Driving advice What you should take with you

Whether taking your own car abroad or hiring a vehicle at your destination, here are some of the main things you need to ensure you take with you.
Driving licence and passport

Ensure you take your driving licence with you if you plan to drive abroad

UK driving licence

It is illegal to drive without your full UK driving licence, and in some countries you’ll also need your original car insurance documents (and log book) if you are taking your own car. 

You should always carry your passport, motor insurance and original vehicle registration documents. Remember to take both parts of the newer-style UK licence with you.

Insurance and breakdown cover

You need to check your car insurance is valid abroad and that you have breakdown cover. 

Contact your insurance provider in plenty of time – at least one month before taking your vehicle overseas. 

Make sure you have adequate breakdown cover. Even if you have extended your car insurance to cover driving abroad, you may not be covered for breakdown. You should buy a separate breakdown policy from your travel or car insurance provider. Check your policies before you go.

Buy full travel insurance. Make sure it is valid and up-to-date for your entire trip (and that it also covers everyone you’re travelling with).

Find out more about breakdown cover, car insurance and travel insurance

International Driving Permit

An IDP is a precautionary measure. It is recommended (but not compulsory) if you’re driving in the US, Canada and South Africa – if you are involved in an accident, some insurers may wish to see this. 

However, an IDP is compulsory when hiring a car in some African and Asian countries. It is also advisable if you have the old-style green UK paper licence. A full list of country requirements is available from the AA.

Always carry the IDP with your UK licence. If you are stopped by the police, you can face a fine if you can’t immediately produce both your IDP and UK licence. This applies to all the named vehicle drivers.

To obtain an IDP, you must be resident in the UK, have a full driving licence, and be aged over 18. The IDP is valid for one year from the date of issue and costs £5.50 (an IDP which is issued in the UK is not valid for use in the UK).

IDPs are available from national motoring organisations, such as the AA, RAC and the Green Flag.

Headlight converters

Headlight converters will stop you from dazzling oncoming cars

Take a camera

Not just for holiday snaps – if there is an accident contact your insurer immediately, and take photos of any damage to your car.

Find out which are our Best Buy cameras

Headlight converters

These are a good idea to buy, especially if you’re driving your own car, as you need to adjust your headlamp beam pattern if driving in Europe so the dipped beam doesn’t dazzle oncoming drivers.

You can purchase them from any mainstream autocentre for around £10 a pair.

Other sections in this guide

  1. Overview
  2. What you should take with you
  3. Driving abroad advice
  4. European driving
  5. Car hire abroad