There are many different legal requirements for driving abroad (if you want to read up on what you need to carry to drive on the other side of the channel then read our Top 10 tips for driving in France), but what are the essential items that aren’t necessary by law that should find their way into your suitcase?
Here are our top 10 items to pack when travelling abroad:
1. Travel money
Unfamiliar driving conditions mean accident risks are inflated, so don’t forget to pack some foreign currency in case you get stranded. Credit cards are widely accepted, but a small amount of cash could buy you a hotel room for the night or some food when you need it most. It’s handy for road tolls, too.
2. Travel plug
Even if you’re going camping don’t forget your travel plug, if only to keep your mobile phone charged in case of an emergency. Electricity on the continent is produced at under half the voltage in the UK, so remember, with a European-to-UK adapter it might take a little while for your mobile to charge.
3. Legal requirements
It’s important to check out what you’re required to carry by law for the different countries you’ll be driving through. With an English registration plate, your car is potentially more open to a spot check by foreign authorities, so make sure you’ve got everything you need – consult our Top 10 tips for driving in France for more information.
4. Appropriate clothes
Correct clothing is important – you wouldn’t pack a bikini on a skiing holiday or a waterproof for a beach break (hopefully), so make sure your attire will be suited to the weather. It’s especially important if you’re going to be driving in remote areas, as help may take a while to arrive should anything go wrong. That means plenty of sun cream if needed, too.
5. Games and activities
If you’re travelling abroad by car then you’ll likely have a long journey to take in. Bring plenty of games, activities and pastimes if you’ve got young children – it’ll keep them quiet for a while and the whole family more relaxed. Check out our Top 10 car games and Top 10 car apps for children for some ideas.
6. Insurance and breakdown cover
Make sure you take any foreign travel or insurance documents – for your family and your car – with you. If you haven’t got overseas breakdown cover for your vehicle, maybe its time to think about investing in one of the RAC’s comprehensive packages to give you peace of mind on your travels.
A camera is always a great way to capture the memories of that fantastic family holiday, but if you should have a small bump or worse while you’re away, a digital camera (it can even be a mobile phone) will help document damage and provide evidence in an insurance claim if it’s not your fault.
8. Double up
If your sat-nav breaks, will you know where to go? No? Then pack a road atlas as a back up. Double up on other essential items that could break or be disastrous if lost, too – if your car has two keys, bring both sets and keep the spare safe in case they get misplaced.
9. Leave information at home
What you leave at home is as important as what you pack – leave your travel details, where you are staying, how long you’re away for and a contact number with a friend or relative at home so they can raise you if they need to.
Finally, make sure you’re equipped for your journey by researching the route and being prepared – acquiring valuable knowledge to take with you can help if you get lost or stranded and gives you an advantage in most situations. It could help you save money, too.