Do you need to take anything while driving in your hire car?

Do you need to take anything while driving in your hire car?

Whatever the reasons why you’re planning to hire a car, and wherever you’re planning on going, there’s no denying that it always helps to be prepared. Not only does it help the journey go a whole lot more smoothly and comfortably for everyone, but it can also help save you time, effort and stress if you come up against logistical issues, or during routine official checks (which are especially likely if you’re driving abroad).

Most importantly though, taking the right items with you can help keep you and your passengers safe in an emergency. So, whether you’re driving in the UK or overseas, here are some of the most useful things we recommend taking with you when you hire a car.

What you’ll need for when you come to hire the car

When collecting everything you need, a good place to start is with everything you’ll need to actually hire the car. That includes:

• A full driving licence (either a paper form or as a photocard)

• A valid photo ID (such as a passport, or the aforementioned driving licence photocard)

• At least one proof of address (if you've hired before) Two if you are a new customer, these can be a utility bill or bank statement and must be dated and no older than Three months.

• A major debit or credit card, to cover the security deposit and cost of the rental

You can find a few more details on these documents over on our FAQs page.

If you have a foreign driving licence, or you’re a UK resident who plans to hire a car to drive abroad, then you may also need an International Driving Permit. You can find out more about those over on our dedicated blog: Can I hire a car if I have a foreign driving licence?

What you’ll need when out driving

To be honest, exactly what you need will strongly depend on where you’re going. If you’re only going to be driving in the UK, you’ll already have a good understanding of the legal driving requirements, and submitting your documents for any inspection will probably be a very quick and straightforward process. However, if you’re planning on taking the car anywhere abroad, then it’s worth stocking up particularly carefully. Here are the basics!


It’s always sensible to carry with you photocopies of any important documents, such as your travel insurance papers, as well as personal identification. Here’s where you’ll also need to get yourself familiar with the driving requirements in other countries, if you’re going abroad. For example, France may require you to display a Crit’air sticker for driving in certain territories, and you could face heavy fines if you don’t.

And while navigational equipment isn’t essential according to law, you’ll still probably want to make sure you pack an up-to-date map, or Sat Nav system. (The latter don’t always come as standard in hire cars.)


A decent breakdown kit never goes amiss, wherever you’re planning on driving. Typically, these include essentials like high-visibility jackets, a warning triangle, a high-powered torch, and a first-aid kit - which is compulsory in places like Austria, France and Germany.

Countries like Spain, on the other hand, require you to carry a spare wheel or puncture kit. The idea is to help motorists get themselves going without outside help, so they can minimise the amount of time they spend out on the roads.

Those are the just the basics. Most of them aren’t a legal requirement here in the UK, but there’s no denying that they can save you a lot of stress on British highways too - so they’re strongly recommended!


If you’re planning on undertaking any particularly long trips, or travelling with family - or both - then it’s prudent to bear in mind how long you’ll be on the roads for, and how to keep all your car’s occupants happy and comfortable and entertained. Some games for children might not go amiss, and audiobooks, CDs or music devices are a wise choice too. Don’t forget to take the weather into account, and bring blankets, sun cream, or heavy weather coats accordingly.

It’s always vital to have refreshments and plenty of water on hand, no matter the age of your passengers. And for total peace of mind, you might want to think about having a fire extinguisher, spare fuel can, and extra oil or fluids, so you can minimise any chances of a breakdown or damage to the hire car.

It’s worth us repeating that these are just the bare essentials - you might have one or two more specific items you’ll need for your own trip. We’ll leave those details to you! If you’ve got any further questions though, or you need any extra clarifications, our friendly staff are here to help. We like to make everything as simple and straigh­­tforward as we can when you come to hire a van, car or minibus. Plus if you’re thinking about using your vehicle for something more long-term, our Flexi Hire services are designed to give you the very best value on long-term hire. Feel free to explore the details right here on our site, or give us a ring on 01254 57811!

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