If you fancy putting in the hours, then taking your own car for that family holiday abroad can save you a lot of money (not to mention the hassle of dealing with airports!). However, it’s obviously important to ensure that you cover all of the necessary bases in terms of preparation. That’s why we joined forces with Bristol Airport Parking to bring you these tips on how to help make the driving abroad experience that little bit easier:
Check the paperwork. First of all, you’ll need to make sure you’ve completed all of the necessary paperwork so that you’re actually covered to be driving wherever it is you’re going to. You’ll need to make sure that your insurance policy covers you for driving internationally, and obtain the necessary cover if it doesn’t. In many countries, you might need an international driving permit (an IDP) as well as an international Motor Insurance Certificate from your insurance company. Breakdown cover may be required, too.
Check the road rules. Needless to say, you’ll need to thoroughly research the driving rules for the country you’re going to be traversing. Whilst there are some obvious variations in different countries such as the right side of the road to drive on, laws may also vary on things like speed limits, right of way and the like. Check this thoroughly – and well in advance!
Plan your journey. Foreign road systems can be completely different from those in your home country, so you might not be able to recover the right route as easily should you get lost. Because of this, it’s essential that you plan your route well in advance, noting down details such as the junctions you need to take, and landmarks to look out for so you know you’re on the right route. Needless to say, it’s a good idea to invest in a good quality sat-nav that works in other countries.
Check what you need to bring. Laws don’t only vary in terms of driving – they can also vary in terms of what items are legally required to be in the car. Some countries will require you, by law, to carry things like first aid kits, fire extinguishers, warning triangles, headlamp beam reflectors and the like. Check out the law in the country before you set off – ignorance will not be considered an excuse!
Ensure that you carry an EHIC card if you’re travelling within the EU. This card will entitle you to state provided emergency medical care within any EU state. Obviously there’s a nice high chance it won’t be needed, but it’s far better to be safe than sorry.
Carry a sticker indicating where you’re from. If you’re travelling from Great Britain, for instance, ensure that you’ve fixed the relevant sticker to the back of your car, and that’s it’s easily visible to other road users.
Make sure you’ve got the relevant breakdown cover. Whilst you might be covered for damage to your car internationally, that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be entitled to help should you have a break down in the middle of nowhere! Double check with your policy holder before you set out.