Car Rental Bavaria - Weisbaden to Munich

Old Feb 19th, 2008, 07:51 AM
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Car Rental Bavaria - Weisbaden to Munich

I'm wondering if anyone could provide some suggestions for me. I want to rent a car for my trip to Germany this time as I need the flexibility to leave when I want and I will be traveling to smaller towns.

Initially I will be staying in Weisbaden and taking a train into Frankfurt each day. After my stay in Weisbaden I will be making a number of stops (several days) ultimately ending up at the Munich airport. It looks like all the rental car places are closed in Weisbaden on Sunday so I will need to get a car in Frankfurt.

Would it be better to pick up the car at the frankfurt railway station for the frankfurt airport? Aren't they really in the same complex?

I need GPS as I am not familiar with driving in Germany and have never driven in the larger cities like Frankfurt and Munich only in very small towns.

This is probably a silly question, but I assume all the GPS navigators can be set to english?

What's it like driving in large cities in Germany? I live in the bay area, Ca so I am used to traffic. But what about signs etc, I suppose I should study up a bit?

Prices are certainly higher than the U.S. I've read about several companies Auto Europe, Sixt etc, what are some others. Why not Enterprise? Getting a good deal is great, but great service I feel is worth paying for sometimes.

Any suggestions greatly appreciated!

bloud is offline  
Old Feb 19th, 2008, 09:06 AM
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I can add only a few helpful suggestions. We have driven in Germany, but our city driving has been only in Munich.

First, signs are not a problem is you know a few terms like Ausfahrt for exit.

The autobahns can be very crowded. For example on a Sunday afternoon we were returning from near Salzburg to Munich. The autobahn approaching Munich was so crowded that we left the autobahn and drove regular roads to Munich. I had a good map, so no big deal.

In most German cities a car is a liability because streets are crowded and parking is expensive and limited. For example, our friends who live in the Schwabing district of Munich don't even try to park s car near their apartment. The husband has a business and leaves his company car there and rides home on a motorcycle.

The main problem on a normal day on autobahns is the high rate of speeds at which some vehicles travel. Speeds of 120 mph are common. If you are in the fast lane passing at a dawdling pace, you will well have the driver behind you flashing the lights telling you to move over.

In most cases if you rent at a train station or an airport, you will pay more. I think the extra amount is 16%. Most of the major companies have offices at both places.

I suggest you first get prices from places like Sixt, Europcar, Avis, and Hertz. Then, with that data in hand, take a look at the Auto Europe website and see if the deal is not better.

I have rented a car several times in Europe and my experience all along indicates that Auto Europe is hard to beat. My AE contracts have always been with either Hertz or Avis, but at a lower price than I could obtain from the parent organization web site.

One thing I might add is that even within Auto Europe you can find price differences at various locations within the same city.

I have been looking at prices in Munich, and the Denninger St. location rents for a slightly lower price than the Leopold St. location.
(Both looked at through Auto Europe, and both Avis agencies.)

You will find that most of the time you don't get what you saw on the web site. Avis uses a 4 letter code for its vehicles and you will end up with a car in that code class, or a slight upgrade if the car type you requested is not available.

On the language deal, I have a Garvin GPS and it allowed me to select a language. My guess is that any gPS offers that option.
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 09:17 AM
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PS According to the Auto Europe website, there are places in central Frankfurt that are open on Sundays for very limited hours, like 9 to 11.

I suggest you look at the difference in prices between the Frankfurt train station and the other locations.

Of course, getting from the station to the pick up location is often a chore and an expense.

In Munich, I had a cab ride regardless. I don't think returning at the airport or train station runs up the cost.

The other way around definitely results in a higher cost.
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Old Feb 20th, 2008, 06:17 AM
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Would it be better to pick up the car at the frankfurt railway station for the frankfurt airport? Aren't they really in the same complex?

Frankfurt Airport has also a rail station. Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof is in the city center, 12 min away. You can reach both stations easily from Wiesbaden. If the rates are better at the Hauptbahnhof, take this. Otherwise, take the airport.

I need GPS as I am not familiar with driving in Germany and have never driven in the larger cities like Frankfurt and Munich only in very small towns.

This is probably a silly question, but I assume all the GPS navigators can be set to english?

Yes. In nine times out of ten the GPS in rental cars worked fine. However, I once rented a Seat from Avis with a GPS which was practically useless (it had a CD with major roads of Europe but no inner-city roads - Seat is a cheap car, so they have old-fashioned GPS systems.)

What's it like driving in large cities in Germany? I live in the bay area, Ca so I am used to traffic. But what about signs etc, I suppose I should study up a bit?

No problem, but, yes, traffic jams often occur. And navigating within cities is more difficult than in North America. You need either a map or a GPS or both.

Prices are certainly higher than the U.S. I've read about several companies Auto Europe, Sixt etc, what are some others. Why not Enterprise? Getting a good deal is great, but great service I feel is worth paying for sometimes.

Never heard of a company called Enterprise in Germany. Reliable rental car companies are Sixt, Europcar, Hertz, Avis, National. I would not recommend a small company with few stations and limited opening hours.

BTW, Europcar has a station in Wiesbaden which is open 24 hours. www.europcar.de
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Old Feb 20th, 2008, 06:23 AM
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Hi B,

If, as 1969 says, Europcar has a station in Wiesbaden which is open 24 hr, you will get a lower rate from www.autoeurope.com (almost always).

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Old Feb 21st, 2008, 11:40 AM
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Enterprise is a regular budget rental car company also in Germany, maybe with not as many locations as Avis, Sixt, or Europcar.

Stupid question: Unless you opt for the Europcar location which is also open on Sundays, why don't you rent with any company of your choice already on Saturday afternoon?

Picking up a rental car at the airport vs. train station (the central station of Frankfurt, not the airport's train station) usually makes no difference pricewise - both locations will add a 19% surcharge - which still many of people mix up with the VAT since it rose to that level last year.

GPS is a pretty good choice - even locals use it to navigate in their own cities ;-)

Parking in the centers of major cities usually means paid parking in an underground or high-rise garage. If you are used to parking fees in downtown SF, you will find most a bargain here ;-)

You should google some German traffic regulations, but most are the standardized signs which you will also see in France, Austria, or elsewhere.
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Old Feb 24th, 2008, 06:31 AM
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Thank you all very much for your feedback and suggestions.

Is Ira suggesting that Europcar and autoeurop are the same company or just that auto europe will be a better price?

Thanks for the driving, parking tips. I can't imagine its much harder to find parking there than in SF, if you don't want pay $$.
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Old Feb 24th, 2008, 07:31 AM
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Last time I looked, Avis was including GPS in all their cars except the smallest and largest vehicle types. And Avis often has off-airport and off-train station offices in major cities.
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Old Feb 24th, 2008, 08:41 AM
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Europcar is a car rental company like Avis or Hertz. In fact, it is the largest car rental company in Europe. It is based in Hamburg and belonged to Volkswagen until 2006 when it was sold to the French Eurozeo group.

Autoeurope is a consolidator like Expedia or Priceline.

With your special request - renting a car on a Sunday in Wiesbaden - it might be better to contact the rental car agency directly. Otherwise try Autoeurope, because they might offer better rates.
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Old Feb 24th, 2008, 08:41 AM
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I think you need to know more about signs than just Ausfahrt if you are driving in large towns. You can find these in a good atlas with maps. They are not difficult, but a little advance study would help.

Europe has its own rules for driving and you will be more comfortable if you know these. For example: You only use the passing lane on the autobahn when you are passing someone. Upon completion of the pass you move over to the slow lane as soon as safe. This is strictly enforced....unlike the US.

You will also find a cardboard clock in the glove compartment of your rental. You need to know what this is for.

Bottom line: Germany is a great place to rent a car but you do need to know the rules of the road.
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Old Feb 24th, 2008, 09:19 AM
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Just found this on the page of the city of Munich: http://www.muenchen.de/Tourismus/Tra...904/index.html - an overview of traffic rules in Germany. Looks useful to me!
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Old Feb 24th, 2008, 10:25 AM
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Not for sure when your trip is but I just booked our rental car throug Enterprise. They now have a Sping special with 50% off rates. We have a Ford Ka for 9 days out of Frankfurt for only 140 euros. I was thrilled with that rate. The dates of the special is March 14th through the April 7th. Good luck!
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