Things To Remember When Driving Abroad

14th June 2017

Driving Abroad Map Planning

Things To Remember When Driving Abroad

Summer’s here and you might be planning to drive off into the sun. Before you pack the snorkel, there’s a few things you need to know. We’ve made this handy guide to get you on your way, such as what insurance you’ll need and things you must have when driving abroad.



So you’ve picked a destination and booked time off work. As much as we want to just jump in the car, there’s a few things you’ll need to do first. Firstly, talk to your insurance company to let them know you’re doing to be driving abroad. You might not realise but your insurance may be downgraded from Fully Comprehensive to Third Party Fire & Theft, or even worse, your policy may not cover you at all. The same thing with Breakdown cover, what would you do if you broke down abroad without cover?

Plan where you’re going

This may sound basic, but you could end up paying unexpected costs on toll roads otherwise. Take a sat-nav, but have a backup paper map as a backup. It’s worth knowing it’s illegal to use a sat-nav with radar detection in France. Make sure you have emergency funds just in case you do need to fork out for unexpected things.

Driving in Europe

It’s a strange feeling driving off the ferry or channel tunnel on the right-hand side of the road. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it. You’ll be going round roundabouts anti-clockwise rather than clockwise and take care when over-taking, it may be safer to wait until you’re on a dual carriageway. Driving styles in other countries can be very different, the Foreign Office advises to drive defensively and expect the unexpected at all times.

DVLA code for hiring

The DVLA abolished the paper part of the UK driving licence in 2015. When hiring cars abroad you now have to obtain a special passcode from the DVLA website when going to collect your car.

You can visit the DVLA site here

To get your code you will need your driving licence number, your National Insurance number and the postcode on your driving licence. Once you have received the code, it will stay active for 21 days.

Things you have to take with you

You may think all you need are snorkels and suitcases, but actually one of the most important things to have is a GB sticker. Yup, you read that right. Failure to have a sticker could mean you having to fork out for an on-the-spot fine. Also, you don’t need a Euro sticker if your registration already has the Euro symbol on it.

You’ll usually be able to pick up a pack of items at ferry ports and the channel tunnel of other essential items. For example, some countries require you to carry high-vis vests and breathalysers

Another important thing about driving abroad is that your lights are designed to point away from traffic when driving in the UK. Unfortunately this means they’re pointing straight at traffic when you’re driving on the other side of the road. You’ll usually find headlight stickers in the essential kit packs which lessen the glare for drivers on the other side of the road (You could be fined on the spot for not having them).

That should cover you for your trip abroad! With all of the above sorted, go and enjoy yourselves – and stock up on snacks 🙂

Lease2Buy Cars

Return to Listings