Preparing For the European Trip
Tomorrow we set off on our great adventure – A Europe Road Trip!
Interestingly the build-up to the road trip and the research in to how to prepare for a road trip was surprisingly limited.
So we thought that we would share all that we had learnt in one easy to use guide post.
About 2 months ago, we decided with some good friends that exploring Europe would be a really interesting to do over summer.
How long to go for?
While we were fairly flexible in how long we could travel around Europe for, we decided on the upper limit of about 20 days, which would give us approximately 3 weeks on the road.
One of the first things we did was to look up possible routes we could follow that would be suitable for a family travelling with children (age 2 and 7).
We knew that we wanted to be fairly flexible but at the same time we wanted some assurance that we would have a place to sleep at night.
So we googled European Road Trips, and there are a few websites that list potential routes, mostly based on how scenic the routes would be.
Europe’s 10 Prettiest Drives
The Best European Road Trips
Deciding where to go was one of the hardest questions to answer and in all honesty, even though we leave tomorrow, we haven’t quite confirmed where we’re actually going for all of the trip apart from the first week.
We will be leaving the UK at Dover to Calais and spending the first week in Paris. In our next blog post we will share our experiences on deciding accommodation.
Getting there: from the UK to the Continent
One of the things we debated was the best way to get from the UK to the Continent.
There are multiple ferry routes leaving from Dover or Portmouth to various points in Belgium and France and a simple google search for Ferry Crossing UK to Europe, will bring up a wide selection.
In deciding on which ferry route to take, some consideration will need to be given to
a) where in France will you focus your road trip on,
b) how long do you want to be on the ferry for
c) cost of ferry crossing
These were our main considerations.
In the end we decided that we would take the ferry from Dover to Calais as it was a fairly short journey (90 minutes).
We did also consider the Eurotunnel, and were indeed recommended it, as it only takes 35 minutes to get across.
However, we went for the ferry as it is more relaxing and fun for the children, with on board play areas, restaurants, bars, cafes and shops. We used my www.myferrylink.com and found them very good.
Requirements for Driving in the Europe
Once that was sorted we had to find out the requirements for driving on the Continent, It turns out that there are quite a few necessities to be aware of when driving a GB car to the EU.
The AA provided very comprehensive details (http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/overseas/general_advice.html) including:
Documents to take:
- Valid full (not provisional) driving licence
- Driving licence paper counterpart – if you have a photocard licence
- Vehicle registration document (V5c) – the original not a copy
- Motor insurance certificate
The only other consideration for the journey was the requirement on-board car essentials.
In effect in France and quite a lot of Europe, it is a requirement to carry breathalysers (at least one unused), hi-vis jackets – one for the driver (and ideally for each passenger), a triangle (two in Spain), GB sticker (if you are from the UK, not required but recommended) and beam converters.
We got the Essentials Travel Kit from Amazon which was a great bargain.
So with all these basics sorted out, and packing complete. We’re ready to hit the road.
In our next post we will share details of our accommodation hunt, packing for a 3 week journey, and other necessities for a European Road trip.
So where are you off to this Summer? Have you been on a European road trip? Do you have any recommended routes?