Authority to Drive: if the Registration Documents are not in your name then the registered
keeper must provide you with a Letter of Authority.
Boats & Watercraft: should have unique plaque number, 3rd party insurances, SSR number
and often when in use a Helmsman’s Overseas Certificate of Competence is required.
Contact the RYA & DVLA for the current legal requirements.
Customs: generally duty paid goods for your personal use (incl. gifts) obtained duty
& tax paid in the EU attract no further taxes. Contact HM Customs & Excise for the
current customs allowances and guide levels. Member states still reserve the right
to check that goods are for personal use only and if you exceed current guide levels
you will have to prove that the goods are for your own personal use. If you are travelling
in a vehicle and smuggled goods are discovered, the vehicle may be confiscated. Do
not carry anything into the UK for someone else or allow others to interfere with
your possessions. No one under the age of 17 is entitled to tobacco or drink allowances.
Certain goods cannot be freely imported or exported and require prior approval /
license, or are banned completely:
Prohibited & Restricted Goods: Contact HM Customs & Excise
Animals, Birds & Reptiles or products made from them; Counterfeit or “copy” Goods;
Drugs; Endangered Species; Firearms, Ammunition, Fireworks;
Prohibited & Restricted Goods: Contact DEFRA
Foodstuffs; Pets (cats, dogs & other); Plants & Produce (esp. from outside of the
Documents: It’s advisable to copy your travel & insurance documentation and contact
details whilst abroad, leave these with your home key holder for use in case of an
emergency. If necessary advise the police of your key holder arrangements.
Equipment: In most countries it is compulsory or recommended to use &/or equip the
Fire Extinguisher; First Aid Kit; GB Sticker; Glasses (Spare pair for driving if
required) carried in the vehicle; Head Lamp Converter; High Visibility Clothing;
Seat Belts (+ rear if fitted) & Child Seats (if req’d); Spare Bulbs & Tools; Warning
Depending on the nature of your tour, other spare items that are prudent to carry
Brake & Clutch Fluid, Oil & Water (+Antifreeze), Screen-wash; Fan & Drive Belts;
Fuses, Maps, Torch & Keys; Snow Chains (+Work gloves), Shovel, Brush & Ground Sheet
(windscreen cover) - winter; Spare Fuel (illegal to carry fuel in cans in some countries);
Spare Wheel Vehicle / Trailer (+Bearing & Grease), Tow Rope & Jack; Tool Kit. In
the rush to escape don’t forget: Bank Cards & Money; Passports, Tickets & Documents;
Camera + Phone; Mosquito repellent; Insect bite / sting cream; Sun-glasses, hats
& screen; Books / magazines; Children’s travel games; Snacks & drinks & wipes.
Ferry Tickets: generally most ferry services offer better prices the earlier that
the reservation is made. RB SPORT & TRAVEL are often able to offer further discount
prices and special deals.
GB Drivers Abroad: remember that mainland Europe drive on the right hand side of
the road and at roundabouts & motorway junctions it can feel like you’re competing
in a banger race! If you are involved in a traffic accident you must stop. Switch
on your hazard warning lights and place at least one warning triangle to alert others,
roads – approx. 30 metres, motorways – approx. 100metres. Stay CALM, POLITE, Don’t
admit fault. Call out Police and emergency services if necessary. Take photos if
possible, it’s not unheard of that the 3rd parties’ minor damage becomes a write
off. Complete the European Accident Statement and notify (letter) your insurance
company a.s.a.p. (24hr).
“Highway Robbery”: watch out for over-friendly strangers showing a great deal of
interest in your itinerary & route, they may be organising a nasty surprise for you!
Be aware of pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists opening doors or reaching into
your vehicle (open windows/soft tops) especially vulnerable at fuel stops & service
areas, traffic lights, in slow moving traffic & crowded areas; or the deliberate
“minor accident” - call the Police, note as much detail as possible. Do not leave
your money or valuables on display, or in an unattended vehicle. Park vehicles in
an authorized place, avoid vulnerable areas. Unattended vehicles should be locked,
sunroof & windows closed, stereo/radio facia removed, steering wheel lock in use,
trailer’s hitch locked, with immobiliser & alarms activated. Many insurance policies
will not cover the loss of your vehicle, accessories or spare parts if ignition keys
or cards are left in an unoccupied vehicle. Be aware of your surroundings, many criminals
prefer to operate: in crowded – isolated situations, are often opportunists, in organised
gangs. Don’t give them the opportunity to spoil your holiday. If theft or attempted
theft occurs always report it to the police a.s.a.p. Reduce the risk of becoming
a statistic by taking due care of yourself and your possessions – don’t flash the
phone, cash or credit card!
Insurances - Travel / Holiday & Motor Breakdown: RB SPORT & TRAVEL recommends that
customers take out adequate medical, vehicle, motoring, travel, cancellation, and
3rd party liability insurances so that all passengers, their vehicles and contents
are covered at all times. Contact your insurance adviser, broker or motoring organisation
– it can be very expensive to be ill, involved in motoring incident (Bail Bond is
strongly recommended for Spain) or stranded abroad. Multi trip annual policies may
be worth considering. Do advise them of your intended activities e.g. camping, flying,
racing, sailing, towing, winter sports etc. - not all insurances are the same.
Journey Planning: research on the area you are travelling through & staying at helps
to take the stress out of your adventures, as does a good atlas and a travel guide
/ phrase book if you’re not up to speed with the local languages & customs. Plan
your journey in advance with plenty of rest stops and try to miss the “rush hour”
at major cities & bottlenecks. When you make your ferry booking with RB SPORT & TRAVEL
we will be pleased to offer advice on travel matters in the EU, if we’re unable to
come up with the goods, we may know somebody who can! Check the national & local
authority's laws on traffic signs, regulations, parking, speed limits etc.—preferably
before they’re transgressed!!
Keep an eye on your Speed: Fines vary from country to country and may be imposed
and collected on the spot, or may even catch up with you on your return. A receipt
should be obtained as proof of payment. E.g. French urban speed limits may start
at the place-name sign & not indicated by a speed sign, on motorways the average
speed may be calculated between cameras or toll booths, active mobile units around
hot spots such as the port approaches, crossing a white line, ignoring traffic lights,
running out of fuel on a motorway, overloading the vehicle, children in the front
seat, overtaking trams / buses incorrectly, overtaking or passing a school bus when
red lights are flashing, driving over narrow mountain passes with a trailer, failing
to purchase/display motorway Vignettes in Switzerland or Austria, seat belts etc.
They know that you are on holiday with your hard earned money to spend enjoying yourself,
unfortunately probably not how you envisaged doing so!
Licence: generally the new GB driving licence (photo card) or Pink EU are accepted
everywhere with a minimum age of 18 years old. The Green Licence should be accompanied
by an International Driving Permit (IDP).
Minibuses: UK registered vehicles constructed and equipped to carry 10 or more persons
(including driver) and used outside of the UK are subject to the regulations governing
international bus & coach journeys, e.g. Tachograph, Driver’s Licence, hours, documentation
National Identity Plate: (GB Sticker) must be displayed on trailer as well as towing
Passports: each person travelling abroad must hold an up to date passport valid for
the countries it is intended to visit or pass through. Passports should be carried
at all times (+ driving licence & vehicle registration document). Visas maybe required
for: non-EU countries; UK passports not issued in the UK or passport holders of another
nationality. It’s advisable to check your own position well in advance of travelling
with the relevant embassies or consulates. Declare pets travelling with you at the
time of making the booking, which should be well before your proposed travel date.
It’s your responsibility to make sure that all travel arrangements & legal requirements
are satisfied, e.g. identity, documentation, vaccinations, quarantine arrangements
(if necessary), any insurance requirements, vets inspections & treatments. Further
advice can be obtained from your Vet, ferry company, insurance adviser, DEFRA “Pets
Travel Scheme” helpline 08702411710
Quick - FREE: European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk (email:
firstname.lastname@example.org) or Post Office. Free or reduced cost emergency treatment
(minimal cover) is available in the EU when using this scheme. Apply for your EHIC
at least 7 days prior to travel abroad, it’s valid for years.
Registration Documents: keep the original registration documents with you. Make sure
the vehicle Tax & MOT is current and does not expire whilst you are abroad.
Stowaways: check your vehicles’ security regularly; it’s not unheard of to find undesirables
trying to crawl out from under your boat’s cover! Drivers & owners have faced fines
of £1000’s &/or imprisonment – be vigilant. Under various Acts of Parliament all
passengers, vehicles & luggage may be searched, and you may be liable to reimburse
the carrier (Ferry Company) for any fines, charges or losses imposed by any authority
in relation to the absence of the documentation (Passport Visas etc.) at the port
of disembarkation in addition to any immigration charges imposed.
Trailers Caravans & Vehicles: have them serviced so that they’re in a safe road worthy
condition. Caravans & trailers should have a unique chassis number for identification.
The tow vehicle should be suitable for the extra demands placed upon it, with good
all round vision & towing mirrors. Loads should be properly distributed & secure.
Know your Vehicle / Trailer Weights & Dimensions, do not exceed the manufacturers’
recommendations (affects insurance cover & law), so that you are confident with any
national / local restrictions that you may encounter. The Authorities seem to be
very active around borders & ports, they show great concern that vehicles (GB) are
Unfit to Drive: through drink or drugs – don’t drive, any degree of impairment can
lead to severe penalties—imprisonment; be warned any involvement with illegal substances
/ drugs can lead to the death penalty in some countries.
Vehicle Insurance: contact your insurance broker / company in sufficient time before
going abroad to obtain the correct level of cover and documentation for your proposed
Winter & Alpine Driving: some high routes may be: closed for 8+ months; one way only;
trailers & caravans banned; snow tyres &/or chains compulsory; 4WD only etc. On mountain
postal roads give priority to the Post Bus & obey the driver’s instructions. Generally
on narrow mountain roads traffic descending should give way to that ascending even
if it means stopping and reversing. Watch your speed, you may need to stop within
half the distance that you can see, use the gears and be aware of the risks of brake
fade, engine overheating, high winds, poor visibility, inclement weather etc. A good
idea is to take some warm clothing, food & hot drink with you, just in case you get
caught out. All this said the flora, fauna and views are often stunning. If you want
to purchase or hire snow chains in the UK before departure include motoring organisations
in your quotes (membership discounts) - could be the best £50.00 that you’ve ever
X-Ray: and other specialist equipment may be used in the port security checks.
Yellow Fever & Other Health Issues? Have a chat with your GP &/or health insurance
adviser to find out what medical precautions & inoculations are needed for your travels.
NHS & CDC websites have some information.
Zeebrugge, Rosslaire, Portsmouth, Le Havre, Hook of Holland, Dover, Calais, Amsterdam,
and many more - contact RB Sport & Travel
Have a safe and pleasant holiday.
Please contact us if you have any suitable links, information or news that would
be helpful to fellow travellers for inclusion in this site.