Couple sitting by a lake in front of their car
Laura Henley

Laura Henley

Laura is a Digital Copywriter in our (award-winning) marketing team, tasked with keeping you up to date with all the latest industry news and gossip. With a wealth of experience under her belt, there's no one better to keep you entertained and informed.

Read time of 4 minutes.

Ready to pack up your lease car and take a road trip abroad this summer?

Us too.

Whether you want to start your European getaway on a ferry or going through the channel tunnel, you can travel comfortably in your car lease without having to stress.

Or having to worry about hiring a car when you get to your destination and faffing around getting used to doing everything with the opposite hand.

And yes, you can take your car abroad. 

Obviously, there are limited places you can get to easily via car. Mainland Europe is fine, and if you’ve got the time to do a proper road trip, you can go some distance across the continent. And there some additional considerations that you don’t always have with a car that you’ve bought outright.

But with a little prep, you’ll breeze through passport control.

You’ll need to be able to prove to the authorities that you have the right to take your car out of the country. And you might – for hassle-free travel – want to think about your European road trip route, and the laws of the countries you’re passing through and visiting.

Nothing beats being prepared.

So, to help make your life easier, we’ve put together a simple checklist so you can road trip with peace of mind.

Things you'll need to do before taking your lease car abroad:

  • Take your full UK driving licence
  • Get proof of permission from your funder
  • Check your insurance and breakdown cover 
  • Consider your annual mileage limit
  • Prepare your car
  • Check regional driving requirements for your destination/s
Boot with luggage and view out of rear window

Taking your lease car abroad checklist:

Full, valid UK driving licence

You need to make sure that you take your full UK photocard driving licence with you abroad.

If you’re ever stopped and challenged by the police in a foreign country, you’ll need to be able to produce it for inspection.

VE103 and VE103B documents

If you were taking a car you owned abroad, you’d need to take your V5C with you. Also known as the vehicle logbook, the V5C contains important details about registration and provides details of the registered keeper.

When you lease a car through contract hire, your finance provider keeps the V5C because they’re the registered keeper. 

You’ll need to contact your funder at least two weeks – if not longer – before you leave to get permission from them to take your lease car abroad. Additionally, if you have any questions or need help, you can ask your finance provider and they’ll be able to guide you in the right direction.

You won’t be given the original V5C document, but your funder will be able to issue you the VE103 and VE103B documents.

The VE103 is a certificate that proves you can take your lease vehicle out of the country. The VE103B, otherwise known as the Vehicle on Hire certificate, replaces the V5C and confirms your name and address, as well as the length of your car lease deal.

This verifies that you’ve been given permission from the asset owner to drive the vehicle.

The VE103 certificate is valid for 12 months, but bear in mind you might only be allowed to take your car out of the country for 60 days. If you’re planning to be out of the country for an extended period, you’ll need to talk to your funder about any potential restrictions.

Your finance provider might charge you for these documents, which can be around the £12-£15 mark.

Appropriate insurance and breakdown cover

Before you set off on your summer road trip, you’ll want to check whether your insurance cover is extended to outside of the UK. Some insurance companies can lower your level of cover abroad to basic cover, so make sure you dot all your I’s and cross all your T’s.

Similarly, you’ll want to check that your breakdown cover extends to outside of the UK.

Although it’s not a legal requirement, it can save you a lot of money if you suddenly breakdown abroad and need to call out roadside assistance.

Annual mileage allowance

When you take out a car lease deal, you’ll select your annual mileage allowance up front. This normally ranges between 5,000 and 30,000 miles per year, but if you exceed your overall allowance at the end of your lease contract then you could be charged excess mileage.

For example, if you take out a two-year lease on a 5,000 miles per annum contract, if you’ve exceeded 10,000 miles at the end of the contract, you’ll be charged per mile for whatever else you’ve driven.

It’s worth bearing in mind your mileage allowance when planning your road trip. The last thing you want is a nasty surprise at the end of your lease.

If you know you’ll want to be doing a lot of travelling abroad, make sure you include these trips in your annual mileage estimate.

Hand on steering wheel

Driving your lease car abroad

Though spontaneity is exciting, having your route planned before you leave so you can check the laws of the country (or countries) you’re visiting before you get there can be a good idea.

For example, France requires you to display a UK sticker on your car as a distinguishing mark. This changed in September 2021 from GB to UK, so if it’s been a while since you drove in France, it’s worth checking that you have the right sticker.

France also requires you, by law, to carry reflective jackets, breathalyser, a warning triangle, headlamp beam deflectors, and snow chains when driving through ‘snow zones’.

Spain, on the other hand, needs you to display the UK sticker and have a high-vis jacket, two red warning triangles, a spare wheel and headlamp beam deflectors.

You don’t want to be caught out, so make sure you do your research and make sure you have everything you need before you travel.

Prepare your car

It’s also worth giving your car a proper once over a few days before you leave.

Give your car a good wash and a hoover so you have a nice clean environment to travel in and take some time to properly inspect it. The last thing you want is to get abroad and then notice that your tyres are on the flatter side. 

Make sure you’re properly fuelled up, check your oil and water levels (and your windscreen wash!), make sure all your lights are working, and check the condition, tread depth and inflation of your tyres at the very least. 

You don’t want to worry about anything except how exciting the trip is while you’re there, so the more prepared you are before you travel, the more relaxed you’ll be.

Can I take my company lease car abroad?

If you’re travelling overseas for work, you might be able to take your company lease car with you.

You will need to check your company policy, and you’ll still need to get hold of the same documents as you would for a personal lease car.

Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way

Three of the best European road trips

Listen, we couldn’t let you go without letting you know three of our favourite European road trips. They’re all easy to get to in your lease car from the UK, and let you soak in some of the best scenery around.

Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland

Think 1,600 miles of winding coastal road that stretches from the Inishowen Peninsula in the north to Kinsale in the south.

Think being able to stop in places like Donegal Town, Galway, Kilkee and West Cork.

Think taking in some of Ireland’s best sights and stunning natural landmarks, including Tulland Strand and Barleycove Beach, the Slieve League Coast, the Erris Section and the Cliffs of Moher.

Think being able to get there easily in the ferry.

Think doing the whole thing from the comfort of your beautiful car lease.

We’re sold.

View of a canal in Amsterdam

Harwich-Hook of Holland-Amsterdam-Antwerp-Brussels-Ghent-Bruges-Dunkirk-Calais-Dover

Take in the Netherlands, Belgium and Northern France with this technically-six-hour-but-would-be-much-better-if-you-take-a-week-to-stop-in-each-place road trip.

Start with the canals of Amsterdam, drive down to Brussels and soak in the incredible atmosphere, hop over to Bruges for some beautiful medieval buildings, and finish with Dunkirk and Calais and the history that surrounds the area.

Sure, it might not be the sunny, wind-in-your-hair type of roadtrip.

But if you’re anything like us, getting to explore some beautiful cities and take in the history of the area is just as good.

And it’s easy to get to from the UK – simply get the ferry from Harwich to the Hook of Holland, and return via Calais to Dover.

Beach in Bidart, South-Western France

Santander – Roscoff

Take in the entire western coast of France with this epic road trip from Santander to Roscoff. 

This one is a bit of a commitment – the ferry down to Santander takes 24 hours, and if you did the whole coast in one go that would take you around 11-12 hours, with a six-eight hour ferry from Roscoff to Plymouth to finish you off at the end.

But what an epic adventure you’d have.

And with towns and cities to stop at along the way, like Bordeaux, La Rochelle and Rennes, and national parks and beaches to explore, you can make a real summer holiday out of it.

Make sure you're prepared for your road trip adventure!