22 February 2010

Ferry port weather reports and forecast

Worried about sea sickness? Now you can check the current weather and the forecast for the next three days for most ferry ports in Britain.

These reports are provided to Drive-Alive by the Met Office and are updated throughout the day. Just visit our ferries' page and click through to your chosen ferry port and you'll see a summary of the weather including temperature and, most importantly, wind speed.

As a rough guide anything up to 12 mph should result in a smooth crossing. From 12 to 25 mph the ship will have some motion although most people will be unaffected. Up to 35 mph and you'll need to hold on while walking around and the ship's motion will be enough to cause sensitive individuals to feel queasy. From 35 to 45 mph the ship will be moving around noticeably, and sick bags will be in use! 45 and upwards the sea will be rough, walking will become difficult and if you're prone to sea sickness, make sure you take the tablets!

Remember that the wind at sea is always a few mph stronger than the shoreline strength. It's also worth bearing in mind that the sea takes a few hours to calm down after strong winds have passed.

17 February 2010

Low Emission Zones in Germany

If you have visited our page about Low Emission Zones you will know that many German cities require you to purchase and display a sticker. This proves that your vehicle meets the emission standards necessary for you to drive in the city in question.

Purchasing a sticker in advance of travel has always been the best option as it avoids searching for a sales point (usually garages) on arrival at the outskirts of towns. But pre-purchase has previously been difficult. Plenty of websites offered the sticker but the issue was that they required documentation and payment to be sent offline.

This has now changed. The Environmental Zone page of the Berlin City website allows you to simply type your registration details and scan and upload a copy of the vehicle registration document. The cost is only 6 euros which can be paid by credit card online.

More good news is that the sticker is valid anywhere in Germany and lasts throughout the life of the vehicle. So buy in advance and make sure you do not leave yourself open to the fine of 40 euros for not displaying the sticker.

14 February 2010

Pet travel between Ireland and France

Irish Ferries operate the ferry crossings between Rosslare and Cherbourg, and Rosslare and Roscoff in France. Irish Ferries are signed up to the Pet Passport Scheme which allows you to take your pet between Ireland and France provided you have visited the vet and obtained the necessary papers.

The good news for pet owners is that Irish Ferries has extended the scheme to cover the Rosslare to Roscoff ferry route, whereas previously it was only available on the Rosslare Cherbourg crossing.

Irish Ferries also provide a dedicated walking area (by arrangement on board) on the deck of the Oscar Wilde cruise ferry, so even your pet can enjoy the sea air.

More information about ferry routes between Ireland, France and the UK from Irish Ferries.

10 February 2010

Comparison of traffic accident fatalities

Some time ago we published some scary statistics of the likely cost of a car accident in different European countries.

We've now found a website where you can see the relative likelihood of having a fatal car crash, country by country, in relation to the number of cars in that country. There's also a chart of the number of road deaths per one billion vehicle kilometers. Not a very cheery subject, we admit, but you'll be pleased to hear that the UK does pretty well, as does most of western Europe, although Belgium needs to improve, and Slovenia is clearly somewhere to avoid!

At least you can make sure you avoid breaking local traffic laws by visiting the Drive-Alive pages about traffic laws in Europe.

9 February 2010

Fuel prices in Europe - updated

We've just updated the Drive-Alive chart of petrol and diesel prices throughout Europe. Since our last update about 6 weeks ago prices have been up and down, but generally we are seeing a rise of a few cents (we show the prices in Euros), roughly 4%.

The Netherlands is the most expensive country for petrol at about 1.50 euros per litre, with Latvia the cheapest at under 1 euro, followed by Spain and Greece at around 1.05 euros - could this be related to these three country's current financial woes?

Diesel is cheapest in Luxembourg and Lithuania at around 0.90 euros per litre whilst France leads with the most expensive diesel at around 1.36 euros per litre.

5 February 2010

Motorway tolls in Slovenia

Thanks to a correspondent for telling us that it is now necessary to purchase a vignette (windscreen sticker) in order to use motorways in Slovenia. The cost for a car is currently 15 euros for one week, 30 euros for a month or 95 for a year. Here is the official website for information on motorway tolls in Slovenia.

If you drive on Slovenian motorways without a vignette you will be liable to a fine of between 300 and 800 euros - not nice!

Slovenia is becoming more popular as a holiday destination, and more and more people are opting to drive there and avoid the limitations, hidden charges and airport stress associated with flying. If you are driving to Croatia you will need to pass through that small part of Slovenia just to the South-East of Trieste. It is possible to do this on non-motorway roads, although the region is mountainous and the motorway makes the drive easier and quicker. Buy an up-to-date Michelin map and make your own decision.

Here is a comprehensive list of places where you can buy vignettes in Slovenia, and on this page is also a list of retailers in Italy, Germany and Austria, so you can get a sticker before you even arrive in Slovenia.

2 February 2010

Irish Ferries now on Drive-Alive - ferries between the UK, Ireland and France

Drive-Alive has just announced a new partnership with Irish Ferries. We can now offer you information and links to book all the Irish Ferries' crossings.

They have two ferry routes between Wales and Ireland, and two ferry crossings between Ireland and France. From Holyhead in North Wales Irish Ferries sail to Dublin port, while the other three sailings all go to and from Rosslare in South East Ireland to the following destinations: Pembroke in South Wales, Cherbourg in Normandy and Roscoff in Brittany. The Rosslare Roscoff ferry is a summer-only service, while the others operate all year (except over Christmas).

So visit the Drive-Alive website to check out ferry crossings to and from Ireland with both Irish Ferries and Stena Line.

Irish Ferries routes, ships prices, and bookings.

Stena Line Ferries to Ireland - routes, ships, prices and bookings.