Football fans travelling to the Euro 2016 championships to support their national teams can save hundreds of pounds by pooling resources and travelling to matches in a shared car, according to new research by Post Office Travel Money.
The company found that four fans can get to all three of their team’s group matches in a car for less than the cost of a one-way flight for one person to each team’s first game – England: London-Marseilles from £250, Wales: Bristol-Bordeaux from £248 and Northern Ireland: Belfast-Nice from £234.
England fans will cover 1,800 miles and pay £220 a car or £55 per person if four of them travel together to group stage matches in a car using unleaded petrol.
This reduces to £47 per person (£189 per car) if they drive a diesel car.
Welsh supporters will drive 1,803 miles, costing them £55 per person in unleaded petrol or £48 per person (£222 or £193 per car) for diesel fuel.
Fans following the Northern Ireland team will have a total mileage of 1,833 miles and pay £57 per person for unleaded petrol or £50 per person for diesel fuel (£228 or £202 per car).
If the fairy tale becomes reality, as it did for Leicester City in this year’s race for the Premier League title, and any one of the three home teams progresses to the final at the Stade de France, Post Office Travel Money calculates the maximum drive for England fans will be 3,919 miles, costing them up to £479 on unleaded petrol – around £120 per person for four sharing – or £411 on diesel fuel – under £103 per person.
If they reach the final, Welsh supporters will travel a maximum of 4,124 miles. This will cost those who drive unleaded cars £507 (around £127 each) or £441 (£110 per person) in diesel fuel.
Despite a long drive this side of the channel, supporters of the Northern Ireland team will have fewer miles to drive than the Welsh because of match locations. The potential maximum of 4,027 miles will cost those using unleaded petrol £500 (£125 each). However, costs are slightly higher for diesel drivers (£445/around £111 each) owing to the longer journey to and from Dover. This is because diesel costs are higher in England than in France.
The fastest way to get to matches is on a motorway but there are hefty toll charges on many of these – so trunk roads will be the budget alternative. Toll charges for the routes fans may need to travel range from £12 (Saint Etienne-Paris) to £82 (Calais-Nice).
If England fans use motorways between every match, this could add as much as £326 to travel costs and increase their overall expenditure from £479 to £805 (£201 per person based on four in a car) – 68 per cent extra.
However, the higher total is still much lower than if four England fans flew one way to Marseilles for the first match. It will cost them at least £1,000 just to fly to Marseille compared with £805 for a return road trip to the group games, knockout stages and final.
Return rail travel from London for the duration of the tournament costs from £476 per person – making this cheaper than flying but significantly more expensive than motoring.
Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “Driving is definitely the most economical way for football fans to keep the cost of travel to the Euro championships to a minimum and it is also the most practical way to get from one match to another. This is especially true when air travel is so expensive.”