Preparing your summer holidays in Covid-19 times

Driving on the Autoroute du Mont Blanc. Les Houches- Photo: The-Ski-Guru. Preparing your summer holidays in Covid-19 times.

Preparing your summer holidays in Covid-19 times

Looking to go away from home now that restrictions are starting to relax? I have been pretty ok and cannot complain as it was not hard for us as a family. I cannot imagine what this was like for those living alone, and for those loosing loved ones. What if you fancy going away for a summer holiday in these times? Well, you need to start preparing your summer holidays in Covid-19 times. Part of it is to get ready for life in the outdoors.

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Walking towards the base of the Dolonne lift in Courmayeur Mont Blanc. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. All the trouble to go on holidays is worth it if you have this at the end of the tunnel! Preparing your summer holidays in Covid-19 times.
Walking towards the base of the Dolonne lift in Courmayeur Mont Blanc. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. All the trouble to go on holidays is worth it if you have this at the end of the tunnel! Preparing your summer holidays in Covid-19 times.

 

I am looking forward to return to my home in the Italian Alps, near the Monte Bianco. Right now my home has guests until before we arrive. We have booked our crossing on the Eurotunnel, which is perfect as you don’t need to come out of the car for the crossing. I would try to go to the toilet before going on the train, as toilets there usually are horrible.
 
I heard on the radio a lady taxi driver saying that she got used to drive with a bucket now that toilets are closed. It is something I will have to consider for our trip. Toilets in open aires in France are not the nicest. Motorway stops have not opened yet its toilets. I guess this might change in July, but a good bucket and wipes can help! Plus bags to dispose any used wipes or any number twos… It is as if we are all dogs now. We always carry bags as we have a pooch travelling with us! We had one trip that we’ve forgot to bring bags. I only have a pair on the lead, but I was desperate going to shops for dogs poo bags…
Going in our ride from GVA to Courmayeur. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. Preparing your summer holidays in Covid-19 times.
Going in our ride from GVA to Courmayeur. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. Preparing your summer holidays in Covid-19 times.
 
We have to take advantage that we can still travel with our pooch without having to do lots of bureaucracy. After December 31st, coming Brexit a reality, all will be more complicated. That is something I will have to start getting worried in September. But who knows? We could be all back in lockdown, so no need to plan so much ahead…I hope this is not the case!
 
We always stop in our way in France (in our favourite Ibis Styles in Chaumont Centre Gare) to break the trip in two. We will have to see if quarantine is still imposed in France. I have read that if driving through France to go to Italy or Switzerland, then you don’t have to quarantine. I have also read that France will not impose the quarantine so much as Britain. But I don’t have clear if we drive through France and stay overnight, if that changes the equation. If not, we’ll have to turn off in Metz towards Karlsrühe in Germany and sleep there for the night… I will wait and see on that one!
Blossoms - next to the Sennhütte above St. Anton am Arlberg tourists in the summer months marvel at the largest edelweiss in the Alps Photo credit: TVB St. Anton am Arlberg Preparing your summer holidays in Covid-19 times.
Blossoms – next to the Sennhütte above St. Anton am Arlberg tourists in the summer months marvel at the largest edelweiss in the Alps Photo credit: TVB St. Anton am Arlberg Preparing your summer holidays in Covid-19 times.Photo credit: TVB St. Anton am Arlberg
 
If this is the case, then we would go through Switzerland. Remember that you need the vignette to drive through Switzerland motorways. If stopped without one police could fine you. You can buy it online before your trip here.

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Comparing the Maps of the Alps.

Comparing the Maps of the Alps.Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse. Unsplash.

Comparing the Maps of the Alps.

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Now that the weather is nicer, maybe it is time to plan your next mountain adventure. You can sit in your garden, enjoying the sunny days we are having (at least in Britain) during this Covid19 epidemic and start taking your time, as a hobby, of thinking where your next road trip will be.

For me, it will always be to a mountain, and it will mostly be by car. Unless I travel to America (both North and South), I prefer, if possible, to take the car as driving to the mountains, is part of the trip.

Comparing the Maps of the Alps. Photo by Daniel Gonzalez. Unsplash.
Comparing the Maps of the Alps. Photo by Daniel Gonzalez. Unsplash.

So, I always like opening some maps and guides and see what I want to do. I just measure with my fingers the driving we’ll do as a family on one day- actually, the driving my husband will do, as for me it is too traumatising to change sides of the road again. I did it once from Argentina to the UK and I still have to think each time I drive, which side of the road I have to get in, and what side of the car I have to mount to! But I am a great co-pilot, and enjoy the planning of the trip, as much as the guiding.

Here is a selection of maps, many of which I have already bought- (you cannot ever have enough maps, right?) I might not spend too much in shoes, but I do like my maps, and some travel guides as well!

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The Half Term Family Ski Holiday that did not result as planned

My youngest son at Maison Vielle- with the majestic Mont Blanc behind. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. The Half Term Family Ski Holiday that did not result as planned.

The Half Term Family Ski Holiday that did not result as planned

Our Family Half Term ski holiday is always decided one year in advance. Pretty much we always go to the Aosta Valley, as my youngest boy does not want to change location. I see it with my family, and I’ve seen it with many people over the years (even with myself when I’ve started skiing while much younger!)

You go to one resort, you get familiarised with it, and you don’t want to change! All is easy, and just changing to another resort, makes it too challenging. I see it as using an old pair of jeans, that you don’t want to change for something else!

So, we were set to leave the Friday before the half term- as my husband is the sole driver (for me it was too difficult changing sides of the road when I’ve moved from Argentina to the UK, that I daren’t do it again!)

Getting up early pays off - usually. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. The Half Term Family Ski Holiday that did not result as planned.
Getting up early pays off – usually. Photo: The-Ski-Guru. The Half Term Family Ski Holiday that did not result as planned.

Our car has been acting funny since September, when the Turbo went off. Then it started revving between 2nd and 3rd gears and we’ve took it twice to the mechanics. The first time we were said it was solved, but it was not, and I’ve took the car back in the garage two weeks before leaving. I did not have the car until the Wednesday of the week we were leaving – we were leaving at 4 AM on the Friday of that week and I was already very nervous about it and seeing if we could rent a car in the UK to cross to the continent.

Apparently, you can do so with Hertz and Avis, but obviously these cars do not bring roof rack, nor winter tyres or chains. So, I was budgeting all that just in case. My husband was saying that if we did not have our car back, we were staying and cancelling the trip, and my kids and me were completely distraught at the thought of it.

The car came out off the garage so then we were going to be ready to go. The night after taking our dog to some friends to look after him, my husband told me that the revving was still there, but that I should not worry. He was sure that this was not going to be anything.

Off we went with our skis, helmets, ski boots, all the paraphernalia you take when you go skiing. We set out in good time and at the Eurotunnel we were given a crossing one hour earlier, so we had time only to go to the bathroom and pick up some coffee and croissants to eat in the car.

We had a very good driving. Last year there was snow from home all the way to Folkestone and from Calais all the way to Italy. This time all the roads were clean, and the weather was beautiful, pretty warm too. This was not the best snow year for the Alps – (Austria and Eastern Switzerland got lots of snow, as well as other Eastern European countries like Romania), but for France, Italy and Western Switzerland the snow was ok, but just.

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Winter tyres laws when driving to the mountains in Europe and North America

Driving to the mountains on route nationale through France- Photo: The-Ski-Guru. Self-drive skiers need to plan now for Brexit.

When driving to the mountains, it is important to know the laws about carrying winter tyres and snow chains. Not all countries and states or provinces oblige you to wear them. I would suggest you to check before you travel. Even if there were no law for using snow tyres, I would at least recommend taking snow chains, because if you are caught in a big snowstorm, you will need them. If you can buy at least second hand winter tyres, do so. It is an investment, more if you are going to drive to the mountains each ski season.

Also, if renting a car, don’t assume the car will come with snow tyres, even if going to countries full of mountains everywhere, remember to request them when booking your car rental, and also reserve snow chains.

Driving to the mountains- check if you need to have snow tyres and snow chains. Photo Jeffrey Wegrzyn- Unsplash. Winter tyres, snow chains. Driving to the mountains
Driving to the mountains- check if you need to have winter tyres and snow chains. Photo Jeffrey Wegrzyn- Unsplash.

Here is a summary of where snow tyres are mandatory – please you need to do your own search, as this is not by any means 100% accurate- we cannot be held responsible for you deciding not to take winter tyres! Do your own homework!

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