Driving Abroad Holiday Tips
Consider these points when planning a trip to Europe by private car:
When planning a route, make sure that your car is suitable for its implementation. For example, SUV owners may find it difficult to search out a parking space and navigate the narrow streets of European cities. And small cars, indispensable in megacities, sometimes fail on difficult mountain roads.
Evaluate your strengths sensibly, especially if there is no second driver in the car. Do not arrange routes (500-700 kilometers per day – maximum, optimal – about 300), plan stops in advance and think over places to sleep: book a hotel room or find out where you can put up a tent.
If you are traveling in several cars, make sure that there is constant communication between the drivers. Experienced travelers say that walkie-talkies are the best option (just don’t forget to charge them), because talking by phone in Europe is quite expensive. Agree on the intermediate points you will meet if someone is delayed on the way.
Undergo the checkup and set the car with everything you need: a spare wheel, emergency stop signs, a first aid kit and a car seat for a child.
Make sure your car is Euro 4 compliant. This is a European environmental standard that regulates the amount of harmful substances in the exhaust gases in a car or other vehicle.
If you have a car with registered numbers, you can cross the border only with regular state license plates.
If you intend to travel abroad on a credit car, you need to get a bank permit for driving abroad on holiday.
The owner can travel abroad by car. Entry abroad in someone else’s car is carried out on the basis of an application from the owner of the car or documents confirming the right to use or dispose of vehicles. If the car is an official one, and you are going on a business trip abroad, then in addition to the standard set of documents, be sure to stock up on an up-to-date waybill, an order for a business trip on an official car and a travel certificate.
Toll roads in Europe
When planning your trip, check the toll highway map of the countries of interest. In Austria, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, France, Czech Republic and Switzerland, you will have to pay for using a number of autobahns. In Belgium, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Estonia, the fee is charged only for travel on certain road sections, bridges and tunnels.
In Romania, a roviniete is required regardless of the type of road, its cost is about € 3 per week. Some bridges, for example, Giurgiu-Rousse on the border with Bulgaria, are extra charged.
Those who take their time and want to enjoy the scenery on the way, rather than the license plates of the cars in front, try to avoid the autobahns and choose free roads. If you decide to follow their example, keep in mind that you will have to strictly adhere to the route. A sign warning that there is a toll section ahead is often visible even when it is impossible to turn off the path.
To travel on toll roads in Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Switzerland, a so-called roviniete is needed. Most often it is a sticker that is attached to the windshield from the inside. In some cases, you need to indicate the car number on it. You can buy a roviniete at border crossing points (around the clock) or at a gas station. The cost depends on the country (on average € 10-15 per week), but the penalty for the absence or incorrect use (for example, if you did not stick it in accordance with the instructions, but put it on the dashboard) is much more – from € 100.
In Hungary and Romania, there are electronic rovinietes – payment information is entered into the database, and you get a check. In this case, you won’t have to attach anything to the windowshell.
Payments are monitored by transport inspection officers and video surveillance cameras set along the roads.
In Poland, the system is different. Before entering the toll highway, you need to get a ticket and keep it until the trip end. Leaving this road section, you will pay an amount that depends on the type of car and the distance traveled.
Holiday Abroad Tips
By Christmas, all European capitals are gorgeously decorated, but here we will only talk about those where in winter it is least difficult to get by car. Winter road trips have their own specifics, for example, short daylight hours, heavy rainfall, slippery roads and traffic jams. Careful, extremely attentive driving, low speed and a decent distance are the most important conditions for a winter car trip, so plan for more travel time than indicated in the descriptions of our spring-summer routes. It is also necessary to take care of winter tires, which must comply with European regulations and prepare the car for winter travel.
Christmas markets in Europe have already opened at the end of November (usually on the 25th) and work until December 25-26. To enjoy the pre-holiday atmosphere to the fullest, try to arrive at your destination at least a few days before Christmas. For Europeans, this is a family holiday and from the 24th to the 25th they usually have a home dinner, and on the 25th a family dinner. To a foreigner at this time, the city may seem deserted – everyone is feasting at their homes, and many shops and restaurants may be closed. Therefore, organize your Christmas parties and events in advance, and be sure to book a table in the restaurant on December 24 or 25.
Tags: auto, driving