Hiring Vehicles for Winter Conditions
If you plan to travel from resort to resort or simply do some exploring while you’re on your winter holiday, you’ll probably want to think about hiring a car to get around in, as public transport in traditional winter holiday resorts can’t always be relied upon.
If you’re not used to driving vehicles in snowy winter conditions and general bad weather, it might prove difficult for you to acclimatise.
Admittedly, most of the major ski and snow resorts will be pretty well organised when it comes to clearing snow and ice from roads and walkways, so don’t worry too much about the driving conditions once the snow has already fallen.
To avoid being caught out by bad weather and sudden snowy conditions, make sure that you carry a fully charged up mobile phone, torch complete with batteries, a first aid kit, and some warm blankets in the car when you’re off out exploring the new terrain. It’s also worth keeping a flask of warm drink and a few snacks to hand just in case you get stranded by inclement winter weather.
Hiring Your Vehicle – Book in AdvanceWhen you’re planning your trip, it’s wise to remember that weekend trips are very popular in some of the European resorts and so hiring vehicles can be quite difficult between Fridays to Sunday unless you do it well in advance. If you leave it too late you could end up with a vehicle you don’t really need (too big) or worse still, be unable to find one suitable for you and your party.
It’s also worth noting that over winter the Christmas and New Year period is an extremely popular and somewhat oversubscribed time to go away, and not only are the roads going to be full of people travelling to see family and friends, but the airports will be stacked full too.
For this reason, if you’re considering a winter break over the festive season, you should definitely book it well in advance to avoid disappointment. This is especially important it you are travelling to or from a popular, busy airport.
Hiring a Car in Winter – Things to Look Out for
- Remember that the motorway junctions and roads close to popular ski resorts are likely to be really congested, especially at popular times in the season, and some areas especially affected by the winter holiday rush are Lyon, Grenoble and Geneva.
- If at all possible, avoid hiring a car and driving in general over the peak times like the beginning and end of the school holidays or at weekends.
- In some regions when hiring a car (or driving your own) you must by law always carry and use snow chains in winter. Countries with this rule are currently Switzerland, France, Germany and Italy.)You can hire snow chains and tyres in most winter resorts, so you should ask for these when you are hiring your car. Some hire firms charge for this.
- Ask for a car with air conditioning when you’re hiring – it helps a lot when you have to de-mist and isn’t just for keeping cool in the summer.