If you can get to grips with driving on the other side of the road, then travelling by car has enormous benefits. It gives you the freedom to travel when and where you want and explore at your leisure.
Continental motorways are generally spacious and congestion-free. However it is worth noting that many countries in Europe, including Italy, France and Belgium, require drivers to carry a red warning triangle at all times. In other countries, including Croatia and Austria, it is a legal requirement to carry a first aid kit in your car at all times. Cars can be pulled over and required to produce these items and failure to do so can result in fines. For a full breakdown of requirements around Europe, see the AA website and spend some time familiarising yourself with the local Highway Code.
It’s also worth investigating where you have to pay for the pleasure of driving on certain roads; countries such as France have a high number of toll roads. France has recently expanded its online pay system for tolls to allow UK residents to pay the same way as the French. After paying online, drivers are sent a special electronic tag that fits on the windscreen, out of sight, that sends signals to the toll booths when approaching, which open the barrier.
If you are considering hiring a car for your holiday, we recommend that you hire in advance, which allows you to check a variety of prices and choose the most competitive. This way you can also read through all the fine print at your leisure, instead of after a long flight and a lot of queuing.
When you receive the car, make sure that you check for any damages with a member of staff to ensure you are not liable when returning the car. Finally, be diligent about insurance matters and check you are covered for a range of incidents, including fire and theft.
Some countries also require you to apply for a permit to drive. Popular holiday destinations such as the USA require drivers to have an International Driving Permit (IDP), which can be ordered whilst in the UK and last up to 12 months. To check requirements, visit the AA website.
About a quarter of the world share the UK’s left hand drive. Countries where you can drive on the left hand side include Australia, Singapore, Japan, Antigua, South Africa and New Zealand.