Budget Breaks: Driving Holiday in France
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One of my favourite ways to take a break is by camping and exploring off the beaten track. Not only is it one of the less expensive ways to take a vacation, it allows the opportunity to discover some new terrain. Our camping holidays typically involve lots of driving, armed with a picnic, a map and a vague plan. While the UK is beautiful, there’s a whole world out there to explore. Which is why a camping/driving holiday in France is up there on our list of things to do.
With all the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, it’s anyone’s guess how much a package holiday abroad is likely to cost. If you’re looking to expand your horizons and replenish your soul, here’s what you need to know about taking a road trip and driving in France.
Driving Holiday in France – Getting There
Aside from having a general idea of where you’d like to visit, you’ll want to map out your chosen route to your destination(s). After crossing the Channel by ferry or train, you’ll need to navigate your way across the country. Which means understanding the roads, what you need to take (travel kit), speed limits, the law, etc.
Once you’ve collated all you need to know about driving in France and associated costs, there are a number of scenic driving routes that you could follow, many of which avoid the expensive tolls. There will be added fuel costs, so remember to include this in your budget.
European Breakdown Cover
Your insurance company is there to help you in the event of an accident. (Remember to contact them to ensure you are covered for driving abroad.) But in addition to this, you’ll want peace of mind in case of a car breakdown.
No-one wants to be stranded hundreds of miles from home in a foreign country. Especially not without the aid of roadside repair – or worse – recovery home. So it’s definitely wise to get European breakdown cover before you go.
Where to Stay – Camping in France
In true-style of keeping costs down, camping is my go-to option for holidays. Once you’ve pitched your tent, you’re free to explore the area on foot, or on bicycle. And there’s nothing to say you have to stay in the one place for a certain amount of time – that’s the beauty of camping.
Below are a couple of websites to help you pinpoint some places to stay, but a quick internet search will bring up plenty of choice, and you’ll never be too far away from a campsite.
The Camping and Caravanning Club can give you peace of mind when it comes to booking somewhere abroad. Both members and non-members can book, and 7 nights in Normandy would cost you around £140 (based on a 7-night stay in May 2019 at Saint-Michel).
Cool Camping is another website we often use when researching campsites in the UK. With both glamping and traditional camping on offer, in the South of France, the Loire Valley, historic Normandy and more, you’ll find plenty to choose from. And the campsites do look pretty cool.
Brexit, your passport, and visa requirements
Brexit is at the forefront of everyone’s minds right now, especially when it comes to planning your summer holidays this year. The biggest question is, will you need a visa to travel to Europe after Brexit? As per the ABTA website, the answer is no, regardless of the deal-or-no-deal outcome. The European Parliament have confirmed that British citizens will be able to travel to Europe for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. You can read more about that here.
Hopefully this post has given you some food for thought when it comes to arranging your holiday this year.
Do your research and plan as much as you can in advance (while leaving room for un peu d’impulsion). It’s the best way to enjoy a low-cost, inspirational driving holiday in France.