There are a number of requirements you might not be aware for when driving in Europe, by reading this checklist you will find out everything you need to know about driving in Europe.
1. Adjust your headlights
It is a legal requirement not to dazzle oncoming drivers. Make sure you adjust your headlamps ready for driving on the right-hand side of the road. Headlamp converters (stickers you put on your headlights) are widely available.
2. Buy a GB sticker
Don’t forget that your vehicle must display the appropriate country identification letters (e.g. GB). Failure to do so may result in an on-the-spot fine, but if your number plates include the GB Euro symbol, you do not need a sticker within the EU.
3. Make a travel pack
Create a travel pack containing all the appropriate documentation you will need to comply with the legal requirements of the country you are visiting and to help if you get into difficulties.In addition to your passport and driving licence this may include your vehicle registration document (V5); motor insurance certificate; International Driving Permit (if required or advised); breakdown policy and contact numbers; travel insurance documents, and any emergency helpline numbers.
4. Check your breakdown cover extends to Europe
You may need to increase your existing cover or take out standalone European breakdown policy to avoid unnecessary stress and significant additional expense if anything goes wrong.
5. Check your car insurance
Make sure your car insurance covers you to drive abroad. Check with your insurance company that you’re fully covered to drive abroad. If you don’t have overseas cover, you will only have the minimum legal cover (usually third party only) in the EU and you may need to pay an extra premium to extend your insurance cover.
6. Need a visa?
Make sure you've got correct visas for the country you are visiting and that your passport is valid. Even if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019 it is unlikely that you will need a visa for short trips of 90 days or less according to European Commission proposals.
7. First time abroad?
All first-time adult passport applicants must now attend an interview to verify their identity. It now takes up to six weeks to get a first passport.
8. Passport validity check
For certain countries – and in the event of a no deal Brexit – your passport must be valid for six months after the date you travel and be less than 10 years old – check the entry requirements before you go.
9. Photocopy your passport
Take photocopies of your passport and other important documents and keep these separate from the originals when you travel and/or store them online using a secure data storage site. DRIVING TO GERMANY? Don't forget your German emissions sticker
10. Emergency contact
Make sure you fill in the emergency contact details in your passport. This will make it much easier for the emergency services to contact someone in case of an emergency
11. Share your trip details
Tell a friend or relative where you are going and for how long for – give them some idea of your itinerary if possible and an emergency contact number.
12. Emergency funds
Take enough money for your trip and some back-up funds in a mix of cash and travellers’ cheques – make a note of the cheques' numbers before you go.
13. Travel guide
Invest in a good travel guide to help you plan your trip. Yes, be spontaneous, but there's nothing more frustrating than walking round in the heat for hours looking for the nearest good restaurant or cash point and a guide can point out these with ease.
14. Duty free allowances
Check HM Revenue & Customs Travel website for information on duty-free allowances and any banned goods etc.
15. Vaccine check
Visit a travel health centre or your GP to find out what vaccinations or medication you may need before your trip – do this early as some destinations require vaccinations months in advance of your trip.
16. International Driving Permit
Check whether you need an International Driving Permit in the country you plan to visit.
17. Find the nearest embassy
Check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's website to find out where the nearest embassy is, what services they offer and their opening times – you never know when you might need to contact them and it's better to be safe than sorry.
18. Don't travel without travel insurance
If you become seriously ill or injured abroad, you will need full travel insurance to cover any medical bills, otherwise you could be left with a hefty bill after you get better – most countries will even charge you if an ambulance is called out.
Also make sure your insurance covers you for any activities you are likely to undertake such as water sports and you are covered should you decide to ride or be a passenger on a motorbike or moped.
19. Get a free European Health Insurance Card
A European health card isn't a substitute for travel insurance, but it does entitle you to free or reduced-cost emergency care in some instances. Also remember, you need to call 112 to contact the emergency services in any EU country.
20. Make sure your car is in good running order
Prepare your car before your trip by making sure it is serviced. There are also simple things you can do yourself to make sure your car is in good, roadworthy condition including the under-the-bonnet check in our video below and checking your tyres are in good condition.
We also offer a 'Continental Travel Kit' here a Baylis Vauhall which has got the essentials you need to drive legally in 14 popular European countries. From the essential GB sticker to your warning triangle, hi-vis vest and breathalyser, it's even got a handy driving guide. Just relax and enjoy the ride, knowing it's all to hand in our useful zip-up bag.