Fly & Drive: ¿how to travel unattached?
THESE TOURS CAME INTO BEING FOR ADVENTURERS, COUPLES, FAMILIES AND GROUPS OF FRIENDS SEEKING TO UNRAVEL NEW DESTINATIONS TOGETHER, EVEN THOUGH IF THAT MEANS GOING THE EXTRA MILE
BY: YISELL RODRÍGUEZ MILÁN FOTOS: EXCELENCIAS ARCHIVES
You will read or Google it, because the term Fly & Drive is not as common as it seems, although its literal meaning "fly" and "drive", referring to adventure, adrenaline and high doses of freedom precious for those seeking to break away from the humdrum of everyday life, the rigidity of work schedules and the traditional style of vacationing under a pre-established program of activities, without many options for the spontaneous tripper. It will be then when you will discover the essence of Fly & Drive, the new circuits booming in Europe as they combine flights and car trips in which the traveler drives himself, moving freely between destinations of all kinds without the constant presence of guides or other tour companions to whom the times, schedules and sites to be visited must also be subordinated. Also known as "self-routes", "self-guided travel" or "travel on your own", this tourist modality is not so well known yet, but nobody can say that the number of intrepid people in the world is so high, right? Fly & Drive was born for the adventurous, for couples, families and groups of friends looking to discover new destinations together, even if that means the extra effort of studying the route and some possible itineraries and accommodation. This is what experts recommend to avoid common situations in the sector such as lack of availability, especially where there is high demand or few hotels. Nobody wants the freedom of these trips to end in risks, loss of time or money. The idea, on the contrary, is to live the experience to the fullest under our own laws and rhythms. Agencies dedicated to organizing this type of tours usually book flights to and from the destination country or region, transfers from the airport to the hotel and vice versa, possible accommodations and the rental car. The itinerary is agreed with the client, who varies dates, airlines, nights, stops and overnight stays. For the benefit of clients inexperienced in this modality, some companies dedicated to the management of these trips explain in advance that Fly & Drive does not work well with travelers who expect organized, guided tours... and perfect. Fly & Drive is for those who want to choose on the fly what to see, how, when and where, which can also be complex given that in some countries roads drive on the left instead of the right or the other way around, the condition of the roads is not always optimal, there may be a lack of signage and the language barrier may be present. A GOOD CAR IS A MUST Although there are not many agencies that provide this type of services, opinions of travelers are available on the Internet, offering useful advice to people who, like them, have opted for this type of tourism. In the case of cars, it is recommended not to choose long mileage routes (unless that is exactly what you are looking for) to avoid extreme fatigue that will not let you enjoy the places well. The most advisable is not to drive more than three hours a day. Regarding car models, they clarify that it depends on the nations. Many of them use comfortable cars with several seats, such as Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta, Opel Corsa, Renault Clio, Peugeot 208, useful for two or three adults with little luggage. They also opt for mid-range vehicles such as Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, Opel Astra, Renault Megane, Peugeot 308... for up to four adults. For families with children, the agency Viajesautos recommends European full-size cars and small sedans such as Volkswagen Jetta, Ford Mondeo, or Skoda Octavia. It is important that travelers carry the necessary documentation, such as a valid national driver's license, valid for at least one year. Sometimes the authorities of different countries require an international driving license, or a minimum of two years old. Photocopies, faxes or expired licenses are not valid. Regarding car rental agencies, the contract usually includes basic coverage, but additional coverage can be requested, as well as extra services (GPS navigator, child seats/booster seats, luggage boxes, winter kits, etc.). Other travelers recommend observing the general condition of the car before accepting it and checking the fuel level to avoid surcharges by returning it with the same amount of fuel. IN CASE YOU'D BE YOUR OWN GUIDE Since you will not be accompanied by a specialized guide, those who opt for a Fly & Drive trip should prepare themselves with information about their route and the final destination. In case of emergency, agencies usually have a 24-hour assistance service. Although it is also advisable to have GPS applications and a paper map installed on your cell phone in case you run out of batteries. As the Fly & Drive has so much freedom, it is possible that it also generates expenses that go beyond what the tourist package offers. Keep in mind that you must pay for car fuel, tolls, entrance fees to cultural sites, lunches and meals, and hotel parking.