What you need to know before driving abroad
From what to take with you, to what paperwork you need to fill in; driving your lease vehicle abroad has always required plenty of planning ahead.
With the additional complexities of Covid-19 and Brexit, it’s essential to read our guide on driving abroad.
Order your Travel Abroad documents
1. Checking the traffic light system
All countries are classified with green, amber, or red status, with different restrictions applying to each. You should check how each country you're planning to travel to is classified, and what the entry requirements are for returning to the UK. Government advice can be found here.
2. Your travel checklist
Before you depart, you should check for any restrictions, screening, or quarantining required on arrival overseas. Be sure to check your accommodation provider for availability, as well as your cancellation rights. Finally, we recommend buying travel insurance with a level of cover you're happy with.
3. Before you go
Have your car serviced before you set out on any long-distance driving.
If you still have a burgundy EU passport, this is valid as a UK travel document - but you need to have at least 6 months left on it to travel to most countries in Europe.
Although entry visas aren't currently required to enter the EU, from late 2022 (or possibly later), British visitors to the EU will need to register online and pay for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) visa waiver, which is valid for three years.
7. Car insurance
10. Duty free shopping
British passengers travelling to EU countries can take advantage of duty-free shopping.
2. Border checks
British travellers are no longer able to use the EU fast-track lanes for passport control. You may also be asked for the purpose of your visit, the length and destination of your trip, and how you're funding your stay. You may also be asked to provide a return or onward ticket as proof of exit.
5. Speed limits and city driving
Speed limits vary from country to country, while many European cities enforce "Blue Zones that require you to display a ticket or disc that indicates your time of travel. Low Emission Zones are also becoming more common.
British travellers can benefit from free or low-cost medical treatment in the EU with a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). The government strongly recommends getting appropriate insurance for travelling.
3. Trip duration
Tourist and business travellers may only stay for 90 days in any 180 days, so make sure your journey doesn't conflict with previous visits in the past six months. This does not apply to the Republic of Ireland, and stays in the rest of the EU don't count towards your 90 days in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania.
6. Driving Licences
You must renew your driving licence before you can drive overseas. You may also need an international driving permit (IDP) for some countries. Note that the minimum age for driving in most of Europe is 18, not 17 as in Britain.
9. Mobile phones
The EU-wide ban on roaming charges is no longer guaranteed in the EU, so check with your provider for details of their EU roaming policy.
1. Covid-19 Requirements
From entry requirements, to returning to the UK, be sure to know how your journey may be affected by Covid-19 restrictions.
4. Mandatory equipment
Some countries require drivers to possess essential items for their safety and that of other drivers. This can include reflective jackets, breathalysers, spare bulbs, and first aid kits.
Entry visas, entry requirements, and regional travel restrictions may apply, on a country-by-country basis.
5. Speed limits and fines
Know the speed limits for different road types and newer drivers, to avoid any penalties - some of which can be issued on the spot
3. Breakdowns and repairs
Breaking down abroad and recovering a vehicle to the UK can be very costly. Before you travel, check what your policy covers.
If you need to get repair work done abroad, restrict it to the essentials (ideally through a franchised dealer), keep all your receipts and contact us as soon as possible about getting reimbursed. This may only be a partial reimbursement and solely applies to maintained contracts.
More information on driving abroad
For the government's advice on driving your vehicle abroad visit: https://www.gov.uk/driving-abroad
For the government's advice on vehicle insurance for driving abroad, visit: https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-insurance/driving-abroad