10 Top Tips For UK Drivers Hitting The Road In The EU

06 Jul 2015

European Caravan Trip Checklist

It’s the time of year when everyone begins to look forward to their annual summer holiday, but that also means making sure you have all the practicalities covered. If you’re planning a trip to one or more of the other EU countries this year, there are a number of things you need to consider before setting off.

Check Your Insurance

Don’t automatically assume that because you belong to an EU member country, that you have the same insurance cover as you have here in the UK.

Check with your insurer as many premiums only cover you in your home country, which means that you may need an additional EU cover for the duration of your trip. This is especially the case for caravan owners. Although your insurance will allow European travel, there may be restrictions in place, such as the length of a journey. GoCompare provide more advice on caravan insurance.

Drive On The Correct Side Of The Road

If you have never driven in the EU before, you may need reminding that in the majority of EU countries people drive on the right hand side of the road. It may seem a bit confusing at first, but you’ll soon get used to the idea.

Check Your Driving Licence

Whether you plan on taking your own vehicle or you intend to hire a car when you reach your destination, you need to ensure that you take both parts of your driving licence with you when you travel.

If you are looking to hire a car once you hit the continent, be aware that you will now need to obtain a special code from the DVLA prior to travelling. This new measure is set to replace the paper part of your licence and it will show hire companies any previous driving offences that you may have, such as speeding.

It is also worth bearing in mind that the code will only last for 72 hours, so if you intend to hire a car later on in your trip you will need to generate a new code while you are away.

Know The Rules Of The Road

Countries such as Spain have stricter laws on speeding, particularly in the towns and cities, so make sure you watch out for speed limit notices. Speeds limits vary across Europe. Caravan Talk provide a useful guide to speed limits for cars with and without caravans.

It’s advisable to check out the rules of the road in whichever country you’ll be driving in as some things are different. It’s also advisable to check out any other rules that pertain locally – and remember if you are travelling with a child under the age of twelve, you still need a dedicated car seat.

What Should You Carry?

Countries have different rules on the extra things that drivers need to carry with them. If you are planning to drive through France, for example, then all drivers have to carry with them a portable breathalyser. You could be liable for a fine if you don’t carry this equipment with you. Read more about driving through France here. In Spain, Belgium and France, you must carry a high visibility jacket, and in some countries you must carry a fire extinguisher.

Make Sure Your Car Is In Top Condition

If you do plan on taking your own vehicle with you then it’s wise to have your car serviced before your holiday.

Be Prepared In Case Of Breakdown

The same thing applies to breakdown cover as it does to the rest of your insurance policy. While you may have cover for a breakdown in the UK, you may need extra cover if you are driving abroad.

Health Insurance

Remember to take your EU health card. It will cover you for minor ailments, so it’s well worth taking it with you.

Specialist Travel Insurance

If you suffer from a chronic health condition then it’s sensible to get cover from a specialist firm like Avanti Travel Insurance. Your health card will cover minor conditions, but if you need treating in hospital it could be very expensive without the right travel insurance.

Sort Your Sat-Nav

If you have satellite navigation in your vehicle then you need to check whether it will cover the country you are going to. Getting lost is a nuisance, but getting lost in a foreign country could be dangerous.

Being aware of these things before you set off will help you to get the most out of your trip and keep your time on the road stress-free. Happy caravanning!

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