The summer holidays will soon be upon us, and many of us will be heading off on holiday. Some people fly, or travel by train and some people opt to use their cars to get them to their holiday destination.
We are travelling to the South of France this summer, for our much anticipated break. We will be using our own car and driving to our destination. We prefer to take our own car so we can then travel easily when we are there.
Your car may be packed, but are you ready to travel and drive in another country?
Preparing to drive to another country isn’t just as simple as hopping in the car and going, though so we have some tips that we have learned from experience of driving to get to where you can relax and enjoy your break.
Car insurance and breakdown cover
Make sure your car is correctly insured and that you have a good rescue cover plan in place that will help you if you break down or have a car accident abroad. Your insurer and cover may need to be updated to drive abroad, it’s worth a quick call to them to make sure you have the right cover.
Service your car
Make sure your car is serviced and ready to drive. It’s worth investing in a car service or check before you travel to make sure that your car is in top working order to travel. Check your tires and that you have a spare tire should you need it and make sure your car is safe to drive.
Helpful gadgets and apps for safe travel
Invest in a good travel aid system or GPS travel kit, so that you have the most up to date maps and directions. You can either get an app on your phone or buy a separate device that can help you to get where you are going, update you on traffic and roadworks and if you do get lost (because it does happen) help you get back on track. It may also be worth investing in certain tools that can help make your life easier when you are in a country where you are not used to driving or parking, parking sensors can be handy if your car doesn’t already have them (parking is my least favourite driving skill, and it can be even more stressful in a strange place)
Learn the rules
Make sure you are aware of the rules of the road for the country or countries you are driving in, or through. They can differ and some have stricter rules or different rules from your country of origin. Familiarize yourself with those, and make sure if there is anything you need (for example driving in France you need to have certain kit in your car that isn’t required in other countries) and also make sure you know which side of the road you are driving on.
Check your documents
Make sure all your car documents and identity documents are up to date and that you have the orginals and also take some copies and store them separately so if you loose any you have copies.
Safety and first aid kits
Make sure your car is kitted out with items like a first aid kit, a basic emergency kit, jump leads, a car jack and anything you may need to help you in a breakdown or car incident (and again, check the rules in each country, as some of these are legally required)
Food and drink
You may be planning stops to eat and drink and stretch your legs, but we all know traffic hold ups can happen, so it’s always good to have enough water and snacks should you get stuck in traffic or held up and need to eat or drink.
Planning the route
Before you go, planning your route, knowing where good spots are to stop, to eat and rest, particularly if you are on a long drive, or have children that may need to stop and have a break from the car, and also filling up with fuel, is essential. This helps you to plan and keep things simple and smooth.
Translation is key.
Last but not least, take a phrase book with you. We have found on main roads and motorways that most people can manage a few words between our English and the local language, but a phrase book or dictionary is a handy tool, just in case you need to get help, directions or talk to someone and language is a barrier.
Once you have ticked off the check list, you are good to go, and enjoy the drive and reaching your destination. Travel safe…