Today is the day that I rewind the clock a little bit and finally go back to telling you how it is that we ended up in Spain for the winter. Up to now, all I’ve shared with you is that we desperately wanted to escape another UK winter. What I’m not sure I’ve told you is that we road tripped from the North of England to the South of Spain! It was such an adventure and one that I can’t wait to share with you. Our Euro road trip took us from the North of England down to the Southern coast then to Belguim and clear across France. We then travelled through Spain all the way down to the southern coast. It was quite an adventure, but with all adventures, as spontaneous as they may seem it took a lot of planning. One of the things we needed to focus on and organise was the most important element of this road trip – the car. If you’ve ever considered taking on an almost 2,000 mile trek across the continent, here are my tips and recommendations for making it a great experience and ensuring that you choose the right road trip vehicle.
Having the Right Car
If we still owned our teeny-tiny Nissan Micra the trip wouldn’t have been anywhere near as enjoyable as it was. Having the right car is so important. Our Fiat 500L MPW is the perfect car for us. It’s become such a great option for us as we have the luxury of having 7 seats and fitting all our brood in the car when necessary. Our car has taken us all over England, Wales, and Scotland and now is proving to be perfect for the discovering the continent. We wouldn’t want or need a massive vehicle, like the Chevy Suburban we used when we took a road trip to Las Vegas last year, but we just couldn’t cope in a sardine tin like car. If you’re across the pond there are many useful resources like cars.com where you can find the perfect road trip vehicle for your family. To find the right car you really need to be honest about what your needs are. We knew that we needed an adequate amount of space, but also a car that was economical and fuel efficient. Which takes me to my next point.
With the cost of fuel seemingly always on the rise, it’s wise to know that your vehicle can fit within your budget. Our 1.3L diesel engine was exactly what we needed as we travelled by car quite a lot and didn’t want most of our travelling budget to go on the fuel. On our 7-day European road trip, we spent a little under £200 with a car full of stuff, a trek over the Pyrenees, and quite a few detours to see the scenic route.
Before leaving the British Isles we replaced a couple of the tyres that were worn out and ensured that they all well properly inflated. The maintenance bits can be quite tedious and the most boring part of owning a vehicle, but they can be the most important. Making sure that the tyres are properly inflated also helps with fuel costs, FYI. For this long road trip, we also had all the fluid levels checked out and changed out light bulbs.
Know the Driving Rules
The most important thing that I can share with you in regards to driving on the continent is to research the driving rules in each country. France is the European country with the strictest rules and regulations when it comes to driving on their roads. For our car to be roadworthy in France we needed to buy a European Travel Kit that consisted of a hi-vis vest, a safety triangle, the GB sticker to inform other cars that our car is a right-hand drive, and most peculiarly a pair of breathaliser test vials.
All in all a road trip is what you make it. In our case, we know that we don’t need to go offroad, and are more city slickers. It all depends on what your needs are. And as boring as these details are it’s really the best way to get your adventures started out right.