We’ve travelled a fair bit in Europe the past couple of years and below are some tips that have helped us out that we thought we would share with you.
Booking the ferry
Book the ferry using the correct height and width of your vehicle, we always book on to DFDS with our LWB VW Campervan using the measurements “Car 2.20m x 6m” and I’ve never had any problems
A good satnav is worth its weight in gold, and, pun intended, I’d be lost without mine. I’ve got the TomTom version that tells you which lane to get in which really comes into its own in Europe. Before we leave we always key in important places we are going to be going to like campsites, ports or just places of interest, this makes it easier as you can use “navigate to recent destinations” which is quicker than keying in full addresses.
As good as satnavs are we always like to have a proper map with us, satnavs can break or get stolen so it’s always best to have a backup plan, plus I’m a bit of a map geek and I enjoy planning my routes using maps.
Plan where you refuel
I know this makes us sound tight but if you’re doing a lot of miles it can make a real difference to how much you spend on fuel, for instance we’ve just come back from Belgium so we put enough fuel to get to Dover and travel about an hour in France so we could fill up over there. As it is in this country, avoid filling up on motorways as the price is always much higher than local petrol stations. Linking to a good satnav above your “points of interest near you” can always direct you to a petrol station off the main routes.
This is a good website to use to find out rough prices in different countries, if you can ALWAYS fill up in Luxembourg!
When you’re driving in Europe you will need to carry the following documents:-
- Your valid full (not provisional) driving licence
- A copy of your DVLA driver record and a licence check code if needed.
- An International Driving Permit (when necessary)
- Your vehicle’s registration document (V5c) (the original not a copy)
- Your motor insurance certificate (Your insurer may ask to be told when you’re going abroad and only provide third party cover when you do.)
- Your passport(s)
- Your travel insurance documents
- You may need a visa for certain countries too
Buying one of these tablet case means you have a place to keep everything safe and zipped up and you can put any money you might be taking as well as campsite confirmations and any other documents you may need. They also fit well in your glove box.
Kit needed to drive abroad
It’s worth buying one of these kits on Amazon AA Europe kit however remember that you need a reflective jacket for every person that is travelling in the car/campervan and these must be ready to hand if you breakdown (not locked in the boot for example)
Travel money card
We’ve got one of these Travel card with £100 on it that is kept in the safe in our van, if I lose my wallet or money I’m carrying with me I know I can always use this and I can always get more money put on it should I need to. You can also change the currency around without being charged but check which currencies it covers as I’m going Norway in July and the card doesn’t have the Norwegian krone on it.
Make sure you put aside enough money for toll roads, although it’s nice to avoid them and pass through some nice villages and small towns if you want to get anywhere quick it’s best to use the toll roads. Doing a bit of research it seems in France it works out to about €1 for every 10 miles of toll road you use.
I can highly recommend using one of these Sanef tolling as they will add up all the toll roads you use and bill you a month after you get back direct from your chosen bank account, these make it easier as you travel as you don’t have to keep paying at every booth and can use the prepaid lanes which are much clearer and quicker.
With data roaming charges due to be reintroduced post Brexit this little app was brilliant whilst we were away, find any bar/café/pub with free Wi-Fi and send messages, photos, phone or even as we did video phone back home for free. (We had two teenagers at home to check up on!)
Finally the best piece of advice I can give is to just get over there and do it, you will soon work out what you need to take and what you can do without and what you should never forget! it’s all part of the fun!