LeShuttle or flights to Europe?

  • Things to do
  • France
  • 6 min read
LeShuttle or flights to Europe?

Driving or flying to Europe, that is the question. How does LeShuttle compare to flights and car hire? Which is safer, more comfortable, and greener?

One of the perks of travelling to Europe is there’s so much to see and do right on your doorstep. However you get there your trip is bound to be exciting. Whether you are considering driving or flying, our guide can help you plan your next journey.

Over recent years, many people have preferred driving to flying to Europe because of the risk of Covid-19. There is no doubt that travelling via LeShuttle offers a more contactless way of travelling than flying, with less need to mix with other people.

As we are now travelling in a post-Covid world, perhaps the time is right to compare the merits, features and costs of driving or flying to Europe. 

Driving to Europe vs flying to Europe

LeShuttle gives you the chance to see and explore Europe from the comfort and safety of your own car. As a train service, we carry freight and all other forms of vehicle, including cars, motorbikes, campervans, caravans, coaches, and lorries. Our services from Folkestone take just 35 minutes to arrive in Calais and travelling in your vehicle means that you can start your holiday from the moment you arrive without having to worry about any transfers.

Transport driving on the highway of Europe

What to expect when flying

There are multiple UK and European airlines which offer direct flights to different locations. Most of the major European cities have airports which are easily accessible, and depending on the nature, destination and length of trip, flying can be a good option.

However, there can often be additional costs and complications, like renting a car, which might mean flying is less cost effective for your break. You are also unable to set the pace of your journey as you can with driving your own car to your destination.


There are multiple budget airlines across Europe, and depending on the time of year, there are often good deals on flights. If you’re short on time, or have no need of a car while you’re away, flying can be a great option. However, if you are looking at the cost of flights it’s important to remember the additional costs of airport transport, baggage, flight taxes and travel time.


Every airline has a different policy when it comes to baggage, but no matter which airline you choose flying to Europe, you’ll encounter weight restrictions and the possibility of large fees for your luggage.


Most flights to Europe are relatively short, so if you’re pushed for time then flying can save you valuable holiday time. However, there’s always the possibility of encountering delays, queues and security checks which can leave you stuck in the airport longer than you would like.


If you’re planning on visiting one destination in Europe, air travel gives you the chance to arrive and explore the local area to its fullest. However, unless you’re planning on renting a car, the activities you’ll have access to may be limited by public transport.

Pet Travel

Most airlines do allow passengers to travel with pets, but the rules have changed since the UK left the EU. If you are travelling from the UK to the EU, you will need an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) instead of your old EU pet passport. If you are travelling as an EU resident to the UK, your current documents are still valid. 

Taking your pet on a plane is often very expensive. Animals of a certain size and weight are allowed in the cabin on some airlines. However, larger animals will be confined to the cargo hold for the duration of your flight to Europe, which can be stressful for both you and your pet.

Environmental impact

Research has shown that flying does more damage to the environment than train travel.

In an effort to increase the use of its railway network, and to reduce carbon emissions, the French government has announced a ban on flights from Paris to three other cities in France. It will soon no longer be possible to fly from Paris Orly airport to Bordeaux, Lyon and Nantes. These destinations were chosen because they were already served by train journeys taking less than 2 ½ hours. It is widely expected that more short-haul internal flights will be banned over the coming years.

Benefits of driving to the continent

Avoid expensive flight and car hire costs 

The cost of flights and car hire have risen significantly in recent years. Prices at LeShuttle have stayed relatively stable and for a family represents a much cheaper way to travel to Europe than a combination of flying and car hire.


black car inside Eurotunnel Le Shuttle train

Avoid expensive flight and car hire costs

Finding the cheapest way to go abroad has been made trickier because of the pandemic. The cost of flights and car hire have risen significantly. 

Prices at LeShuttle have stayed relatively stable and for a family represents a much cheaper way to travel to Europe than a combination of flying and car hire.

How much baggage can you take on LeShuttle?

For anyone who is a self-confessed over packer, driving to Europe may be the best option for you. We have no baggage restrictions on our services, meaning that your packing won’t be dictated by weight restrictions and you're allowed to pack as much as your car can hold.


Being behind the wheel of your own car means you’re totally free to travel at your own pace and make stops as and when you need to. The convenience of driving means you can make the most of your trip and create an itinerary to visit a few places, on the way to your destination. When flying to Europe, you may have to consider transfers and connecting flights, which if delayed can add considerable time to your journey.

Family activities in Holland’s Countryside

Can you get to explore more with LeShuttle? 

No matter your final destination, driving to Europe gives you the chance to maximise your trip, visit different places, and explore on your journey. If you’re thinking of travelling through France, get some ideas on the best road trips to take, from the ultimate south of France road trip to negotiating your way around Paris.

If you’ve set your sights further afield, once you disembark at Calais, countries like Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands are only a few hours drive away and many of the routes take you across some of Europe’s most stunning countryside.

Pet Travel

Travelling with LeShuttle means you can bring pets on your next trip for an additional cost (applicable for dogs, cats & ferrets and not charged to assistance dogs). You can all stay together in the comfort of your own car, and we also have dedicated exercise areas and complimentary poop bags.

Dog sitting in car boot with luggage

So, why should you choose LeShuttle over flying?

Whether driving or flying, travelling to Europe is exciting.

However, if you want to create a trip which is unique and offers you the chance to explore more of the continent in one go and at your own pace, driving to Europe is an option you should consider. It represents excellent value compared to the costs of flying and car hire, and has a lower carbon footprint.

For travellers with health or safety concerns, LeShuttle offers a drive-through check-in and passport control procedure, so your family can stay within your vehicle throughout your time at our terminals and during the crossing.

Book your trip to Europe with LeShuttle

Europe has so much to offer visitors, and so much of it easily accessible by car. Why not start planning your next adventure with LeShuttle now?

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