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Taking Your Van Overseas: Everything you need to know

Whether for commercial purposes or for pleasure, such as the annual family holiday, it’s worth remembering that there are a range of considerations you should be aware of before embarking on your trip. At Easirent UK, we aim to help all motorists approach each and every overseas journey with complete confidence, which is why we’re pleased to offer a selection of valuable tips.

Prepare in advance

It goes without saying that preparation is key to any trip, and when it comes to heading overseas, such a requirement is only enhanced. As such, the first piece of advice for driving in Europe is to conduct a thorough inspection of your vehicle to ensure that it’s up to scratch. You may even wish to conduct a full service to ensure that you will not experience any mechanical issues during your travels. After all, having complete peace of mind that you will get there – and back – safely and without incident is vital.

Overseas breakdown cover

One of the most valuable driving abroad tips available is to ensure that you have overseas breakdown cover for your van. As much as a pre-trip inspection and service will provide peace of mind, simply having breakdown cover as a backup could prove invaluable. The cost of towing a vehicle doesn’t come cheap at the best of times, so imagine the associated costs of returning a van from overseas.

Check your driving licence

Depending on where you’re planning to travel, you should be able to drive a van overseas using your regular driving licence. In fact, only if you’re planning on visiting nations outside the European Union or EEA will you be required to travel with additional paperwork, namely an International Driving Permit (IDP). Such permits can be purchased for just £5.50 and are available from the Post Office.

Additional documentation

You’d be forgiven for thinking that having your breakdown cover, insurance, driving licence, and International Driving Permit would be enough documentation for your trip overseas. Sadly, however, you would be incorrect. One simple addition to your vehicle that is key is a sticker stating GB on your bumper. Oh, and your passport. Definitely don’t forget your passport!

Driving on the correct side of the road

Probably one of the most common concerns for motorists planning on driving overseas is knowing – and remembering – which side of the road to drive on. Here in the UK, as well as selected other nations, we’re accustomed to driving on the left-hand side of the road. However, many others take to the right-hand side of the road for motoring, so this can be something of a culture shock. Ensure you feel comfortable taking to the road before embarking on your journey and begin your driving on quieter roads to become accustomed to the change

What about Brexit?

This is entirely dependent whether a deal is struck and what sort of deal that is. However, in the event of no-deal being agreed, UK drivers taking their car to, or driving in EU states may require additional documentation to their UK driving licence.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Government announced on 24th September that drivers hiring or taking their vehicle abroad post-Brexit would need to carry a Green Card as proof of third-party motor insurance cover when driving in the EU, EEA, Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland.

Motorists should speak to their insurance company if they are driving in these states from 29th March and the UK has left the EU without a deal.

In addition to your UK driving licence, motorists may also be required to purchase an International Driving Permit (IDP). Getting an IDP over a Post Office counter costs £5.50 and only takes around five minutes on a turn-up-and-go basis. There are three types of IDPs available, though only two are used in EU states and European Economic Area countries.

Which IDP will I require?

  • 1949 IDP: If you are travelling to Ireland, Malta, Spain or Cyprus, you may require a 1949 IDP. The 1949 convention IDP is valid for 12 months.
  • 1968 IDP: If you are travelling to all other EU states, you may require a 1968 IDP. The 1968 convention IDP is valid for three years, or for however long your driving licence is valid, if that date is earlier.
  • 1926 IDP: A 1926 IDP is not required in any EU state. However, it is required it if you plan to drive in Mexico or Somalia.

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European Office: 38 Main Street, Swords, Co. Dublin K67 E0A2, Ireland

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