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Our Real Latin America Expert

Ben Line
Ben Line - Travel Consultant

Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Manager of the Tailor-made Department.

MEX _ car hire Mexico _ condor verde _ free

Tailor-made Manager Ben Line draws from experience to give his top tips for anyone embarking on a self-drive holiday in Latin America: an extremely rewarding way to see the continent but also one that requires some forward planning!

  • When picking up your car it’s worth checking it over thoroughly before you drive away. As well as the usual checks for dents and damage it’s a good idea to make sure your lights, indicators and windscreen wipers are all working perfectly and that the tyres are in good condition. Also make sure to check you know which side the petrol cap is on and what type of fuel the car takes!
  • Before setting out on your journey make sure you have checked on local road laws such as speed limits, right-turn rules, roundabouts and so on.
  • Carry some loose change for toll roads, telephones or parking.
  • Before you go try learning a few basic direction-related words in Spanish:
Derecha Right           Todo recto Straight ahead
Izquierda Left   Derecho Straight ahead
A la derecha/izquierda On the right/left   Atrás Behind

...as well as what the most important road signs mean:
 

Despacio Slow                     Ceda / ceda el paso Give way
Peligro
Danger   Camino cerrado Road closed
Salida Exit   Entrada prohibida
No entry
Alto / pare
Stop   Sin salida No exit
Estacionamiento Parking   Desvío Detour
Peaje / cobro Toll      
  • In addition to the above, ensure you also have a phrasebook with you in case you find yourself in a tricky situation. You never know when you might need some help!
  • Although not officially required, you might want to get an international driver's license just to be on the safe side. Valid for a year and available at the Post Office, it’s a useful piece of documentation to have, particularly for any road side police checks.
  • Always fill up when in a city as petrol stations in some areas outside of the larger cities and towns can be few and far between.
  • Road signs tend to be located just before the turnings they designate so driving at a slower pace helps not to miss them (especially on the motorways where slip roads can be very short).
  • Roadworks are often not signposted ahead so be prepared for lane changes without much warning.
  • If you find yourself on an uneven, unpaved or bumpy road, reduce your speed and take your time.
  • For safety try not to drive too close to the edge of gravel roads.
  • On dusty roads make sure you stay a safe distance from the vehicle in front to ensure you have good visibility.
  • Although an unlikely occurrence it’s worth making sure you know who to contact in the event of an emergency (for example if you have booked with us, keep a note of our 24-hour emergency contact number). It’s also worth reminding yourself before you go of how to change a wheel, check the oil and fill up the radiator.
  • If you’re on a long stretch of the journey make sure you have some food and water and ensure that your mobile phone is charged and topped up.
  • For obvious reasons, don’t leave without checking you have a map and directions!
  • Always keep some water in the car in case you need to fill up the windscreen washer or radiator.
  • Relax, enjoy and take your time! The journey is half the fun of a road trip so make sure you leave enough time to stop along the way and take in the scenery.

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Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Chris Rendell Dunn
    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Consultant

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our Sales team.

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Consultant

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • Kathryn Rhodes
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Consultant

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Paul Winrow Giffen
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Consultant

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Hannah Waterhouse
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Consultant

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Consultant

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Manager of the Tailor-made Department.

Meet the team