There are certain items which are required to be carried in the vehicle by law across various European countries. The AA have produced a handy table detailing everything you could possibly need for each country, so have a look through and tick off each section as you go.
France is particularly strict on the equipment needed; you must carry a warning triangle, high-visibility vest and breathalyser, along with a GB sticker and headlamp beam converters so as not to dazzle oncoming drivers.
Insurance and breakdown cover
It sounds like an obvious rule to have to follow, but ensuring you take out the right type of insurance is vital before even setting off.
You will most likely need to inform your insurance company that you are taking the car overseas, and there may be an upgrade required to the current policy document. Often, any pre-existing cover will have simply been third party, rather than fully comprehensive – watch the small print for these specific details.
Likewise, having breakdown cover which extends to other countries is equally important; you may not even have taken it out back in the UK, but should the worst occur whilst abroad then safe recovery is at least guaranteed.
We’d advise you to create a ‘travel pack’ with all these key documents, including passport and UK driving license to confirm that everything is in place.
Servicing is advisable
Check everything over, particularly tyre pressure and tread depth, as any problem with your wheels can be dangerous when driving long distances. Top up your oil and check coolant levels too to prevent the car from overheating. The last thing you want is to be stranded in the middle of an area you don’t know with a broken-down car. It pays to be prepared!
•Keep loose foreign change to hand for motorway tolls – you will find that countless toll roads will pop up during a journey through European countries like France and Spain.
•Make use of the sat-nav, but also plan your route with a map – sometimes, technology can fail, so it’s a good idea to go old-school and mark the journey out on a physical piece of paper too.
•It goes without saying that you should be taking regular rest stops when travelling long distances. If need be, split your trip up into several parts and plan in some stop overs at hotels.
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