Most often, car tourism enthusiasts rent a car on the spot, and it is quite clear why. On your own car, you will not go very far, unless you bring it to the place of the beginning of the journey – and this is expensive, and only if there is an off-road expedition.
We will not talk about such extreme sports, but about simple tourism. Naturally, first of all, the talk will be about traveling in Europe, as the most popular direction of auto-tourism.
Why drive your own car?
There is only one rational reason: because it is your own car. You are used to it; you are sure of it (unlike rental cars), it is well adapted specifically for your needs.
Some people prefer to go on their own car because it is quite expensive; and a car of a similar class, unlike cheap models, is quite problematic to rent, even in Europe.
Anyway, you decided to go on your own transport. What to consider?
Route: not only by land
In Europe, the ferry service is quite well-developed – so do not rush to exclude points from your route that are separated from its main part by water obstacles. Ferry communication is highly developed in the Baltic and North Seas, but it is also quite common in southern Europe.
Often, getting somewhere by sea in your car is both cheaper and faster than taking a detour. To explore these opportunities in the region of interest. Ferries travel quickly, are inexpensive and very comfortable.
How comfortable will it be in this area in your car?
It is banal, but many people forget to think about it. For example, if you assume trips to European cities, then a large SUV, so relevant in one city, will be extremely inconvenient there. Narrow streets, little parking space, and in general – you will look wildly.
On the other hand, even in Europe, there are a lot of difficult roads, and if your goal is a natural beauty, but the urban runabout can fail. Perhaps it is better to rent something more suitable.
Or, for example, on German autobahns, having a car with an engine of fewer than 1.6 liters, you will feel extremely uncomfortable – you need to drive fast.
Carefully study this issue in advance!
Insurance in Europe will be required necessarily, and not only in Europe. Without it, you may simply not be missed, and if they let you in, you will not need possible problems. You can get insurance in advance, but, in which case – at your service numerous points of its registration near the borders with the European Union. You will not stay without a policy.
Pay attention to the technical condition of the car: European border guards impose very strict and well-defined requirements on it. If something is wrong, do not expect to persuade them to turn a blind eye to your problem. Details need to be clarified immediately before the trip, because the rules may change – but even with a crack in the windshield, which may not be disturbed in your country for a long time, you risk not going anywhere. Not to mention more serious problems like broken electrics. And compliance with environmental standards is an important point.
There are other nuances – for example, the Finns clearly indicated the date of transition to summer and winter tires. They will have to stick regardless of the real weather.
Gasoline in Europe is expensive, and in Asia, as a rule, poor quality. These two points are the basis for serious reflection.
Really serious: a voracious car in Europe can become a major expense, and being sensitive to fuel quality can simply break down after a dubious refueling station in Asia. If you need to refuel, you can use your phone to find a cheap gas station. Which is convenient.
Another tip may seem ridiculous to you, but in fact, the question is very serious. Make sure you know the correct name for the type of fuel you need in the country you are traveling to. Do you think this issue is simple? No.
What do you think gasolio and gasoleo are in Italian and Spanish? Gasoline, by analogy with the English gasoline? Certainly not – it is a subspecies of diesel fuel. Any motorist can imagine the consequences of such a mistake.
The nuances of Europe
There are some nuances in cities and beyond in Europe, which are very important for the competent planning of a trip.
Europe is not America and not Asia, the use of a car in cities there has long been discouraged. Even in relatively large towns, it is easy to face the fact that driving into the city center is simply closed. And if it is not closed, then you cannot park there; and if you can, it is very expensive.
Therefore, you need to think about where you will stop and how to move. A hotel in the center of a lovely German town of several hundred thousand inhabitants is fine, but you have to leave the car somewhere on the outskirts.
A lot of nuances are outside the cities. Almost all tracks in Europe are paid or in full or in part. The fare is quite inexpensive, and the quality of the roads is so high that it is not a pity to pay at all. But it’s absolutely not a fact that at the entrance to the paid section there will be a barrier with a cashier. Often, the payment must be made in advance, or by bank transfer in general. Be careful in this matter!
Do not relax
In the matter of security, you should not really relax anywhere. Not only in Eastern Europe but the risk of finding a car opened or hijacked is also relatively high; the same can easily be encountered in the relatively disadvantaged cities of the most developed countries. And in Berlin, and in Malmo, and in Brussels or Amsterdam, and in any Italian or Spanish city there are enough small criminal elements.
Let it sound somewhat intolerant, but pay attention to the percentage of the non-indigenous population in a particular city. It says a lot about the necessary level of vigilance.
Good luck on the road!
We wish you a pleasant journey by car. This method has many advantages, and not just the problems described above. Worth at least a try!