If you love road trips like we do and are planning to take one across Europe, you must remember laws, roads and the need for certain documentation may be different in different countries when travelling by car. They may not be what we’ve become familiar with here in the UK (or wherever you call home). With this in mind, it is vital that you are prepared for when you get behind the wheel. By preparing yourself now, it can save you from running into trouble whilst on your road trip.
Understanding Traffic Laws Across The Continent
You’ll already know that across the world there are different traffic laws, so it’s important you become knowledgeable about what you should and shouldn’t do when travelling by car depending on the country that you are in or plan to travel through. If you plan to travel through different cities when you’re away, traffic laws could again differ. You should prepare yourselves by learning the rules of the road – the internet is your friend.
Universal rules will usually include the use of a seatbelt, speed limits and blood alcohol levels, which is something all drivers should be aware of. In continental Europe, all drivers drive on the right-hand side of the road, but in some local areas, people may drive down the centre of the road. We’ve always found the small villages in France and Italy hotspots for this. Therefore, remember to take corners with care!
Determining Your Route Before You Go
As you’ll likely be driving in unfamiliar areas, it’s important that you plan your route(s) in advance to avoid losing time or getting lost. Also, to ensure that you see as much of the city/country you are visiting as you can on your road trip/holiday. If your car doesn’t have a sat nav, you could always use an internet route planner i.e. Google Maps. This will also help you locate any service stations and other facilities you may need, such as restaurants and hotels, which can be incredibly useful when you’re driving around. Or if you’d prefer not to rely on technology, why not invest in an old-school paper map of Europe?
Car Rentals and Inspecting The Chosen Vehicle
With tourists being charged extortionate prices to hire a vehicle when they’re away, it’s always cheaper to rent by the week rather than by the day. Also, if you can book your vehicle in advance, this can help you reduce the cost further. If you’re looking for a bargain, there are loads of comparison sites on the internet and it’s always advised to look around to find the best competitive price.
With any contract that you sign, it’s important to read over the terms and conditions properly so that you know what you’re actually paying for, whether this is highlighting the type of vehicle, times available and the end date. Not only that, you can avoid any unnecessary charges that could present themselves and ask any questions that you might have.
One thing that you must do is check the vehicle before you leave to ensure that there’s no damage before you drive off.
Travel Documents You’ll Need When Travelling By Car
Remember to take your driving licence with you, as every country in the European Union you visit will require it. Depending on where you’re going, you might have to take with you an International Driving Permit in order to actually rent a car when you’re abroad and to ultimately drive on the roads.
Carrying proof of insurance with you is advised, especially when it comes to crossing different borders around Europe. Talking of borders ensure you have your passports (and patients) ready as you approach them and prepare for long waits, country and time of day dependant of course. You’ll always be able to ask for further information from your car rental company and they’ll likely be more than happy to explain what you need when travelling.
This was our guide on how to survive travelling by car across Europe. Do you have a road trip planned? If so, where’s your next destination?
- Collaborative Post