Going on a European Road Trip? 8 Things You Need to Know

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Looking to take a lovely road trip through Europe in the near future? While you’re certainly embarking on an exciting and worthwhile adventure, making sure you’re prepared for the excursion is just as important as it would be for any other type of holiday.

Here are eight things you’ll need to know prior to shooting off on a European road trip.

1. International Driving Permit 

If you’re looking to get behind the wheel in Europe, the first thing you’ll need to do is make sure you’ve hooked yourself up with an international driving permit.

These cost roughly £5.50 in Britain, up to €20 in other European countries, and are relatively easy to secure. They accompany your regular license and must be shown alongside it if asked to by the authorities. 

2. Get Enough Sleep 

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep – nothing is more dangerous than a drowsy person behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. 

It doesn't matter what you have planned and when it starts; don’t push yourself too hard. Better to be late in this life than early in the next. 

3. Local Laws

You’re probably so set in your ways you wouldn’t notice if you broke a myriad of laws in a foreign land – but there are plenty out there which have the potential to catch you out. 

Some of the European laws are a little crazy, so it’d be wise to make a note of this list when you’re motoring through the Eurozone:
  • France & Austria – A fluorescent jacket must be kept on the passenger side of the car for solo trips
  • Belgium – A fire extinguisher must be located somewhere in the car
  • Spain – You must carry a spare set of glasses if you need corrective lenses 
  • Sweden – Cars must keep headlights on at all times, even in the summer
  • France – All cars need a breathalyser on board 
  • Belarus – You can be fined for driving a dirty car
  • Germany – You must carry a warning triangle and first aid kit
While some of these laws might sound a little out there, it’s important to remember they must be abided by at all times. 

4. Keep Your Car Clean 

We don’t mean necessarily on the outside (unless, of course, you’re in Belarus), but rather make an effort to keep things tidy inside. 

This is where you’ll be spending a lot of your time, so do this for yourself as much as anyone else. Hygiene levels are sure to drop if you neglect this crucial factor. 

5. Spare Parts

Whether it’s a spare tire, jack or even steering wheel (alright, maybe that’s a bit far), make sure you have a back-up. 

The last thing you’ll want is to be rallying through the Austrian Alps only to discover you’ve gotten a flat. Without your spare options, you may be in for a long walk down the cold and chilly mountainside. 

6. Rough Plan 

You won’t be able to perfectly map out where you’re going and what you want to do (new things will always pop up along the way), but having a rough idea of your plan will certainly help. 

Make the most of useful tools to plot out where you want to go. This’ll also make it easier to work out your exact route through the continent. 

7. Country Roads 

While they might be a little more out of the way, routes which are off the beaten track will provide you with scenery which’ll remain in your mind for a lifetime. 

Valleys and lush fields of green are the norm across certain sections of Europe – and you’ll get a first-hand taste of that if you avoid travelling through the hustling and bustling (and often traffic-laden) cities. 

8. Travel Insurance 

You might receive some sort of cover on your car if you’re renting it, but it’s ultimately a better idea if you ensure you’re getting the best insurance deal possible.

On foreign roads you’re far more likely to have an accident (simply because they’ll be totally alien to you), so this is a step you cannot afford to skip. 

You’re going to have an amazing time when you do decide to head out on a European road trip – but making sure you bear some of these factors in mind when you head out is crucial. To make the most of the trip, ensure you follow the rules and suggestions I've laid out for you.

Photo credits: 1 / 2 / 3

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