Tips for road trips in Europe

by Elizabeth Jones
Stripes Europe

So much to do and so much to see during your overseas tour! No matter where you’re stationed, you can plan an epic road trip whether it’s within one country or across multiple. As you plan to embark on this journey, follow these helpful tips to ensure your road trip is a success!

PRE-TRIP TIPS

In advance:

  • Ensure the whole family has tourists passports.
  • Bringing pets? Get their passport and shots up to date. Check if they’re allowed in countries and if any shots are needed for them to enter or come back to your host nation.
  • Make sure you have your international driver’s license.
  • Research and understand the different rules of the road of all countries you’re driving to and through.

What to pack:

  • Tourists passports.
  • Pet passports, seatbelts and necessities too.
  • Have kiddos? Make sure they’ll have plenty of entertainment.
  • Emergency vehicle equipment, spare tire, extra oil and other necessary fluids.
  • Meals, snacks and drinks.
  • Bottled water since tap water in some countries isn’t drinkable.
  • Trash bags for any messes or wet clothing/linens in the car.
  • Necessary adaptors for the countries you’re visiting.
  • Pack light for clothing. Try to do laundry at your accommodation if possible.
  • Toilet paper for the rest stops that will most likely be out of it.

Planning and budgeting:

  • Contact your bank about all travel plans, even the countries you’re driving through in case you make an unexpected stop.
  • Download maps from Google Maps to use offline in case you hit dead spots.
  • Budget accordingly for gas, tolls and vignettes along your route.
    • Carry cash for tolls.
    • Plan your fill up route and gas up in cheaper countries.
    • See vignette tips below.

Vignettes

Purchase a vignette for each country you plan to travel to. Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland require a vignette sticker. They can be purchased at border crossings and nearby gas stations.

Approximate vignette costs

Austria: 10 days, €8; 2 months, €23.40
Bulgaria: 7 days, €5; 1 month, €13
Czech Republic: 10 days, CZK 310; 1 month CZK 440
Hungary: 7 days, HUF 2975; 1 month, HUF 4,780
Romania: 7 days, €3; 1 month, €7
Slovakia: 10 days, €10; 1 month, €14
Slovenia: 1 week, €15; 1 month, €30
Switzerland: 1 calendar year, CHF 40

ROUTES TO TRY

There are countless road trip options for you to choose from! Below are some of our readers’ favorite road trips!

Favorite multi-country road trips

  • Starting from England - France - Spain - Portugal - Spain - France - Switzerland - Italy - Austria - Germany - Netherlands - Belgium - Luxembourg - France - England.
  • Starting from Germany - Austria - Italy - Slovenia - Croatia - Hungary - Slovakia - Czech Republic - Poland - Germany.
  • Starting from Italy - Slovenia - Croatia - Hungary - Slovakia - Poland - Czech Republic - Germany - Netherlands - Belgium - Luxembourg - France -  Switzerland - Italy.

Favorite road trips within countries

U.K.

  • Ireland - Ring of Kerry, Burren Loop, Wild Atlantic Way, Causeway Coastal Route and Dingle Peninsula.
  • Scotland - North Coast 500, Argyll Coastal Route, Highland Route and Isle of Skye.
  • England - The Great Stones Way, St Hilda’s Way, The Peak Pilgrimage, The Cornish Celtic Way and The Old Way.

Germany

  • Romantic Road
  • Wine Road
  • Fairytale Road
  • Alpine Road
  • Castle Road

Italy

  • Amalfi Coast
  • Tuscany region (filled with various wine road trips)
  • The Dolomites
  • Veneto region

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