Tips and Inspiration for your European holiday

I’m a big fan of the European train network and its speed and efficiency but with a husband who is more t,han happy to drive in Europe and our desire to visit out of the way places, I tend to find that the majority of our travels around Europe are by car. I’m often asked what added expenses should be allowed for when undertaking a self-drive holiday so on my most recent trip I recorded all the vital statistics related to our travels by car to give you an idea of what you can expect to pay.


Europe road trip costs


For the majority of our trip we had a Peugeot 208 diesel which we had leased through globalCARS under the tax-free vehicle leasing program (which I’ve written more about here). We collected the car in Perpignan, France and dropped it off in Strasbourg (France) 39 days later.


After catching a train from Strasbourg to Paris, where we spent a few days, we then collected a hire car, a VW Golf (petrol model) in Paris and drove to Normandy. We returned the car to the same depot five days later.


As well as driving from A to B, having a car was also handy for sightseeing trips to nearby (and sometimes not-so-near) places we wanted to visit. Following is our itinerary and what vehicle costs were involved.


Vehicle 1 - Peugeot 208 1.6L manual, diesel with GPS – 39 days


Perpignan to Olonzac in Languedoc region of France

7 nights

Day trips included Millau Viaduct and St. Guilhelm-le-Desert, Narbonne twice, Beziers


Olonzac to Avignon (France) via Sete and Pont du Gard

2 nights

Day trip to Gordes and Abbey de Senanque


Avignon to Annecy (France)

2 nights


Annecy to Varenna (Lake Como, Italy) via Mont Blanc tunnel

4 nights

 

Toll booth France
Varenna to Chur (Switzerland) via St. Moritz

1 night


Chur to Fussen (Germany)

3 nights

Day trips to Oberammergau/Linderhof Palace (twice)


Fussen to Zell am See (Austria)

5 nights

Day trip to Seisberger Gorge


Zell am See to Bled (Slovenia)

3 nights

Day trips to Ljubljana and Bohinj/Slap Savica Falls


Bled to Vienna (Austria)

3 nights

 

Costs of a self-drive holiday in Europe
Vienna to Niederranna (Austria) via Melk

3 nights

Day trips to Passau and Cesky Krumlov


Niederranna to Rothenburg (Germany)

1 night


Rothenburg to Riquewihr (France)

4 nights

Day trips to Colmar and other towns within 20 km


Riquewihr to Strasbourg (France) - dropped off car

 

Summary

  • Total distance travelled - 5098 kilometres
  • Total fuel cost (diesel) - €321.10 + CHF45.40 - costs ranged from €1.255/litre in France to €1.429/litre in Germany
  • Total cost of tolls - €155.55
  • Total cost of vignettes - €40.80 + CHF40 (plus fine €120 - read about it here)
  • Total cost of leased Peugeot for 39 days - A$1918.82 (Earlybird rate, also included 3 days free as we are previous clients of Peugeot leasing). Full insurance included with no excess.
  • Vehicle leased through globalCARS.


French tolls accounted for 64% of the total, Italy 20% and Austria 16%.


Vehicle 2 - VW Golf, automatic, petrol - 5 days (we had booked a manual but at collection time were offered an automatic for no additional charge)


Paris to Honfleur via Giverny

Day trips to Bayeux, Mont St Michel and Deauville


Honfleur to Paris

 

Summary

  • Total distance travelled - 1200 kilometres
  • Total fuel cost (unleaded petrol) €117.50
  • Total cost of tolls - €43.50
  • Total cost of hire car for 5 days - A$318.05 plus excess reduction insurance paid on collection of car which was €22/day (converted to A$157).
  • Vehicle hired through DriveAway Holidays

 

 

If you are planning a self-driving holiday in Europe, I hope you have found this article useful.  Please feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below.

 

For more useful information about self-drive holidays in Europe, grab a copy of my eBook which includes seven self-drive Europe itineraries as well as driving tips and much more.

 

Self-drive Europe eBook

 

All prices above applied to our trip in June and July 2014.

 

 

 

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Comments   

# Carolyn 2014-11-06 12:14
Quoting Femme Francophile:
Thanks Carolyn. I definitely understand your reasoning. It highlights the importance of understanding insurance and rental documents and how they apply in our own situations. As someone who has lost/broken glasses, had health claims and regularly rents vehicles whilst travelling in Europe the one off $25 additional insurance premium covers reducing the excess for all claims. Like overseas sim cards the situation with insurance changes frequently and needs to be investigated each time travelling with reference to one's own situation.
So true. Nothing ever stays the same! Safe travels :)
Reply
# Femme Francophile 2014-11-06 11:42
Thanks Carolyn. I definitely understand your reasoning. It highlights the importance of understanding insurance and rental documents and how they apply in our own situations. As someone who has lost/broken glasses, had health claims and regularly rents vehicles whilst travelling in Europe the one off $25 additional insurance premium covers reducing the excess for all claims. Like overseas sim cards the situation with insurance changes frequently and needs to be investigated each time travelling with reference to one's own situation.
Reply
# Carolyn 2014-11-06 11:13
Quoting Femme Francophile:
Very interesting article Carolyn. I am interested as to why you made decision to take out additional insurance to reduce excess. I checked my travel insurance and found that they covered it (up to $3000 0r $5000 can't recall but it covered all excess each time I rented). There is a $100 excess for all travel insurance claims but for $25 it reduces to $0 the excess for ANY travel claim not just for vehicle. I am worried I may have missed something.

Hi Kathy (Femme Francophile), I'm glad you found the article interesting. My reason for paying for the additional insurance through the car hire company was because of the excess on our travel insurance. You are right that many travel insurance policies include cover for car hire excess. As my travel insurance excess was $100, I determined that by paying $150 for the additional insurance, I wasn't really that much worse off should something go wrong. If I had to make a claim I'd be $100 out of pocket (for the travel insurance excess), so given that the insurance for our 4 day hire was only around $150, I decided to take it. For a longer hire (and higher insurance excess) I would definitely rely on my travel insurance coverage.
Reply
# Femme Francophile 2014-11-06 09:53
Very interesting article Carolyn. I am interested as to why you made decision to take out additional insurance to reduce excess. I checked my travel insurance and found that they covered it (up to $3000 0r $5000 can't recall but it covered all excess each time I rented). There is a $100 excess for all travel insurance claims but for $25 it reduces to $0 the excess for ANY travel claim not just for vehicle. I am worried I may have missed something.
Reply