So you want to explore Europe by car? As exciting as it is to take to the road and experience new sights, foods and attractions, there are multiple documents and pieces of equipment you’ll need to take with you on your journey. It’s certainly a good idea to get yourself prepared before heading over to France, Italy, Spain or wherever it is you’re planning on going.

Legal requirements

Here’s a table that clearly outlines the things you will need to keep in your car at all times when travelling in Europe. Depending on the country, failure to carry certain items may result in a fine.

Table of what to carry in your car in Europe

It’s recommended to keep a first aid kit in your car in case you need to stop and give assistance in an emergency. You must also carry an NF approved breathalyser in France, as this is compulsory; it’s advised that you take two in case one doesn’t work. You must also display a GB sticker on the rear of your vehicle when driving outside of the UK.

Insurance cover

Before going anywhere it’s important that you check your insurance policy. Will your insurer offer the same cover abroad? We suggest you take a look at your policy document. Policies from drive like a girl provide full policy cover in many EU Countries for up to 30 days consecutively. It also includes limited European Union compulsory insurance, which covers the countries listed in our policy document. This does not provide comprehensive cover but will give you the legal minimum cover in the European country you are visiting. Please note temporary replacement cars are not available abroad and repairs undertaken abroad are not guaranteed as they are not carried out by our approved network of repairers.


There are a number of documents you must carry wherever you go:

  • Full (and valid) driving licence
  • Driving licence paper counterpart
  • Vehicle registration document (V5c)
  • Motor insurance certificate
  • Passport
  • Any travel insurance documents

If you have a UK photocard driving licence, you are unlikely to need an International Driving Permit within most EU countries. Take a look at the list on the AA website of countries where you will need an International Driving Permit.

For your convenience

One thing we’d really suggest is preparing yourself for anything that could happen. By this we mean having all of your documents kept in one place ready to display, having the number needed in the case of an emergency.

The European emergency call number is 112. This can be dialled anywhere in the European Union, so be sure to keep this in mind during your trip. We’d also recommend stocking up on your emergency kit. So this could be anything from a torch, to a blanket, some spare clothes and a charger for your mobile. It’s also a good idea to carry some spare money, clothes and food. You never know what might happen, so be prepared for anything the world throws at you.