By a miracle of modern technology (OK, this blog was actually written last week!) the author of this piece is at this very moment motoring through France in order to enjoy a couple of weeks of great bread, cheap wine and sunshine (well, two out of three are guaranteed!).
It’s great fun taking a car abroad on holiday – no messing about with weighing luggage and having to decide which pair of swimming trunks to leave at home. But it’s also, of course, different from driving in the UK. And not just in terms of which side of the road to aim for.
Being one of the UK’s best regarded car insurance comparison sites you’d expect me to remind you to check your car insurance policy for EU cover before heading off over or under the Channel. If in any doubt at all, phone your insurer and check that you’ll be covered in the event of an accident or incident. Most insurers will include EU cover in their policies, usually with a (generous) restriction on the number of days you can travel abroad. Don’t forget to take a copy of your policy (and claims details) with you.
And making sure that any breakdown cover you have in place will cover you in other countries is something else you’ll need to check. It’s usually possible to extend cover to include Europe if you need to. But it may well pay to shop around before doing this – breakdown cover is a competitive market with some keen pricing. Make sure, however, that you know exactly what cover you’re buying as policies vary enormously. Think not only about vehicle repair and repatriation but also whether you’ll be able to get a hire car or transportation to your end destination. Breaking down is no fun at the best of times, but on holiday, in another country, with the family in tow...not a great prospect is it?
Next make sure your car’s in tip-top shape by following our very own Tiger.co.uk pre-holiday driving checklist.
Finally you need to familiarise yourself with the motoring laws of each country that you’re planning to visit. Do you need a warning triangle and a fluorescent jacket in your car? What restrictions are there on children in terms of child seat and seatbelt usage? Are the drink-drive laws more restrictive than those of the UK? Do headlights need to be adjusted? What about using a GB sticker? There’s a myriad of do’s and don’t’s to master and if you want more information on this, try the AA’s excellent “Touring Tips” pages.
These include details of the new regulation in France that requires drivers to carry a breathalyser as well as detailing the need to carry two wheel chocks when driving through Estonia!
Finally don’t forget to keep the kids entertained en route by printing off our excellent guide to in-car entertainment for children.