As a Senior you are probably less tolerant now of queuing for hours at congested airports – I certainly am. So when travelling to the continent why not take a more leisurely way of travelling – by your car.
There are many ferries crossing from the South of England to France, Belgium, Netherlands and Spain and of course there is the Eurotunnel, but for less congested routes to Belgium and the Netherlands, then check out PO Ferries from Hull and DFDS Seaways from Newcastle. More details about these routes are given in Sea Travel – Ferries.
For information on the best times to travel on continental roads and tips on how to keep the costs down, including fuel and toll costs, see my Road Travel Tips for Europe. There are also details on how to get the best car hire deals.
Of great importance when driving in less familiar terrain is a clear and reliable Sat Nav. I’ve tried a few in my time, but have just purchased a Garmin Nüvi 50 LM from Halfords as this covers all my key needs:
- Firstly – it has a clear display by virtue of its extra wide screen, 5 inches. I find it a great improvement over my previous 4.3 inch screen model.
- Secondly – it has junction information pictures. Very useful as many continental motorway junctions have very different layouts to those in the UK.
- Thirdly – it covers the whole of Europe with full maps for 45 countries. I often travel to Eastern Europe so having full maps for Croatia, Hungary and Slovakia is a great advantage. Although Ukraine at the moment only has most urban areas covered, this may well improve with updates.
- Fourthly, and very importantly – it has lifetime maps update included in the price. With updated maps I might have avoided driving through several newly designated pedestrian-only streets (more narrow winding lanes than streets) during my recent visit to Granada.
But you still need to take care not to be led astray by your sat nav. It was recently reported that a 67 year old lady in Belgium set her sat nav to travel to a destination 38 miles away near Brussels, but by blindly following the sat nav, finished up at Zagreb in Croatia, 600 miles away! I’ve never done anything quite as extreme myself, but have finished up down remote dirt track roads by mistake.
I have so far found my new sat nav to function well with street names spoken clearly although sometimes with amusing mis-pronunciations. I was pleased to find that my set of maps for the USA and Canada, purchased from Amazon on a Micro SD card for a previous Garmin sat nav, worked perfectly in my new device.