If your “bucket list” includes an extensive trip through Europe, planning a road trip will not only reduce your travel costs, it will undoubtedly expand the experience in ways that air, bus, or train travel simply cannot. With the excellent highway system and relative compactness of European countries, you’ll be able to do and see all of those things and places you’ve dreamed of.
The difficult part is deciding where to go. Because of the flexibility of a long-term car rental, driving is a very practical way to get the most for your money and time.
Where To Go
The first decisions you should make when planning a road trip through Europe is where to start and where to finish—the latter not always being quite as necessary depending on your sense of adventure and overall flexibility! You might consider doubling more interesting destinations by creating a circular route that brings you back to your starting point. Many of our clients start at two of our most popular locations in France, Paris and Nice, which offer two very distinct cultures with worlds of wandering in between. Making your way through the countryside, you may decide to stay in an area for a week or two and simply explore that area in depth if it’s love at first sight. Overnight stops along the way will allow you to test your (and whomever you traveling with’s) spontaneity out in remote villages.
Renting A Car
The train system in Europe is reliable and quite often a nice way to see major city hubs. However, driving a car provides some distinct advantages over other modes of transportation:
- You have the flexibility to change your route at any time for a side trip to an interesting place that you had not thought about until you saw it. This is simply not possible if you have a fixed bus or train schedule with others relying on you to make it back to march on to the next stop.
- You may stop at any time you choose spontaneously to dine at a local cafe, check out a winery, or observe some local activities.
- A long-term car rental can be more economical. If you arrive by train, bus, or plane, you add more expense by hiring transport to get around to see the local attractions.
- As a practical matter, you will do less luggage handling with your own car as you travel around Europe.
- Transit time is more predictable. If you rely on the trains, buses and planes to see Europe, you should expect to spend long hours in depots, stations, and airports waiting for your scheduled departure. And the food while in transit on these modes, where it exists, is definitely inferior to a nice lunch or dinner at a scenic chalet or B&B along the way.
Auto France rents factory-new Peugeots from several major airports in Europe, specifically for long-term use. Peugeot models range in size from economical compact models to larger sedans and vans. Auto France operates in France, Germany, UK, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland, so your choice of pick-up and drop-off points is broad.
Besides selecting the size and luggage capacity of your vehicle rental, you have additional options that include a choice of automatic or standard transmission, and diesel or gasoline engines.
One important and highly recommended option for the long-term rental is a GPS system that is specifically geared to European driving. It comes standard in 95% of our Peugeot models without extra cost. With our vehicles, they are always easily put into English if they are not already in that mode upon delivery.
Also, before you leave home, apply for an International Driving Permit. These are inexpensive and, in the United States, available through AAA. They are not always required but can be beneficial in some situations. They are not replacements for your normal driver’s license, but the IDP translates your license information into ten languages for easier comprehension by local authorities.
However you choose to approach your adventure through Europe, it’s important to have the major starting points planned out well in advance, but it’s also good to keep an open mind along the way! If you opt to rent a car on a long-term basis, you’ll have the flexibility to see things you would have never expected to see as you travel between each beautiful country.
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