To Toll or not to Toll....

Sep 20, 2011
9
0
Middlesbrough
Funster No
18,234
MH
Autohome Wildfire
Exp
Newbie
Heading to Ancona monday from Calais. I will be travelling after 8-10pm untill I hit my 500 mile mark. Thing is the toll route takes 20hours and covers 1313 miles, the none toll route takes 27 hours and covers 1359 miles. I am baffled at the time difference, any ideas folks? I'm thinking and aditional 7 hours drivong a 3 ltr motorhome could run into a lot of money. But the mile difference is staggering.... Help!!
 
Sep 26, 2013
2,217
1,524
Market Rasen
Funster No
28,295
MH
Self Build
Exp
Since 2003
Why are you baffled, the average speed on the toll roads is usually quite a bit higher than the non toll route. Don’t know your route but roundabouts and towns slow you down.
 
Oct 20, 2018
427
361
Teesside
Funster No
56,835
MH
C Class
Exp
Since 1990
Very simple really. On the tolls you are on a motorway so you can drive at a steady speed with few things to slow you down. Off the toll roads you have to navigate smaller roads with lower speed limits, towns and villages with even lower limits, roundabouts and traffic lights etc.

Not sure what you mean by the mile difference. 46 miles isn't much on that distance.
 
OP
B
Sep 20, 2011
9
0
Middlesbrough
Funster No
18,234
MH
Autohome Wildfire
Exp
Newbie
I should have said I am purposely traveling after 10pm untill 6am to avoid trafic. I am thinking this may be fine on the none toll roads as I wont be driving more that 55-60mph anyway. comments please.
 
Feb 7, 2012
1,009
653
Lancashire
Funster No
19,721
MH
It's perfect
Exp
Since 2012
In answer to your question...................if your point is to get to Ancona (and beyond ?) then it's toll roads without doubt.

Set the cruise control open a beer and put your feet up
 
Feb 7, 2012
1,009
653
Lancashire
Funster No
19,721
MH
It's perfect
Exp
Since 2012
And if driving at night I think even more important to avoid those constant villages and roundabouts.......................and all those Frenchmen who come out of the bars,set their cruise control and have another glass of wine
 
Aug 18, 2014
11,960
26,886
Spain
Funster No
32,898
MH
Granduca 49
Exp
just restarted after 30 year break
I should have said I am purposely traveling after 10pm untill 6am to avoid trafic. I am thinking this may be fine on the none toll roads as I wont be driving more that 55-60mph anyway. comments please.
Because when you choose the toll option it assumes you are driving at the maximum speed limit. That's why the 7 hour difference
 
Feb 9, 2008
2,917
2,644
SW Scotland
Funster No
1,453
MH
LP Coachbuilt
Exp
Since 2008 after caravanning for 20 years
Off the toll roads its roundabout after roundabout and no traveling at 55-60, it's a 50 limit now unless dualled.
 
May 31, 2015
4,946
6,907
Cornwall
Funster No
36,638
MH
Hymer B544
Exp
An expensive experience.. still..!
Because when you choose the toll option it assumes you are driving at the maximum speed limit. That's why the 7 hour difference
As Gus said, the toll route thinks you’ll be driving at 80-90kph and non toll it thinks your be doing 50kph....

I personally drive during the day on non tolls as I see the journey as part of my trip..👍🏼
 
Apr 13, 2012
4,022
11,111
Funster No
20,541
MH
Mobilvetta Euroyacht
Exp
1996, then break 'til 2011
I would only drive at night if I had to, just don't find it enjoyable....

If a route says 27 hours non toll I'd allow much more and I'd drive 6 hours a day tops, so 27 hours would be 4-5 days
 
Jan 12, 2016
152
451
harrogate
Funster No
41,210
MH
adria izola
Exp
since 2014
As DBK says take your time .
I like to think when I am in the motorhome driving , it is the start of a holiday , enjoy the sights and take it easy. I want to be relaxed , i do not set long distance targets, no night driving if possible , and because I am from Yorkshire try and avoid any tolls.
 
Apr 11, 2015
2,427
5,135
hull
Funster No
35,812
MH
CI Mizar garage
Exp
since 1988 with breaks until 2009
All I can say is in France, Millau Bridge 12 miles in total almost 30 Euros for a 4tonne 3.23M motorhome. only toll we used. we would not have used that amount of fuel, but were aware of some pretty hairy roadworks on the non toll road.
 
Jun 30, 2013
4,716
6,862
Cotes d'armor, France
Funster No
26,730
MH
Burstner Harmony TI 736 G
Exp
Since 1987
Heading to Ancona monday from Calais. I will be travelling after 8-10pm untill I hit my 500 mile mark. Thing is the toll route takes 20hours and covers 1313 miles, the none toll route takes 27 hours and covers 1359 miles. I am baffled at the time difference, any ideas folks? I'm thinking and aditional 7 hours drivong a 3 ltr motorhome could run into a lot of money. But the mile difference is staggering.... Help!!
You’d have to weigh up the cost of tolls over the extra mileage and time. Motorways are boring and useful only if you have to get somewhere fast.
I drove from Brittany a few months ago, to Carcassonne using toll roads, the cost (class3) was around €150.
If your heading for Italy, the toll costs through France will be similar.
Remember also, the toll route will assume you are travelling at or near the roads speed limits. Travelling slower will obviously take more time.
Non toll routes will also assume travelling at or near speed limits, but quite easy to do as traffic is far lighter than in the UK and you should be able to keep close to the speed limits.
 
Apr 27, 2008
7,997
5,337
Eastbourne East Sussex
Funster No
2,327
MH
A Class
Exp
Since 1972
In terms of fuel used, there are extra costs in using the toll roads. I find that at the higher speeds on toll roads the mpg drops by about 10%. The roundabouts on the non toll routes surprisingly do not increase fuel consumption significantly. The fuel effect of speed is down to the non aerodynamic shape of motorhomes. Fuel stations on toll roads are more expensive than the supermarket fuel stations you can use ln the non toll route.
In summary, the toll roads get you there sooner if thats important, but will cost dearly.
 
Last edited:
Sep 17, 2017
722
1,067
Birmingham, UK
Funster No
50,575
MH
Van conversion
Exp
2017
In France, there are good alternatives to the motorways. I was finding in Northern Italy that avoiding tolls took me on very long routes with much longer journey times. Plus you'll have crazy Italian scooter riders passing you on both sides because you aren't going 20km/h over the speed limit.
 
Aug 14, 2009
3,498
3,361
Cornwall
Funster No
7,967
MH
Low Profile
Exp
Jan.2014
You'll be lucky to average more than 40mph on single carriageway roads in France.
Just to add to the above, I can confirm, after several journeys where I have made the calculation our average, off Toll journeys through France, was 38mph.
 
Jul 5, 2013
7,344
5,503
Tunbridge Wells
Funster No
26,797
MH
A class
Exp
Since 2013
If you are heading for Ancona, the quickest, shortest and cheapest way is to blast through Belgium, Luxembourg and then France to Basle on the Swiss border. The blast through Switzerland costs some money at the border for the Vignette or over 3.5T pass, but is much cheaper than using more French tolls and the Frejus or Mont Blanc Tunnels. Pop into Italy at Como and it is then Italian motorways all the way, and almost in a straight line through the Po Valley after Milan! Italian motorways are much cheaper than in France, but they can be a bit rough in places.
 
Jun 25, 2019
49
132
North Notts
Funster No
61,904
MH
Hymer E700
Exp
Since 2016
This won’t help the OP as he’s hopefully already safely on his way, but I’ve been looking at the ViaMichelin website for route planning and costs.

You need to register, then choose your start and finishing point, then add your vehicle (there are some generic Fiat Ducato based motorhomes), then choose your route options (tolls, motorways etc.). This then gives you toll costs and guesstimated fuel costs. Adding the Caravan option might bring the journey times to more realistic levels, but also ups the toll cost.
 
May 22, 2015
494
427
Wem Shropshire
Funster No
36,507
MH
Carthago C tourer
Exp
Been campervanning since 2008
If you are heading for Ancona, the quickest, shortest and cheapest way is to blast through Belgium, Luxembourg and then France to Basle on the Swiss border. The blast through Switzerland costs some money at the border for the Vignette or over 3.5T pass, but is much cheaper than using more French tolls and the Frejus or Mont Blanc Tunnels. Pop into Italy at Como and it is then Italian motorways all the way, and almost in a straight line through the Po Valley after Milan! Italian motorways are much cheaper than in France, but they can be a bit rough in places.
This is the route I would take and avoid the Blanc.
 

ceejayt

LIFE MEMBER
Aug 12, 2015
914
863
Stamford Bridge - Yorkshire
Funster No
37,605
MH
RS Elysian A Class
Exp
Since 2004
Our rule is, enjoy the journey, it's part of the holiday.

Get up earlyish, arrive somewhere by lunchtime and park up - enjoy the local area and spend the night.

No night driving or tolls if at all possible,

We would take probably 5 days or more to do that 27 hour trip as we aren't going to drive that many hours per day but we will consume a lot more calories and see more of the country we visit.
 

TerryL

LIFE MEMBER
Mar 5, 2010
3,881
3,436
North East
Funster No
10,511
MH
Low Profile
Exp
2009
If you're time-critical, as are many non-retirees, the toll roads are probably the fastest way for you to go, if not the mosteconomical. Driving at night on toll roads is a doddle, I've done many many thousands of kilometres that way.
But we're fortunate now in that we have no time restraints. We get up when we're ready, drive non-toll until we've had enough then stop at as nice a place as we can find. We always have a rough route, preferably one we've not used before, and treat the drive as part of the trip. We only look at times when we're on the way home so that we can get the dogs worming done at the right time, and even that can be flexible given the 5 day window.
 
Feb 22, 2016
822
828
York
Funster No
41,744
MH
Bailey 620 Approach
Exp
Since 2015
On our first trip to Greece, we took the ferry from Ancona to Patras. We made the mistake of driving across the Po Valley on non-toll roads. After a long day of our fillings being shaken loose, we stopped the night at an aire at Fontellanata. There we spoke to some Dutch homers who advised us to make the remainder of the trip using toll roads. We took this good advice and enjoyed the rest of the trip to Ancona after enjoying a few days at a site near Ravenna. I'd toll in Italy.
 

GPW

Feb 23, 2019
537
715
Cambridge UK
Funster No
58,720
MH
Globescout Plus
Exp
Slight to minor!
the toll route takes 20hours and covers 1313 miles, the none toll route takes 27 hours and covers 1359 miles.
The time difference is baffling only that it is so small, the reality is that the smaller roads are a LOT slower, at least half the speed (= twice the time).

1. For every fast straight bit you are limited to 80kmh.
2. For every single village you need to get to 50kmh before you pass the village sign.
3. For every red traffic light you need to sit there for a while.

It's lovely if you want to do that, but if you have a goal 1300 miles away you'll hate it and the constant concentration on speed will tire you and the constant braking and accelations will use much more fuel than you expect.

The toll money isn't that cheap but you need to consider what you are buying for that:
1. No speeding fines: Guaranteed. A single €45 ticket pays for a lot of toll road.
2. Optimum fuel economy - set the cruise to your choice of speed
- you can even zoom down the hills of the valleys using gravity to help: no 80kmh speed
checks at the bottom of dips on a toll road! I got tired of braking and chugging at 75kmh
in a car, let alone a camper.
3. A range of Aires and restaurants
4. Some nice scenery to look at
5. No clutch, brake or gearbox wear
6. Relaxation

I used to hate paying tolls in France, but the french have managed to close most of their villages and shops, made their non toll roads very risky to drive on and improved the faciities on the toll roads themselves so sometimes it's easier to go with the flow.
 
Aug 18, 2014
11,960
26,886
Spain
Funster No
32,898
MH
Granduca 49
Exp
just restarted after 30 year break
The time difference is baffling only that it is so small, the reality is that the smaller roads are a LOT slower, at least half the speed (= twice the time).

1. For every fast straight bit you are limited to 80kmh.
2. For every single village you need to get to 50kmh before you pass the village sign.
3. For every red traffic light you need to sit there for a while.

It's lovely if you want to do that, but if you have a goal 1300 miles away you'll hate it and the constant concentration on speed will tire you and the constant braking and accelations will use much more fuel than you expect.

The toll money isn't that cheap but you need to consider what you are buying for that:
1. No speeding fines: Guaranteed. A single €45 ticket pays for a lot of toll road.
2. Optimum fuel economy - set the cruise to your choice of speed
- you can even zoom down the hills of the valleys using gravity to help: no 80kmh speed
checks at the bottom of dips on a toll road! I got tired of braking and chugging at 75kmh
in a car, let alone a camper.
3. A range of Aires and restaurants
4. Some nice scenery to look at
5. No clutch, brake or gearbox wear
6. Relaxation

I used to hate paying tolls in France, but the french have managed to close most of their villages and shops, made their non toll roads very risky to drive on and improved the faciities on the toll roads themselves so sometimes it's easier to go with the flow.
3) they must be new then as I've never seen any type of restaurant on a french toll road?
I've also never seen a decent cup of coffee or anything else as all out of machines. You also left out that not only are you paying extortionately for the privilege of using a toll road. You have to put up with the knobhead gendarmes staring at you at most toll barriers as though you are a terrorist.Pity they can't actually put some effort in to find the thieves on the toll roads.
Then you have the privilege of paying 30% + extra for filling up with fuel. Why have they also made many operate in the opposite direction to direction of travel?
Nothing worse than having to do a 180º to enter & fill , having deposited licence at the pay desk as they won't turn the pump on before, then having been f***ed about for ages you then have to do another 180º exit trying to cross all those entering.
 

GPW

Feb 23, 2019
537
715
Cambridge UK
Funster No
58,720
MH
Globescout Plus
Exp
Slight to minor!
3) they must be new then as I've never seen any type of restaurant on a french toll road?
I've also never seen a decent cup of coffee or anything else as all out of machines. You also left out that not only are you paying extortionately for the privilege of using a toll road. You have to put up with the knobhead gendarmes staring at you at most toll barriers as though you are a terrorist.Pity they can't actually put some effort in to find the thieves on the toll roads.
Then you have the privilege of paying 30% + extra for filling up with fuel. Why have they also made many operate in the opposite direction to direction of travel?
Nothing worse than having to do a 180º to enter & fill , having deposited licence at the pay desk as they won't turn the pump on before, then having been f***ed about for ages you then have to do another 180º exit trying to cross all those entering.
Welcome to modern France :)
The french under Macron have been making all the small roads unusable so it's becoming Hobson's choice.

I had a good meal in one of the aires and they all seemed clean and well looked after, the main thing for us however were that they were:
1) There
2) Open

which was more than I could say for the rest of France.
What thieves are you referring to?
I've not had an issue filling (a car anyway), so much so I can't even recall doing so but we must have done quite often!! My filler was on the RHS for that trip (German car!), whereas the van's is on the LHS.

The coffee was machines from most of them, but I had a stove so I made my own anyway.
Didn't notice any gendarmes at all.

The price of toll roads has to be compared to the cost of speeding fines: This is the modern cost of crossing France. Hobson's choice. When going east we have a choice of different countries, when going to Spain the option is the long ferry. France isn't in a good state/place right now, the toll is a type of 'French tax' currently.
 
SMC Motorhomes Newark
RoadPro
Johns Cross
Safeguard Motorhome Insurance
Rhino Installs
Friendly professional service from qualified technicians
Free Club Stickers
Dave Newell Leisure Vehicle Services
Top