Car Rental

Old Jan 20th, 2013, 02:48 PM
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Car Rental

I am flying into Frankfurt in late May, and will then be touring Germany, Switz, Austria, Belgium , for 4 weeks
Is it best to rent a car at the Frankfurt airport, or take the train to Dusseldorf and rent a car there. Is the cost at the airport rental centre much more expensive?
Also, my flight into Frankfurt is an "over nite" flight, Someone told me they Frankfurt airport depots will not rent to someone that just got off of an all night flight.
Can anyone cofrim this?
EastCoastCanadaGuy is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2013, 03:03 PM
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Car rentals are generally much cheaper I believe if arranged ahead of time through an American middleman or directly with an American-based firm like Hertz or Avis.

You'll probably pay much more once there.

AutoEurope has gotten good reviews from several Fodorites.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2013, 04:52 PM
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Make sure to review the rules of the road for these countries. There are things you should know. Be proactive about reading them. Where are you flying from?

I never rent for airports as I don't like paying extra fees.
LSky is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2013, 04:54 PM
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Never mind, I see you are on the East coast. Some airlines fly into Dusseldorf.
LSky is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2013, 04:58 PM
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There are no rules about getting off an overnight flight and renting a car - but we have done MANY road trips in europe and while we often pick up the car at the airport we land at (arranged in advance with clear info on all taxes, fees and insurance) we never drive for more than an hour or 1.5 hours - just because jetlag can be very disorienting.

The other thing you need to understand is that driving in europe is different than the US - or Canada. Speeds are higher and people take driving very seriously. One does NOT drive in the left lane (unless stuck in hideous traffic) left lane is for passing only - and sports cars will pass you at VERY high speeds.

I strongly recommend either picking up the car your first full day - or leave yourself only a short and simple drive the day you arrive. Also - check everything on the car before leaving the lot - including locks, wipers and how to access the gas tank. Also - learn why type of gas you need - europe still has leaded gas and there is a lot of diesal and you don;t want to ruin a car engine by using the wrong one.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2013, 05:28 PM
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When flying into Frankfurt and collecting a car from the airport you have higher fees than if you elect to collect your car elsewhere. However I have heard of people collecting their car in Kelsterbach (just outside the airport) rather than from the airport itself, to save on the extra fee, although I have never done this myself (always have too much luggage to contemplate taking it all, and prefer the convenience of renting straight from the airport). You can take the S-Bahn (local train) line S8 or S9 from Frankfurt Airport Regionalbahnhof to Kelsterbach, and then there would be some bag-schlepping by foot to the car rental place unless you can find a taxi at the railway station. The S-Bahn takes about 13 minutes.

We have done many all-night flights and have never been refused car rental, but we also don't drive long distances the first day.

lavandula is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2013, 05:56 PM
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It is best to pickup and drop off right at the airport, just the ease of access is worth the difference in price (if any)

After a transatlantic flight I am usually able to drive for about 4 hours. A short power nap allows me to continue for about two more, but that is pushing it.

The quality of the coffee and food at autobahn service centers is excellent, unlike the garbage we have in Canada.

My favorite car rental company in Germany is Sixt. I have always gotten great rates and service.

Unlike Canada, driving in Europe is a delight, just make sure you know when you have the right of way and when you have to yield. As a rule there are no head scratching, arm waving four way stops in Europe.

Btw, no car after an overnight flight is nonsense.

cdnyul is offline  
Old Jan 22nd, 2013, 02:26 PM
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Thank you everyone
EastCoastCanadaGuy is offline  
Old Jan 22nd, 2013, 02:56 PM
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not true - europe does not have leaded petrol
sofarsogood is offline  
Old Jan 22nd, 2013, 06:14 PM
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I frequently fly to Europe and drive there, and although I am well versed on driving German roads and autobahns, I am with those who limit their after-arrival driving to about 1 1/2 hrs.

My preferred rental agent is Gemut, in Seattle. ( They specialize in Germany and Austria, and they will arrange for a car for you with whatever rental cat company they consider reliable. If Kelsterbach is where Dollar/Thrifty are located, stay clear of them. On this and other travel forums, there are 100's of horror stories of people who have been taken advantage of by Terstappen, the agent of these two companies, in Frankfurt and Munich.
treplow is offline  
Old Jan 22nd, 2013, 08:42 PM
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I assume you are returning the car to Frankfurt. There may be a (very large) drop fee if you don't return the car to the same country in which you pick up the car. Also, I would second Gemut, although I had (a very small) extra drop charge within Germany the last time I used them that they pleaded ingorant of. I have had good luck with Hertz- they have reasonable discounts if you are a member of AARP, Costco, AAA,some credit cards, etc. Be sure to have the car inspected for damage when you return it. I usually take pictures, especially if the return is not manned.

Be sure to get the vignetts (spelling?) when you first enter some countries. I think they are required to drive in Austria and Switzerland.

The car rental agencies at FRA rent to people all the time who fly in on an "over night " flight. However, I suspect they may be hesitant to rent you a car if you roll of the plane smelling like a brewery. The DUI laws are generally more strict than those on this side of the Atlantic, especially in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway.

Have a great 4 weeks!
Travelforbeer is offline  
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