Driving abroad: Everything you need to know

Don’t let the stress of driving abroad ruin your holiday

Holidays are meant to be relaxing, fun and memorable. Unfortunately for some, driving abroad is anything but relaxing, definitely isn’t fun and could be memorable for all the wrong reasons.

But, in the immortal words of ‘that one guy from Dad’s Army’… don’t panic! Driving overseas doesn’t have to be stressful. We’ve put together a list of everything you need to know to make getting in the car abroad a little less daunting.

The documents that matter…

It’s just not a holiday without a thousand important bits of paper shoved/ carefully placed in your bag. And if you’re driving abroad, you’ll need a few more.

Some of the key docs you’ll need to remember are your:

  • Driving licence
  • Passport
  • Both travel and motor insurance information
  • Depending on the country, a visa and/ or International Driving Permit
  • Insurance documents (if you’re taking your own car)

It’s worth remembering that your GB driving licence can be used in all EU countries, and that a GB sticker is a must for the back of your car (if you’re not hiring).

Know the country

Different countries have very different rules regarding driving, and some are more obscure than others.

For example, anyone navigating major cities in France will now need a Crit’Air clean air sticker as part of a French crackdown on air pollution. You’ll also need a high-vis vest in the car at all times. If you’ve hired your car it should already be in there. You don’t need to wear it… but you do need to have it.

Our advice is to take the time to research the driving ins-and-outs of the country you’re visiting. From rules of the road to the documents you need, and even driving habits and attitudes of the locals, it’s all important to know.

Oh, and get a sat-nav. You don’t need route-planning stress in your life when on holiday.

Practice makes perfect

It may be tricky to practise driving on the right-hand side here in the UK (please don’t try), but when you arrive overseas, we recommend finding some time to practice.

Find a car park, or a quiet area, and take some time to get used to driving on this strange side of the road that you’re not very used to. A bit of practice at the start of your trip can minimise tension later on.

Preparation is your friend when it comes to driving overseas. Any research, route planning and driving practice that you can do before you land is worth its weight in baggage allowance.

If you’re looking for more information about driving abroad, the gov.uk website is a great place to visit.

The clean air sticker isn’t the first anti-pollution scheme in France, they had an ‘odd ban’ earlier this year.

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