It’s never been easier to plan you own trip to France – the big decision is whether to fly or sail. There is plenty for and against both – cost, travel time, luggage allowance.
Some travel companies – including Eurocamp – will often include the price of the ferry in your package.
Here are some of the things to consider when deciding travel by plane or ferry.
You can take more stuff on a ferry
On a plane you are restricted by the size of your suitcases and luggage allowance – you can pack far more into a car. That includes extras like food, bikes and body boards.
There is, of course, the danger of overpacking!
It’s quicker by plane
Of course it is! Especially if you are traveling from the north of England, which can add 4-5 hours to the trip before you even really get started. You can be in France by mid-morning and on the beach by the afternoon.
Make the ferry part of your holiday
If you are driving to France you have three basic options – quick crossing via Dover (followed by a long drive), longer crossing (up to 12 hours, maybe overnight) from Portsmouth or Plymouth, or Euro Tunnel.
Each option probably requires an overnight stop at some point – why not make this part of the holiday, maybe stop Paris or Disneyland Paris?
Overnight ferries give you the opportunity to really kick back and make a night of it – best to get a cabin rather than a ‘sleeper seat’!
You will probably also need two drivers and plenty of breaks.
Which is cheaper?
Now there’s a question! Flights to France have never been cheaper and it’s easy to get a family of four on a plane for under £500 if you shop around – there are also options to fly to out-of-country airports like Geneva, Barcelona and Turin.
If you are travelling independently then you will need to factor in the cost of a hire care – between £150 and £300+ a week depending on the size of the car.
Return ferry for a family of four from Portsmouth with a car and cabins will cost £500-£900 – so not cheap plus you will need to pay for petrol for a potentially long drive the other side.
An overnight crossing also takes the strain out of finding an overnight stop and means you should be well-rested before a long drive.
Ferries from Dover only take about 90 minutes so are ideal for those who want to get on with their holiday.
There is more to do on a ferry
Bars, restaurants, casinos and cinemas. There is plenty to keep the kids amused and fed but you will need to factor in the extra costs.
That queasy feeling
Travelling by car and ferry can take up to a full day – and that’s not great for people who suffer from travel sickness.