night before I was due to get behind the wheel, I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get through all the information. The UK All Transit Modes Guide is comprised of 47 lessons/videos. This includes expert tutorial videos, 360° driving tours, and on-the-go PDFs.
😬 Cue immediate regret about leaving my homework until the last minute 😬
To my relief, however, most of the expert videos are easy-to-digest snippets of around 2-5 minutes. Each tutorial video covers highly specific topics ranging from driving etiquette to avoiding fines to fueling up at the pump. This makes it convenient to find information that you’d like to review. I watched the video presenting road signs twice because it was all new to me!
On the other hand, you can freely skip around if there are certain aspects you are already familiar with, and there is often an option to increase the playback speed.
The driving section of the UK All Transit Modes Guide has about a dozen informational expert videos for a playback time of about 45 minutes. Perfectly manageable even with my limited timeframe, this engaging series of videos was thorough and answered all of my questions (and even some that I didn’t know I had!).
If I had to research this information on my own, it would have taken me significantly longer. Not to mention, I probably would have missed some stuff. It’s easy to assume that certain conventions, such as traffic lights, will be universal. (Spoiler alert: they’re not!)
Driving on the Opposite Side of the Road as an American
My biggest concern in using the Tripiamo guide was whether or not it would truly help me feel comfortable and confident in driving on the left side of the road. I was skeptical of Tripiamo’s ability to override my instincts.
In my opinion, the most powerful instructional resource in the Tripiamo driving guides is the 360° driving tours. While watching this footage, you can virtually experience what it’s actually like on the road as the instructor explains and points out important things to notice around you. You’re in control of the view and have the ability to swivel the camera any which way. The instructor will cue you to check your blind spot and check for cars. While it’s not the same as physically being on the road, you’ll still be able to go through the motions and familiarize yourself with new surroundings.
This valuable mental practice of sitting in the car is what gave me the most confidence before getting behind the wheel. Without a doubt, driving on the left side of the road required extra concentration on my part. However, thanks to the Tripiamo guide, I already had a clear visual of what it would look like to navigate turns and line markings on the street. Less hesitation when you are driving equates to greater safety for everyone on the road.
The Best Way to Prepare for Driving Abroad
The content offered by Tripiamo is focused on the most important information and aspects of driving in a foreign country so that you can navigate the roads safely and with confidence as a short-term visitor or tourist. It’s not about memorizing every single rule of the road and there aren’t any quizzes. Therefore, this guide is not for you if you’ve moved abroad and are looking for help to pass your driving test and obtain a foreign driver’s license as an expat abroad.
If you’ve been around my blog for a while, you might remember that I benefitted from the driver’s license exchange as an American resident in France. (Only a requirement if you live here, not if you’re just visiting 😉) Since I didn’t take any driving classes here, I compiled some basic tips for driving in France based on my own research and whatever I was able to get out of my French husband. I know I would have appreciated having access to Tripiamo as a resource while I was learning how to drive in France after I moved here.
Although I wouldn’t recommend Tripiamo as a guide to prepare for your French driver’s license test, it would be an excellent way to familiarize yourself with driving in France if you did the license exchange like me.
Tripiamo guides are ideal for the traveler looking to roam beyond the basic tourist destinations and break free from the limitations of public transportation. Adventure and driving safety are at the forefront of Tripiamo’s mission to empower you to get out and explore.
Specialized to each country, Tripiamo currently offers driving guides for France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK. You can purchase individual country guides or an all-country guide. They intend to expand to other countries in and outside of Europe in the near future.
Access for individual country guides only lasts one year from purchase. The all-country guide offers the possibility for ongoing or lifetime access. Within each guide, you can go at your own pace, jumping in and out of your dashboard whenever you like. The downloadable, on-the-go PDFs are yours to keep.
Don’t let driving concerns keep you from your greatest adventure yet! Learn more about Tripiamo by visiting their website HERE.