Planning a car trip abroad? What do you need to know?
More and more Poles are deciding to have a vacation abroad. Despite cheaper plane tickets, there are still a lot of people choosing to travel by car. There are many arguments for this form of transport, and even great distances and poor road conditions do not discourage tourists. However, drivers should remember about a few important issues. What are they?
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The greatest advantages of travelling by car are most of all comfort and independence. You alone decide about the road and when to leave. Thus, you will be able to sightsee exactly what you wish and spend time freely to do so. You are not dependant on public transport. The matter of luggage is also crucial. When travelling by car you are able to take much more than in the case of other means of transport. Since it is possible to buy a lot of things more cheaply in Poland, it will allow you to make at least some small savings.
Safety above all
It is surely not a surprise that the most important thing regarding a car trip, is the safety of its passengers and the driver. Every driver should take the necessary documents, and take care of the proper technical condition of the vehicle. It is worth consulting car safety with a mechanic. The fees that we could pay for fixing possible damages while abroad, can seriously spoil our vacation budget.
You should also pay attention to the car safety accessories. Apart from a warning triangle and a fire extinguisher, you will also need a reflective vest, first aid kit, and a set of extra light bulbs. GPS is also worth mentioning. It will allow you to find the best possible route and inform you about any difficulties.
A rested driver is as or maybe even more crucial than the technical matters of the car. When going on a long drive, a second driver is required. If nobody can do it, the driver needs to be reasonable when planning stops.
Know the differences in road regulations
If you want to travel by car across Europe without any problems, you need to know the road regulations of the countries you are going to visit. Things worth taking note of are certainly speed limits, a duty to drive with the headlights on, parking possibilities, a duty to fasten seatbelts, and the consequences of talking on the phone while driving.
Not knowing the regulations does not excuse you from respecting them. Fines received abroad can be stricter than those from Poland. If you cross the speed limit by 20 km/h in Italy, Holland and Croatia, you will be fined 150 euros. Driving too fast can also be expensive in the United Kingdom. Crossing the speed limit by 50 km/h can even cost you a few thousand PLN.
The driver should also know what kind of vignette to buy in particular countries. The rates are different depending on the region of Europe. A few days' vignette is the most popular, but there are also payments for driving through particular parts of motorways, or even bridges or tunnels. Most often they cost a few or a few dozen euros.
Is it worth it?
The selection of the means of transport is often based on financial reasoning. So, is it worth going abroad by car? It is difficult to make detailed calculations. However, it is certainly the best solution when one plans a holiday for at least three or four people.
Croatia is definitely the most popular holiday destination for Poles. Warsaw and Zadar are 1.3 thousand kms away from each other. Considering the current prices at petrol stations and the average use of fuel, such a trip there and back can cost 800-900 PLN. If one decides to go through the Czech Republic, Austria and Slovenia, the vignette and fees for the motorways can reach up to 400 PLN. Therefore, approximately, the total price should amount to 1.5 thousand PLN. Dividing it by four people it will give us 375 PLN per person. The negative sides? It can take approximately 12 hours of driving to reach the destination. Also, a lot of people significantly extend it by sightseeing the countries passed on the way.
In comparison, a flight to Croatia there and back costs between 700 and even 1.5 thousand PLN. The price depends on the airline and the date of booking. Transfer costs from the airport also need to be added.
If you don't want to overpay for luggage, don't take too many things. According to the regulations respected by the majority of airlines, luggage should not weigh more than 20 kg.
How to pay for this?
When deciding to travel by car, you are able to buy a significant amount of necessary things in Poland. However, accommodation, food and tourist attractions need to be paid for with foreign currency. Thus, it is worth exchanging currency in Poland. This way you can save a lot of money on increased rates in tourist towns. Recently, online currency exchange has gained popularity. The most popular online currency exchange office is Cinkciarz.pl. Its offer consists of 24 currencies which are much cheaper than in stationary currency exchange offices. If somebody would like to buy 700 euros for their holiday via our service, it is possible to save even 136 PLN. If one would have some euros left when they return, they can also be exchanged by Cinkciarz.pl at a better rate – says Marcin Lipka, Cinkciarz.pl's currency analyst.
Currency cards are also a good solution. They are very good for trips abroad. At Cinkciarz.pl, they are available in four currencies. They are of course the zloty, but also the dollar, euro and the British pound. In order to use them you don't need a currency account. All it takes is a completely free profile on the website.
You can treat your currency card as a safe form of pocket money. You can safely give it to your child for their holidays, or use it yourself as financial security during your vacation. In order to use it you will need a PIN code. This means that your money is safe even if during the trip you will be robbed or lose your wallet. Currency cards are also very comfortable. It is possible to pay with them everywhere that accepts Visa. And that's not all. You will also be able to pay with them in foreign online shops. What's most important, however, is that it allows saving a lot of money on things like the cost of conversion.
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