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Old 22.01.2015, 22:21
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Driving from Bern to London(LHS vs. RHS)

Hi all,
My husband & I decided to that he would drive to London from Bern for our holiday road trips. Will there be any problem to drive around with a LHS driver seat car in London? Anyone with interesting experiences to share and tips? Thanks!
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Old 22.01.2015, 22:23
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Re: Driving from Bern to London(LHS vs. RHS)

no. just remember where on the road you should be.
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Old 22.01.2015, 22:26
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Re: Driving from Bern to London(LHS vs. RHS)

Hopefully the passenger is also a driver and can help with sighting for overtaking.
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Old 22.01.2015, 23:02
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Re: Driving from Bern to London(LHS vs. RHS)

No problem at all on motorways. As TiMow says, it becomes difficult if you get onto smaller roads and want to overtake.

I once drove over in a rented van to collect some furniture, and found that getting onto some of the bigger roundabouts (such as the ones you often get when coming off the motorway) was a real problem. The tapering of the slip road onto the roundabout, combined with the absence of rear windows in the van, meant that I really could not see far enough to my right and slightly behind to work out if the coast was clear.
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Old 22.01.2015, 23:05
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Re: Driving from Bern to London(LHS vs. RHS)

Generally fine the biggest challenge is going in and out of car parks with boom gate ticket machines. Make sure you have a passenger that can reach the machine
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Old 22.01.2015, 23:17
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Re: Driving from Bern to London(LHS vs. RHS)

we have done it many times from Belgium and no major problems except at dartford tunnel..can and car park machines..can be a hassle but they are normally kind and more interested in your :"story?"
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Old 23.01.2015, 01:07
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Re: Driving from Bern to London(LHS vs. RHS)

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we have done it many times from Belgium and no major problems except at dartford tunnel..can and car park machines..can be a hassle but they are normally kind and more interested in your :"story?"
The Dartford Tunnel no longer has payment booths. You need to buy your crossing by midnight of the day after you cross https://www.gov.uk/pay-dartford-crossing-charge
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Old 23.01.2015, 01:12
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Re: Driving from Bern to London(LHS vs. RHS)

When you start off in a quiet street, with no traffic moving, and you do not think, you can drive down the road on the wrong side!
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Old 23.01.2015, 01:33
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Re: Driving from Bern to London(LHS vs. RHS)

In nearly 15 yrs. here, I've been back about 3 or 4 times.
Even as a family of 4, it's worked out cheaper and easier to Easy Jet and get a renter, pre-booked, from the airport.

Going again, this summer, and the missus suggested driving this time, but, personally, I just don't see the need or advantage of having the hassle of a left-hooker over there, when you take the time and costs into account.
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Old 23.01.2015, 08:55
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Re: Driving from Bern to London(LHS vs. RHS)

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In nearly 15 yrs. here, I've been back about 3 or 4 times.
Even as a family of 4, it's worked out cheaper and easier to Easy Jet and get a renter, pre-booked, from the airport.

Going again, this summer, and the missus suggested driving this time, but, personally, I just don't see the need or advantage of having the hassle of a left-hooker over there, when you take the time and costs into account.
Really? How do you work that out?

Our costs out March 30th, back 10th April 2015:
Return ferry crossing £76 (CHF99.086)
Tolls 100 Euros (CHF99.562)
3 diesel top ups (last year's prices so probably cheaper now): total 202 Euros (CHF201.115)
Total: CHF400

Yours for a similar trip:
EasyJet flights (Geneva/Southend return) CHF238
Car hire for 11 days 3rd party insurance with additional driver CHF620
Total: CHF858
And that's not including getting to Geneva airport and back again.

By the time you've gotten to the various airports 1.5-2 hours early for check-in and the time for picking up/dropping off the car there's really not that much time difference as far as we could see - maybe a couple of hours tops on the door-to-door time. Plus you've got extra space in the car to bring stuff back with you if you want to.
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Old 23.01.2015, 09:01
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Re: Driving from Bern to London(LHS vs. RHS)

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Really? How do you work that out?

Our costs out March 30th, back 10th April 2015:
Return ferry crossing £76 (CHF99.086)
Tolls 100 Euros (CHF99.562)
3 diesel top ups (last year's prices so probably cheaper now): total 202 Euros (CHF201.115)
Total: CHF400

Yours for a similar trip:
EasyJet flights (Geneva/Southend return) CHF238
Car hire for 11 days 3rd party insurance with additional driver CHF620
Total: CHF858
And that's not including getting to Geneva airport and back again.

By the time you've gotten to the various airports 1.5-2 hours early for check-in and the time for picking up/dropping off the car there's really not that much time difference as far as we could see - maybe a couple of hours tops on the door-to-door time. Plus you've got extra space in the car to bring stuff back with you if you want to.
I'm sure Easy Jet to Southend does work out more than Gatwick; and no additional driver.

Maybe, not now the children are older, but previously there may have been the requirement for an overnighter, near Calais, as to the do the entire journey in one hit would have been a toughie ....... yeah, yeah - I know many do, with young kids, but I can loan you mine for your next trip ...."are we there yet?", fight, fight; niggle, niggle.

My fuel would be a fair bit more, too - 1.6, badly geared petrol engine would not be as economical.

...... and I love the idea of having no spare capacity to bring anything back - saves a fortune on the kids wanting to buy every piece of tat that they see.

Last edited by TiMow; 23.01.2015 at 09:22.
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Old 23.01.2015, 09:33
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Re: Driving from Bern to London(LHS vs. RHS)

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I'm sure Easy Jet to Southend does work out more than Gatwick;
More expensive actually - 318 against Southend at 238. And even with an overnighter thrown in, driving would still be cheaper I think. Fuel would probably be the deciding factor in the equation with petrol being more expensive than diesel in France. That was one of the reasons we got a diesel when we bought the latest car. Petrol version always needed a top up in France before we could reach Calais. With the diesel we fill up at Pontarliar instead of Vallorbe as we used to do and don't need to do it again until we reach the coast.
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Old 23.01.2015, 10:23
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Re: Driving from Bern to London(LHS vs. RHS)

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More expensive actually - 318 against Southend at 238. And even with an overnighter thrown in, driving would still be cheaper I think. Fuel would probably be the deciding factor in the equation with petrol being more expensive than diesel in France. That was one of the reasons we got a diesel when we bought the latest car. Petrol version always needed a top up in France before we could reach Calais. With the diesel we fill up at Pontarliar instead of Vallorbe as we used to do and don't need to do it again until we reach the coast.

Wear and tear on the car, additional maintainence.....If you count around Chf 0.50 per KM, excluding tolls and ferry crossings you are not so far off wrong.

The fisc allows Chf 0.50 per KM as a cost that can be deducted off your tax declaration for travel to work, and the fisc is not known for over estimation or giving presents.

EasyJet booked in advance and a rental is cheaper and quicker. You don't lose 2 days travelling, no hastles, no tiredness after driving for 10 hours, no stress with missed ferry boats, no very early starts to get cheaper ferries, car with steering wheel on right side...

On the down side, you are limited with what luggage you can take with you on airplane, but most of us at our ages have all we really want anyway !
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Old 23.01.2015, 10:38
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Re: Driving from Bern to London(LHS vs. RHS)

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More expensive actually - 318 against Southend at 238. And even with an overnighter thrown in, driving would still be cheaper I think. Fuel would probably be the deciding factor in the equation with petrol being more expensive than diesel in France. That was one of the reasons we got a diesel when we bought the latest car. Petrol version always needed a top up in France before we could reach Calais. With the diesel we fill up at Pontarliar instead of Vallorbe as we used to do and don't need to do it again until we reach the coast.
It's really not just a case of cost (and two overnighters would required), but also time and convenience.

For me, I just don't see the benefit of having to drive a left-hooker around for two weeks, and have to worry about where I park, etc.

When your motorway mileage is into 6 figures, sitting on the French Autoroutes for hours on end, somehow, doesn't seem appealing.
I've done two round trips from London on a bike, and because of smaller fuel capacity and lack of options for movement, more stops were required, and journey time was about 12/13 hrs. God, the autoroute was sooo boring. I would estimate same number of stops and we'd be unbearable in a box together, for that amount of time.

..... and what you wont be aware of, is that kids need more stops than adults - Europa Park is about the threshold distance ..... if I'm lucky, without a stop.

A journey made out of a few different stages, is much more bearable.
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Old 23.01.2015, 10:47
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Re: Driving from Bern to London(LHS vs. RHS)

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EasyJet booked in advance and a rental is cheaper and quicker. You don't lose 2 days travelling, no hastles, no tiredness after driving for 10 hours, no stress with missed ferry boats, no very early starts to get cheaper ferries, car with steering wheel on right side...
The flight is delayed - especially the return leg:

The kids are overtired but can't sleep as you move between check-in to passport control to security to the to the airport bus to the gate to the plane to the bus to the gate to security to baggage claim to the bus to the train to the bus to home.


The car rental desk is closed. They don't have the car you ordered. The child seats are dirty and inadequate. It's miles to walk to the pick-up point and it's pouring with rain. Everyone gets wet including all the luggage.
On the way back you drive around trying to find that open garage to top up the tank as requested......

Or:

We go by car - chuck the children in the car in their pyjamas very early and they sleep and one of us sleeps whilst the other drives.
We're at Calais early afternoon and the children can let off steam on the ferry before the final drive to our destination.

And driving with a left-hand car in the U.K.? Not a problem and much easier than trying to familarise yourself with all the controls of a rental you've never driven.
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Old 23.01.2015, 10:58
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Re: Driving from Bern to London(LHS vs. RHS)

Amen, Brother
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Old 23.01.2015, 11:04
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Re: Driving from Bern to London(LHS vs. RHS)

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The flight is delayed - especially the return leg:

The kids are overtired but can't sleep as you move between check-in to passport control to security to the to the airport bus to the gate to the plane to the bus to the gate to security to baggage claim to the bus to the train to the bus to home.


The car rental desk is closed. They don't have the car you ordered. The child seats are dirty and inadequate. It's miles to walk to the pick-up point and it's pouring with rain. Everyone gets wet including all the luggage.
On the way back you drive around trying to find that open garage to top up the tank as requested......

Or:

We go by car - chuck the children in the car in their pyjamas very early and they sleep and one of us sleeps whilst the other drives.
We're at Calais early afternoon and the children can let off steam on the ferry before the final drive to our destination.

And driving with a left-hand car in the U.K.? Not a problem and much easier than trying to familarise yourself with all the controls of a rental you've never driven.
1) Flight delays are far easier to cope with than traffic jams

2) Kids overtired...surely it's easier on kids flying than driving

3) Car rental desk closed...not if you have pre-arranged pickup, car seats dirty, this can be a problem but easily resolved with a small polite request to get their act together.

4) Miles to pick up point.....most UK airtports have shuttle buses to car rental depot

5) There is always a garage within close proximity to car rental place, it will be shown on sat nav (also on iphone maps...) prices tend to be a little higher to cater to the captive audience

6) Rental cars tend to be quite basic models and most controls are relatively standard now, it's not that complicated after all !
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Old 23.01.2015, 11:16
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Re: Driving from Bern to London(LHS vs. RHS)

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1) Flight delays are far easier to cope with than traffic jams

2) Kids overtired...surely it's easier on kids flying than driving

3) Car rental desk closed...not if you have pre-arranged pickup, car seats dirty, this can be a problem but easily resolved with a small polite request to get their act together.

4) Miles to pick up point.....most UK airtports have shuttle buses to car rental depot

5) There is always a garage within close proximity to car rental place, it will be shown on sat nav (also on iphone maps...) prices tend to be a little higher to cater to the captive audience

6) Rental cars tend to be quite basic models and most controls are relatively standard now, it's not that complicated after all !
Door to door it takes around 7-8hrs to fly "home" - which includes to the airport, arriving in time, checkin, flying, landing and walking 8 miles at Heathrow, passport, baggage, transfer to hire car, pick up hire car, drive to "home"

Door to door it take around 12 hours to drive "home" - which includes getting in car, driving halfway, getting fuel, driving to the port, getting fuel, checking in to the eurotunnel, tunnel under the sea, driving to "home"

Total cost for 2 people is about the same and for a weekend we'll do the former. But much longer and it tends to work out cheaper/easier/more convienient to take the car - and then combine it with a gourmet chateaux stop in France for a night away.

I also don't like flying (that much) too many other people - and I do like driving, even long distances and tend to have cars that are quite a bit better than your standard hire car.

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Old 23.01.2015, 11:16
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Re: Driving from Bern to London(LHS vs. RHS)

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Really? How do you work that out?

Our costs out March 30th, back 10th April 2015:
Return ferry crossing £76 (CHF99.086)
Tolls 100 Euros (CHF99.562)
3 diesel top ups (last year's prices so probably cheaper now): total 202 Euros (CHF201.115)
Total: CHF400

Yours for a similar trip:
EasyJet flights (Geneva/Southend return) CHF238
Car hire for 11 days 3rd party insurance with additional driver CHF620
Total: CHF858
And that's not including getting to Geneva airport and back again.

By the time you've gotten to the various airports 1.5-2 hours early for check-in and the time for picking up/dropping off the car there's really not that much time difference as far as we could see - maybe a couple of hours tops on the door-to-door time. Plus you've got extra space in the car to bring stuff back with you if you want to.
That's where you're going wrong. You can hire a small car (eg booked through kayak.com) for CHF12 per day. I just checked - these prices are available for an 11 day hire in February.

I've done this calculation many times, and the only reason for driving is if you need to bring a load of stuff. Otherwise it's easyJet every time.
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Old 23.01.2015, 11:19
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Re: Driving from Bern to London(LHS vs. RHS)

Plusses vs minuses of driving/flying - to each their own in every set of individual circumstances. (Mine are not used to driving anywhere so a bit of the "its a road trip" thrill helps the atmosphere, for an hour at least)

LHS is no problem to drive in UK (except ticket machines) I lived in UK 13 years and managed to never drive a RHS, or be involved in a mishap.
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