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4 February, 2013

Driving Abroad: What You Need and How to Get It

Driving abroad is a must for anyone who wants to break away from the tour group and explore at their own leisure, it’s essential for business people getting to the office under their own steam, and it’s a vital skill for all Brits intent on doing the cheese and wine hop across the Channel. Whatever your reasons for getting behind the wheel overseas, you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared – and we don’t just mean finding out which side of the road they drive on.

Once you’ve confirmed with your insurance company that you are covered to drive abroad, you’ll need to check the International Driving Permit (IDP) list. UK licence holders will find that, for the most part, their local licence is accepted in Europe, however, there are exceptions. While many European authorities recognise the British driving licence, some allow it only with certain caveats, and for a lot countries outside Europe a permit will be a necessity. Our advice would be not to leave it too late – check the list as soon as you can.

Friends in car

Once you’ve done this, simply take your regular license, an accepted document of identity (your passport will do it), a passport-sized photo of you (it has to be signed on the back) and £5.50 down to a participating post office (these are listed on the Post Office website) and – providing you’re applying in person – the permit will be presented to you there and then. Make a note of its validity – IDPs are not indefinite documents.

Of course, a little research into driving habits at your destination wouldn’t hurt. Many drivers coming to the UK find our roundabout system difficult to fathom, and it may be that there are similar pitfalls awaiting you. The side of the road you’ll be driving on is obviously a serious concern; more worrying is how few people look into the local speed limits – a sure and speedy way to land a local currency fine.

Post office info: