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Compulsory items for UK drivers in Europe

There are a few things that you should legally have in the car when travelling in Europe. Personally I've never been stopped by the police there, but a missing warning triangle, hi-vis vest, or spare bulbs would give them reason to issue a fine.

I've given ebay links below to the cheapest items I could find that are from the UK, and where the sellers have high feedback. If you buy after clicking here, I make about 1% of the sale price, but you pay the same anyway. It helps me out. If you buy any of these items at the ferry terminal, the ferry, or a motorway service station, you are going to get ripped off, as in twice the price.

You can also pick up many of these items at larger supermarkets, Halfords, Screwfix (see below), motorfactors. You're unlikely to find a better deal than on ebay though. Make sure whatever gear you have is in a closed boot or well secured when you are on the Ring. If you crash unsecured items will fly around the cabin and be unsafe.

All prices below include postage

Note that unlike in the UK you must carry your vehicle registration, insurance, drivers licence in the vehicle at all times in Europe. Photocopies are OK.


Ring Automotive European Travel Kit

What's in the picture to the right is everything you really need. The kit costs approx £25 and all comes in a natty bag and to be honest if you don't have any of the items below this is a better deal than buying everything separately. . It's from the UK and 75 were sold last time I looked.

  • Warning triangle
  • Two high-vis vests
  • GB sticker
  • First aid kit
  • Breathalysers
  • Spare bulb kit. Three headlight bulbs (H1,H4,H7) and common sidelight and fuses.
  • Foil blanket
  • Headlight deflectors

If you can't wait for postage, this same kit is also available for £40 at Screwfix, and a similar one is £40 at Halfords.


Essentials to buy

Warning triangle and hi-vis vest. Approx £5.

GB sticker/magnetic plate if your numberplate does not have a GB mark. It does not need to have the European flag symbol on it. £2-3.

Spare bulb kit. This one is a universal kit with H1,H4,H7 headlight bulbs and costs approx £6. It also includes sidelight and fuses, so basically should suit whatever car you have. Alternatively, search for "Spare bulb kit [your make and model of car] on ebay.

First aid kit. Probably a good idea to have one in the car for safety reasons. It's on the legal requirement list but I think you'd have to really annoy the police for them to bust you for not having one of these. Anywhere from £7 to £25. I think this is a good choice at £12 because it at least has large strip bandages you could use as a tourniquet.

Headlight beam deflectors. Approx £4.

Breathalyser This is a legal requirement in France, but you're only travelling through it for about an hour, and apparently they are having trouble enforcing it so nobody is getting done for not having them. Anyway, they are £2, and for that price it's probably a good idea to have them around.

You can also buy these items individually at Halfords, Screwfix, Toolstation, most motorfactors. You'll pay about 50% more than on ebay. Tescos and Asda are probably your best bet to get the items in a hurry for reasonable prices. Stock can be patchy, the breathalysers are quite rare in the UK.


Optionals to buy

Jerry can. You can buy a 1 litre can at any petrol station for £5. It might be worth investing in a 20 litre plastic or metal can because few cars can make the UK to Germany trip in one go, but most will probably do it with a 20l top-up on the way. Petrol is more expensive on the continent than here, so you can save a bit of money. This 20l plastic can is about £12:

Foil blanket to keep warm if you break down. This one is massive and costs £3:

European map. Note that most sat navs try to take you through the countryside on your way to and from the Ring. It's better to stay on the Autobahn, as described on the Directions page. This Collins Europe road atlas is A5 and spiral bound and costs £5.

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