This summer I am heading to France with my car and trying to keep costs, especially fuel costs, down. Here are a few tips on how I have tried keeping them as low as possible:
1. Check out ALL Channel crossing options.
Other than the Dover Calais crossing there are crossings from Portsmouth, Poole, Weymouth and Plymouth. All handy for Western France. If you live in the south-east and are travelling to somewhere in the eastern half of France then the Dover Calais crossing or Eurotunnel will be the cheapest option.
I have planned the journey to reduce the fuel costs by opting to travel across the western end of the English Channel with Brittany Ferries. Living in the Southampton area I find that the cost of driving to Dover and then from Calais to Brittany is more than offset by the cost of the ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo. There is also the added bonus of travelling on their luxury ferries for 6 hours rather than driving. For me the holiday starts 18 miles down the road.
Generally speaking anywhere west of London is best served by the South Coast Channel ports if you are heading to Western or South-western France
2. Know what fuel costs are abroad and plan ahead accordingly.
The Post Office Travel Money report, Motoring on the Continent, found that in real terms driving on the Continent is cheaper this year than last due to the strong pound against the euro. However, fuel prices in France are more expensive than the UK for petrol and cheaper for diesel.
As I drive a diesel car I will fill up in St Malo a soon as I get there and just before leaving to return to the UK. Anyone driving a petrol car would do well to fuel up in the UK before leaving these shores.
3. Shop for fuel at supermarkets
As in the UK prices in supermarkets are several pence/cents cheaper.
I hope you found these tips helpful and if you have any further suggestions to keep the fuel costs down feel free to include them in the comments below.