A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to fly out to the Canaries to spend New Year there. I flew from Gatwick Airport, although I live in the Midlands, as I was meeting other family members. I thought it was a good idea to drive myself and my young son (he was only 5 at the time) and book an airport parking firm to look after my car while I was away.
The drive down to Gatwick went without a hitch, it was early on a Saturday morning, no traffic and I have to say the parking company was very well organised and I felt quite confident that my beloved Audi would be looked after. The day was long, driving down to the airport, waiting for the flight, more than four hours on the plane and then over an hours transfer the other side. By the time we reached our destination, we definitely needed a holiday!
Returning to the UK
A week later we did the same in reverse, again all went to plan, until we arrived back in the UK, late because of delays, it was 1 o’clock in the morning. 1.00am with a 5 year old who couldn’t sleep on the flight, who I then had to carry through the airport while pulling cases. We had trouble finding the right pick up area so we could be taken to our car. We eventually reached the parking area in thick, freezing fog. We then had to walk from one end to the other of the facility to get to our car which was covered in ice.
I turned the engine on, hoping the car would heat up quickly so my son could settle down and get to sleep, he did thankfully - eventually!
I then had the drive home in what can only be described as dangerous weather conditions. The fog was so thick I could barely see 10 feet in front of me, the ice was literally building up on my wing mirrors. It was the middle of the night on the M40, on my own with my precious boy, in very difficult driving conditions.
I made the promise to myself that day that I would never self drive to the airport again. When I booked the trip, I was more worried about my car being safe. In reality, my concern should have been for mine and my child’s safety.
Drive, or be driven - the considerations
That is just my personal experience with regard to the question of should you drive of be driven when you travel. Apart from the comfort and security of having someone trained to drive you, there are a few practical considerations as well.
We assume that driving ourselves is cheaper than being driven. This is not necessarily the case, once you have taken into account the cost of fuel and then airport parking, taking your own car may not be as economical as you think.
That has to be one our worst nightmares, the thought of breaking down on the way to the airport. The consequences of which we really don’t want to think about! If you choose to be driven, the company you book with will have alternative vehicles and drivers should there be a breakdown or delays due to traffic.
Travelling can be a stressful time, so why not make it easier and more comfortable. You can be dropped off and picked up easily from any UK airport without the hassle of transfers to car parking areas. Being driven means you can relax during that part of your journey. Many companies like The Chauffeur Group will provide WiFi in car so you can spend your time productively or keep your family entertained.
We have seen the road signs ‘Tiredness Can Kill’. They are there for a reason and tiredness really is a travelling hazard we must avoid. Travelling for long periods of time, even if it is on a flight, coach or train, can be tiring. Don’t risk your life, take a rest if you need to, or let someone else drive you.
For me, safety has to come first when travelling alone (read our blog on female lone travellers here). Being driven by a respectable company provides that security, knowing that the drivers have been security checked and fully trained gives piece of mind that myself and my family are in safe hands.
Perhaps being made to feel important shouldn’t come on this list but there is nothing quite like feeling that you are being treated.
Booking an established chauffeur company to collect you and drop you off comes with an amount of prestige. The drivers are impeccably dressed, the cars are luxurious and you can, without guilt, be made to feel special.
Booking a chauffeur driven car may sound expensive. It really isn’t as expensive as you think.
For me, I wouldn’t travel any other way. The stress I felt that night on the way home from Gatwick scared me enough to never want to go through it again. Why would I, when I can let someone else take that stress, so I can start and end my journey feeling relaxed, safe and special.