Sunday, 21 December 2008

Road Trip Europe : Our Experience

The Reason

A Road Trip around Europe has been done through generations by Malaysian here in the UK. All the information i present here are mostly passed down generation by generations by malaysians. The big reason why i think most malaysians studying here would travel around europe is just the fact that we are already near. From Coventry, just a few hours drive plus a 30 minutes train ride and you'll arrive in France. That's how easy it is to get there. However, for a holiday driving throughout 7 countries in Europe would need a little more thought put into it. Ever since sattelite navigation became popular, it is much easier to travel around europe without getting lost. Here, i will share our family experience driving throughout Europe.

Some people mentioned to me that they are afraid to drive all the way to europe and back just within 2 weeks. Most of the fear comes from the left lane driving which is different from UK and Malaysia. And some are even afraid of the fact that we are going to spent 2 whole week in a totally different place with different languange, culture and laws. People always say that you are afraid of things that you don't know. For that reason, we , in this journey are trying to understand each and every inch of our journey so that we can handle any bump that comes our way. Well, we can only plan, Allah do the rest. It went smooth, but now as smooth as we hope so.


The Plan

Here is our plan spreadsheets. We plan our journey almost 4 month before we travel, mainly because we want to get cheap discounted hotel for booking way in advance. This is a one in a lifetime journey, so we want to make the most of it and get it right. I've mentioned that we plan our trip based on previous experiences. There are a few popular routes for malaysian when driving through europe, all with their own up and downs. We have chosen a slighly different route from everybody else since we have friends we need to visit while we are there. Our route is as below

Euro Trip.001.jpg

The plan is go to Italy after switzerland but the road through the Alps in close due to heavy snow, so we have to cancel and move straight to France and back home. I'm still listing Italy in here cause i can't remember which route we take after we are stranded on the top of the hill.

Journey Route

Coventry - Folkestone

Folkestone - Eurotunnel

Eurotunnel- Calais

Calais - Brugge

Brugge - Amsterdam

Amsterdam - Brussel

Brussel - Luxemburg

Luxemburg - Munich

Munich - Zurich

Zurich - Lucerne

Lucerne - Lauterbrunnen

Lauterbrunnen - Wengen(Train)
Lauterbrunen - Cremona

Lauterbrunen - Lake Lugano

Lake Lugano - Milan


Milan - Venice

Venice - Florence


Rome- Florence
Florence - Torino

Florence - Pisa

Pisa - Torino

Torino - Geneva

Geneva - Paris
Paris - Etretat

Paris - St Malo/Mt St Michel

Mt St Michel - Etretat
Paris - Coventry

Paris - Calais

Calais - Eurotunnel

Eurotunnel - Coventry

The Hotel

Here i'm listing all the hotels we plan to stay at. But some of them we had to cancel and change due to unforeseen circumstances. Note that i'm listing the parking for each hotel. This is so that i can take into account the cost of parking, if any for overnight parking.

Travelodge Folkestone
Parking - FREE
Ibis Leiderdorp
Parking - FREE Outdoor
Etap Hotel Luxembourg
Parking - Unknown

Etap Hotel Muenchen Nord Garching
Parking - Unknown
Rumah Zetty

Etap Hotel Zürich City West
Parking - Unknown    
No Parking

Staubbach Hotel
Parking Free
Ibis Cremona
Parking - FREE Outdoor

Novotel Venezia Mestre Castellana
Parking - Unsure Outdor - Maybe FREE
Hotel Ibis Firenze Nord Aeroporto
Parking - Unsure
Hotel Ibis Firenze Nord Aeroporto
Parking - Unsure
Novotel Torino Corso Giulio Cesare
Parking - Unsure Outdor - Maybe FREE
Etap Annemasse
Parking - Unsure
Ibis Paris Maine Montparnasse
Parking - Private Pay CarPark
Etap Hotel Fécamp
Parking - Unsure
Home Sweet Home

The hotel i chose is cheap but comfortable enough for an overnight stay. Some people do opt for cheaper hotel such as Formula One which has a shared toilet which is not the best for family. Most of the hotels are booked at and some of them from priceline europe. My advice is shop arround for hotel, you might get a discount deal if you book early. One reason that i chose mostly accorhotels is that the price is for one room, not per head which many hotels provide. Another advice is to book decent hotels once every three or four days, especially at places where you can get nice view from the hotels. We booked a mountain view room at Wengen for over £100 per night but it is well worth it for the service and room. We also booked a waterfall view room at Lauterbrunnen.

The Food

We bring most of the food for the journey and buy whenever we found a halal restaurant. We did looked up for the halal restaurant at and put the location in the Tomtom but we only manage to go to some of them due to shortage of time. Most of the halal restaurant and located on the same road so if you find a halal shop, look around and you'll be suprise by how many other halal restaurant you can find.

Here is our food list:

Food List
tuna spread
travel jug
Periuk Nasi
Roti Naan
Mash Potato
Baked bean
Water Container
Hot Chocolate/Nescafe
Gula Packet
sambal ikan bilis
sambal kering
haris stuff
haris toys
haris milk
We packed our food in a bag one pack for each day. We did the same for our clothes to make the journey smoother, Less hassle and trouble free.

The Cost

Total cost for the whole journey of 2 weeks is around £1800 including parking, road tax for Swiss, Food, Fuel, Hotel, Transportation, Tickets and everything. The total journey is around 5000 km which at £1.04 per litre costs us around £500. The hotel bring us back another £700. RAC costs us £75, EuroStar costs £116. For details you can see my whole plan here.

The Experience

It has been a once in a lifetime experience. The snow storm, the blocked road, being stranded, the misbehaved car, the towing, all unforgetable experience. Sorry i don't have time to detail them all. Need to get on with my thesis. If anybody is interested, you can always contact me. The only thing i forgot to bring is a shovel, will be very useful when you are stranded in snow.

After finishing the whole journey, i would advice anybody planning to spent more time or just go to Paris which has a worderful historical view and Swiss for it's astounding scenery. Once you see these two places, i have to say, 'you've seen the whole europe. I'm not commenting on Italy and Spain though, never been there.

The Final Words

This review of our journey is just giving a rough idea on planning a europe trip. I think you can get all the details from my speadsheets which is more than enough for you to get started. There are many more things i want to share such as converting poi to tomtom POI, Using GoogleEarth to help you plan, Finding places of interest with panoramio, Savings tips and many more but due to the need to finish my PhD in time, i have to save all that for next time. Meanwhile if anybody is interested in planning and need help, don't hesitate to email me and i'll see what i can do.

The End


Yeong said...

hi fauzan, thanks for sharing..

Adam Dilip Mutum said...

Wow! That's really informative. I plan to make a trip too maybe in my final year - but less covering countries. Thanks for sharing.