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drive in Europe
  1. Green Card
28th April 2021

Can I take my car or campervan to drive in Europe on holiday this summer?

When will I be able to go on a driving holiday in Europe and what documents will I need to take with me?

Car Insurance from just £125 per year

It is currently illegal to go abroad on holiday either with or without your vehicle. The earliest that you may be able to drive in Europe on non-essential travel from England will be 17 May. 

When non-essential travel does resume the government will use a traffic light system of red, amber and green for different countries based on their levels of infection, vaccination rate and Covid variant outbreaks. 

The government hasn’t indicated which countries will be on the green list or when non-essential international travel can resume. 

Countries can be moved between red, amber and green depending on Covid developments. That means you might book to visit a green country, but it’s changed to amber or red before you go, or while you’re there. 

If you do drive in Europe to a green country, you’ll still be required to take a number of tests which will push up the overall cost of your trip.

drive in Eorupe

What’s the difference between essential and non essential travel?

It is currently illegal for people to travel abroad for leisure purposes. You can only travel abroad for essential reasons, such as work, for a funeral, for education, for charitable volunteering or medical purposes. 

Travel restrictions can vary between countries, so if you drive in Europe you will need to check the latest guidance for the country of departure, your arrival destination and any other countries you will need to drive through.

When non essential travel resumes will it be safer to fly or drive in Europe?

In terms of socially distancing and minimising contact with other people, if you drive in Europe you will probably be at less risk than if you fly. It will also mean you won’t need to rely on public transport once you get there.

In most European countries, the same travel restrictions for flying apply to drivers, but there’s a reduced risk of picking up the virus if you’re in your own car.

What if I catch Covid-19 and become ill while on holiday?

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which entitles the holder to medical care at a discounted rate, no longer applies to UK travellers. However, UK travellers can now apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which works in exactly the same way. 

If you are planning to drive in Europe on holiday, you should:

  • Keep up to date with the latest Covid-19 cases and restrictions in the country you’re visiting or driving through.
  • Consider your own health and the health of those around you.
  • If possible, delay your trip until you have received the vaccination.
  • Check your first aid box and make sure you have adequate medication in the event of an emergency.
drive in Europe

Are there any other essentials to pack when I drive in Europe?

When driving in Europe other essential travel documents you will need include:

  • You will need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Europe. This allows you to drive in countries where a UK licence alone is not sufficient. An IDP can be obtained over the counter from the Post Office for £5,50. There are three types of IDP, each allowing you to drive in different countries so, if you are touring Europe, you may need more than one. You can use the Post Office IDP checker tool to find out if you will need a permit, which permit you will need, and what supporting documentation you will need to supply with your application. 
  • A Green Card International Motor Insurance Certificate which guarantees you hold the necessary third-party motor insurance cover required for the country or countries you will be visiting when you drive in Europe. To find out how to get a Green Card, contact the experts at Sterling Insurance on 0344 381 9990.
  • Your essential travel documents should also include your passport, which must be valid for at least six months, your driving licence and vehicle registration documents and your travel insurance documents.
  • When you drive in Europe you may also be asked by border security to show your return ferry or Channel crossing tickets, and your accommodation booking confirmation, so these too should be kept handy with your essential travel documents.

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