Tips For Road Tripping Through Europe

One of the best ways to experience Europe is to drive from country to country.

Road tripping through Europe.
Photo by James Adams on Unsplash

From the wine country in France to ski resorts in Switzerland; Europe is always a good idea! In addition to flying between countries, you can also consider other options on OMIO and choose to travel comfortably by buses and trains. If you decide to travel by car, here are some important tips for road tripping through your favorite countries in Europe.

Don’t overload your daily mileage.

Traveling, in general, shouldn’t be a tense experience especially when you have the freedom of being behind the wheels. The best part about road tripping is that you’re in charge of your own schedule. The best way to go about it is to plan for three hours of driving everyday, so you can have the flexibility to be spontaneous without the stress. If you suddenly see a landmark that you want to visit or a small village that wasn’t part of the itinerary, you can easily stop and indulge to your own liking. By assigning less hours of driving a day, you’re allowing the trip to be far more enjoyable and less under pressure.

Check your driver’s license.

For Europeans, road tripping around the EU with your own country’s license is most likely not an issue. But for Americans, be sure you have an International Driving Permit. At least four weeks prior to your trip, research legal requirements that are needed for every country on your list since more time may be needed to obtain the driving permit for different countries.

In countries like: Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Spain; it’s safer to pay a small fee for an International Driving Permit, in the case of being pulled over. It’ll be the first document that the traffic officer asks for.

Also, some European countries are not technically part of the EU, therefore laws may also drastically differ for those countries. In other words, do your homework ahead of times and do it early.

Automatic transmission cars requires early booking.

If you’re an American and only knows how to drive automatic transmission cars, you’ll need to to book your rental car earlier since supply is lower. In Europe, most of the cars are manual transmission. One of the main reasons is that shifting the gears up and down is more convenient while driving through European countryside, since manual transmission provides better acceleration and safety around the turns.

Unless you know how to drive manual, then you’ll need to book an automatic in advance. In some cases, you’ll probably need to pay a little bit more.

Learn about a vignette, and be prepared for tolls.

To avoid scrambling in your car for coins at toll stations, make sure to have some small change in your car at all times. In case there are tolls machines that don’t take credit cards, or ones that don’t even work at all.

In some countries, instead of a toll station, you’ll encounter a vignette which is a road tax which requires driving on highways. You can buy a vignette at rest stops or gas stations after crossing the border. Some countries use toll stations, while some others have put vignettes in place.

Make sure to prepare your vignette stickers for these countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland.

Try to experience the less touristic routes.

It might be more efficient to stay on main boulevards, but for a more enjoyable and personalized road trip, it’s not a bad idea to follow smaller roads that end up in the same destination. Some countries like France, Switzerland and Norway; tolls are more expensive than those in other European countries. By opting for off-the-beaten-path routes, you can avoid tolls while passing through local gems. It might require more time than driving on the main streets, but your road trip experience can be quite localized.

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