Europe Car hire nightmare

Old Nov 13th, 2007, 04:35 PM
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Europe Car hire nightmare

Hi all!,

I need some help regarding car hire in Europe. im planning a trip through Europe from feb 16 to march 11, starting in Amsterdam and ending in Paris, we have bulky snowboarding gear with us so car hire for the duration seems to be the go. is this means of travel the most practical? I have 2 problems. one is, car hire from Amsterdam doesn't include any snow tire / chain hire for the alps. will I need snow tires for travel through Italian / french alps? and which company have you folk used / been happiest with?

thanks heaps for your help. im at my wits end!
camrowe is offline  
Old Nov 13th, 2007, 06:06 PM
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Is this means of travel the most practical?" No, the train is more practical.

Starting in Amsterdam and ending in Paris? Wow! The drop off fees!
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Old Nov 13th, 2007, 06:18 PM
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I cannot answer your question about needing snow tires. We've been in Amsterdam, Germany, Switzerland many times during the end of Nov to early Dec and did not need them.

We have used Avis for about the last 7-8 years with very few complaints about them.

Kerouac mentions drop off charges, which no doubt will be steep, by picking up your car and dropping it off in two different countries. We always rent in Zurich and return the car to the same location.

I agree with your own assessment that a car is the best way to go, what with your snowboarding gear. I would not want to be schlepping that gear on/off trains all the time, personally.
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Old Nov 13th, 2007, 07:18 PM
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camrowe,

I am absolutely missing something here. Taking snowboarding stuff from Amsterdam to Paris!!?? What have you failed to disclose? You mention the alps (Alps) but what. In my experience snow tires are required when local authorities deem it neccessary. This is posted on the roadside and you will probably be greeted by a manned barricade. In some Alpine areas snowtires are already on the rental cars. Take the train or a plane to the Alps.
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Old Nov 13th, 2007, 07:40 PM
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sorry, were heading south from Amsterdam to some relatives in Bern Switzerland, then to Torino to take full advantage of my relatives proximity to the snow. from there plans still undecided.
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Old Nov 13th, 2007, 10:54 PM
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I believe that when driving in the Alps in winter, you are required by law to carry snow chains in your car.
You can buy these chains fairly easily (I don't think they are prohibitively expensive) so perhaps that would be a solution, if the car hire company can't supply them.

Though you might want to practice fitting them to the tyres as it's quite tricky. I don't think you need snow tyres if you have the chains fitted. (We've never used snow tyres but have driven on snowy roads in the Alps - the chains sufficed).
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Old Nov 13th, 2007, 11:24 PM
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Lugging that snowboard gear around does sound a nightmare. Why don't you travel light, and just either rent equipment near the slopes, or get your relatives to loan you some?

I like skiing with my own gear, but gave up schlepping it long distances some time ago.

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Old Nov 14th, 2007, 12:24 AM
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You will need winter tyres to drive through Germany. If you are involved in an accident there in bad weather and do not have winter tyres fitted you will be deemed responsible for the accident, even if you weren't. WInter tyres may have ben fitted to a DUtch hir car, may not have been.
Not surprising that a car hire company in Holland will not hire chains, we don't have much call for them here, and since you want to drop the car in France it would be the last time they saw them probably. Dropping a car in another country, even if it is allowed is very expensive to do.
You could buy chains, but they are not that cheap and it seems a waste of holiday money. You could bring the car back to Holland and then go on to Paris to save one way fees.
I suggest you look into trains or planes to get you south, then hire a car, and maybe your equipment. Many trains cater for wintersporters and their gear, but it would be easier to hire rather than taking your gear across continents.
Make sure you have good health insurance that covers you for wintersports just in case......
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Old Nov 14th, 2007, 12:41 AM
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When Amsterdam and Paris are set as start and end of your trip, you may want to check if you can get closer to the Alps from AMS by plane - and to get around the rental car dilemma of steep international drop-off charges.

IF there are reasonably priced one-way flights from Amsterdam to either Basel/Mulhouse or Geneva, you can pick up a French rental car there since both airports have a Swiss and a French side. This way you would avoid the international drop-off charge in Paris.
You would probably need to buy a toll sticker for the Swiss motorways, though, unless the car has one already.

As someone who lives in Bavaria, we always have people from the "flatlands" who come here and think that they can drive on summer tires and put on snow chains if they need them. Not a good idea.

Your rental car MUST have winter tires for driving in the mountains in winter.

Some people have the (wrong) idea that snow tires are only needed when there is half a meter of snow on the streets to plow through. While it is true that you need them to drive on/through snow, you also need them for extra grip on sleet, dirt, or similar once the temperatures are still a bit above freezing. The grades of the highways are (stating the obvious) steeper in the mountains, so you need that grip - even when there is no snow on the streets.

Rental car insurance does not pay when you damage your car or others due to improper tires in winter time.

Snow chains are ONLY required when the respective traffic sign is posted:
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bild:Zeichen_268.svg
This is often the case on mountain by-roads or on regular highways after a snow storm for a limited period of time.

So, snow chains are an option, winter tires are a must. And last winter does not count for comparison since there was hardly any snow anywhere ;-)
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Old Nov 14th, 2007, 03:24 AM
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when travelling with heavy luggage and gear i find buses much more comfortable than trains.

just shove it underneath and forget about it.

could this be a possibility for some of the longer treks?

you will have luggage supllements on almost ALL airlines for the snowboards.

you could also SHIP by bus the heavy stuff and fly on low cost airlines.
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