Tag Archives: holiday

Spectacular Holiday Road Trips

If you fancy a motoring holiday that takes in the best sights, you’d be hard pressed to do better than consider this selection.

And whilst the image of the perfect road trip might suggest the USA as a destination, due to its sheer size and the choice of vast highways, you don’t have to travel that far to see equally spectacular scenery that might even be on your British doorstep!

When you know where to look.

Luckily for us Your Parking Space has done most of the heavy lifting here (by driving their favourite European Road Trip routes (what a tough job guys) so we’re happy to mention them and feature the detail they supplied to help FOXY Lady blog readers plan their perfect road trip next summer.

Here are our favourite five for your consideration.

Stelvio Pass, Italy

Copyright Touring-Italy.net
The Stelvio Pass is one of the highest and most dramatic mountain passes in Europe.

This mountain pass shot to fame in 2008 when it was voted one of the best driving roads by Top Gear and provides stunning views of the Italian and Swiss Alps.

Approaching the Stelvio Pass from the North West side you get to drive up the Stelvio Pass’s renowned wall of 48 switchback turns. Not to be attempted by cumbersome cars and you’ll need power steering of course. Each of the turns is numbered with stones so you can count your way to the top (in case you’ve nothing better to concentrate on that is). Heading back down the pass towards Bormio provides several vantage points for photographs to mark this motoring achievement.

NB: The Stelvio Pass can become very busy during peak times, so it is advised that you drive it early in the morning and outside of the peak months of July and August.

Distance: 30.3 miles

Estimated time: 1h 17min

Points of Interest: Forte Venini di Oga, WWI Fort; Albergo Tibet Hotel, Passo dello Stelvio; Stelvio National Park, Trafoi

Old Military Road A93 & A939, Scotland

A93 at Glenshee. Copyright SabreRoads.org.uk
We’re told this is oft regarded as the best driving road in the UK – the Old Military Road A93 and A939 right through the heart of the Cairngorms National Park in Scottish Highlands.

You can enjoy endless stunning views on a road filled with twisting hair pins, rollercoaster-like ups and downs and steep gradients.

The route starts at Bridge of Cally, following the A93 into the Cairngorms National Park, driving through Braemar and past the Queen’s private residence Balmoral Castle. From there head onto the A939 for some more stunning highland views all the way to Grantown-on-Spey.

There is a wide variety of different wildlife in the Highlands so keep your eyes peeled for deer, haggis, snow rabbits and grouse.

Distance: 73.3 miles

Estimated time: 1h 53min

Points of Interest: Cairngorms National Park; Balmoral Castle; Lecht Ski School

Susten Pass, Switzerland

I’ve been driven over this myself and I can describe it as one of the most spectacular roads for drivers in the world. The Susten Pass is commonly referred to as one of the ‘Big 3’ passes which also includes Grimsel and Furka. Although not as well-known as the other two, you’ll enjoy sweeping valley roads, stunning forward views and its challenging switchbacks which take you to the summit at 2,224 meters.

The route starts in Wassen and finishes in Innertkirchen, and provides multiple places to stop and take in the spectacular mountain views. The road down to Innertkirchen takes you through forests and across fabulous stone bridges.

Due to its altitude, the Susten Pass is open seasonally usually at the start of June and closes at the end of October. The pass can get extremely busy during this time and is a favourite with bikers, so we recommend you choose to drive it mid-week to avoid the heaviest traffic flow.

Distance: 28.5 miles

Estimated time: 1 hour

Points of Interest: Gelmerbahn Funicular Railway; Sherlock Holmes Museum, Meiringen; Titlis Mountain

Black Mountain Pass, Wales

Heading back home again – the Black Mountain Pass (A4069) connects Llandovery with Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen and is regarded as one of the best roads in Wales, if not the UK. This A road twists and turns over the Black Mountain in the Brecon Beacons National Park and features sharp corners, hairpins and switchbacks.

The route begins at Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen and joins the A4069 at Brynamman. The road then winds across and over the Black Mountain range and comes out near Llangadog before continuing onto Llandovery.

The Black Mountain Pass is extremely popular with drivers after it was featured on Top Gear, but you can still expect little traffic on the road apart from on the sunniest weekends. One word of warning though, watch out for livestock (especially sheep) that have strayed onto the road particularly after blind corners.

Distance: 19.9 miles

Estimated time: 40 mins

Points of Interest: Carreg Cennen Castle; Brecon Beacons National Park; National Showcaves Centre

Route 500, the Black Forest Germany

The Black Forest region of Germany is famous for its winding roads and is a popular choice for road trips amongst the biker community.

One of the best and most accessible is the Schwarzwald Hochstrasse (route 500). This elevated road starts just outside Freudenstadt and travels north to Baden-Baden, it combines smooth and sweeping fast sections with dense forest trails and tight switchback turns.

Near its highest point, around the Hornisgrinde Mountain there are some great elevated views with plenty of place to park up, take in the scenery and take pictures.

The only downside is that Route 500 is a major road in the region so can become busy at certain times, we suggest that you plan your journey in the early morning to take advantage of the reduced traffic.

Distance: 31.1 miles

Estimated time: 53 mins

Points of Interest: Hornisgrinde Mountain; Geroldsau Waterfalls; Lichtenthal Abbey

Well those are our clear favourites but what about yours? By all means add ones you know in an email to me via info@foxyladydrivers.com or use our Twitter @FOXYTweets or the FOXYLadyDriversClub Facebook Page.

Get that book of European road maps out over the Christmas break perhaps. Plenty to keep you busy planning next year’s touring holiday and road trip highlights. Happy motoring!


What To Do If You’re In A Car Accident Abroad

Every year, thousands of British holidaymakers venture off to Europe to take a break and explore different cultures. Many hire a car and others drive their own overseas, where this makes sense.

On such an occasion, FOXY Lady Drivers Club member and experienced driver, Claire, was recently involved in a significant accident in France which left her family car a write-off.

Here Claire shares her experience with us, including the lessons she learned.

“A few days before my accident, I’d driven 700 miles or more through France to reach our destination in the south. I’d actually been looking forward to the journey. Driving in France is not as complicated as people may think. I find their motorways less congested and more pleasurable to drive than in Britain to be honest. And after 25 years of driving, I had never caused an accident, ever, anywhere.

Until now…

I approached a tricky crossroads after a trip to the supermarket with my mum. It was a stop junction for me. The traffic going left and right of me had priority, so I stopped completely. I looked at the traffic, waiting for a gap so I could drive across. It was clear, and at that moment, when you do those last checks, the adrenalin kicks in and you make the decision to go, I got it wrong.

I looked left instead of right, as I would in the UK, saw it was clear on the ‘wrong’ side and drove straight into someone. Everything went into slow motion. The car I hit spun around, thankfully I wasn’t going that fast. Even so, my poor mum whimpered with shock.

I then went into auto mode. All I could think of were the people I’d hit and getting my mum out of the car. I saw one gentleman emerge safely from the car I hit, rushed over and saw a lady in the car on her phone.

Now, I am lucky I speak French and fairly fluently. I immediately apologised and asked if anyone was hurt. No, no one was hurt. In fact the gentleman was extremely calm. He affirmed how bad the junction is in terms of visibility and wasn’t surprised it happened.

Many helpful passers-by called the police, who eventually arrived. A kind gentleman got his warning triangle (mine was stuck in the car, under a pile of garden furniture we had just purchased) and directed traffic until they arrived.

Ladies appeared from the warehouse on the corner with water and urged us to stay out of the hot sun.

Post accident bureaucracy

“There is a set form you must complete at the scene in France, so when the police arrived, secured the road and ensured we weren’t injured, we started on those.

I had a copy in English and, in spite of my good French, this gave me the peace of mind that I was signing a document I fully understood.

Even though it took a good 2 hours to sort at the scene, it seemed like no time at all. My emotions were all over the place. I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt for damaging their car and ours.

We’ve had our car since new, even gave her a name (don’t do that, it just makes it harder).

My car was taken to a nearby garage where I was able to finish my calls with the insurance company. When everyone had everything they needed to progress the vehicle destruction certificate – it was a complete write-off, the floodgates opened. The team at the garage had seen it all before and worse.

On the wall were pictures of accidents much worse than mine caused by drunk drivers. Luckily we had the right insurance cover and breakdown protection, which included repatriation.

We were able to get on a flight home (the kids were happy there was no 10 hour drive, even though we had been planning to break it up with a trip to Disneyland Paris).

Looking back, I can only think how much worse the accident could have been. Only one other car was involved at a busy crossroads and no one was injured. Without any doubt it was a very tricky junction, with cars darting round a bend into it from one side.

But what hurts the most is my driver’s pride and the predictable insurance premiums.

Claire’s Accident Advice and Checklist

In the unlikely event you’re involved in a road traffic incident whilst on holiday abroad, here’s a handy checklist based on my experience.

Before you travel

1) Check your insurance and what you’re covered for abroad, including breakdown recovery.

2) Check you have all the required forms (in France there are standard accident forms to complete at the scene and get signed by the other parties and the police).

3) Compile a list of all the telephone numbers to ring from the country in which you are driving, if your insurance company hasn’t done this for you.

4) Keep them in the car. You will thank yourself if you need them later!

5) Also take your V5C with you. If your insurance company’s appointed agents declare the car a write-off, they need to see this. In fact I learned that in France you’re expected to have it with you in any case.

At the scene

6) Firstly try to remain calm. I know that’s easier said than done but think about the endgame: getting everyone to safety, calling the authorities and checking for injuries.

7) Before worrying about who was at fault, insurance details and form filling, take a moment to breathe and think carefully about what happened.

8) If you have a camera or smartphone with you, take photos of the scene and vehicles involved including number plates. This will help you later if there’s any disputes or questions. Your phone can also record the GPS location on the photographs, which could also be handy.

After an accident

9) Try and find a way to enjoy what’s left of your trip. Remember, these things do happen and we are only human, whether it was your fault or not. Find a distraction to take your mind off things, a day trip or meal out with your travelling companions.

10) When you’re back home, explore the possibility of having an advanced driving lesson from someone who specialises in confidence building courses to refresh your knowledge.

Accident Anxiety

If any member needs help coming to terms with a similar experience, which many of us do, ask FOXY Lady Drivers Club to introduce their stress-busting services, including details of Female Friendly Approved driving instructors near you.

And finally be sure to compare insurance premiums at renewal time. After 25 years of accident free driving it would be unfair for your premium to rise dramatically although it will rise for sure! Whether it was your fault or not.

Where accident repairs are needed in the UK, choose a FOXY Lady Approved garage.

Where a refresher driving lesson/course might help, choose a FOXY Lady Approved Instructor.

For 1:1 anxiety support, Club members are able to email FOXY Helpdesk.

How to be a FOXY Lady this Easter

easterWe all love our long Easter weekend which should mean the end of the winter hibernation.

To mark this occasion, here are our TOP TEN TIPS so FOXY Ladies can combine some ‘catch up’ chores with relaxation to make this a memorable Bank Holiday break for all the right reasons.

1. Read all those newspapers from the last week or two you haven’t had time to look at because life took over.

2. Call friends you promised to see in the New Year but haven’t got round to.

3. De-clutter your home, desk, garden, wardrobe AND your car.

4. If the weather allows, get out in the garden and tidy up ready for what might pass as summer. Or if you live in a flat, try planting a window box.

5. Go for a walk, clear your head and get back in touch with nature if you live in the country, or your urban surroundings if you’re in a town.

6. Visit somewhere close you’ve always been meaning to go to but never had the time…

7. If you’re able, visit the seaside and walk along the prom with an ice cream (or a hot chocolate depending on the weather)!

8. Treat yourself to a lie-in and don’t feel guilty (unless you have children, in which case, try some of the other ideas…).

9. Take time to read a book, see a movie, pick up a magazine – make a big pot of tea or a mug of steaming coffee perhaps; curling up on the sofa and enjoying what’s left of your Easter eggs on Bank Holiday Monday.

10. Check the oil level and windscreen wash in your car, tyre pressure and tread, and dates for your next service, MOT and insurance renewal. Then take it for a drive somewhere fun…

foxy_lady.mugFinally award yourself a pat on the back and, if there’s any time left this weekend, generally carry on enjoying being a FOXY Lady!

You’re in good company!

FOXY Lady Steph

PS: And if you aren’t an official FOXY Lady Driver yet, but have been meaning to join us for a while, here’s what we do and how easy it is to subscribe!

Bon Voyage, Bonnes Vacances

Claire and Kids
Claire and Kids

Are you dreaming of a French family holiday but hesitant about taking the car?

Claire from BrightonMums.com urges you to take the plunge, based on recent family motoring trips.

Here she shares her experiences and some tips on planning your holiday journey.

Don’t panic – just drive on the right

Driving on the right is nowhere near as daunting as it seems. Once you’re circulating within the flow of their traffic, everything starts to feel logical. If anything, deserted roundabouts are probably more of a problem, as there’s no other cars to follow!

Read our Driving in France mini-guide for a summary of the main differences between UK and French road rules.

I also found this comprehensive site about what to take and which rules to take note of.

The need for speed

Some parts of the French autoroute (motorway) have a 130mph speed limit (which I secretly LOVE). You may find local drivers go at real speed on the autoroute, they may even flash their headlights to warn you to move from the overtaking lane.

Don’t be intimidated, you haven’t done anything wrong but move over when safe and let them get on with it.



The French autoroute network is no more complicated than the UK to plan around. In fact, I would controversially suggest their signposts are often more logically sited and comprehensive, especially around cities.

France has always had an excellent network of signs for local attractions and landmarks (brown signs with white writing like ours), perfect for tourists.

Invest in an up-to-date road atlas if your GPS won’t work in France or goes wrong for some reason.

Roaming data for phones is mighty expensive too and although some service stations have WiFi it’s not a given.

Hot child in the city

If you fancy driving in Paris, give it a go but plan your route carefully in advance.

During August, when most Parisiennes leave the city, Paris operates a free parking scheme in some central locations. Look for blue dots on the parking ticket machines.

We parked near to Jardin de Luxembourg, a perfect base for exploring the city.

Don’t forget that Paris can get hot and muggy in summer, so when you find the heat gets to you, hop on a Bateaux Mouches along the river Seine to refresh and enjoy the views.

Look at junctions using satellite images to figure out which lane to be in going from one to the next. This will also help you spot roads with bus lanes.

Autoroute Glossary

Take a French phrasebook with you that has a good driving section in. However, here are a few regular words you’ll see on signs on the motorway, which may not be so obvious to figure out for English drivers.

Aire – rest stop usually with a picnic area
Autres directions – all other routes
Cedez le passage – give way
Interdit – forbidden eg interdit à toute circulation = no traffic permitted
Péage – toll
Rappel – reminder (of the speed limit usually)
Toutes directions – all routes this way
Sortie – exit
Véhicules lents – slow vehicle lane
Vous n’avez pas la priorité – You don’t have priority (usually at the junction)

Do you feel motivated to book that trip now?

Alors, on y va! That means ‘off you go…’ of course, and we hope you have a great time.

If you want the job done girls, DIY

95737768-the-independent-300x236New research out today questions the stereotypical image of men doing the pre-holiday vehicle checks before a long journey as 60% of women say they are more likely to be carrying out vehicle checks on their own motor rather than ask their husband or brother.

Now that’s fair enough when it’s their car of course but if it’s the family car, we hope he’s doing the shopping, packing and ironing instead. Not down at the pub…

The figures, from vehicle leasing firm OSV revealed single-again ladies are doing it for themselves as one in 4 (24%) said they learned to carry out the basic vehicle maintenance after a divorce or relationship split.

Commonsense tells us that the family car needs regular servicing plus tlc in between for worry-free motoring. And this message is clearly getting though as the simple routine checks that used to be ‘one for the boys’ are increasingly being undertaken by women.

This new evidence of females’ ever increasing repertoire of practical skills comes as the number of men confident of their practical skills, is in decline. Research carried out found that more than half of men surveyed are unable to jump start a car and a whopping 34% say they wouldn’t attempt to change a tyre.

A small percentage of men even admitted to asking a partner to check the oil levels for them (9%). Bless!

Over a third (34%) of women claim they could find the lever to open their car bonnet faster than their partner would be able to.

The most important thing you can do to reduce the risk of breakdown is to get your car serviced before you go on holiday of course. Over and above this, to keep worries at bay in the intervening months, women confirm they carry out the following eight regular checks.

+ Oil level checks
+ Tyre pressure checks
+ Water level checks
+ Screenwash checks
+ Regular windscreen damage checks
+ Tool kit checklist
+ Traction control
+ Bald tyre signs check

OSV spokesman Andrew Kirkley said: “Motor maintenance is no longer just a man’s domain with more women getting under the bonnet and having a go at checking oil and topping up the windscreen wipe. It comes as no surprise that as women are increasingly spending more on their motors, they want to learn skills that will potentially save them money.”

The most common answer among women when asked why they had undertaken to do their car checks was ‘it was the only way to get it done.’ Hear hear…

guestblogOSV is a professional vehicle leasing and supply firm established in 1997 and proud members of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association.