Before the fear sets in at the prospect of driving, let us tell you that it is a lot easier than you imagine. Roads are clearly signposted and the European equivalent of our motorways are as easy to drive with very little traffic. Actually, once you have done it once you will be wondering what all the fuss was about and why you haven’t done it sooner.
Driving Overseas Check List
In the wake of Covid-19 this might just give you the confidence to travel again, without the fear of catching something on an airplane.
Hopefully we can give you a bit more confidence and help you through your first steps in planning that adventure.
Planning Your Adventure
Your car is the key to your journey, so it’s important that you ensure it’s in top condition before you set off. Book a service to ensure that it won’t let you down. Let the dealership know that you are travelling overseas so they are aware of the demand that will be placed on the car.
There are excellent websites out there that will help you plan your trip, calculating both your fuel and the tolls. These will give you an estimate of what your trip might cost, use this as a guide only as once you have loaded up the car the additional weight will increase the cost of your fuel.
It is worth using navigation systems such as Apple Car Play or Android Auto as they give you the most up to date routes. Tip: To avoid eating through your data allowance overseas, turn off your mobile data after you have programmed your route. Your GPS system will still provide you with directions, however, it will turn off live traffic information though!
There is more to consider when you are travelling with young children or infants so take the trip at their pace. Whilst we all like to look at Google maps and think it will only take a few hours, Google has no idea how regularly a 3 year old needs a wee!
Car seats have to be one of the critical considerations when taking long car journeys: comfort and safety. And it's worth considering a more supportive car seat for young children that will support their necks. We favour Cybex Sirona car seats; yes, they are expensive but the best that you can buy. There is a full review in our product section.
Don’t be tempted to feed the kids in the car. Any sudden breaking could cause choking, so take the time to stop and have a snack and a drink. We recommend no longer than 1 hour with a newborn and 2 hours with younger children.
Again we can’t say it enough: The Potette travel potty is ideal in this situation for the quick number 1 or 2 road-side and, of course, avoids public toilets.
It’s worth popping in an extra blanket in the car just in case.
When you are planning your journey across Europe, work backwards to understand where you might need to book any overnight stays. For example, you may not want to drive in the dark in a mountainous regions. Or you may want to take into consideration feeding and getting some miles in when the kids are asleep.
In addition to the European equipment required by law to carry in your car you need to ensure you have the appropriate travel documentation with you at all times. You may need additional documents for different countries so check the Foreign Office website before you leave.
As a minimum:
European green card
European breakdown travel
If you are travelling in a company car you will require a certificate of ownership
Our handy checklist will give you basic equipment that will make your journey more pleasurable.