Driving with your family in Europe

It’s that time of the year again when school holidays means an upsurge in families packing up the car and heading abroad on a family break.

As a family-run business, we know that this is an exciting time – but there can be some stress involved, especially if you are not prepared.

That’s why we have put together some useful tips for driving in Europe so that your holiday runs smoothly and you can concentrate on enjoying yourself.


  1. Notify your insurance company that you are taking your car abroad and check that you are fully covered in whichever country you are travelling to.
  2. Invest in suitable European breakdown cover and travel insurance.
  3. Check whether you need your International Driving Permit (IDP).
  4. Ensure you have your passport, full driver’s licence and motor insurance certificate to hand. You may be required to present these to a roadside official. It’s also a good idea to bring photocopies of each document for backup.
  5. Familiarise yourself with the rules of the road of any country you plan on driving in.
  6. Small children are prone to bumps and bruises so a first-aid kit is handy to bring on your travels. It’s also a legal requirement in some countries. It's a good idea to include visibility vests, replacement bulbs and a warning triangle in case of a breakdown.
  7. Check the law for children sitting in the front passenger seat. In most European countries children younger than 12 who are shorter than 4'5" must sit in the back in a booster or car seat.
  8. Start long journeys early —especially in hot weather— and take regular breaks from driving so everyone can stretch their legs. Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  9. You never know when there will be a delay so pack a small picnic in case you’re stuck in heavy traffic. Many countries on the continent have great roadside picnic areas with full facilities and playgrounds so your snacktime can turn into a fun time for the children.
  10. Long journeys are tiring on the whole family regardless of who’s driving. Restless children in the back of the car can be very distracting to the driver so keep small passengers entertained with colouring books, fun car games and a playlist of their favourite songs.
  11. Bringing sweets may seem like a bad idea with young kids in the car but with car sickness, sucky sweets can be very soothing a poor tummy. So keep a big bag of mints or hard-boiled sweets in the glove compartment to help with car sickness.
  12. Get your car serviced before you head abroad or on any long journey. Here at Connolly Motor Group, you can leave your vehicle in the care of our trusted and highly-skilled mechanics and technicians. Our team of experts are fully trained to Volkswagen and Audi standards in all aspects of servicing and maintenance. To book a service call at any of our Audi and Volkswagen dealerships in Sligo 071 9115333, Ballina 096 79000 or Galway 091 336000.

Safe motoring and happy holidays!