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What do I need to drive on holiday in Europe?

5 mins

Who doesn’t love a road trip? There’s nothing better than visiting new countries from the comfort of your own car. But planning a long-distance drive across borders can be confusing, especially after Brexit.

If you’re a UK driver about to head off on an adventure, this European driving checklist is for you 🗺️

Can I drive in Europe with my UK driving licence?

That depends on where you’re visiting. If you’re travelling to a European country outside of the EU, you might need an international driving permit (also called an IDP). You can check whether you need one on the government website, here.

If you’re planning a road trip inside the EU or in Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, you won’t need an international driving permit. Hooray! 🎉 All you’ll need is your UK driving licence, and your national insurance number.*

You should keep your UK driving licence with you when you're driving abroad.

*If you have a paper licence, or a licence that was issued in the Isle of Man, there can be different rules around where you can drive and what type of permit you need.

Do I need a green card to drive in Europe?

Good news! If you’re driving in EU countries for your holiday, you don’t need a green card. You also don’t need a green card to drive in the following European countries:

  • Andorra
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Serbia
  • Switzerland

What car insurance do I need to drive in Europe?

While you might be leaving the UK for a week or two, you’ll still need UK car insurance. And you’ll need to make sure your policy covers driving in Europe.

If you’re a Marshmallow customer, you are already covered to drive in Europe with third-party cover for 60-90 days (the amount of days depends on when your policy started!)

You can also upgrade your third-party cover to fully comprehensive for your trip. Just get in touch and we'll sort it for you 🙌

Want to get affordable car insurance for your European road trip? Get a quote with us here. It takes less than 5 minutes!

Do I need any car-related documents to drive in Europe?

Luckily, there isn’t too much paperwork to pack, which means even more room for snacks! 🍪

If you own your car, you’ll just need your vehicle logbook (V5C). If you lease your car, you should bring your VE103 along too.

Before you head off, make sure your vehicle logbook is up to date with your most recent address. Updating a logbook can take a while, so plan ahead in case you need to update yours.

If you’ve lost your logbook or it’s damaged, you can apply for a new one online.

Two women sitting in the back of a moving jeep enjoy a European road trip

What car stickers or badges do I need to drive in Europe?

No, we don’t mean the ones stuck to your rearview window - marshmallows on board! We’re talking about the badges that indicate where a car is from.

A few things have changed since Brexit.

The GB and Euro symbols, and the England, Scottish and Welsh flag symbols on your number plate are no longer valid in the EU. That doesn’t mean you need to replace your number plate altogether to drive overseas - phew! Just make sure you display one of the white, oval UK stickers. You can buy them in most post offices and garages.

If you’re heading to France, you will also need a Crit’Air vignette (a Clean Air sticker) to drive in low-emission zones. You can order one online here.

Any other legal stuff I should know about?

While you might be driving in Europe, your car still has to follow UK laws. So make sure:

  • your MOT is in-date
  • your car is taxed in the UK
  • you have UK car insurance (we’re happy to help with that one 😉)

There are also different rules around licensing and taxation when you drive in different countries abroad. You can find out if those apply to you and your journey here.  

Your final European driving checklist

Think you're ready to head for the Channel Tunnel? Make sure you have...

  • Your UK driving licence
  • Your national insurance number
  • Your international driving permit (if needed)
  • Your vehicle logbook (VC5)
  • Your VE103 if your car is leased
  • A white UK oval sticker
  • A Crit’Air vignette (a Clean Air sticker) for France
  • Proof that your car is insured

We hope this checklist has helped show you what you need to drive in Europe.

Enjoy your trip! And remember, we can support you with all your car insurance needs before you set off. Get a quote here.