As many more people are planning on driving to the alps this winter. We thought we’d share some of our top tips to make it smooth and easy.
There are some good perks to driving to the alps instead of flying. Believe it or not, it’s actually greener than flying. Even more conveniently, you can take as much luggage and equipment as you like. Consequently you’ll have your own private transport in resort, making it easier to get around. In the case for last minute ski trips, you can travel at your own agenda, whenever you wish. Making it especially convenient.
Automatic Toll Road Pass
The first thing that can be avoided is having to stop or queue at each toll on the autoroute. Especially if it’s a busy day. There is a better way! Every toll has a few automated lanes for holders of the electronic tag (the Liber-T tag). Simply place it on the dashboard and it is automatically scanned as you drive through. Meaning you don’t need to stop at the tolls and mess around with payments. Also, there’s rarely any queues for these lanes. It’s like having a priority pass. We highly recommend it when driving to the alps.
Driving With Snow Tyres/Chains
This is something that you should be aware of when driving to the alps in the winter. Either you should carry snow chains that fit your tyres, or your tyres should be winter rated (or both). You can check whether there is a “snowflake” symbol on the tyre wall, which denotes winter/snow rated tyres. You don’t necessarily need to change your tyres for the sake of one trip to the alps. Carrying snow chains that are the correct fit for your tyres will suffice. If you’ve never used snow chains before, practice putting them on and taking them off, at least once or twice at home. Because the day that you need them will be the day that you’re covered in snow trying to figure out a jumble of chains. If you know how to use them, the day you need them, its an easy 2 minute job. (put a pair of old gloves in the bag with the chains, it’ll be a welcome tip if you need to use them in the snow).
Keep in mind, that a summer or non-winter rated tyre compound hardens in the snow and will offer very little traction, so carry some chains to fit your tyres. Chains can be bought from most fuel stations and car accessory stores in the alps, or online before you go.
How Long Does It Take To Drive To The Alps?
It takes a comfortable 9hrs to drive from the Northern coast of France/Belgium/Netherlands to the alps, which includes a few short breaks. The drive can of course be done in less time. The main thing is that it’s easy and comfortable. French autoroutes are well maintained, flow very well, and make for a very easy drive.
Tunnel/Ferry for UK drivers:
Anyone driving from the UK, the best way to drive across the continent is through the Channel Tunnel. Which takes approximately 20mins for the crossing. During the tunnel crossing travellers stay in their cars while on the train. Avoiding obvious restrictions.
Most vehicle insurance policies cover drivers on other European roads. Some require an extra premium to extend comprehensive cover when driving in other European countries, which is usually a minimal fee. It’s worth checking with your provider before setting off. Usually there’s nothing to change.
Now the obvious things, make sure that you have all of your legal vehicle documents to hand, as well as the legally required items for the road (breakdown kit, breathalysers – available at most garages).
See you on the snow soon!!
Have you read our tips for last minute ski trips?
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