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The French Alps ski specialist

Ultimate Guide To Driving To The Alps

image Monday, 22, January, 2018


Opting to drive to the Alps is a great way of making the holiday start the moment you leave your front door. Combining a road trip part with your ski holiday can add to the fun and reduce the overall cost! But, as with any holiday, it's good to be prepared; in this case to know what to take and the best rest spots. 

We asked our clients and Facebook followers for their tips on driving to the Alps from the UK. Straight from those who've done the journey, here is advice on what to pack, itinerary suggestions and tips on travelling with children. 

Packing for a Road Trip to the Alps

Must haves...

"Definitely suitable car insurance and European breakdown, you also need a spare bulb kit for your car, 2 alcohol breathalysers per car and high-viz jackets per person in the car and your triangle. We have a toll tag which is great. You also need vignette now for your car and emissions. We take photocopies of insurance and log book too." Fee P

"Make sure you take a charger that has at least 2 USB sockets that fits in the cigarette lighter or 12v socket, make sure the USB cables reach from the front of the car to the back seats. Head torches are great for those in the back seats that want to read when it gets dark." Tommy T

"A spare phone that is fully charged and ready to use. Make sure you have loose change knocking about Euro's and English money, can be useful if you have to pay tolls or pay for toilets." Kelly H 

Download the AA's 'Guide to Local Rules for Drivers in France' for a full list of what to pack.

We hadn't thought of... 

"Pack a slow cooker. Skiing is super fun but super tiring. At the end of a long day skiing it’s good to have a meal ready and waiting!" Sian ED

"We packed a camping stove and kettle which came in very handy when we were stuck on the mountain in traffic and heavy snow for over 5 hours, non-stop warm drinks and soup on tap. Toilet roll and hand sanitiser for the services which never have enough!" Nicola B

Practical Advice for Travelling to France


"If you need to take snow chains then make sure you practice fitting them, at least a couple of times before you go. Have a spare pair of old gloves, gauntlet type ones are good, also it will be better to have something to kneel on, I use a rubber floor mat. You will also need a head torch so both hands are free when the light is poor and you have to fit the chains. Take an old hand towel and hand cleaner." Tommy T

"The Sanef telepeage tag is worth having but remember to look out for the odd fixed bar 2m height restriction if you have a roofbox!" Mary F

"If you take a roof box on your car then make sure you have a "test fit" so you know it works properly and doesn't create any whistling noises that are very annoying on long journeys. Pack some gaffer tape as well, just the job to stop the whistling noise." Tommy T

"If you can (our vehicle height precludes) get a toll ticket prior so you can cruise through the toll booths." Peter D

Itinerary Advice

"Go on a Friday and make the stopover part of the holiday. Troyes is great, check out Clare and Hugo's burger bus for the best burger around." David W

"Stay overnight in Ashford to ensure an early start through the tunnel the next morning. Do your research and find out the best places to stop for fuel. Flip a coin to see who has to drive across the bridge at Nantua!!" Caroline L

"Stop in Folkestone overnight and get a very early crossing so you do the driving into your resort in daylight." Anthony L


"We stop at Reims around 8 hours drive for us from the Midlands (excluding tunnel) and a good cheap ibis just off the motorway then an easy drive the next day." Peter D

"Don't forget to stop at the patisserie in the nearest town, before you wind your way up the mountain, to ensure you have something delicious to savour once you've unpacked the car!" Siobhan O’B

Be in the know – hints and tips

"Petrol is cheaper at hypermarkets eg. in the Reims area, at Carrefour at Reims Tinqueux or at the large out of town Leclerc, both of which are easily accessible from the autoroute." MF

"We find the coffee and food best at the service stations with Paul Cafes, eg. A5 Chateauvillain and A39 Poulet de Bresse." MF

"It is definitely worth booking a space in the residence underground carpark to avoid the need to dig your car out of snow at the end of the holiday." MF

Travelling with kids

Here's our guide to entertaining children on long journeys

"We have travelled to the Alps twice. We had plenty of games for the children which included enough prizes for about every hour. They were just small things like a new toothbrush or stickers but kept them entertained. I would say pack snacks for the journey, things to keep the children entertained and also sick bags. just in case" Helen O

"Lots of snacks, warm drinks, soup or cup-a-soups and water for delays and warm blankets for the kids. iPads/DVD’s for the kids and charger units so you don’t drain the battery if at a standstill for long periods of time and they are kept happy." Nicola B

"When travelling with young children it is best to take paracetamol etc (including medicine spoons) as the French equivalents use different dosages based on weight." Mary F

Before you leave… Sorry to see you go. Before you do, would you mind just telling us why?

Also, don’t forget you can give us a call on 023 9283 9310 or email if you couldn’t find what you needed.
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