We're frequently told the world is getting smaller, while we're becoming more cosmopolitan. So it's quite likely you'll be driving abroad soon.
We've put together some information and advice to help you drive legally and safely when you're abroad, so you can enjoy your motoring more.
As you'll most likely be driving in Europe, that's where we focus on. If your travels are taking you further around the world, we suggest you look on the embassy website for each country you'll be driving in.
Driving your car in Europe can be really enjoyable, especially as many countries' roads are less crowded than our own. You'll also enjoy yourself more if you're confident about your driving and complying with the law.
It's worth reading all the advice, but please choose if you want to go straight to a specific topic.
Make sure you're insured
Your Admiral insurance already covers you for driving in most EU countries; you can check here. If you need to make special arrangements or order a Green Card make sure you don't leave it till the last minute!
Take your documents
You'll need to make sure these documents are all up to date and take them with you, in case the police ask to see them:
Your Certificate of Insurance
A valid full driving licence paper and photocard parts if you have them both
The original vehicle registration document if you can't get the original registration document because the car is leased or hired, the only legal alternative is the Vehicle on Hire Certificate VE103b, available from BVRLA
for some countries in mainland Europe but not in the EU (for example, Belarus) you might also need an International Driving Permit (IDP). In most EU countries, your UK driving licence will be sufficient.
Some countries in mainland Europe, such as Russia, require a Visa too.
Most European countries have stricter drink-driving laws than the UK. The safest approach is don't drink and drive.
Don't use your mobile when driving; it's also against the law in most European countries.
The AA has some good advice if you're driving in Europe. Their website also lists the equipment you have to carry in your car when driving in Europe. And it's best to carry a reflective jacket in case of breakdowns; not only will it make you more visible, it's also a legal requirement to wear it if you break down by the roadside in France.
If you're driving in winter in Europe, some countries insist on snow chains and winter tyres. Holding up traffic because your car isn't equipped with these in severe weather, could earn you a fine.
Tolls on major routes are more common in Europe than in the UK. If you're taking your time and using the back roads you may not have to pay any tolls at all. Main roads, tunnels and bridges can all demand tolls throughout Europe and if you're mostly using the major routes, it can be cheaper to buy a pre-paid card or pass.
Speed cameras are more and more common throughout Europe and in many countries, the police can demand instant payment of a speeding fine.
Be safe and have more fun!
You'll probably be driving on the right of the road, not the left. That seems pretty obvious, but it often happens that people stop for a break, pull out of a car park and, from habit, start driving on the left. Here are some useful tips about driving, road signs and traffic in Europe.
In case you're ill
Ask your nearest Post Office for the Department of Health booklet, Health Advice for travellers. It tells you which European countries have health-care agreements with the UK, allowing you to get free or low-cost urgent medical treatment. You should get an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) from the Post Office or your travel agent or apply online.
EHIC doesn't cover all treatment throughout Europe and it won't pay to bring you back to the UK if you're seriously ill, so you could take out separate travel insurance - for a quote with Admiral Travel Insurance click here.
Theft or other incidents
A handbag, camera or laptop on display will be just as tempting to criminals abroad as it would in the UK. Keep it hidden, and if you're unsure about security where you're going, you can check on advice from the Foreign Office. If you have an emergency other than a breakdown (such as an accident), you can call the 112 number which works in all the EU member states.
Your faithful friend
If it just wouldn't be the same without Spot coming along too, check what he health precautions he needs under the PETS Pet Travel Scheme.
Finally, make sure you carry cash for each country you're visiting. If you're being adventurous and exploring off the beaten track, that filling station you eventually find may not take credit or debit cards.