Rich in it’s varied people, complex cultures, breathtaking architecture and beautiful landscapes, Europe plays host to some of the most storied civilizations in the world, acting as a beacon to travelers from around the planet. Combining these unbeatable draws with its relatively small size and easy access to many countries in a single day, the European continent is the perfect region to tour on the open road.
If you are planning to travel around Europe by road, here are a few invaluable tips, tricks and pieces of advice to keep in mind:
1. Personal Vehicle or Bus?
The first decision you’ll need to make is whether you want to take a tour on an established bus line or would prefer to tackle the trip by personal car, van or motorhome. Each has its perks and upsides; travel by bus allows you the company of others, the security of a knowledgeable driver and the freedom of not having to plan every detail of your trip while traveling by personal vehicle gives you the ability to exercise complete control over every moment of your adventure.
Weigh your choice carefully – it will dictate the flow of your trip from start to finish!
2. Consider Sleeping Arrangements
If you’ll be going it alone as a road warrior across Europe, you’ll need to consider where you’ll be spending your nights. If you’re comfortable with impromptu camping or curling up in the backseat or plan to take the trip in a motorhome then you should be fine with no planning at all; if, on the other hand, you’ll be wanting a higher level of comfort, you’ll need to be sure that you end up in the vicinity of appropriate accommodations each night.
3. Study Driving Laws and Practices
People from parts of the world outside of Europe often claim their European counterparts to be faster, more aggressive drivers and, given the major differences in driving rules, you would do well to spend some time familiarizing yourself with the roads you’ll be cruising. Different countries on the continent have different laws concerning permitted vehicles, driving side, transmission and more, meaning that every border crossing has the potential for confusion.
4. Bring a Map
When we say “bring a map” here, what we really mean to say is that you should bring many maps – even an entire atlas! Europe is a large continent containing many countries, each with its own complicated network of roads, and those unfamiliar with the terrain could be easily lost.
In this technological age you should also consider GPS, live online maps and other high-tech road trip navigation tools to give you an added edge in your travels.
5. Familiarize Yourself
From the sheer dominance of vehicles with manual transmissions to the completely unfamiliar signage that you’ll find scattered about the landscape, there are sure to be many confusing sights and sounds in any foreign country, the states of Europe included. Take the time before your trip to learn the words and phrases necessary to read road signage on the go and converse basically with locals and identify some of the particular areas that you plan to visit in an effort to ensure that your comfort level upon arrival is enough to allow you to enjoy every second of your road tour as stress-free as possible!
Undertaking a road trip in any unfamiliar part of the world can feel a bit overwhelming at times but presents the opportunity for an unforgettable vacation, allowing you to come face-to-face with the people, places, sights and sounds of unfamiliar cultures on a very personal level. With the right amount of planning and a healthy dose of patience, especially over your first few days on the road, your European road trip will prove to be the adventure of a lifetime!
Kate is the seasonal blogger for Car Insurance Calculator. Get your car insured before your road trip!