Wednesday 7 December 2016

Planes, trains and camper vans: getting to the matches

Edel Kennedy in Poznan

Published 28/01/2012 | 05:00

Travel

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WHERE there's a will there's a way.

And where there are Irish football fans there are many, many ways.

Conservative estimates put the number of fans travelling from Ireland to the tournament at 15,000.

And so far camper vans have proven the most popular mode of transport, with Irish fans among those booking out "99.9pc" of vans around Europe.

Hubertus Rank, manager of DriveEurope.com, caters for bookings across Europe.

And he said he has now resorted to sourcing private camper vans for fans as all the companies have been booked out since December.

"I think half of Ireland wants a camper van," he said.

"At the moment the only ones available are in France and Italy and through any cancellations that are made.

A number of camper vans are available from June 9 to 19 from around €1,600 -- but they will have to be picked up from as far away as Paris. Vans must also be returned to the same location where they are collected or users face a huge additional fee.

He also warned that while most companies allow their camper vans to be brought to other countries, parking is going to be a major issue.

"The rental agreement means it must be parked in a secure place or a campsite, you can't just park it on the side of the road," Mr Rank said.

"If you park it on the street, go shopping and if it's stolen, you're liable for the whole cost of the van."

Car theft is an issue in Poland and he cited an incident a number of years ago in which one of his customers woke to find someone had stolen all their wheels while they slept.

In France, a number of companies also make the driver liable for the first €3,000 worth of damage caused if there is an accident.

At the moment fans can still book a camper van in Sweden and get the ferry -- which takes 10 hours -- to Gdansk.

However, rental cost in Sweden is much more expensive -- over €2,100 -- as the summer season is so short. This is offset by much higher-quality vans.

Fans are also being advised to look at other airports in and around Poland in order to get better value. Bydgoszcz, which is two-and-a-half hours from both Gdansk and Poznan, has Ryanair flights available from €346 return, flying on June 9 and returning on June 19.

Meanwhile Berlin, which is just two hours by train from Poznan, has flights available via ebookers.com from €280. A train to Poznan can cost as little as €19 if booked in advance.

Irish Independent

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