/ Travel & Leisure

Going on holiday with your car – does ‘the list’ put you off?

If you’re off on a European trip and taking your car, there’s always ‘the list’ of things you’ll need to do and take. Some are out of the ordinary (breathalyser) others are more usual (sat nav), but there’s always that list.

With the holiday season rapidly approaching (yes it’s a couple of weeks until the schools break up!) I thought back over the years to what has often been a stressful build up to the point of departure.

I’ve often found myself working late in the days before a family trip abroad – simply to make sure I’m fully on top of (or ahead of the game on) everything I’m responsible for while I’m away.

And then there’s ‘the list’. This starts being formed in January or February, as soon as the holiday destination is decided and the dates are set. It begins life as a vague set of things we think we might need or need to do, in order to get the best from our break.

Things you’ll need for a European driving trip

Since more often than not we decide to take the car to Europe, this soon escalates into a list of lists! There are the things we must sort out for the car – insurance, breakdown cover, servicing and so on. Then there’s the list of what we need to take with us – everything from sun screen to sat nav, bathing gear to buckets and spades, and passports to paperbacks.

We’ve actually just put together the Which? Car top 10 list of things you’ll need to take on your driving holiday if you want a hand with putting your own list together.

Of course, then there’s the ‘things-to-do list’, which is also stressful – cancel the milk, check the tyres, tell the neighbours, close the house up…

Is it really worth all the effort?

I occasionally think maybe a ‘staycation’ would be a more relaxing option. But then there are my previous holiday memories tempting me back. And I do enjoy the excitement and anticipation – both during the family debates about where and when we’ll go on holiday, and then once we reach a decision and make our bookings.

And once I arrive at wherever it is we’ve been grafting hard to make it to for our holiday, I always find the rest, relaxation and recuperation time is worth all that stress. So hopefully our list of things you’ll need for a European driving trip will help take some of the stress out of the preparation for some of you. Now where did I put the camcorder?

Does the daunting ‘list’ put you off going on holiday with your car?


Having to pay more for car insurance or breakdown cover when going abroad is a uniquely British rip-off. Those living in continental Europe enjoy the same level of cover when they cross a border, always for car insurance and usually for breakdown cover too. It’s absurd that many UK insurers charge more for going outside the UK when the costs are the same or often lower. I have always avoided any car insurer that demands additional premiums for going outside the UK. It’s just another rip-off for going abroad, along with unwarranted credit card FX fees and roaming charges.

Argus says:
9 July 2012

It’s not that absurd.

Don’t forget that UK cars have the steering wheel on a different side and have to drive on the opposite side of the road.

Please, it’s not “just another British ripoff” as European cars are charged more to come to Britain also.

It’s all about the change of driving side and the risk that entails, nothing more.

The side of the road and the steering wheel has a negligible impact on road accidents involving cross-Channel traffic. Furthermore, the British insurance rip-off applies also when taking a UK-registered car to one of the other three EU countries that drive on the left, i.e. Ireland, Malta and Cyprus.

When you say that “European cars are charged more to come to Britain also”, by whom are they charged? Not their insurance companies, as vehicles registered in Continental Europe enjoy their usual level of cover throughout the EEA and Switzerland.

Furthermore, as a result of Council Directive 72/166/EEC of 24 April 1972, British insurance companies have to give their policy holders, at no additional charge, the minimum level of cover required by law throughout the whole EU (i.e. third party only). The rip-off is that British insurance companies provide only this minimum legal requirement, as opposed to the level of cover that is enjoyed in the UK (e.g. fully comprehensive).

trishtic says:
28 August 2012

Taking car breakdown cover has become popular among the people of UK. It is not necessary but it is wise to take.

This really needs up-dating in relation to, for example:
comments on carrying a breathalyser
need for both parts of driving licence
rules , in France at least, about mobile speed detectors
advantages of automatic payment on motorways
need or otherwise to carry a first aid kit