We’re well into summer now – a time when most of us head abroad to make the most of the warmer weather. Taking your van with you? Then it’s not just your suitcase that needs prepping. There’s a few more things you’ll need to sort out first, or you could be heading back home sooner than you thought! We’ve put together the ultimate guide so you’re covered for the road ahead.
International Driving Permit
Brexit has had an impact on us all – especially when it comes to traveling abroad. Until new agreements with EU countries are finalised, you’ll risk breaking the law if you don’t have all the correct documents. Aside from your passport, there’s other travel documents you’ll need so you can take your van abroad – and if you’re travelling outside of the EU, an International Driving Permit, (IDP) is one of them. Luckily, this can be obtained very easily – simply head down to your local Post Office to purchase one for just £5.50. It’s also worth noting that while you currently don’t need an IDP to travel within the Europe, that’ll all change in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. But don’t worry, you can keep checking back on the Post Office website using their handy ‘country checker’ tool.
Simply having insurance isn’t enough – you’ll need proof of it too. And that’s where a Green Card comes in useful. It acts as your proof of insurance when you travel anywhere in Europe, along with a number of other countries outside the EU. These include: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, Israel, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Russia, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine. And the best part? It’s free! Just ask your insurer to provide you with one. Or in the event your insurer doesn’t extend your policy, you might still be able to add European cover, which will cover you for up to 30 days.
You might be insured to drive in the UK… but are you insured to drive abroad? You can find out by speaking to your insurer, and it’s worth upgrading your policy too – just be sure to check if it’ll cost you extra. Oh, and don’t forget to read the fine print!
Overseas breakdown cover
Accidents happen – so you’ll need to arrange breakdown cover in case they do. It protects you in the event your van needs to be towed – after all, the extortionate costs that comes with returning your van from overseas just aren’t worth it! Even if you already have breakdown cover, you’ll need to check with your insurer if it’s valid to use abroad. And should you become involved in an accident, we recommend taking a dash cam – that way, you’ll have footage as proof of what happened, meaning your van insurance premium will likely be lower.
There’ll be more than a few bumps in the road if your van breaks down – so prevent this from happening with a service check. We recommend getting your tyre pressures and thread looked at, as well as the water, oil and coolant level – in short, a full check! You might want to consider a beam converter kit too – blinding oncoming drivers while getting used to driving on the opposite side of the road is a recipe for disaster! And make sure your van has a clear GB sticker on your number plate. It’s easy to apply, and costs as little as £1 – just remember to remove it when you’re back home.
Driving on the right side of the road
If you were born and bred in Britain, you’ll be used to driving on the left hand side of the road. But many countries outside of the UK drive on the left hand side – and if you’ve never driven on the opposite side, you’ll need to make sure you feel confident enough behind the wheel. Wherever you’re going, we’d suggest driving on quieter roads until you feel more comfortable with the change.
Travelling with an under 18 who’s thinking of taking the wheel? While the minimum age for driving in the UK is 17, regulations differ depending on which country you’re travelling to – so it’s something worth checking. You can find further details on the GOV website.
And don’t forget…
– Your car registration document (V5)
– Your travel insurance documents
– Your European Health Insurance Card (only valid if you’re travelling within Europe, of course!)
– Your authorisation letter (if it’s a company van)
– Your passport!
Have any more questions about taking your van abroad? We’ve got all the answers, so get in touch with the team at Rapid Vans! Or if you’re looking to purchase, we have a wide range of vans available to lease. Speak to us for the best models and the best prices today on 01446 502955.