Your complete driving holiday checklist
Regardless of whether you’re planning a short weekend break in France or going on a month-long sabbatical into the rest of Europe, it’s important that you understand the local driving rules of each country.
That’s why this month we’ve created this complete driving holiday checklist, designed to give you insight and information about the paperwork, rules and regulations you have to comply with.
Documents you must have with you, at all times
Whilst you’re driving abroad, you’re legally required to have these documents with you at all times in the event that you’re stopped by the local police force.
- A full driving license (not provisional)
- An International Driving Permit (IDP) if required in that country
- The original vehicle registration document
- Motor insurance certificate that covers you for driving in that country
- Car hire documents
- Travel insurance documents
- A GB sticker, unless your number plates have GB printed on them
- Headlight converters to adjust light beams
- Some European countries require you to have high-visibility wear, a fire extinguisher and a warning triangle
Know the local driving laws
As with the UK, different roads abroad do have different rules, so it’s important that you know what they are. For example, if you’ve haven’t held your driving license for more than 2 years, your maximum speed must not exceed 55mph (90 km/h) in Estonia.
Another example would be that in Gibraltar, you’re not allowed to use your car or van horn within the city limits. At the same time as this, you’re not allowed to use full-beam headlights. Dipped-beam headlights only are permitted during the hours of dark.
One of the more recent introductions to European driving regulations would be “Clean Air” window stickers (or Crit’Air vignette) now required for driving in France. They cost as little as £3.20 to buy, but failure to drive with one on show could result in an on-the-spot fine of up to £117. You can find out more on the RAC website here.
Don’t forget your EHIC
When you’re travelling in a European country or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, it’s important that you take a European Healthcare Insurance Card (EHIC) with you. It’s free to apply for and gives you access to the same state healthcare that locals benefit from.
However, there are situations where the EHIC won’t cover you for the costs of treatment. For example, the EHIC doesn’t cover you for the cost of returning to the UK for treatment, or treatment you receive in a private healthcare clinic.
You can find out more about the specific terms and conditions on the NHS website here.
Do you need a visa?
It’s not always the case that you can travel to EU countries without a visa, so make sure that you check before you leave.
Remember your emergency contact
Make sure that you fill in the emergency contact information in the back of your passport. This makes it even easier in the event of an accident for the emergency services to get in touch with a member of your family.
Keep your family informed
Not only do they need to know where you’re going, we would recommend that you give them a photocopy of your passport, a copy of your travel insurance, car insurance and dates that you’re expected to return home.
Keep hold of loose change
Many European countries operate toll roads, so it’s important that you don’t always get rid of that spare change as soon as you get it. Make sure that you have a stash kept with you in case you do arrive on a road you have to pay for.
Holidays are all about enjoying yourself; so don’t feel that you have to rush around to get to your next destination. If you feel tired whilst driving, then stop as soon as it’s safe to do so and give yourself a break.
If you’re planning on taking a driving holiday, then you might find this post we’ve written about preparing for a long journey informative. Have a read here.
So there we have it, your complete driving holiday checklist. What do you think? Are there any ways that you prepare for journey abroad that we’ve missed out?
Remember, Fourways Self Drive are leading suppliers of self drive van hire, so if you’re planning a family holiday or need a car for a specific event, then get in touch with a member of our team here. We’re more than happy to help find you the ideal vehicle.