With the weather often being unpredictable in the UK, many people will be making plans to holiday in Europe this year in search for warmer climes. However, if you are planning on taking a car with you to get the maximum amount of freedom, there are certain things you need to check to ensure you have the best time away.
We've written a checklist of some of the most important things to consider before you start your adventure:
Put your travel documents together
Like all holidays abroad, it's important that you have all your documents together, especially if you are taking the whole family. This includes things like your passport and travel insurance details, but you should also make sure you have information about your car insurance to make sure you can prove you are fully covered in whatever country you are travelling to. Having all of these together, can help save time and reduce your stress should you be asked about it. It's also a great way to ensure you don't forget anything before you leave home. Of course, you should check that all documents - especially your passport and driving licence - are up to date and are at least six months away from expiring.
Research the driving laws
Many countries across Europe have different driving laws or etiquette than we do in the UK - mainly driving on the other side of the road! Not looking into this before you go abroad could rapidly increase your stress levels and have you accidentally committing a social faux pas, or even breaking the law. Depending on where you are travelling to, many roads signs may not be in English, so unless you are fluent in the native language, you should make sure you can recognise the most important signs. It's also important to double check what the legal driving limit is for alcohol and any prescription medication you may be taking.
Looking into the country's driving laws will also tell you what information you should have with you in the car, and what the national speed limit is - helping you keep you and your family safe.
Give your car a thorough once over
Have a look at our checklist to make sure your car is fully prepared for the journey you are about to start. This is crucial to ensure your holiday goes off without a hitch and that you can concentrate on having a great time rather than panicking about the reliability of your vehicle. By doing all your pre-holiday checks, you can also help minimise the risk of you needing breakdown services.
Double check your car is legal
As well as ensuring that your insurance and breakdown cover includes travelling on the continent, it's important to make sure your car fits in with local requirements. This usually includes displaying the appropriate country identification letters in some form. Not doing this can put you at risk of getting hit by an on-the-spot fine, but you may not need one if your number plate already has an EU symbol so it's always good to double check. In some countries there are legal requirements about what you need to carry with you as a driver, such as having a portable breathalyser to check for alcohol levels in France.
Create a driving toolkit
Having a driving toolkit with you can really help you out should you be stuck in your car for a long period of time, whether because of a breakdown or heavy traffic. A toolkit should contain a bottle of water for every passenger and the driver, blankets, puncture kit and anything else you might need should you be stuck for a while. This is a great thing to have as a permanent feature in your car - even when at home - but can really make the difference when you are on holiday in a foreign country. It's also a great idea to have local maps with you. Satnavs are brilliant but they can break or be out of signal, having a map with you means you won't be left driving aimlessly.