City Breaks

Our Top Road Trip Tips

Our top road trip tips to help you when driving through France and Europe.

Travelling by car gives you the freedom to plan on taking as many stops as you like, allowing you to see as much of the destination you’re visiting as possible. I love taking my family on holiday around Europe, and as we drive this often means planning ahead.

Whether it’s prepping snacks, planning car games or putting together a music playlist for the car, I’ve made a note of some of my top road trip tips to help you out when you’re planning your next road trip.

Be flexible

While having a travel plan is important, be flexible on your times and even your destinations. It’s a good idea to leave enough time for unplanned stops, as if you’re driving through somewhere especially beautiful – like the Cote d’Azur during spring or autumn – you’ll probably want to stop the car and take plenty of pictures.  

Get a Sanef Toll Tag

Sanef Tolling provide UK customers with automatic payment for motorways and toll road charges in France – all you need is the Sanef Tag hanging from your rear-view mirror. If you’re driving through France this is a must, as you skip the toll lane queues and make your journey much less stressful. 

Take your car for a check-up before you leave

The last thing you want when you’re in the middle of your road trip is unexpected car failure, or an unusual smell coming from the engine. Take your car for a quick check-up before you leave, and drive with peace of mind.

Make a music playlist 

If your family is anything like mine, not everyone will like the same music! Before we take off on a road trip, we sit down with the kids and make a playlist including music to suit everyone’s taste. This way, we all get our favourite song playing at one point or another, and there’s no bickering on longer journeys over the radio station. If you’re using your phone or a music device, don’t forget to pack an auxiliary cable.

Bring plenty of snacks and water

With or without kids, travelling in the car often gets stomachs rumbling. Packing snacks such as trail mix, dried fruit and vegetable sticks will keep energy levels high during those long car journeys. Personally, I need to have at least two large sandwiches in the car when I know I’m driving to France! Likewise, packing a couple of large bottles of water saves you from having to stop frequently at service stations.

Research the driving rules for the country you’re travelling to

In France, for example, you’re required by law to carry several items in the car while driving. These include a UK sticker on the car, headlamp beam deflectors on your lights, and a warning triangle, breathalyser and reflective jacket in the boot. Also, don’t forget to have a copy of your car insurance and driving licence when travelling to France. Without all these things, if you get pulled over by French police, you might be in trouble.

Sort out mobile phone roaming fees before you go

If the worst happens and you’re broken down by the side of the road, you’ll need your phone to contact breakdown services, or your insurance. Make sure you’ve got plenty of minutes or that you know your roaming charges before you travel, to avoid any nasty surprises when the bill comes in. 

Plan car games with the kids

Planning games to play with the kids in the car is a great idea. Prepare a road scavenger hunt and give it to them to tick off while you’re driving, or have them play the license plate game and try to make a word out of the letters (and numbers) that you see. If it’s an especially long journey, pre-load iPads and phones with entertainment options for the kids to enjoy. 

Clean your car before you go

This one seems simple enough, but it makes the world of difference! I had no idea how messy our family car was before I thought about spending 10 hours in it, and after looking, realised there were empty bottles, bits of dry mud and wrappers hidden in the back seats. Cleaning it before you leave, and popping some comfortable blankets in the back, prepares you for a more comfortable journey for the whole family. 

With Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, you can travel from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes. Use our top tips to plan your next adventure today!