Learn from the Experts: How to Avoid The Holiday Traffic Madness!
The French school holidays are about to enter their second week so we thought we’d share our tips on how to survive the traffic jams that plague the alpine roads every February.
When it comes to holidays, we all agree the French know what they’re doing. They get a 2 week half term in February and they split the country up into 3 different zones. Each zone taking a different 2 week period. This spreads the load evenly over the month-long holiday season. The downside is it means 4 Saturday transfer days of relatively heavy traffic. This affects everyone, including passengers on our bus transfers. This year the French School Holidays run from the 9th February 2019 – 9th March 2019.
BRING PLENTY OF FOOD AND WATER WITH YOU
Let’s start with the basics. Whether you’re on a shared ski transfer with Ben’s Bus, a private transfer or travelling in your own car, prepare for a longer-than-expected journey. Make sure you have enough food and water, especially if you are diabetic, and keep any medicines in your hand luggage.
It’s not unusual for an airport transfer to Tignes for instance, to take 5 or even 6 hours instead of the usual 3 & 1/2 hours. So bring a book, some games for the kids and lots of pre-downloaded videos to view on your device.
AVOID THE MOUNTAIN ROADS BETWEEN 8AM – 2PM
Plan your journey in advance. If you’re heading up to the resort, try to get to Grenoble or Albertville by 9am at the latest. Between 11am and 3pm the roads climbing the mountain can be moving at a snail’s pace. If you’re leaving the resort, try to do it before 07:30 or after 14:00. The worst hotspots are between Bourg St Maurice and Moutiers, the Rocade Sud ring road south of Grenoble and the Lyon and Chambery peages.
Booking a morning or evening flight will mean you can take an airport transfer that dodges the worst of the traffic. Ben’s Bus has lots of morning transfers to and from Grenoble Airport, Lyon Airport and Geneva Airport and we allow extra time when we know the traffic might be bad.
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE IS GOLD!
Book your ski transfer with a reputable and established company. Ben’s Bus has been working in the mountains for 13 years and works with local coach companies. Our drivers know the cheeky short cuts and how to avoid the bottle necks. Our coordinators consult traffic websites and traffic cameras and our drivers and reps report where the roads are congested.
Top Tip: Don’t rely completely on Sat-Nav as it might try to take you across mountain passes that are closed in the winter!
CHOOSE YOUR DATES WISELY
The easiest way to avoid the rush and the crowds is to take your ski holiday in January or March. You’ll also get cheaper deals on accommodation and the queues for the ski lifts will be much smaller. Plus, you’ll get that table at your favourite restaurant! This website is a good source of information about school holidays in France https://about-france.com/school-holidays.htm
The worst 2 weeks of the 2018 / 2019 ski season are the 16th – 23rd February and the 23rd February – 2nd March. During these weeks there are 2 zones in France on their holidays and many other European countries too.
Posted 13th February 2019
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