Car rental in Saudi ArabiaWhere to pick up
Popular car rental cities in Saudi Arabia
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Car Rental in Saudi Arabia: Driving the Land of Hot Sands
Saudi Arabia is a country like no other with some spectacular views and landscapes. If you’re willing to follow strict expectations for public behaviors, it’s well worth a visit. Make the most of your travels throughout this fascinating country by booking your rental car now!
The weather is at its most comfortable between November and February in Saudi Arabia.
The official language of Saudi Arabia is Arabic, with numerous dialects; the major dialects are Hejazi and Najdi. English is understood by many, and road signs are typically in both Arabic and English. Be aware, however, that most road signs show only Eastern Arabic numerals.
Saudi Arabia is located in the Arabia Standard Time Zone, UTC+3.
The currency is the Saudi riyal, which has been fixed to the US dollar at 1 dollar to 3.75 riyals for the past 30 years. Credit cards are becoming increasingly accepted at most shops and restaurants, though it’s good practice to have some cash on hand. ATMs are widely available at gas stations, malls, and banks.
Saudi Arabia is a huge country with some of the world’s most important cultural sites, such as Mecca; note, however, that only Muslims are permitted to visit this holy city. Visitors of all religious backgrounds will certainly be interested in visiting sites such as Al-‘Ula, located 360 km north of Yanbu.
Automobile hire is available in 17 Saudi Arabian cities. The most popular locations to pick up a car are in Yanbu and Jeddah in the west, Riyadh in central Saudi Arabia, and Dammam and Al-Khobar in the east.
Only travellers who have received their visas in advance are permitted entry into Saudi Arabia, so contact your nearest Saudi Arabian embassy or consulate well in advance of your planned travel in order to apply for a visa. Citizens of Israel and Qatar, as well as travelers who have Israeli stamps in their passports, will not be issued visas.
Be sure that you are not transporting any pork, alcohol products or pornographic material into Saudi Arabia, as they are strictly forbidden. Carrying drugs and related goods, such as poppy seeds and nutmeg, can be punishable by death.
Driving in Saudi Arabia
Be alert while driving in Saudi Arabia, as locals are likely to drive very erratically. Major highways connecting cities, however, are in excellent shape, making travel throughout the nation fairly comfortable.
- Traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road.
- In towns and cities: 45 km/h
- On motorways: between 80 and 120 km/h
- Speed limits are strictly regulated for foreign drivers by police cars, and speeding is punishable by fines up to 900 riyal or a stay in prison.
- At the time of writing, it was still illegal for women to drive motor vehicles or ride bicycles in Saudi Arabia, though this law is scheduled to be revoked by summer 2018.
- Non-Muslims are not permitted to drive into or in the close vicinity of Makkah (Mecca) and Medina. Be on the lookout for signs that route non-Muslims around these cities.
- If you are involved in an accident, ensure that everyone stays where they are and call the traffic police at 993. While you wait for them to show up, arrange for a translator to arrive as well, as the police will likely only speak Arabic.
- Be vigilant about paying parking fees throughout the country.
- It is prudent to accompany your valid domestic drivers license with an international driver’s permit for your travels throughout Saudi Arabia.
- At the time of writing there were no toll roads in Saudi Arabia, though some are being planned.
- The minimum driving age in Saudi Arabia is 18, though you will have to be 21 to rent a car. You are likely to face young-driver surcharges up to the age of 25.
- Educate yourself on sharia law and its regulations in Saudi Arabia before you arrive in order to avoid any legal complications.
Cheap Car Rental in Saudi Arabia
Automobile hire in Saudi Arabia typically starts at $19 a day. Here are some of the best deals:
- Kia Rio or similar (economy class) – $19/day
- Nissan Sunny or similar (compact class) – $20/day
- Nissan Altima (intermediate class) – $37/day
- Isuzu Pickup or similar (fullsize class) – $39/day
- Chevrolet Caprice or similar (premium class) – $67/day
Note that prices vary depending on the availability of each specific car and the season in which you rent. For the most accurate offers, use the search bar above.
Tips for Renting a Car Inexpensively in Saudi Arabia
Best Rent-A-Car is the cheapest rental brand in all major Saudi Arabian cities, particularly Riyadh, Jeddah, and Al Khobar, though cars are only available within four months of your travel date. If you need to plan much farther in advance, Sixt Red Car in Dammam can offer rentals at around $9 more per day.
Otherwise, there is very little variation in rental price in Saudi Arabia, whether according to season or the length of your rental period.