As the Brexit juggernaut rumbles along, I’m starting to worry about my Mallorca mini-break in May. Team Minted will need to hire a car and, the way it’s looking, the driver could need an international driving permit (IDP).
It all depends on whether the UK leaves Europe with a deal or not. At the moment, it’s impossible to say which way it’s going to go. If we leave, and we leave with a deal, everything should stay as normal. The trouble kicks in if we crash out without a deal. Potentially there could be a transition period while we stick with the old system until a new one is figured out. Or it could be complete chaos. With an eye to not screwing up a holiday, it’s best to be prepared.
At the moment you can drive in Europe on your UK driving licence. If the UK leaves without a Brexit deal, you may very well need an IDP. Fortunately these are relatively cheap at £5.50 and they are available from the Post Office. Mr Minted got one yesterday – it’s paper and seems very old tech. You will need a passport photo, your driving licence and your passport for ID purposes if you still have a paper driving licence, not the new photocard one.
Annoyingly it’s not quite as easy as it seems. There are three different IDPs and the one you need depends on what country you are driving in. France is in a different category to Spain, for example. If you are motoring through France to Spain, you will need both the French one (IDP 1968) and the Spanish one (IDP 1949). Germany is also IDP 1949, by the way.
What a hassle. I advise checking this Post Office calculator first to find out which ones you need before nipping down to get the paperwork. And better to do it sooner rather than later. It’s not so expensive and better to pay £5.50 as an insurance policy or face the queues and/or availability issues if the worst happens.
Another potential problem is getting the so-called green card which shows you have third-party car insurance. This is only for those driving their own cars in Europe and doesn’t affect car rental. You must apply to your car insurer for a green card and it’s free of charge. You should also check that your insurance covers you to drive in Europe. If not, you’ll need to buy extra cover.
I’ve seen lots of complaints on forums about various insurers not giving out green cards or refusing to do so until Brexit is resolved. It’s probably best to start a conversation with your insurer now, even if they won’t do anything, so you know who to contact in a hurry if you need to. For more general help on driving abroad, see my blog on car rental rip-offs and how to avoid them.