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Driving and European Border

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 21 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
Driving And European Border

There is nothing quite like the freedom of driving a car through Europe. Many people believe that there is too much stress or expense involved in car travel through Europe and will opt for the train, or often flights instead. In many cases though, especially if there are four of you travelling, you'll find that taking a car is just as economical as other options.

With a car, you'll also have the added advantage of being able to work to your own time table. This means you can alter aspects of the journey as you go, as well as getting to see all the different areas of the countries you're travelling through.

There are some essential pieces of information that you should consider if you're planning to take your car through Europe and knowing these can save you lots of time and stress when you're on the move.

Driving Your Own Car Across European Borders

If you have taken your own car abroad and are planning to drive through various European countries, you must ensure that your car meets the local European standards and requirements. One of the most important necessities is that you display a GB sticker on your car. This should be visible on the back of your car if you don't already have this information on your number plate. You will also need to fit headlamp converters since you'll be driving on the right hand side of the road and risk dazzling other drivers. Some other important points to remember when crossing European Borders in your own car are:

  • Check whether you need a Green Card for the country you're entering, this provides you with insurance should you have an accident
  • Check your car complies with the vehicle requirements of the new country you're visiting
  • Take a spare set of keys, a warning triangle, a neon vest and emergency helpline numbers
  • Take your passport (even if it is a EU passport) and car paperwork. Crossing borders can mean security checks and being prepared saves time

Driving a Hire Car Across European Borders

If you hire a car for your trip throughout Europe you will find that in most cases the car hire company will have dealt with all the necessary paperwork that allows you to freely travel across borders in Western Europe. If you are planning to go a little further and may venture into Eastern Europe, you normally have to get permission for this from the car hire company before you leave. Often, due to crime in some Eastern European countries, car hire companies will charge you extra insurance fees to cover any mishap you may have there.

They may also specify that you take an older car in their fleet and have evidence of a green card. If you're planning to drive through a number of borders in your hire car, you may find the convenience of a different drop off location than your pick up location is worth paying extra money for. Again, be prepared to pay different amounts dependent on those locations. Important points to remember when using a hire car to cross European borders are:

  • Check whether you'll need an International Driving Permit. This will translate your licence into 10 languages
  • Research the car hire company you plan to use. Some will charge extra for crossing borders or dropping off in different locations
  • Certain car hire companies won't allow travel into particular countries. State your intentions before agreeing to a rental
  • The Schengen Agreement allows you to travel between most countries in Europe freely, however remember that Eastern European countries aren't always part of that. Also, the UK and Ireland aren't part of the agreement, so check with the car hire company

There are numerous benefits of travelling across Europe in a car, but being prepared is mandatory to a safe and legal trip. Always keep your passport handy and proof of your relationship to the car, whether as the owner, renter or other. Following some simple steps and planning ahead mean that crossing over all the beautiful country borders throughout Europe shouldn't be an issue.

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