European Van Hire blog
06 Jun 2017
There are many reasons why you may be looking for European van hire. Perhaps you're attending an overseas exhibition, you need to supply a European business or you import goods from Europe. Or it could be nothing to do with business of course! Maybe you and your family are just going on a cycling or fishing holiday. Our vehicle hire depots in Shropshire rent vans out for all kind of use. Whatever the reason, it's important you understand what you need to do and take with you to ensure you are legal and safe when driving a hire van in Europe.

1.     Is the van up to the job?

If you're after European van hire, naturally you're going to have a long journey ahead of you! You'll be spending a long time in the cab of the van. Does it allow for a comfortable driving position and does it have cruise control? Is it clean? Does it smell pleasant? All these things can make a big difference to your journey. Also consider the size of the van, as you don't want to get all the way to southern Spain to find it's not big enough. However, do remember that the larger the van, the more expensive the ferry crossing!  

2.     Speaking of ferries…

When booking your channel crossing, make sure you know the external dimensions of the vehicle you are taking so you buy the correct fare. Failure can lead to costs and delays at port which you can do without! Don't forget, the Euro Tunnel is a great alternative as it can be very competitive for van crossings.  

3.     Safety checks

It’s crucial to know that your vehicle is mechanically sound before you set off on any long journey. We check the fluid levels and tyres as appropriate. It's another reason we prefer new vans. Do you really want to be embarking on a long journey across Europe in a five-year-old van that's already been driven once around the world?! That’s why all of Bayfield's vans are less than 12 months’ old.  

4.     Breakdown cover

You want breakdown assistance that covers you fully across all the countries you are travelling through. Bayfield's European Van Hire services means you get vans that are backed up by an extensive Europe-wide dealer network, with AA European Breakdown Assist included as standard. It’s all about travelling with confidence. If you are considering using another vehicle hire firm, check this small print :)  

5.     Papers

Have you got all the correct documentation? When taking a vehicle abroad, you should carry the V5 registration document with you. Or if you're hiring, the hire company should provide you with a VE103B form, which is a suitable replacement. It's a good idea to double check it covers you for your intended dates of travel plus a few extra days in case you are delayed. You also need to carry a European van hire agreement and insurance details, guaranteeing you are covered for your intended countries. Last but not least, don't forget your driving licence!  

6.     Contact numbers

It can be daunting, the idea of being stuck abroad with no way of getting in touch with someone who can help. That is why carrying programming useful telephone numbers into your mobile is a great bit of reassurance. Make sure you know the appropriate roadside assistance number, for example, when calling from abroad. Your hire company should provide you with a 24-hour emergency number too, just in case you need assistance out of hours.  

7.     Safety first

You will need a European Safety kit with high visibility vests for all passengers, a first aid kit, spare bulbs and headlight beam converters. Failure to carry these items can lead to an on the spot fine in some countries.  

8.     Toll roads

Look out for toll roads when planning your journey. Some roads aren't clearly identified as a toll road, especially as you get into Eastern Europe. Some have no barriers but you are expected to buy a ticket or "highway vingette" at service stations. Failure to pay the correct toll could lead to a fine, which will find its way back to you eventually.  

9.     Pack your sat nav

Unless you know the way off by heart or have a good map-reader on board, most of us rely on sat navs to make our journey on foreign roads possible. Make sure you have a sat nav that works in the countries you are travelling to and through. As a European van hire specialist, Bayfield will provide you with one as part of the package.  

10.  Winter travel

Keep in mind that when travelling in winter months, some countries specify you must have winter tyres and / or carry snow chains with you. Failure to have the correct tyres on your vehicle can lead to a fine and delays.   If you prepare correctly for the journey, driving in Europe can be a fun experience! Discovering the world, seeing new sights and, of course, driving on the opposite side of the road is not something everyone can say they’ve tried. If you'll have the time, why not do some research beforehand and see if there are any interesting places you can visit on your way. This will also break up the journey and avoid you driving while tired. Remember, if you need a vehicle for travel on the continent, Bayfield Vehicle Hire has a wide range to choose from. Clients further benefit from our years of experience within European van hire. We can even provide a free pick-up service at locations around Shrewsbury and Telford. Please call us today on 0333 555 3000 if you’d like to organise the rental of a van for Europe.