Taking your car abroad is a common thing for holidaymakers heading out to Europe. It avoids the hassle of dealing with a hire car, packing and unpacking luggage and provides the familiarity of home rather than adapting to an unfamiliar left-hand drive for example.
No special documentation is required for taking your car abroad for less than 12 months but you must check the laws and customs of driving in the country you are visiting. To stay safe there are a few extras you need to pack when driving abroad that you may not think of at home.
There are a few obvious documents you need to take when driving in a foreign country. Some overlap with driving at home, such as having your full driving licence on hand. However, others you may need to dig out such as your driving licence paper counterpart (if you have a photocard licence), the original vehicle registration (V5c) and motor insurance document.
Passports, travel insurance and international driving permit (where necessary) should be taken too. Check with your insurer that you will be covered to drive abroad before travelling.
In many European countries certain equipment is compulsory to have in your vehicle. The original registration document and motor vehicle insurance are two documents required by all countries while motorway tax is in some countries but only required at tolls by others.
It is vital to check before travelling what is compulsory, recommended and not needed. For example, France is one of the few that now requires every car to have a breathalyser on board. A warning triangle, reflective jacket, first aid kit and fire extinguisher are compulsory in many and recommended in a lot so are worth packing just in case.
Breaking down can be a headache anyway, but in a foreign country it only intensifies with the language barrier, insurance and being far from your regular garage. Taking a backup generator from SGS Engineering is a safe option in case of any emergencies, especially for those driving through the night or in remote areas.
There are many portable versions available that easily fit into the boot of most vehicles. If you’re going on a camping trip or taking a campervan or caravan you should definitely have one on board anyway. For many the perfect holiday doesn’t involve a flat battery, screaming kids and being stranded in rural Austria.