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Thursday 25 July 2024

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Getting to France from UK – Ferry, Train or Plane?

Getting to France by ferry

These days, the fact that there are so many low-cost airlines serving French airports from up and down the UK makes air travel to the continent something of a no-brainer. That is, until you start to iron out the actual specifics of each transport option at your disposal.

Ask any sample group of Brits what makes more sense and chances are very few will take the corner of the classic ferry crossing – even the faithful Channel Tunnel takes a backseat to air travel. Why? Well, primarily for the simple reason that planes tend to shoot across the water at a much faster speed than the average ferry. Top this off with agreeable fairs and you have what appears to be the only sensible way to travel, but as is the case with so many things in life, it’s not quite as black-and-white as it appears.

False Economy

In the first instance, it’s sensible to take a look at the real costs associated with both options. For example, when you pay to take a car over to the continent you pay a single fare for the car, its occupants and literally as much luggage as you want to take. By contrast, head over on the plane and you have to pay per person, add on the luggage fees and then pay to get to the airport in the first place. Assuming you’ll also be needing transport on the other end, car rental fees and general public transport costs can add up to a bill way in excess of the flight itself… certainly more than the ferry would have cost.

Quality Time

But, some may argue, going by plane saves you a ton of time on which a price cannot be put… or so you’d think. Admittedly, it takes a plane a couple of minutes at the very most to cross the channel, but how about the two hours you need to spend at the airport checking in, passing through security and hanging around? And the transport to the airport in the first place? And waiting for your bags on the other side? A ferry crossing may take around an hour if rounded-up, but this doesn’t come close to the three, four or five hours you’re realistically looking at to take a flight to France.

Freedom of Choice

If you want to leave things until the last minute or find you need to change your itinerary late on, chances are with an airline you’ll be looking at either a massive surcharge or an outright brick wall. With ferry and train crossings however things are much more flexible and prices don’t tend to rocket through the stratosphere in the days and weeks prior to each service departing. And as we all know how plans can change at the drop of a hat where families are concerned, locking into an airline booking doesn’t instil a great deal of peace of mind.

A Better Way to France… especially for families!

For families in the UK, holidays in France are an ideal place to take the children and enjoy everything on offer in France. The cross channel ferry provides a very attractive way to travel, especially for families as this graphic created by Brittany Ferries clearly shows.

Ferry to France vs Plane

Image source: Brittany Ferries – Ferry VS Plane to France

And the Winner Is?

Every mode of transport has its pros and cons, but when travelling the few miles from the UK to mainland Europe, there’s really not a great deal to gain by making things even more complicated and long-winded than they need to be. Or in other words, that classic ferry crossing or train service really does have more to offer than many would give credit for.

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