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Observing the Earth from a high-flying plane has a certain charm, but if you want to be truly free on your vacation there is no better way than to drive. You decide the departure time, avoid boring hours at the airport awaiting check-in, and can pack a whole house (on wheels) if you need it. And the only children who may scream or cry on board will be your own. What’s more, when you see a beautiful panorama you can stop and admire it for as long as you like instead of just flying by at 800 km/h.

With its unlimited possibilities, travelling by car has many fans who criss-cross their home countries or travel across Europe for new experiences, rest and relaxation. In the following articles, we present to you seven European countries and their most attractive destinations. We also let you know about some local transportation particularities so that you can avoid unpleasant surprises along the way.

But first, let’s carefully plan the journey and get ourselves and the car ready to go. Here, we present a checklist of essentials you should take with you and list the basic documents and information you shouldn’t forget.

DRIVING THROUGH 7 EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

Do you have plans for your vacation yet? We have a better tip for you than drawing a finger on the map. Each week in our series of articles, we will present to you one of the seven selected European countries and their most attractive destinations. Overview of the countries is on the map below - click on each country to find out more. Stay tuned and let our interactive map inspire you.


BEFORE YOU LEAVE

A QUICK CHECK CAN SAVE A LOT OF TROUBLE

Everything is packed, the children are strapped in their seats, the car doors slam shut, and just as you’re ready to get going there comes that final question: “Do we have everything?” Here’s a checklist that will help you answer with a confidence “yes”.

 

CAR REGISTRATION CARD
Presumably you wouldn’t forget it, but just be sure to check the validity date for the technical inspection.

INSURANCE AND GREEN CARD

Along with the registration card you must also have the so-called ‘green card’, which serves as proof that your vehicle’s liability insurance is valid. It’s also a good idea to keep motor insurance (for example, ŠKODA Insurance) and travel insurance documents together so you have everything in one place.

ASSISTANCE SERVICES

If you have arranged for assistance services, save the phone numbers for calling from the Czech Republic and from abroad (these numbers may differ!) directly into your mobile phone. You can also find the ŠKODA Assistance phone number on the left rear window of every
ŠKODA car.

AUTHORIZATION TO TRAVEL ABROAD

If you are not the direct owner of the car, which is the case not only for company cars but also for cars under operational leasing and hired cars, we recommend that you obtain a notarized authorization to travel abroad from the vehicle’s provider in at least English.

UPDATING MAPS IN YOUR SATNAV

Road networks are always changing. Travelling with an old map may lead to long and unnecessary detours, so it’s a good idea to update your navigation data regularly. For ŠKODA vehicles you can do so easily at updateportal.skoda-auto.com. After entering your car’s VIN code, the system automatically identifies which updates are necessary for your device and immediately makes them available to download from the comfort of your home. Online map updates are available for vehicles with MIB infotainment. For older vehicles, we recommend updating maps using the SD card available from any ŠKODA dealer.

 

DESTINATION ADDRESS

Even the best satnav may have its occasional quirks and leave you stranded when you need it most. Just to be sure, note down the precise address of your destination and, even better, print out a destination map.

ITINERARY

For the same reason, you should write down the main transit points or simply print out the route map. At least you’ll be sure the navigation system is leading you the right way.

TOLLS

Check in advance what tolls you will need to pay and how to pay them. Some motorway fees are paid for by purchasing a sticker (e.g., in Austria), while in other countries tolls may be collected only electronically (e.g., in Slovakia). The better prepared you are before leaving, the smoother and more comfortable your road trip will be.

PAYMENT CARD, CASH, AND SMALL COINS ON HAND

Even if you diligently plan out every detail, you may still encounter an unexpected toll road section, tunnel, or motorway. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have both a payment card and some cash on hand to get through the toll gate as quickly as possible.

HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN SOMETHING?

REFLECTIVE VEST
These are mandatory in many countries, sometimes even for everyone in the vehicle. They’ll be useless at the bottom of the luggage compartment, so be sure to keep them within reach.
NEXT SERVICE INSPECTION
Check the date and kilometres remaining before your next regular service inspection. You don’t want to be worrying about it while travelling.
SET OF REPLACEMENT BULBS
You can’t drive in the dark. In some countries these are even mandatory. If you don’t feel up to changing them yourself, ŠKODA Assistance will help you free of charge.
TYRE PRESSURE
Tyres with too low or even too high pressure have a substantially negative impact on driving characteristics and occupant safety, and especially so when the car is fully loaded.
WARNING TRIANGLE
This is an absolute necessity and an integral part of a car’s mandatory equipment. It must be placed where it is easily visible at a distance of at least 50 m behind the car (at least 100 m on a motorway).
FULLY FUNCTIONAL AIR CONDITIONING
Without your AC, you will get baked in the summer. It should be checked periodically by an expert. If necessary, the pollen filter should be replaced, the system disinfected, and the coolant refilled.
FIRST-AID KIT
Check its location in the car and expiration date. We hope you will never have to use it.
SUMMER WINDSCREEN WASHER FLUID
Good visibility is basic to safety, and that means you should keep the windscreen clean. A special summer washer fluid helps to remove insects more effectively, so don’t forget to fill up the reservoir.
EUROPEAN ACCIDENT REPORTING FORM
Although the official European accident reporting form is not part of the mandatory equipment, having it will substantially facilitate potential negotiations with insurance companies in the event of an accident.

Do you have everything? Download your own checklist!

A lifetime ŠKODA Mobility Guarantee is provided free of charge with every new ŠKODA vehicle. For older cars, it can be extended upon passing a service inspection at an authorized service centre.

The mobility guarantee also provides access to the non-stop ŠKODA Assistance service to help you on the road 365 days a year all across Europe.

The assistance service helps you on the spot. If the problem cannot be repaired while you wait, towing to the nearest ŠKODA authorized service centre will be arranged. In case of need, you will be provided with a replacement car or a hotel stay. All free of charge!

ŠKODA Assistance in the Czech Republic: 800 120 000 | from abroad: +420 236 090 002