The beauty of travelling and exploring Europe is the fact that as far as continents go, this one is pretty compact. Whether you’re travelling by airplane, bus, or car, the distances are tiny compared to almost any other continent. Nevertheless, the sheer amount of sightseeing that is packed into these very small distances is sometimes overwhelming. From villages to towns to cities to countries – it is hard to find a place with as much cultural and geographic variety, not to mention as many countries as you can in Europe.
This is exactly why millions of travelers every year chose one of my favorite modes of sightseeing: hopping into a car (sometimes rented, but often not), placing a pin into a map (or a ‘final destination’ point on their Google Maps app), and making the most of the journey there. And although Google Maps and other navigation systems have made finding your final destination significantly simpler, there are still things one must take into account when driving outside of your home country, especially if that home country is outside of the EU.
Firstly, avoid tragedy and make sure that your car battery is healthy. ‘Nuff said.
Secondly, there are certain things that you must, must, must have in the trunk of your car when travelling around Europe. In all fairness, although you are legally obligated to have them on hand, it also makes common sense to not go driving without:
- a warning triangle
- a reflective, high visibility vest
- first aid kit
- a GB sticker (if you have a British license plate)
- and headlamp beam deflectors.
If you are currently in Europe and not in possession of these essentials, or perhaps you are planning on hopping over the channel in the near future, you can purchase a travel pack containing all of them here.
Thirdly, do not go without car breakdown insurance for all the obvious reasons. The less obvious reasons include language barriers in rural and often even urban areas of Europe, as well as the sheer distances between towns in large parts of Europe. Imagine trying to hail the help of a passing motorist from a winding roadside along the shores of Portugal, or being stranded in freezing, snow-blanketed Finland, or on a narrow path in the Austrian Alps. There really is no price to peace of mind.
Fourthly and finally, although it isn’t law, a mobile phone that can make calls across Europe could mean the difference between a relaxed road trip and a stressful one. Make sure you always have a charged phone on hand when on the road.
Good luck, and drive safe!