I was recently in Poland so I'd like to give you some info.
I've been to Poland 7 times since 1996 and each time we've rented a car
in Poland. We've never driven out of Poland. Well, there was that time
we crossed the Czech border just to get the passport stamp ;)
Poland has a few different "rules of the road than the U.S. I think the
biggest help to us when we first went over, was reading about those
rules in the travel guide, "Lonely Planet, Poland." You can find it at
bookstores in the travel section or even on line (Amazon, etc).
I also wrote two articles, "Driving In Poland" for the Polish
Genealogical Society of Michigan's journal, "The Polish Eaglet." If you
check out their web site you should be able to order past issues.
I believe these appeared in two issues in 2000 though I wrote them in
2001. Yes, my dates are correct. PGSM was/is behind in publishing their
Look at the experience of driving in Poland as a road rally. One person
to drive and the other to read the maps and watch for speed limit signs.
You need an International Driver's License, obtainable ONLY at AAA. You
do not need to be a member to get this. They will take the photo. It
costs about $20.00 each. You don't need any proof to obtain this license
but you do have to carry it with you. Anyone who will be driving will
need one of these and will need to tell the rental car company. There is
an extra fee for a second driver.
You need to arrange for your car in the U.S. and it's best to pay for it
or at least put it on a credit card and receive a voucher, before you
go. Poland's comprehensive insurance (like the U.S. on rental cars) is
very expensive. See if your own insurance company will cover the car.
Check also with the credit card company to see if they will cover you.
We employ the second method but we have to use the card in order for the
company to cover us.
It costs more to pick up the car at one airport and return it to
another. We paid $100.00 this last trip. Next to your airfare, the car
rental will be the biggest expense, unless that is, you stay in 5 star
hotels. Oh, you can't in Sanok! I'd say the hotel there is a high 3 star.
Do not go in July or August. There isn't air conditioning; no matter
what the hotels say. You can get air conditioning in your car regardless
if it's an automatic or manual transmission.
The drive from Krakow to Pl~onna (Bukowsko) can not be made in one day.
Not even if you drive there and immediately turn around. You be have to
spend the night in Sanok; probably two nights. The night you arrive and
the next night.
Regarding the drive; I would suggest you use secondary roads as the
primary roads are slow due to trucks, tractors pulling wagons and the
occasional (though we only saw two this trip) horse drawn cart. Also,
Poland is feverishly working to improve and expand their roads so it's
not uncommon for detours and stops.
We always take secondary roads. They can be faster and certainly more
interesting. I can give you routes if you need them.
I do however, strongly suggest that you buy a 1:200,000 scale Polish
atlas as well as a big fold-out map of the whole country. You will do
much better with both. I have bought several of these atlases through
the years and I have designated one atlas as my tear-out/take to Poland
atlas. That way I don't have to take the whole big atlas but just a few
pages. The only place you can buy one of these in North America is
through Interlink Bookshop in Canada.
Click on Genealogy Unlimited and scroll down to the "Marco Polo Polska
Atlas Drogowy." Interlink may still have a special offer on this atlas
and a wonderful index which is the only one you'll find that indicates
the old wojewo~dztwo.
Remember, prices are in Canadian dollars. They take credit cards. I've
bought from them for years and have never had a problem. (I am not
connected with the company in anyway, eh)
If either of you plan to talk to anyone while in the BT area, then you
will need a translator, but not necessarily someone to drive you all the
way from Krakow. I think you can find someone in the BT area to go with
you when you need them to act as a translator. Doing it this way will
cut down on your expenses (won't have to pay for his/her hotel room and
meals). If we start planning now we should be able to find a translator
for you both. It will be necessary though to know exactly what months
you and your brother plan to be in Poland. Schools are still in session
until late June, but the colleges can get out later. Generally, school
is out July and August and starts up Sept. 1.
Getting lost: if you can read a map, you should be all right. Just keep
in mind that Poland's main (primary) roads look more like U.S. secondary
roads. That means the sandy lane you find yourself on really could be a
road in Poland. Example: see my Sept./Oct. 2000 Trip diary:
Scroll down to Friday, Oct. 6, third paragraph.
If you have the time, you might enjoy reading some of my trip diaries.
I'm not up-to-date but there's enough reading to last you awhile.
Missing are trips from 1998, 2005 and 2006.
RE: "tour guide of sorts to make the drive?" Well, you'd be surprised
how little an area resident knows of his area. Compare this to all the
places you've NOT been to in your state! Same thing in Poland.
So, think about this and let the list know what other information/help
> Hi! Gail Philbin here. It's been a while since I posted. I have
> roots in Plonna and plan to visit there next summer. My brother is
> attending a conference there this year and was wondering about getting
> a car or having someone drive him from Krakow to Plonna.
> How does one go about doing such a thing? Is driving in Poland
> difficult for the somewhat un-travelled American tourist? Some of the
> messages on this board make it sound like the roads are a bit rough.
> Is it easy to get lost?
> Are there people who one can hire as a tour guide of sorts to make the
> Any advice on getting around would be appreciated!