As with driving a car abroad, taking a van to Europe can be a minefield without the right advice. As a leading provider of European travel ready vehicles, including cars and vans, we regularly advise on and assist our customers in taking their hire vehicle abroad and even provide those hiring with a continental kit with all they need to legally comply with the driving regulations of not just their destination country but each country they travel through – more on that later.
In this post we guide you through what you need to know about taking a van to Europe so you can drive safely, comply with the latest EU legislation and avoid those on the spot fines issued in every European country.
Documents you must carry
As well as your luggage, another set of essentials to pack is your driving documentation, and this doesn’t just involve taking your driving licence with you. You could be asked by authorities for your documents at any time so be prepared. Failure to produce such documents could leave you at risk of a fine or vehicle impoundment.
In addition to packing your valid full driving licence and a copy of your DVLA driver record and licence check code if needed, you should also have instant access to your passport(s), travel insurance documents and visas where necessary. Whilst if you own the vehicle you are driving you must take your original vehicle registration document and motor insurance certificate, for a hired or leased van the vehicle’s original registration document (V5c) or a Vehicle on Hire Certificate (VE103) must be accompanied by a letter of authorisation from the registered keeper.
As part of our European travel ready service all our vans are insured to travel abroad, therefore, the relevant motor insurance documentation will be supplied to you by us. As part of your hire we will also provide you with a VE103B, which acts as a temporary logbook for your hire period.
Don’t forget your continental kit
As we briefly mentioned we supply a continental kit to all customers hiring our European travel ready vehicles, and this provides all you need to ensure legal compliance in European countries.
The following items are recommended or compulsory depending on the European countries you are travelling through or to. Items with an asterisk are compulsory in all European countries.
- GB sticker*
- Headlamp beam converters*
- Warning triangle
- Hi-vis jacket
- First aid kit
- NF approved breathalyser
- Fire extinguisher
Be aware of LEZ and European toll roads
Low Emission Zones (LEZ) are present in some 200 cities and towns across 10 European countries, and whilst most car models aren’t affected by the regulations, vans and lorries are. When hiring a van for European travel doing your research regarding these zones, which vehicles are affected and what emissions standards must be upheld is important, and as with all regulations affecting European travel our team can happily advise.
European tolls are also an unwelcome surprise for those travelling to Europe for the first time. These road charges are applicable in many countries, particularly on the main motorway network, with additional fees in 14 other cities, such as Milan, Oslo and Stockholm. Most tolls are automatic and cashless but having some change available to foot the bill on manned and cash tolls is recommended.
Do your touring research
For all thinking of travelling across Europe researching country-specific tips about touring as a driver should be a part of your planning process in the weeks or months before departure. There are many essentials that you need to be aware of, and with more than 40 countries to explore on the continent there is a lot of reading!