Roadtrip through europe – tips for a successful trip by car

you finally want to fulfill a long-awaited dream and explore the most beautiful routes and sights on a week-long europe round trip by car? Before you actually set off, it’s a good idea to think about planning your trip in advance.

  • Own car or rental car?
  • price comparison
  • What to consider when renting a car?
  • traffic rules in other countries
  • What papers do I need?
  • Preparation for the trip
  • Which insurances do I need?

europe by car

There is nothing better than a carefree road trip! Just you, your car, the horizon and unlimited freedom. Such an adventure on the road is not only worthwhile in distant countries like namibia, new zealand or canada. Even here in europe, it’s always the supposedly familiar places that surprise us the most. Simply because there is no time pressure and you are completely independent.

You can go wherever you want to go without thinking twice. Whether that means an intensive exploration of forests and moors of sweden all the way to the north cape, or a round trip through the balkan states to the 98-kilometer-long sandy beaches of the curonian spit in lithuania. Or have you always wanted to know what it’s like in the scottish highlands and in the pyrenees in france and spain, which are still considered a secret tip??

Get in the car and go?

you pack a few things and you are ready to go. It’s not quite that easy if you want your road trip through europe to be a complete success. You don’t have to plan long if you want to start right in front of your own door. If you are suffering from wanderlust, a few basic considerations are important.

This includes not only the question about health and car insurance or whether you need a credit card or not. Of course, these are all very important things that you should know about in advance.

Especially for very long tours with the car through europe, where you drive many kilometers, are worth a completely different consideration. A consideration that most people don’t even think about:

Driving through europe with your own car or with a rental car?

If you want to explore the two islands of New Zealand or the endless forests of the rocky mountains in canada if you want to travel, this question usually does not arise. But if you travel by car through europe, it seems that the own car at first the easiest and cheapest choice. After all you save a lot of money for a flight or the rental car *.

What many do not consider when taking a road trip with their own car:

Your own car is rarely cheaper!

Nothing would be easier than to sit down in your own car and drive away. But beware: most of the time the assumption of own car be the most favorable variant, to avoid a complete misjudgement. Because in addition to the obvious costs in the form of gasoline and tolls, the tours go over thousands of kilometers your mobile undercarriage is worth. depending on the route and the condition of the roads, not only countless wear and tear parts overcharged, every kilometer driven also ensures that the the value of your car drops rapidly.

cost of own car versus rental car

According to the ADAC, when traveling with your own car, costs for fuel, wear parts and depreciation of about 60 to 80 cents per kilometer driven are to be calculated.

example calculation

  • 2500 km (for example to croatia): 1750 euro
  • 5000 km: (for example to athens or lisbon): 3500 euro
  • 8000 km (round trip through southern europe): 5600 euro

If you have a relatively new, large car have, can be found at 5000 kilometers up to 4000 euro the costs of a trip through europe. These are figures that we normally turn a blind eye to, because the costs are not incurred directly. Not to calculate with them, however, would be a milkmaid’s calculation.

Choose the right car for your europatrip rental

Have you already decided how and where you will travel? overnight stay if you want to continue your trip through europe without major delays, then it is easy to find out which layerman is best suited for you. If you only want to travel as a couple from hotel to hotel or from pension to pension, normally a small car completely. If you want to travel with three or more people, you will need at least one combination or a mid-size SUV like a nissan qashqai. if you book the rental car right away from germany, you can calculate with the following prices:

costs for 2 weeks rental car

  • small cars: from 250 euro + petrol (around 100 euro per 1000 km)
  • mid-size/station wagon: from 300 euro (around 120 euro per 1000 km)

Cost for 4 weeks rental car

  • small car: from 300 euro (plus about 100 euro gasoline per 1000 km)
  • middle class/station wagon: from 700 euro (plus about 120 euro fuel per 1000 km)

comparison costs for a tour length of 5000 km (incl. fuel costs)

  • Small rental car: 800 euro – own car (small): 3000 euro
  • rental car combi: 1500 euro – own car (station wagon): 4000 euro


If you are lucky, you might get a real bargain and pay even less. it pays to inform yourself and compare prices!

And one more advantage of a rental carif the car suddenly stops working properly during the trip, you will usually have a replacement within a short time replacement car on site and if you want to continue your trip through europe without major delays. This is not always guaranteed when repairing your own car.

Traveling by rental car to other countries

If you decide to rent a car, you should take into account the rental conditions the provider exactly check. Depending on the countries in europe through which you plan to travel by car, there might be restrictions at rental car contract. within the western and northern countries of the EU there are usually no major problems. nevertheless, the landlord must be informed about the planned travel and transit countries.

some providers allow trips to the eastern europe not at all or require additional insurance. Ignore them restrictions or prohibitions, this can be expensive. In this case you lose all insurance coverage and the car can be confiscated on the spot. Then you will not only suddenly find yourself without a vehicle abroad, but you will also have lost the deposit, because the provider will retain it as compensation for damages. so ask explicitly if you are planning a trip through europe.

By the way: for every booking of a rental car, no matter if in germany or abroad, you will need a valid credit card . You will not get the car without!


Towards the horizon – the mileage trap

When booking a rental car you should pay attention to the details. Supposedly inexpensive offers often have a limited mileage included. while on an all-inclusive vacation in barcelona with a fixed hotel, 500 to 750 free kilometers are probably more than enough to make excursions in the surrounding area, a road trip through europe will add up to considerably more kilometers. If you want to make a tour through the countries scandinavia if you are planning a trip to spain or portugal, you will have to cover a distance of at least 2500 kilometers there and back, and in most cases you will have to add the following unplanned extra kilometers in addition.

Who here with a low mileage limit when you return the rental car, you must be accompanied by horrendous additional costs calculate. Because every additional kilometer is charged with up to 40 cents. With 2000 free kilometers and a route of 2800 kilometers, you’re looking at a hefty 320 euros in additional costs, which you could rather spend on your vacation. You are on the safe side if you rent a car right away without mileage limit book.

Well equipped for all eventualities

When preparing your trip, it is not only important to decide whether you will drive your own car or book a rental car. Some basic questions apply to both options.

Other countries, other customs: this also applies to traffic rules

Before you set off on your grand tour of european countries, you should familiarize yourself with the traffic regulations in the individual countries you plan to visit. For long trips across national borders, it is very important to familiarize yourself with all the regulations that apply there.

  • where is the speed limit (on freeways, country roads and also in towns)?
  • Are the roads or stretches of road subject to tolls??
  • What emergency numbers are there?
  • If there are compulsory?
  • What special right-of-way rules must be observed?
  • What is the blood alcohol limit?

It would be a pity, if you would rent a car right away fine you would have to pay because you have fallen into a parking ticket trap. Because ignorance does not protect also in this case unfortunately before an often juicy punishment!

Which driver’s license is the right one?

in most european countries the new driving license is sufficient in the credit card format. Sometimes the older paper driver’s licenses are also accepted. In some eastern european countries such as albania, russia and the ukraine or even moldova, a international driver’s license to recommend. you can get the international driver’s license at the driver’s license office of the road traffic authorities (costs about 15 euro). please do not forget that this is only an additional document. You must have your regular driver’s license with you in any case.

The insurance for the car

But regardless of whether you are driving your own car or renting a car, good car insurance protects you from unpleasant surprises. Fully comprehensive insurance – also for your own car – should be one of your MUST-HAVES. But beware deductible! Inexpensive comprehensive insurance almost always has a fairly high deductible in the event of a claim. Depending on the provider, this can be 500 euros or more. Don’t save at the wrong end, because otherwise a harmless rear-end collision can mean the end of your eagerly awaited vacation, because the repair costs are beyond your budget.

We therefore recommend a more expensive but safer insurance option with only lower or no deductible. Pay attention to the small print here as well. Because damage to the underbody, tires, broken glass or even damage caused by vandalism are not always included. And be sure to book the rental car in germany. This is the only way to guarantee that the regulations that apply in our country are adhered to and that you won’t have any problems in the event of an emergency.

  • comprehensive insurance and theft protection without or with a low deductible
  • Partial cover without or with low deductible
  • glass, tire, underbody protection
  • check foreign insurance or extend it to the respective countries

Cancel old car insurance?

If you are planning your road trip well in advance and are considering whether to take out fully comprehensive insurance for your own car or register a second driver, it is worth comparing the two. Sometimes your own insurance is significantly more expensive than comparative offers. If you are early enough, you may then be able to take out an adjusted, yet inexpensive car insurance policy. Of course it is necessary to cancel the old car insurance.

  • You can cancel your car insurance every year with one month’s notice before the main due date
  • The cancellation must be received at least one month and one day before the end of the contract period (deadline is usually on the 30.11.)
  • Of course, there are also a number of special cancellation rights, for example, you can cancel the cancel car insurance (*advertisement), if the contributions are increased

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Preparing for a trip through europe

Before it goes on the long-awaited round trip through Scandinavia, the Balkans or even Spain and Portugal, there are still some things to do beforehand. This ranges from packing suitcases to the many small things that need to be done before the actual departure.

This includes not only checking whether your passport or identity card is still valid or taking out health insurance for abroad, but also making sure that your car is fit for the journey. READ MORE

travel insurance

Even travel insurance can’t guarantee a perfect vacation. But it can protect you from unexpectedly high costs, which would not only break your vacation budget, but in extreme cases also drive you into financial ruin. There is a suitable insurance for an illness on vacation as well as for an accident with the car or motorhome. We give you a brief overview of which insurances are available and which ones make sense. READ MORE


We wish you much fun with your trip with the car through europe! And don’t forget: good planning is half the battle. This also applies to a seemingly unspectacular trip through our neighboring countries.

Among the most beautiful road trips in europe:

  • Great Britain: from cornwall to the scottish highlands
  • From austria to greece – with an overnight stay in the prison in ljubljana and the mavrovo national park in macedonia
  • Along the french and spanish coast to portugal
  • From denmark and smaland in southern sweden across the fjords of norway and to the north cape – and on to the endless forests of finland

If you have some great tips for us after your road trip or would like to report on unusual regions or experiences:

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