Summer time evokes memories of long holidays on sandy beaches but there is a dizzying array of travel options when it comes to getting there. We spoke to the marketing manager at www.shortbreakmarket.co.uk to get some tips on booking self drive breaks to France.
The further to the south of France you go the warmer the weather is. The downside is that further distances usually cost more to travel there, especially if you are using public transport or flying.
On a self drive holiday you have the option of going wherever you want to. It gives a lot of flexibility and usually works out cheaper than using public transport, plus it is a lot more of a convenience. The drawback is obviously that you need to think about parking and the toll roads can add quite a bit to the cost.
If you select a city centre hotel it is certainly worth asking about parking. Most of the larger hotels have their own parking arrangements but in some regions space is at a premium and can prove very costly and require a long walk to the hotel.
Self drive breaks open up a world of opportunities and the French roads are superb and ideal for enthusiastic drivers, they are in good condition, are straight and quite wide.
It pays to check the latest legislation for drivers as on the spot fines can be levied for drivers missing essential equipment from their cars. Items that you should have in your car include a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, warning triangle, high visibility jackets for each passenger and a Breathalyzer/test kit. The rules and regulations change frequently and it is worth checking them before you go because foreign cars can be easily targeted and caught out with new legislation and rules.
Pay attention to the local highway rules, whilst all roads are similar and generally well signposted there can be significant differences such as the priority rules on roundabouts and at certain junctions. Speed limits are also variable according to weather conditions but these are generally well sign posted.
One tip is that speeds are shown in KMH and english cars show MPG with the KMH being much smaller on the dial, it pays to make a note of the MPH equivalents of the KMH readings as it can be quite hard to read the dials in a hurry and at night.
Many drivers carry a card with them that outlines the usual French speed limits in MPH for quick reference.
During peak times the main arterial roads can be very busy. Plan your day carefully to avoid these peak times and you’ll have a much easier time on the quieter roads. Bear in mind that the French have a mid day siesta which lasts a couple of hours and the roads can be busy at either end of this period.
The travel options when taking your car to France include Ferries which are usually the cheapest option and usually take between 1hour 30 minutes and 2 hours depending on the crossing.
You can also take your car by Eurotunnel (a service offered by www.trainhols.com) and crossing times are down to 30 minutes, but this can work out dearer than a ferry and should always be booked with plenty of time in advance.