would you like to avoid the toll roads?

IMG_2997I slid into my car, turned it on, rolled the window down in preparation for a warm day, plugged my phone in and opened up reliable TomTom. My brother wasn’t far behind across from me. When the app loaded I was asked where I wanted to navigate to. I typed in “Zurich” and was promptly asked if I wanted to avoid the toll roads. At this stage we only had two options: Avoid the tolls through France. Pay the tolls through France. We knew we weren’t staying so we had to choose one.

Reasons to avoid the tolls: Avoiding the toll roads often means a more scenic route through countryside. It usually means a bit of a longer journey as well. Tolls cost money.

Reasons to pay the tolls: For a long day of driving it means that we get to our destination in a shorter amount of time and can enjoy exploring a little longer. When it cuts driving time considerably it might save money on petrol.

So far, we had mostly avoided the tolls on our road trip from Dublin to Beaune because we wanted to experience the small villages and get a more personal look at the fields and forests spread across rolling hills. Going from Mont Saint Michel to Versailles wasn’t a difficult decision because the route wasn’t that much further and we were just beginning to enjoy the pastoral area. From Versailles to Beaune we decided to take the shorter journey and go for the tolls after skirting Paris. Apart from travelling faster, the journey was a little dull. Once we exited the motorway my brother thought I’d been caught for speeding because of the price we paid! … We had been charged for every kilometre we’d travelled on the motorway. Sitting in Beaune we knew that going toll free to Zurich would take us a couple more hours than taking the tolled route. Knowing we’d be heading for some extremely beautiful mountainous areas and unsure what the tolls would look like, we opted for toll free without regrets. We also knew we would be spending a few nights in Zurich.

What I learnt was that we always have those options. When we consider the people we want to become or the things we want to do we have to choose whether we want to get their quickly and pay the toll so as to enjoy more of the destination or take a longer route to enjoy the journey. Either way, we sacrifice something and it is our choice as to what. This morning I wondered … if I were to open TomTom, how would I respond to its first question: Where would you like to navigate to? And then the second: Do you want to avoid the tolls?

The morning we left Zurich we had a better idea how the Swiss roads worked and decided to take the shorter route to Basel under the hills and mountains through some pretty cool tunnels. During the whole trip we clocked up 3333km while driving and a total distance, including ferries and tunnels, of around 4610km.

Want to read the stories from road trip as it happened? Check out our family travel blog: Road Antics

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