There’s no escaping the fact that driving in and around the Alps is a wholly different experience than bumbling around your local town in the family people-mover.
Whether or not you accept and interpret this difference will directly impact not only the enjoyment of your trip, but also the safety of you, your family and anyone else that happens to be on the roads at the time.
So rather than thinking you’ve got it covered and will take to the ice like a penguin, listen to and heed a few tips from the locals to make your Alpine driving adventure one to remember in a positive light:
Ask and Listen
First and foremost, before heading out on a journey of any kind be sure to ask the pros about the route. It could be the locals, it could be your tour operator or it could be a local tourist information website. The point being that there are always advisable and wholly inadvisable routes to take across the Alps and it’s not always obvious which is which. So, do yourself a favour and ask, but most importantly, listen!
Allow Excessive Time
If you think you need 30 minutes, leave an hour. If you think you need an hour to get there, allow two hours. Get the point? It’s human nature that the less time you have, the quicker you’ll try to get there which in the Alps can be a pretty risky way of driving at the best of times.
Take Maps and GPS
You could lose your paper maps and you could easily find that your GPS has crapped out on you. However, there’s not much chance of BOTH happening at the same time so always be sure to back up your primary navigation method with at least one more. And don’t forget, extreme weather can play hell with your GPS system’s signals.
Stock Up Well
It’s not likely you’ll end up stuck by the side of the road for a day or two, but you can’t rule it out. So, be prepared for anything and make sure you’ve got enough food, water and warm clothes/blankets to ride out a breakdown or a sudden change in the weather.
Don’t Go Off-Road
The back-roads and secluded villages across the Alps are more beautiful than you’d ever believe, but this doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for you to try driving them. Not only can the smaller Alpine roads can become 100% impassable in a matter of minutes, but they’re also much more dangerous at the best of times.
Consider Taking the Bus
If you’re thinking of driving for the same of airport transfers, you could save yourself time, money and serious stress by taking the bus. There are so many cheap Geneva transfers on offer it’s often not even worth bothering with the car – no matter where you’re going you’re talking a much lower price than the equivalent petrol cost and priceless peace of mind to boot.
Tell Someone Where You’re Going
And finally, make sure that someone knows where you’re going and when you should arrive. It could be the accommodation owner where you’re heading, a friend at the resort or even a person back home – just be sure there’s somebody that can raise the alarm if you don’t turn up where you’re supposed to be at the time you’re supposed to be there.
This is a guest post by Alps2Alps - the friendly ski transfers provider. They cover all Alpine destinations and ski resorts with private and shared transfers from and to Geneva, Chambery, Lyon, Grenoble airports.
Transfers to Vallorcine to stay at the Bellevue Alpine Lodge are available from 35 euros per person.
Photo sources: flickr.com/photos/alexhung - topgearrules.org - commons.wikimedia.org