Remember National Lampoon’s European Vacation starring Chevy Chase as the enthusiastic Euro traveller slash head tour guide of the Griswold family! Well now might be the best time to create your own memorable remake of that legendary family road trip movie.
Europe is open, hotels are open, and your car probably hasn’t been further than the supermarket for months!
The global travel and hospitality industry have responded well to new C-19 guidelines to keep us safe, giving us confidence and fulfilling our desire to travel again.
The result has seen lots of us rush to satisfy our need for a summer break in the UK (the summer Staycation) escaping to those ‘hidden gems’ of hotels in our green and pleasant land, from Cornwall to Scotland and now Wales. Also, have you stopped to think that you could be somewhere in Europe in less time? In just 35 minutes you can get from the UK to France, the gateway to Europe and without needing to leave the comfort and safety of your own car! If desired, you could travel from home to hotel without taking off your seatbelt!
Yes, Drivecation is now a thing. Eurotunnel Le Shuttle has seen a surge in bookings and website traffic since EU borders reopened on June 15th. With four departures an hour and motorway-to-motorway connectivity, the benefits of ‘the tunnel’ compared to an airport right now conjures up the same feeling as having to queue for the supermarket when you can get your weekly shop delivered!
France, Spain, Italy and beyond are more accessible by car than you might think. With smart motorways, Google maps, contactless payment and less traffic on the roads (not to mention attractive petrol prices!), you’re literally in the driving seat. Start, stop, stay and detour at your own leisure.
Driving in the EU. The UK stopped being a member of the EU on 31 January 2020. However, until the end of 2020 the previous rules on driving travel for the UK and the EU continue to apply. All you need is a minimum of 6 months on your passport and the correct car insurance. This is all likely to change next year; as of January 2021, when a green card and an international driving licence may also be required. So, this summer might just be the easiest time to drive off into ‘Le Sunset’!
Not only does Europe have some great motorways to ease your ‘Grand Tour’ but it also has some stunning scenic routes on offer, as well as some of the best driving roads in the world, such as the Route Napoleon (France) and the Stelvio Pass (Italy). If you want some great pre-determined or themed routes versus your sat nav lots can easily be found online.
There are some great value European hotel offers available right now as well as the opportunity to use your well-earned hotel loyalty points. Not to mention the wide range of trusted accommodation choices on offer from the global chains to exclusive independent design hotels, Europe has it all.
For decades the hotel industry has been catering to the travellers every whim, delivering great service, creating memorable gastronomic and design experiences all with the ‘raison d’être’ of delivering a great guest experience. Never has this purpose been stronger. From budget or boutique hotel ‘overnights’ on route, to a week or two ‘poolside’ in a luxury five star or family resort hotel of your choice at your final destination. Whatever you choose, hotels remain more than a home away from home and present a much-needed opportunity to get away from it all with confidence. George Bernard Shaw put it well when he said:
“The great advantage of a hotel is that it is a refuge from home life”.
The benefits, romance, flexibility and value of a European road trip or ‘Drivecation’ as we should probably call it today, have been largely forgotten amongst travel trends in recent years, but in true European style it’s enjoying a renaissance this summer. ‘The Hotel California’ might not be an option this summer, but ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ may well be!
Pack as much as you can fit into the boot, including your favourite pillow and the dog … set the sat nav and you’re ready. Door to door in… Well that’s up to you, take your time, explore a few of Europe’s great hotels and rediscover the freedom and romance of the ‘Drivecation’ this summer.
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- Pets are allowed on Eurotunnel https://www.eurotunnel.com/uk/travelling-with-us/travelling-with-your-pet/
- EU driving references from the AA’s driving in France website page https://www.theaa.com/european-breakdown-cover/driving-in-europe/driving-in-france