If you're driving to France or Spain or any part of Europe in a rental van then it is not really much harder than driving a car abroad. However, there are a few differences that can make it slightly harder. Here is a short guide to driving a hire van in Europe:
This sounds obvious but driving on the left will be deeply engrained into your habits if you have always driven in the UK.
The riskiest times are when you aren't properly concentrating on driving and are driving on auto-pilot. Pulling out of car parks and rest areas onto quiet roads are classic examples.
Combat this risk by taking a moment to focus on your driving before you set off - remind yourself of what country you are in and which side of the road you should be using.
Depending on the model of your van, you may find you have bigger blind spots in your mirrors than usual.
Combat this by positioning yourself carefully at roundabouts and junctions so that you have the required visibility in your mirrors and through your side windows.
If you aren't using to driving vans, this takes time getting used to and is more of a shock when abroad.
Combat this by making sure your wing mirrors are correctly adjusted and familiarising yourself with any blind spots that exist.
These vary across Europe and are not the same as UK speed limits for vans.
Countries' standard speed limits are usually posted at border crossings. Pay close attention to these as most European countries practice on-the-spot fines - until you pay, you don't drive away.
You will need a VE 103 Vehicle On Hire certificate. This shows that you have permission to drive a vehicle that you do not own outside the UK.
The original document is required - photocopies are not accepted. The VE 103 is usually provided by your hire company, but they may only provide you with a letter of authority, instead. If this happens, it is your responsibility to arrange a VE103 for youself. These are available from the RAC - click here for details.
As in the UK, don't leave any valuable possessions on show in your van and enusre to lock the vehicle at all times.
Ensure you're familiar with road laws in the country you will be driving - for example in France there are specific items you must have with you in your vehicle in case of breakdowns or emergencies.
And, of course, do not drink and drive.
If you're now all set and are looking to hire a van to move to Spain or move back to the UK from Spain then check out our One way van hire between Spain and the UK page.