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The Return of the Booze Cruise

By Jennideep Hayre

Posted: 4th October 2012 11:24

Thanks to the strength of other currencies against the euro, you will be pleased to know the infamous booze cruises are back once again. 

For one British pound you can get €1.25, the highest it has been in three and a half years, which has seen a rise in British ferry passengers and Eurotunnel users travelling from the UK to France to stock up on alcohol. 

Booze cruises were popular between 2004 and 2006 when the pound amounted to €1.50 but saw them decline in recent years due to certain factors like the recession.

British Advantage

With the UK’s high VAT, currently standing at 20%, buying alcohol in other parts of Europe, where the VAT and excise duty on alcohol is significantly lower, has a greater appeal than ever before.   

Following the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, London 2012 Olympics and European football championships people have relished in the perks of buying beer, wine and spirits cheaper from France. 

Best Mode of Travel

If driving it may be worth taking friends so you can split the cost of crossing the Eurotunnel between you which takes about 35 minutes.  Remember to leave enough space to store the alcohol.  You may wish to take a roof box in case you find more than you bargained for and want to stock up for future. 

Or you may simply choose to travel via ferry from Dover to Calais which takes between 90 minutes to two hours. 

Amount of Alcohol Permitted

There is no longer a fixed allowance for importing alcohol (and tobacco if you decide to purchase that also) from most EU countries but customs do ask questions if they suspect people of re-selling purchased goods and have the right to seize them especially if you exceed the limit. 

Rules & Regulations

According to French law you must be over 18 to drive in France.  It is compulsory to carry a reflective jacket, warning triangle, breathalyser kit, adapted headlights and spare tyre as you don’t want to end up being stranded.  Your car must also have European breakdown cover and the new EU-style number plate.

Further information can be found on the HM Revenue & Customs website, so it’s best to check up on anything you’re unsure about before you travel.

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