Best European travel kits 2019
Travelling to the continent and need a European travel kit for your journey? We test eight to see which is best to take with you
Whether you drive abroad once a year for the annual holiday, or once a week on business, you’ll need to make sure your car is legal and safe to drive. For many countries in Europe, that means having to carry extra safety equipment on board by law, much of which isn’t required in the UK.
The neatest and cheapest way to ensure you’re prepared is with a pre-packaged travel kit to store in your boot. We tested eight to see which is the best European travel companion.
How we tested them
We looked for packs which would be legal in the most commonly visited European countries for British motorists – namely France, Spain and Germany. They were judged on which had the best balance of contents and price. We also checked that the items could actually be useful, rather than just being legally compliant.
The perfect kit would contain different parts of all the packages here, but the Ring RCT1 gives the best compromise of price and contents. For £27 you get a pack which will keep you legal in most European countries.
The Family Motoring & Leisure Driving Kit comes in second place thanks to its sheer value for money. The RAC kit costs twice the price, but it makes up for that with contents to keep you legal across all of Europe; it comes in third.
- 1. Ring Travel Kit RCT1
- 2. Family Motoring & Leisure Driving Kit (France)
- 3. RAC Premium European Motoring Family Kit
Ring Travel Kit RCT1
Price: Around £27Size: 461x211x91mmRating: 4.5 starsContact: www.amazon.co.uk
Ring’s best-selling kit has everything you need to be legal in most European countries, including two breathalysers. It also adds a few useful extras to the basic necessities, such as an emergency foil blanket and an additional hi-vis jacket for a passenger.
The bag itself is nicely made, and our only real criticism is the size of the first aid kit. It’s tiny and only seems to have the bare minimum. This is a really good-value pack though.
Family Motoring & Leisure Driving Kit (France)
Price: Around £19Size: 490x230x64mmRating: 4 starsContact: www.amazon.co.uk
If you just want the very basics to keep you legal in France, this kit has everything you need for less than £20. There’s a pair of headlight adaptors, a small GB sticker, a warning triangle, two breathalysers and a single hi-vis vest.
There’s also a first aid kit, but it’s pretty perfunctory and won’t be able to deal with anything more serious than a grazed knee. It would be impossible to buy half of the items in the kit separately for less than this price, so it’s exceptional value.
RAC Premium European Motoring Family Kit
Price: Around £40Size: 470x190x110mmRating: 4 starsContact: www.racshop.co.uk
The top-of-the-range RAC kit is pricey, but it’s packed with everything you need across Europe and includes four hi-vis jackets, a fire extinguisher and two warning triangles – something which is a requirement in Spain for residents, although only recommended for visitors.
The moulded case is far nicer than the soft bags used in other kits too, and is something you’d not mind keeping in your car all of the time. The only let down is a tiny first aid kit.
Ring Emergency RCT2
Price: Around £25Size: 461x197x90mmRating: 3.5 starsContact: www.ebay.co.uk
Although this pack is designed as a general breakdown kit, rather than being aimed at European travel, it contains many of the components you’ll need to stay legal abroad. If your car already has GB logos on the number plates and switchable beams, it will avoid doubling on these items, too.
Unlike the other kits, it also has jump leads, gloves, a torch and foil blanket. It’s pretty good value, too, at under £25. It’s not a complete Euro travel kit, so can’t be scored too highly, but it will be handy for many drivers.
AA Euro Travel Kit
Price: Around £25Size: 450x200x80mmRating: 3 starsContact: www.argos.co.uk
This AA-branded pack is sizeable, but it doesn’t actually have as much inside as you’d expect. On the plus side there’s a bulb kit and beam benders, a GB sticker and a reasonably comprehensive first aid kit, but only one hi-vis vest and no breathalysers.
The pack also includes a European driver’s handbook and a map of Kent; both contain info that is available online, but might come in useful for pre-trip research or reading material while you wait for recovery.
Family Motoring & Leisure Full UK France Travel Kit
Price: Around £33Size: 500x130x130mmRating: 3 starsContact: www.amazon.co.uk
While this is a ‘Full France’ kit, it’ll keep you on the right side of the law through most of Europe. That’s because it adds a fire extinguisher to the kit tally – an item which is recommended in Belgium and compulsory in Poland.
The pack also has a pair of hi-vis vests, two breathalysers, a bulb kit and a magnetic, rather than adhesive, GB plate. Although the first aid kit is basic, this is good value if you need a fire extinguisher.
GADLANE European Car Driving Travel Kit France
Price: Around £25Size: 480x192x62mmRating: 3 starsContact: www.ignitionline.com
Gadlane’s kit has everything you need for driving in France. There’s a pair of beam-bending headlight adaptors, a large magnetic GB plate, good-quality warning triangle, two breathalysers and a single hi-vis vest.
There’s also a bulb pack, which is recommended in France and other countries. While there’s nothing wrong with the kit, there are cheaper options.
Halfords Motoring Abroad Kit
Price: Around £25Size: 450x130x90mmRating: 3 starsContact: www.halfords.co.uk
You get the very basics for most of Europe in this Halfords set, although you’ll need to buy breathalysers separately to stay strictly legal in France
It’s too pricey for such a basic group of items but the contents and bag are good quality, and it has the most comprehensive first aid kit in this test. The pack is relatively compact too, making it easier to store in the luggage compartment or under a seat.
Make sure you’re fully prepared
You need more than just a travel kit to get ready for a European driving trip. Make sure your car is properly insured, and be prepared to get an International Driving Permit if you plan to travel after 31 October, in case of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
What you need to carry in the car varies from country to country, but as a basic minimum you’ll need a GB sticker (although this isn’t needed if your number plate has the blue EU strip), a warning triangle and headlamp converters to prevent you dazzling traffic with lights that are designed for driving in the UK, on the left side of the road.
Hi-vis vests are a legal requirement in most countries and you should ideally have one for each person in the car. They need to be instantly accessible, so in the glovebox or under a seat, rather than in the boot. Spare bulbs are a good idea but only recommended, while a first aid kit is compulsory in Austria.
Breathalysers are only required in France, although most French drivers don’t bother, because the fine isn’t enforced.