If you're travelling on a budget choose a route that brings you through Germany, Austria and Italy. It's slightly longer but will save a fortune in:
a) road tolls in France, and
b) car tax in Switzerland (assuming the rules haven't changed you used to have to purchase a tax disc for you car on entering Switzerland).
And on the subject of saving money... There are some very expensive hotels en route (whichever route you choose). However, if you're looking for cheap and cheerful overnight stops try these hotels: Formula 1, they're basic but spotless (in my experience anyway) and you can find double rooms in some of them from as little as 14€ pppn, and triples from 12€ pppn.
Message posted by Angela T-A (Agni Animal Welfare Fund) on 03 November 2009 at 10:44am - IP Logged
We didnt find those Formula hotels very good value for money. They are a bit of a false economy, they are only in the countries of France and Belgium, the bathrooms and toilets are outside your room in the corrider and by the time you have added the extra for breakfast and they charged for the cat we saved 5 euros!
The Ibis (which belongs to the same group but a grade up from the Formula) included the breakfast and didnt charge for the cat and we had our own bathroom. The Ibis was much cleaner too.
So wouldnt use them again just to save 5 euros.
We try to look for Guest House accommodation in the villages (means a little drive off the motorway into the local village) which works well in Germany as we have found some lovely places but normally have to use an Ibis in Belgium or France.
Message posted by Bill on 03 November 2009 at 11:36am - IP Logged
I wouldn't dispute most of what you say about the Formula hotels - the bathrooms are, as you rightly say, outside the room and you do pay extra for breakfast. The ones I've stayed in have been spotless - but I guess the quality of clean may vary from one place to another as they're franchised hotels.
But if the other option is, for instance, camping, they are convenient and save the bother of having to put a tent up for one night. Last time we used them (group of 13 peeps travelling together) cheap was our priority. We bought croissant from a local supermarket for breakfast and by making the most of the triple rooms we paid about £8 each in total - which was fine for us!
Also, whilst there are numerous Formula hotels in Belgium and France they are in several other countries too - including Germany where there are 17 outlets, also some in the Netherlands, Switzerland and even the UK.
I guess it's just horses for courses! Sounds as though the Ibis are great value if you want more privacy - especially if travelling with the cat
Quote: Originally posted by Angela T-A on 03 November 2009
We didnt find those Formula hotels very good value for money.
Personally, we think Formule 1 is excellent value for money. We quickly learned to make an early start, get a few kilometres under the belt and then stop for croissant to be the best option. The toilets at F1 are in fact totally automatic. They are pre-formed plastic cubicles which clean, disinfect and then dry themselves before the next occupant can enter. Seems to be a better arrangement than depending on people.
Message posted by Angela T-A (Agni Animal Welfare Fund) on 03 November 2009 at 9:21pm - IP Logged
I think these Formulas must vary from place to place as the one we stayed in was not as Steve as described at all. I didnt find the toilets very clean either and they certainly were not the type as Steve has described.
Maybe someone could tell me where they are in Germany because when I tried to locate them on the internet I could not find any other than in France and belgium.
Message posted by Angela T-A (Agni Animal Welfare Fund) on 03 November 2009 at 9:23pm - IP Logged
Quite understand what you're saying Angela, and probably with just the two of you even the least expensive would be more than the £8 I quoted. We were sharing 3 to a room in one of the cheaper establishments which was why we did so well.
If you go to http://www.hotelformule1.com/gb/home/index.shtml. (Sorry the link keeps changing so it's a copy and paste job). On the home page you'll see a box inviting you to state your destination, just type in Germany and you'll get a list.
Hope this helps.
Message posted by nuffstrong on 04 November 2009 at 12:44am - IP Logged
OK you asked for tips,
1) Remember to put your watches forward 1 hour when you cross the channel to Europe.
2) Look into all aspects of the trip accomodation costs as above also car/medical/breakdown insurance costs which vary tremendously, let me know if you want links.
3)Choose distances you can cover comfortably especially if only one driver.
4)Pace yourself leaving 2 hours pre ferry sailings and ideally 3 or 4 hours.
5)If its a Winter trip don't forget snow chains are required.Also at all times carry a fire extinguisher,first aid kit, warning triangle,two hiviz jackets,a spare set of bulbs, spare pair of spectacles if required for driving too I think but I'm sure others will correct me if I'm wrong.
6) As said earlier costs are reduced for motorway tolls if you go Belgium,Germany,Austria,Italy but it's not as quick as the France,Switzerland Italy route.Packups and botles of water and 12v kettles (use in the car) save a lot too.
7) Keep fuel topped up above half if possible as distance between fuel stops can vary and running out of fuel on a motorway is an offence in Germany.Full fuel cans not allowed in Italy and Greece.
8)If you do take the first route be careful as the Brenner Pass gets a bit hairy from Austria to Italy because the A2 takes a huge amount of heavy goods traffic and at times it's down to two lanes. Just be positive with your driving and stake your place but with care.
9) Don't be put of by the shouting of the wild eyed crew when you board the ferry with their gesticulating and shouting, this is quite normal.You may also be asked to turn the car around on the car deck and park with just enough room to get out possibly having to climb across the handbrake and gearstick to exit.
10) Also be aware that it's often necessary for passengers to walk on deck whilst the car is driven on board.
There's probably loads more.
NB These hotels aren't bad.
I drove down two weeks ago. Filled the car up once at Calais and once in Germany, and reached Venice with some still in the tank.
Lunched in Kent pub at Lenham, then left mid afternoon on Saturday(got ferry thanks to Airmiles for £3- son said he could have got me a better deal but did not have Tesco vouchers). Drove on good roads but not motorway to Charleville Meziers where we found a hotel for night, it was late so just grabbed the first cheapish one we saw. 60 Euros for two of us which was good. Got up in the morning to find my old reliable Premier Classe only one hundred metres down the road!
Drove onto Metz and then did a bit of motorway to Strasbourg. Crossed into Germany and headed for Lake Constance. Only slow bit of driving was round the lake. Lunched in Germany- huge lunch with 'new wine' which tasted more like fizzy grape juice, for 39 Euros each.
Into Austria where unseasonable heavy fall of snow so stuck ot motorway. Went off road just before Innsbruck for five minutes into a delightful village where we found a gasthof which gave us a room, private facilities and an excellent breakfast of ham cheese, eggs fresh rolls etc. for 50 Euros.
Drove under the Brenner and turned left to Dobbiaco, then down to Venice, again avoiding tolls, and got to Venice in plenty of time for ther 5pm boat.
Altogether a good, and economical trip.
I think Premier Classe are preferable to Formula One, purely for the private shower, but both are excellent value for night stops. A longer stay and the Ibis is probably more comfortable (and pricier).
I was the only driver, but did not feel at all tired during the trip.
Incidentally miles from Oxford to Venice were just over 1000
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