Road trips around the UK are great, but why not ramp things up a notch and head to another country for your next driving adventure? 😃 No, we’re not talking about Scotland and Wales; we mean France, Belgium, Germany, etc., etc.. However, before you go, there are a few things you need to know about taking your car abroad. And we’ve got the lowdown so you can drive in another country whilst playing your Spotify playlist the right way.
Make sure you have the right documents
The last thing you want to do is set off on your journey to another country without the correct documents. It will put an end to your plans before you can even think about practising your French on the locals. So make sure you have the following docs with you before leaving:
- Full driving licence and national insurance number
- Proof of ID (passport)
- Proof of vehicle insurance
- Travel insurance documents
- V5C certificate
- European breakdown cover policy and documents
- Crit’air (clean air) sticker if driving in France
You also need to ensure that your vehicle’s tax and MOT are valid and up to date. Otherwise, you won’t be able to travel, and that French you learnt will be words like “sacré bleu”.
Taking a car on finance abroad
Many car finance lenders will have a clause in your agreement that says you cannot take your car abroad without prior consent. Get in touch with your car finance provider if you're planning a trip abroad, and make sure to do it within good time before your trip is due to start!
Driving after Brexit
Drivers from the UK may be required to carry more documents with them following Brexit. These include an insurance green card that you can get from your insurer. Documents will need to cover both you and your car, as well as anything you are towing.
You will also need one or more international driving permits and a separate GB sticker on your car. It’s worth checking the government’s website to see each country’s requirements before you leave.
Required equipment for driving around Europe
Along with documents, you’re going to need specific equipment that makes it safe for you to drive a UK car in a European country.
- Reflective jackets – each passenger requires one, and they must be kept within the cabin of the car
- Headlamp beam deflector – you will need deflector stickers or need to adjust the beam manually, depending on your car
- Warning triangle – this is compulsory in most European countries
- GB car sticker – needed if you don’t have a GB Euro number plate
- First aid kit – this is compulsory in Austria, France and Germany
- Safety helmets – mandatory for riders and passengers of motorcycles and mopeds.
These items are non-negotiable, and you could receive a fine if you fail to have them in your vehicle and are stopped by the local police. So ensure that your car has the above features before embarking on your journey.
Equipment you may want to consider
Driving abroad is lots of fun, but if something does go wrong, you can feel somewhat isolated – especially if you’re in a country where you don’t know the language. Therefore, it’s worth considering the following items just in case some parts of your journey don’t go to plan.
- Fire extinguisher
- A high-beam torch
- Spare fuel can
- Replacement bulbs
- Additional engine oil and water top-up
- Sun cream
- Refreshments and water
- Up to date road map or sat-nav system
- Medication, just in case you can’t get abroad
- Photocopies of your documents
- Health insurance card
- Local emergency numbers in case of breakdown or accident.
A few handy tips to make your driving experience abroad perfect
We’ve pretty much covered the crux of what you need to drive abroad. But here are a few more tips so you can have the most enjoyable experience while you dart around French country lanes or take in the Spanish landscape.
- Headlights – Don’t forget to adjust headlights, so they don’t blind oncoming drivers. It’s a legal requirement
- Bring a travel pack – Put together a neat little travel pack with all the required driving documents
- Breakdown cover – make sure you’re insured to drive abroad and have the relevant cover
- Visa check – Double-check to see if you have the correct visas (if needed) for the country you’re visiting.
Keep all of these things in mind, and you’re good to go and enjoy your travel trip driving in another country. It’s time to get excited.
As long as you have the right documents and take the necessary precautions, driving abroad should be a fun experience. Some of the roads in Europe are great for zipping around, and you can enjoy a different driving experience behind the wheel in another country. 🚘