The road safety and breakdown experts at GEM Motoring Assist want you to make sure you do your homework before driving abroad this summer.

While lockdowns are easing across Europe amid the coronavirus, there are still certain restrictions in place in some countries, and each country in the United Kingdom – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – each have their own restrictions in place.

Further afield, visiting most European countries won't require a period of quarantine upon return, but not all – Portugal and Sweden being the most notable exceptions. Scotland also doesn't have a quarantine exemption in place for Spain either.

In terms of the travel itself, ferry operators and Eurotunnel have implemented new hygiene measures which include hand sanitisers, more frequent cleaning of public areas, and toilet facilities. 

Cars driving on motorway in Nice France

"Before deciding whether to take a holiday in Europe by car this summer, make sure you check details of what has reopened, what restrictions remain in place and what requirements there may be for wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and pre-booking accommodation," said GEM chief executive Neil Worth.

"Please also ensure you have proper travel insurance in place and that you have checked exactly what cover you have. For example, most policies do not include cover for claims arising from, or relating to coronavirus."

GEM’s tips for safer travel in Europe

  • Check carefully on any restrictions and government advice relating to the country you are planning to visit.

  • Also check whether you need to quarantine on your return.

  • Make sure your car is properly serviced before you travel, thus minimising the risk of a breakdown while you are away.

  • Book as many components of your holiday as possible in advance. Restrictions on numbers mean you may not be able to turn up without a reservation for a ferry, a campsite, hotel or visitor attraction.

  • Be ready for reduced services and longer queues at ports, motorway service stations and on ferries.

  • Familiarise yourself with rules on mask wearing, as these can vary not only from country to country but also from town to town. Officials on some Spanish beaches will impose fines of £90 for people not wearing masks.

  • Make sure your travel insurance covers you if you need to cancel your trip, or if you become unwell while away.

  • If you become unwell – with Covid symptoms – while away, don’t ignore it. Check specific health advice, which usually involves staying indoors and arranging a test as quickly as possible.