Roads look rosy and cheap alternative to flying abroad

Article date: 17 May 2010

  • Breaking down without cover could be grim though

Motorists are considering hitting the highways rather than the airways as they head to Europe this summer. An RAC Survey* revealed that the recent and recurring flight restrictions in the UK will influence motorists’ plans this summer. Nearly three in ten of those polled were already planning to steer clear of flights and use other means to get abroad, with the most popular alternative being a ferry crossing. However the average repatriation costs for "kaput" UK cars abroad hit £1,000 in 2009 so adequate breakdown cover is going to be a must **.

With a quarter of respondents looking to save money on their main holiday the motoring cost savings look good on paper. For a family of four taking a week’s holiday in France at the end of July the cost of getting from the UK to France is significantly cheaper when using a car.***

Transport

Cost

Increase

Travel time – outward & return

Ferry
(Dover to Calais)

£134
Fuel, Calais to Paris and back , £39.10****

RAC Euro breakdown cover £41.40

Tolls, Calais to Paris and back, approx £24*****

Total £238.50

 

1 hr

1 hour 25 mins

Eurotunnel

£142

plus as above

Total £246.50

+£8

35 mins each way

Eurostar

£365

+£138.50

2 hrs 15 mins each way

Flight

£407.52

+£181.02

1 hour 20 mins

1 hour 10 mins

Even when you factor in the current high petrol costs in the UK and Europe, it is significantly cheaper for a family travelling to France to go by car and the backlash against flying appears to have begun.

Respondents top five flight moans were:

  1. Lengthy queues and long check-in times
  2. Discomfort and feeling cramped when on the plane
  3. Noisy fellow travellers
  4. Worries that their luggage was too heavy
  5. Fear of their luggage being lost.

RAC’s director of operations, Neil Thompson, said: “Travelling abroad in their own car gives motorists more control over their journey. They’re masters of their own destinies and that can take a lot of the stress out of travelling. Drivers can determine when they leave, when they take-a-break, their choice of companion and cars offer ample unrestricted luggage space, unlike low cost airlines.

“However just as current flights are being stalled by unforseen events such as volcanic ash it’s worth motorists protecting themselves from the additional cost and stress of breaking down abroad. Arranging cover before they leave and getting to grips with what they’re covered for is essential too.” 

RAC cover and discounts
RAC European Breakdown is available at two cover levels, basic and comprehensive. It can cover any age of vehicle but the age of the motor will influence the price. Vehicles over 11 years old will incur an additional surcharge and there are weight and length restrictions.

Cover starts from £10 for a day-trip and motorists should ensure they have arranged cover for the full length of their trip eg annual cover is worth considering if driving abroad regularly.

Drivers should investigate any additional discounts available before purchasing cover. RAC members get an extra 10% off European Breakdown Cover and buying cover online will achieve a further 10% discount. Owners of newer cars should also double-check whether they already have European breakdown cover included with their original purchase benefits.

Contact RAC on 0800 015 6000 to discuss cover requirements or visit www.rac.co.uk for more information on cover and advice on driving abroad.

-ends-

RAC Press office contact:
Lucy Haughey on 01603 688891/07800 690149 or Erik Nelson on 01603 682264/07989 427086

Notes to editors:

* ICM Research conducted an omnibus survey with 2044 respondents on behalf of RAC Insurance, week commencing 26 April 2010.

Additional data also used from a travel survey commissioned by Aviva and conducted by YouGov. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2063 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 22 -25 January 2010. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

** According to RAC European Breakdown data.

*** Cost of getting from UK to Calais/Paris on 24 July 2010, returning one week later.

Leaving and returning at approx 1200, two adults and two children, age 3 and 10 years. Car assumed to be two years old. All prices researched online on 21 April 2010, using www.skyscanner.net and www.ferryonline.co.uk for flights and ferry crossing prices.

**** Calculated using RAC Route planner for mileage (184 miles each way from Calais to Paris) and www.fuel-economy.co.uk using current cheapest cost of fuel in Dover (119.9p according to www.petrolprices.com) and mpg of 51.3 (Ford Focus).

***** According to www.parisbreak.co.uk/travel/car.asp

About RAC
With around seven million members, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists.  Whether it's roadside assistance, insurance, vehicle inspections and checks, legal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs.

RAC is committed to providing the very highest levels of service to its members and has been ranked first for customer satisfaction by J D Power and Associates' UK Roadside Assistance Study for the last four years and the top-named service organisation in the July 2009 and January 2010 UK Customer Satisfaction Index from the Institute of Customer Service.

RAC Insurance has also been awarded the Best Overall Vehicle Insurance Provider 2009/10 by themoneypages.com

Aviva bought RAC in May 2005. The acquisition brings together RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leading position in motor insurance of Aviva UK Insurance. Aviva is the UK's largest insurer with a market share of around 15%.

RAC is part of Aviva, the world's fifth largest insurance group which operates in 28 countries.

RAC's news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at www.racnews.co.uk.

 

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