It’s that time of year when the sun is starting to shine, the days are getting longer and the British public are embarking on trips to (hopefully) warmer climes. 

Many of us enjoy driving abroad as it gives us a chance to really take in the scenery, the freedom to go where we please without being on a tour bus and the ability to venture outside of our holiday resorts. But what considerations should we take before driving abroad? Here, gives you some general advice on what’s best to think about before you go.

It might be a good idea to pack the following:

• Valid full (not provisional) driving licence

• An International Driving Permit (when necessary)

• Vehicle registration document (V5c) – the original, not a copy

• Motor insurance certificate

• Passport(s)

• Your travel insurance documents


To double check what documents you need click here for the government’s guide to driving in Europe. 

Other things to consider are:

Breathalysers – these are a legal requirement when travelling to France for all drivers of motor vehicles and motorcycles (excluding mopeds). 

Company cars – you will need a letter of authorisation from the registered keeper if you are taking a vehicle abroad that is company owned, hired or borrowed. You should also check the terms of your insurance in this instance and make sure you take the vehicle registration document (V5c) or a Vehicle on Hire certificate (VE103).

GB stickers – these are also a legal requirement in most EU countries. Some countries allow cars with a GB euro-symbol on the number plate to get away without the sticker but it’s always wise to have one just in case.

Limitations of insurance cover – check your policy covers you abroad. Your provider may need to know when you plan to travel and you may not be fully comp abroad, so it’s worth knowing this before you set off.

Reflective jackets – many countries require all drivers, including visitors, to carry reflective jackets. Reflective jackets must conform to EU Standard BS EN 471: 1994 Class 1 or 2.

Car hire companies don't all provide reflective jackets (or other compulsory equipment) as standard in their cars so it’s best to check this before you travel.

Sat-navs – some countries prohibit the use of GPS based navigation systems which have maps indicating the location of fixed speed cameras. It’s definitely worth checking before you go and disabling the 'fixed speed camera' PoI (Point of Interest) alert if necessary.

Snow chains – these can make a real difference in wintery conditions and are compulsory in some countries, even when using winter tyres. Have a practice go at putting them on too as they can sometimes be fiddly!

Winter Tyres – many countries require these at certain times of the year. The necessary tread depth is normally between 3mm and 4mm. 

Warning triangle – many countries require visiting motorists to carry a warning triangle. Check before you travel so you don’t get caught out!

Sarah Lewis


April 20, 2016