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Thread: Planned Euro Road Trip in July - advice wanted

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    Question Planned Euro Road Trip in July - advice wanted

    Guys & Girls - wanted some help from anyone who has done driving on the continent please.

    Myself and the missus are planning our summer hols and after looking at the cost of flights to USA (and remembering the gruelling customs/security on the last trip) we have decided to do Europe this year.

    She wants to go to Italy, we're both petrol heads, so more than happy to do an automotive tour of Italy and anything else we find along the way.

    I took delivery of a company car last October, so I hit on the idea of driving to the continent - something I've never done before, but I'm more than happy to do, with the added benefit, that I don't need to pay anything extra for insurance/breakdown cover, worry about servicing or tyres etc - just put petrol in the vectra. Also, the more miles I do, the quicker I get another Vectra!

    I've been saving up Tesco's clubcard points and have a handy number of Deals vouchers. Looking at these, I can exchange £50 of tesco vouchers for a £199 Eurotunnel flexipass, which seems like a cracking deal. Having never used the Eurotunnel (or ferries) before, does anyone have any advice, or tips on booking etc to offer??

    I also stay in hotels a lot with work paying, so have been collecting Holiday Inn Priority club points, so can use these for free nights on the trip where there is a suitable hotel near where we want to be.

    Itinerary, we are playing with at the moment is:
    Leicester to Saxony (East Germany) for MotoGP at Sachsenring. Looking at tickets online - start/finish grandstand weekend ticket for 106euros. (F1 at Hockheim was an option but still ridiculously expensive).

    Then Saxony to Bologna Italy, via Stelvio Pass in Switzerland, and possibly Porsche museum in Stuttgart. Anybody been to any of the German motor attractions?? tips??

    Whilst in Bologna - visits to Galleria Ferrari in Maranello, Lamborghini Museum in Sant Agata and factory tour and Ducati factory tour (which is free according to their website!!) Anyone been to these - tips/advice??

    Er'in doors also wants to go to Florence for some culture.

    Then back via Lake Como, Mont Blanc tunnel to Geneva, because we would both like to go to the CERN visitor centre and see what all this fuss is about the LHC.

    That makes about 3000km spread over 2wks or so. It seems alot, but manageable. Any thoughts/advice here??

    We have previous for trips like this, as we spent our honeymoon on a roadtrip from San Francisco to Las Vegas, taking in MotoGP at Laguna Seca and touring via Death Valley (55deg C ****** hot!!), Monument valley and Grand Canyon in a Pontiac GrandAm (what a car!!)

    Concerns I have are:
    1. RHD Vectra on LHD roads.
    2. Getting lost - road signs/language etc.
    3. Costs of Toll Roads.
    4. Any special passes, taxes, customs etc. I need to know? I believe I need a special pass for driving in Switzerland. With the advent of the EU is it open borders, or do you have to flash passport at each crossing France/Germany, Germany/Italy etc. I also believe I need things like warning triangles and hiViz jackets??

    Any hints/tips or advice anyone can offer is much appreciated, along with recommendations on places to stay or visit.

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Regular Member Meriva OPC's Avatar
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    Regular Member Ste's Avatar
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    Passenger is your eyes when over taking.
    Get a Europe wide Sat Nav
    signs are OK
    Most road tolls take cash or cards
    open borders between EU countries - no stopping, motorway just goes into the other country with a sign welcoming you.
    Check AA for essentials to carry, eg spare bulbs, triangle etc
    CARRY your driving licence when in the car

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    RHD on LHD roads is a doddle, i spent years driving RHD trucks abroad and its a stroll, now LHD in the UK is a different matter!!

    Getting lost isnt/wont be an issue, everywhere in Europe is well sign posted, far better than the UK in my experience.
    In Swiss you need to buy road tax for your car, dont knw the exact cost but can find out next week if you like, or just look online. I think it can be bought at the border on the way in to Swiss, but never been in a car, only a truck. AGain, Swiss is the only place you will have to show your passport as its not in the EU, but its simple enough. What border are you plannig on going thru to get into Switzerland from Germany.

    All in all its a doddle driving a car abroad nowadays, as Swiss apart its all oen borders. Check the various Irmscher threads for what you need for driving abroad.

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    Cheers guys - AA site looks useful, will read the various country info sheets.

    Bigman - looking at Autoroute - it's routing me from Germany into Austria, then into Switzerland. Round the bottom of Lake Constance.

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    Regular Member BigMan's Avatar
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    Cant be bothered to open Autoroute to look, Is that by Lindau or Kreuzlingen you'll be coming in.


    We load out of Steinach quite regular and it is a beautiful part of the world down there, make sure you stop for a while on Lake Constance.

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    you have to buy a vignette in Austria, It is for the motorway tolls...no expensive, but tolls in Italy are...

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    Regular Member mick307's Avatar
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    Germany is introducing an emissions law, certain cities dont want polluting cars in their confines. I think the Porsche museum is within one of the areas affected. You will need a sticker in your windscreen to avoid a fine, TIP, dont stick it on the screen, rest it on the dashboard as the glue wont come off!! I think theres some info on the AA site about it. Ive only just heard about it myself but if i find out more i will update.

    Mick

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    I use the eurotunnel loads:
    Book your euro tunnel on line and you get a code number- and just pop in your code number on arrival and presto! printed ticket.
    Toll roads - cash or card - just go to the next available booth and pay and drive - toll roads are great - you will be in danger of sleeping as there are so few pot holes to keep you awake!!
    Signs - Much better than UK, When you can get on roads look for the E Route (yellow in most of eu) number and it NEVER changes country to country.
    Get a euro wide sat nav will help. But a good Eu road map with a quick read the day before will be just as good as the signs are so good.
    Mobile phone: If you turn your mobile phone off, remove battery and put it back in and switch on when you get off the train your service provider should then set you to be in your new locale. Handy for phone codes etc.
    Hotels, find them on the internet on your planned route, take down the number - put them in the mobile phone and then you only have to book 1 or 2 days in advance as you may decide to lay up for an extra day somewhere.
    You can put black outs on you head lights if its just for holiday so you will not dazzel the other drivers.
    you will need warning triangle, med kit and get a cheap (jjb sports £1 or £2) hivis waist coat or 2 as if you have em and do break down you can put em on - I think spain want these now in the cabin of all tourist cars - not sure - but I always take mine.
    Danger - you are a guest and on the wrong side of the road - you passenger needs to be well seated back in there chair and be a helper on overtaking.
    Petrol - cheaper than here !!

    Enjoy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigMan View Post
    Cant be bothered to open Autoroute to look, Is that by Lindau or Kreuzlingen you'll be coming in.


    We load out of Steinach quite regular and it is a beautiful part of the world down there, make sure you stop for a while on Lake Constance.
    It's Lindau Bigman. Looking at Autoroute and Google Earth, it sure looks nice.

    Quote Originally Posted by chrish View Post
    you have to buy a vignette in Austria, It is for the motorway tolls...no expensive, but tolls in Italy are...

    Thanks for the headsup Chrish. I'll investigate further.

    Thanks all.

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