It is useful to familiarise yourself with the cost of the whole journey e.g.: fuel prices, toll-road fees, ferry and Eurotunnel ticket prices. Also important to find out are the speed limits, traffic rules and mandatory equipment in any country you are driving through or visiting.
The cost of travel, one way without the ferry/Eurotunnel ticket and motorway tolls, is approximately between 10p /km – 15p /km or in miles 16p /mile – 25p /mile. This means around £10 – £15 per 100 km or £16 – £25 per 100 miles plus ferry/train ticket and motorway tolls.
Crossing the channel
You can buy ferry and train tickets at the port but it can be cheaper to buy them online in advance.
Crossing by train. It takes about 35 minutes to travel from Calais to Folkestone by train. It is approximately £85 – 95 Euros per trip. Eurotunnel train tickets
Crossing by ferry, you can choose from several options. Prices are around £35 or 40 Euros per trip.
- Dunkerque (France) – Dover crossing time approx. 2 hours. Dunkerque is approx. 50 km away from Calais if you are approaching from the east. Tickets can be purchased online at DFDS Seaways.
- Calais (France) – Dover crossing time approx. 70 to 90 minutes. Tickets can be purchased online at DFDS Seaways or P&O ferries
- Dieppe Ferry (France) – Newhaven crossing time approx. 4 hours. Tickets can be purchased online at DFDS Seaways
- Hook of Holland – Harwich crossing time approx. 7 hours 15 min. Tickets can be purchased online at Stena line
- Amsterdam – Newcastle crossing time approx. 15 hours 30 min. Tickets can be purchased online at DFDS Seaways
- Rotterdam Europoort Ferry – Hull crossing time approx. 10 hours 45 min. Tickets can be purchased online at P&O ferries
- Zeebrugge Ferry (Belgium) – Hull crossing time approx. 13 hours 15 min. Tickets can be purchased online at P&O ferries
European Breakdown Services
It is not mandatory to be covered by a breakdown service, but it is recommended. You can get this through your insurance company or other European breakdown assistant companies. Well-known breakdown service providers in the UK are:
- QDOS Breakdown
- RAC European Breakdown Cover
You can also look up one in local Business Directories or on Google.
Mandatory equipment when driving in Europe
- Original Registration document, Original valid Driving Licence, MOT (annual test of vehicle safety, road-worthiness), valid Car insurance. You can obtain a Green Card which is an International Car insurance issued by your insurance company free of charge, but it is not mandatory for vehicles registered and driven within the European Union.
- Display country of origin. e.g.: Great Britain = GB,·Spain = E ·
- A warning triangle ·
- First aid kit ·
- A reflective/ Hi-Vi vest/jacket ·
- Breathalyser kit- alcohol test kit (France only, but no fine will be issued if you don’t have one.)
- During winter season between 1 November and 15 April winter tyres
- Headlamp adaptors or headlamp adjustment must be installed/completed due to driving on the other side of the road.
Also recommended to have spare car light bulbs, fire extinguisher.
General European Traffic Rules
- Seat belts are compulsory.
- It is forbidden to use a radar detector/speedometer
- It is forbidden to use a mobile phone/similar device when driving
- You can carry up to 10 litres of spare fuel in fuel cans, but should not board ship/boat with it.
- Be on the safe side do not drink and drive. Although not every country has zero tolerance, most have. Do not risk it.
- In some countries, use of a dipped-beam headlamp outside of a residential area is compulsory even during daytime. Do not use a full beam in a residential area.
Speed limits in most countries are the following
- Residential areas 18 mph – 30 km/h,
- Built-up areas 30 mph – 50 km/h,
- Outside built-up areas 55 mph – 90 km/h,
- Semi-motorways/Dual carriageways 68 mph – 110 km/h
- Motorways 80 mph – 130 km/h
- Minimum speed on Motorways 37 mph – 60 km/h
For detailed traffic rules and speed limits by countries: AA Touring tips
Road/Motorway/Tunnel/Bridge tolls in Europe by country visit AA European Tolls
You can find out the cost of fuel prices in Europe at www.autoklub.co.uk