Whether you plan to cross the Channel in your own car or simply hire a vehicle when you arrive at your destination, the following guide by PPA Properties, a leading provider of luxury villas, offers some useful advice to ensure you avoid the main driving pitfalls.
Taking the Ferry
If you're keen on taking your own car while travelling abroad, France will of course be your first port of call as you can simply take the ferry to complete the shortest crossing, which is Dover to Calais. Luckily ferry prices have been driven down by competition - these days a return journey in your car with up to nine passengers can cost as little as Â£70 from companies such as www.seafrance.com. Even if you plan to travel during high season, if you savvily choose off-peak hours you will always be able to get fares that provide good value for money - after all, people want to spend their money on the glorious food and surroundings when on holiday, not on travelling there. Do check out the website called - here you can conveniently compare prices instead of having to view the individual website of each operator.
When it comes to overnight crossings, these are best avoided since a tiny cabin on a ferry will be more expensive and less comfortable than staying in even a budget hotel for the night.
Toll fees can really add up when travelling France. For example, driving by AutoRoute from Calais to Nice cost as much as almost Â£200, which could be far better spent on a lavish dinner or two! To prevent this waste of money, visit www.mappy.com - it has a useful feature which allows you to calculate both the tolls and the cost of fuel in France, so you can better plan your journey.
To avoid the nightmare of ending up in a nasty area of traffic congestion when traveling through France, visit www.bison-fute.equipement.gouv.fr - this website provides helpful details on the current traffic conditions, along with predictions of traffic statistics during the year so you can skip the worst weekends for congestion mayhem.
Filling Up Your Vehicle
Wondering whether to arrive in France with an empty tank and fuel up there, or vice versa? The correct way forward will actually depend on whether you own a diesel or petrol car. Diesel tends to be cheaper in France, while unleaded petrol is slightly cheaper in the UK.
If you want to be extra cautious, the website www.prix-carburants.gouv.fr provides an overview of fuel prices across France. You don't need a website however to know that fuel is always the most expensive at motorway service stations.
In many countries across Europe, local police have the power to issue on-the-spot fines, while speed cameras are now almost as prevalent as they are in the UK. To avoid a nasty ticket, do ensure you keep strictly to the speed restrictions. Although speed limits can be readily spotted on main roads, the problem occurs if you suddenly enter a village, city or other built-up area, since speed restrictions tend to be poorly sign-posted. As a rule of thumb, do bear in mind that in built-up areas abroad the limit will tend to be 50km/h or less, while in France the limit falls even further no matter where you're driving when it rains i.e. 130km/h drops to 110km/h on the motorway and 90km/h drops to 80km/h on open roads.
PPA Properties rent luxury villas in France, Spain and other spectacular destinations, so they are well versed in providing travellers with useful tips to avoid aggravating pitfalls. The final tips they offer if you're planning to drive while on holiday abroad are to buy breakdown insurance so that you can steer clear of hefty charges on the Continent, and to always bring your own child's seat if you're hiring a car as companies charge silly prices for this added facility.
Information Shared By PPA Properties