After watching the Age of Stupid (a film about climate change etc) Ems and me decided to try and do our little bit for this planet, by driving over to our snowy destination. Firstly let me say that if you drive over by yourself, it does not actually work out better, as the emissions etc are getting pumped out for just one extra person, who could have jumped on an already flying plane, but as soon as there is 2 or more, it becomes a far more environmentally friendly way of travelling, almost by half the emissions.
With an 8 hour drive in france and a 6 hour drive in the UK, it seems a little bit daft to do it just for a week but seeing as Ems and me are doing a season we decided it would be the perfect opporunity to ‘practice what you preach’. Not only is it better for Mr O Zone, but it makes our new experience that little bit more exciting, adding a little more adventure to the trip.
We did it in 3 stages, driving down to london, staying with uncle Tony and Elaine (thanks by the way), then heading off to the ferry early in the morning, then from Dover to Dunkirk, and Dunkirk to Morzine.
Carlisle to london cost us nearly a tank of fuel, costing around £45, with no toll roads to pay.
London to Dover had one toll road, but we were early enough to get through free! This part took us about and hour and a half.
Dover to Dunkirk with Norfolkline cost us £19 one way, including all the charges, and it was a painfree experience throughout the whole process, from paying to driving on and off. This is about 15 miles further North than Calais (where everyone seems to go) but its cheaper, so we didnt mind driving the extra 10 minutes.
Then from Dunkirk we headed to the main road, getting onto the main road really quickly, then from here it was a case of head for Lyon and turn off when you see signs for Geneva. This is one of the main roads coming through France and is pretty easy and the speed limit is 130 KPH which is where your foot sits nicely on the pedal! Unfortunatley it is a massive toll road, so you pay for the different sections you use. In the end we ended up spending around the £65 mark, passing through 4 tolls in total (2 expensive ones and two 1 euro ish ones). We then put in a bit more fuel just so we had enough to get down again later in the season. This part of the journey probably took about 8 hours driving.
Then we hit the mountain roads, and they are very welcoming (with no snow) it was almost like a prize at the end of the long monotonous journey on the motorway. Then arriving at our destination with no problems and an hour earlier than expected!
When it comes down to it, flying is a lot less hassle and a fair bit cheaper (unless you maybe have a 3rd person and split the cost 3 ways) but at the end of the day, I really liked the adventurous side of things, having never driven on the wrong side of the road before etc etc, it was just one massive road trip and it felt pretty rewarding. Also you don’t have to worry about baggage being over, or not taking your lipstick through because it might be a bomb etc. On the downside, you spend a lot of time in the car and need to buy some extras like snow chains and high vis jackets etc (that once you have, you won’t need to buy again).
All in all, a realtively fun experience and at no point were we made to feel like we had done something wrong, unlike at the airport!
Total cost: £140 (fuel) + £65 (french tolls) + £19 (ferry) = £224 for eveything
When you compare this to our potential £60 flight, and £50 transfers (to uk airport and from french airport) this equals £220. So flying is a lot cheaper when you add in the little extras like snow chains etc if you don’t have any already, but like I mentioned before, adding a 3rd person to the equation adds very little extra cost to the final sum, but now the total can be split 3 ways instead of 2, and obviously 4 people would be even better! (however I would definately recommend an estate car if you plan on doing this…its a long time to be knees up in the back of a mini.