There are many advantages to driving a car abroad including greater flexibility to reduced travel costs, not to mention the magnificent views you’ll experience along the way. However, it’s essential to be well prepared if you are planning on driving abroad, particularly when it comes to having the right documents.
To help make your travel plans as smooth as possible, we’ve put together a driving abroad checklist to ensure you have everything you need before you set off.
Check your vehicle documents
What documents you need when driving abroad will vary from country to country, so always check with the relevant embassy before you travel. If driving in Europe, you’ll need to take your UK driving licence and ensure that you renew it if it’s about to expire.
You no longer need an International Driving Permit (IDP) when driving in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland if you have a valid UK photo card driving licence. To find out whether you need an IDP for taking your car abroad, head on over to the government website.
A green card is no longer required for driving in the EU; however, you’ll need a certificate of motor insurance so make sure if have this handy. A green card is still required for driving in certain countries so, once again, check with the relevant embassy.
If you’re taking your own vehicle when driving in Europe for less than 12 months, you’ll need to take your V5C logbook. If you’re taking a hired or leased car, you’ll need a VE103 form.
You’re existing car insurance may or may not cover you if you breakdown in another country, so it’s essential to check this before you travel. If you’re not covered, you’ll need to amend your policy or take out European breakdown cover if necessary.
Check local laws
Wherever you’re travelling, it’s essential to do your homework and swot up on local laws, speed limits and road signs. Failing to do so could result in a costly fine.
Many countries require you to carry things with you, like breathalysers or warning triangles, and you’ll likely need a UK sticker and headlight converters.
For greater convenience, the Halfords Motoring Abroad Kit has all the essentials you need for driving in Europe.
Be aware of what the road signs mean – it’s much easier to find this out before you travel than try to talk your way out of it in another language!
Plan your route
Unless you’ve done your trip a few times already, you’re probably going to need some help in planning your route. We recommend you review your route beforehand to get an idea of where you’re going.
Use a sat nav to get you around during your holiday and help with any new roads or diversions you might find. Just remember that sat navs that show speed camera locations may need to have that function disabled while you’re abroad as it can be illegal in some countries!
Be prepared for tolls
You might find that tolls are more common in some countries than others, so be ready to pay and have your money ready if you’re going to be using one. Also keep an eye out for countries which require a vignette (a toll sticker) to use on certain roads. If you don’t have one, you might find yourself forking out some of your holiday spends.
Take regular breaks
We all know the temptation to make your journey all in one go so that you’ve got the most time at your destination. However, driving while tired can be extremely dangerous. Remember that you’re on holiday – take regular breaks, enjoy the journey and don’t worry if you fall behind schedule!
Car safety checks
With all the holiday excitement, those last-minute car checks can often slip your mind. Getting your car repaired (or even things like buying bulbs) can be much harder when you don’t speak the same language as the people trying to help you! Head to your local Halfords for a free 5 point car check before you go. We’ll take a look at headlights, brakes, wiper blades, battery, windscreen chips and remind you of your MOT due date.
If you’re not already, you can join the Halfords Motoring Club to get even further savings on motoring essentials, maintenance, and servicing. You can start saving immediately and get even further value for money if you upgrade to premium membership.
That completes our driving abroad checklist. Preparation is key to ensure your journey goes smoothly and will help you enjoy your journey. If you want motoring essentials when travelling abroad, you want Halfords!