Less than a decade or so ago, going abroad was simply unfeasible for a lot of holidaymakers. The cost of getting onto the continent or venturing even further afield simply outweighed all other factors. In recent years however, the cost of travelling abroad has come down considerably and many families who hadn’t even considered the option of going abroad are starting to scour the flight websites and the ferry services for the best deal. However, travelling abroad still requires a good deal of thought and it’s still important to weigh up the options. So, what should you consider when deciding whether to go away or to stay nearer to home?
Upfront Travel Costs
The first thing on most people’s agenda will be the upfront travel costs of physically getting abroad. If you stay in the UK, you of course make a 100% saving as there aren’t (normally) any ferries, tunnels or flights to factor in. Of course, for each destination there are more expensive and cheaper ways of getting there so you should ensure you’re savvy about the way in which you travel. The cheaper the upfront travel costs of going abroad, the more likely you are to be able to recover them when you go away.
Everyone knows that when travelling abroad you have to factor in the costs (or benefits) of a different currency but actually calculating how much you stand to save is very difficult indeed. For a user-friendly approach in Europe it’s good to work on price parity, assuming that if you’ll spend £100 here, you’ll spend €100 there and you’ll end up saving the 10% difference in the currency. However, a more detailed cost of living index can be a great comparison tool.
Factoring in Fuel
Fuel prices are generally very expensive in the UK and, as such, you can make massive savings abroad. If you’re someone who likes to travel around a lot in your motorhome rather than staying put, you might make big savings on the cost of fuel once you’re in your target destination. You shouldn’t forget though that many roads in Europe have tolls, so though the petrol in France may be cheaper, the €60-odd you’ll spend getting from Calais to Lyon might wipe that out!
Are You Hiring or Using Your Own?
If you’re a proud owner of your own motorhome, you’re not going to be very likely to want to hire unless you’re going a long, long way afield. Of course, this does restrict you to France, Spain, Italy and parts of Northern Europe and Scandinavia. There are masses of great areas to explore here, but the cost of flying somewhere and then hiring on top doesn’t make much sense. Driving yourself and taking a few extra days on the way is usually much cheaper.
Don’t Forget the Essentials
Motorhome insurance really is essential in Europe, but you shouldn’t assume your policy covers you automatically on the continent. Top-end policies will, but even then you might need to consider your requirements in specific countries: places like Luxembourg or Switzerland are occasionally omitted and without the proper insurance even a fleeting visit could cost you dearly.
Timing Your Trip
Of course, getting to the continent does take a bit of time, Spain is around a half-a-day on the ferry from the South of England and, though France is accessible from Dover in less than half an hour, it isn’t a convenient stop if you live in the North! A day’s travelling either side of your trip can be done well and great fun, but it can also be a drag if you’re short on time and want to make the most of your holiday, getting to your destination and getting stuck in really can be the best idea.
The Joy of Exploration
There are enough sights in the UK to last anyone a lifetime, but that’s also true of continental Europe five times over! Even if the costs of travelling to Europe don’t add up, there’s a lot to be said for exploring a different culture, trying out a different language or even just driving on the other side of the road! Exploration is what motorhomes are designed for, so don’t pass up the chance to see some of the fabulous things you’ve always wanted to just because the costs don’t add up.
On the whole, travelling to the continent still costs a lot more than staying in the UK and though you’re likely to benefit from a cheaper cost of living in some areas and cheaper fuel costs, getting there is still an expense. It’s definitely becoming easier to travel to the continent, but for many there’s still so much to explore here in the UK.