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Road Trips in Europe - June 2012

The most popular destinations for a road trip are France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. Europe’s network of fast motorways make it easy to get around, but road trippers, whether they are following an itinerary designed by a tour company or travelling independently, favour secondary roads and the dozens of designated tourist routes around the continent.

Travelling by road is becoming less hazardous. European Commission (EC) figures show that fatalities on European highways are dropping, due to better road maintenance and safety features such as the use of daytime running lights (mandatory in all new cars after February 2011). In 2006, the seat-belt law was modified to include lorries, coaches and long-distance buses.

Although Europe has good public transport systems, the car is king. EC figures show that in 2009 (the most recent year available), the number of cars registered within the EU-27 totalled 236.1 million, representing one vehicle for almost half of Europe’s population. Road trips are not, however, confined to travelling by cars. Holidaymakers (both domestic and international) explore Europe’s highways and byways in a variety of vehicles, from motorbikes to caravans.

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

    • Data Sources

      • An Overview of the Road Trip: Then and Now

        • The early beginnings
          • The road trip in modern culture
            • Motivations for taking a road trip
            • Market Factors Affecting European Road Trips

              • Volatile oil prices
                • The cost of petrol and travel decisions
                  • Figure 1: Fuel prices in Europe in 10 selected countries, December 2011 and April 2012
                • Domestic travel
                  • Free time and short breaks
                    • Leave entitlement
                      • Short breaks
                      • Demographics of the Road Tripper

                        • Europe’s ageing population
                          • Figure 2: Projected percentages for the over-65 population in key European source markets for international tourism, 2010-30
                        • Road-trip luxury
                          • Car ownership in Europe
                            • Figure 3: Total registered passenger cars by selected countries, 2009*
                        • Leading Road-trip Destinations in Europe

                            • France
                              • Tourist arrivals
                                • Figure 4: International tourist arrivals in France, by country/region of residence, 2007-10
                              • Road arrivals
                                • Germany
                                  • Tourist arrivals
                                    • Figure 5: Tourist arrivals in Germany, registered accommodation establishments, 2008-12
                                  • Road arrivals
                                    • Italy
                                      • Tourist arrivals
                                        • Figure 6: International tourist arrivals in Italy, 2006-10
                                      • Road arrivals
                                        • Spain
                                          • Tourist arrivals
                                            • Figure 7: International tourist arrivals in Spain, 2006-11
                                          • Road arrivals
                                            • UK
                                              • Tourist arrivals
                                                • Figure 8: International tourist arrivals in the UK, 2007-11
                                              • Road arrivals
                                                • Tourist routes
                                                  • France
                                                    • Germany
                                                      • Attractions for car buffs
                                                        • The ultimate European road trip
                                                          • Italy
                                                            • Spain
                                                              • UK
                                                                • Traffic-free Scotland
                                                                • European Highways and Rules of the Road

                                                                    • Figure 9: Road networks in selected European countries, 2010
                                                                  • France
                                                                    • Germany
                                                                      • Italy
                                                                        • Spain
                                                                          • UK
                                                                            • Fatalities on European roads
                                                                              • Figure 10: Road fatalities in the principal European destinations for driving holidays, 2006-10
                                                                            • What has made driving safer?
                                                                            • Car-rental Companies

                                                                                • Figure 11: Car-hire price comparisons with airport pickups in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, June 2012
                                                                              • The need to book ahead
                                                                                • Recreational vehicles
                                                                                  • The UK caravan sector
                                                                                    • Motorhomes gaining ground in Europe
                                                                                      • Figure 12: Registration of new caravans and motorhomes by selected European countries, 2010-11
                                                                                    • Older travellers enjoy caravanning
                                                                                      • Have wheels will travel
                                                                                      • Two-wheeler Road Trips

                                                                                          • Motorcycle clubs
                                                                                            • Motorcycle tours
                                                                                              • Extra Mile Bike Tours
                                                                                                • Ride Motorcycle Tours
                                                                                                  • Horizon Motorcycle Tours
                                                                                                    • Pedal-powered road trips
                                                                                                      • EuroVelo
                                                                                                        • Who are the bike tourists?
                                                                                                          • Cycle holiday tours
                                                                                                            • Butterfield & Robinson
                                                                                                              • Headwater
                                                                                                                • Pedal England
                                                                                                                • What Next?

                                                                                                                  Road Trips in Europe - June 2012

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