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Two seperate car rentals for France & Spain?

Two seperate car rentals for France & Spain?

Old Aug 3rd, 2010, 07:59 AM
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Two seperate car rentals for France & Spain?

We are in the preliminary stages of planning our southern France/Catalonia/Barcelona trip for spring 2011. Planning on flying open jaw, first to Toulouse, where we would pick up a rental car, then base in the Dordogne area, near Sarlat for about a week. We would then drive down to the Languedoc area for a few days, before crossing over the spanish border, across the Costa Brava which we want to explore for a few days before ending in Barcelona for the last 4 days before flying back home. I'd like to know, do we leave our rental car in France & re-rent another across the border? I don`t feel like paying a large drop off fee. And if so, where would we drop off the french rental & re-lease a spanish one? Is there a train that just crosses over the border? I know we can take a train from Perpignan to Barcelona, but my heart is set on seeing a bit of the spanish coast . We would drop off the car in Barcelona though upon arrival. Thoughts or suggestions?
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Old Aug 3rd, 2010, 08:11 AM
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You could drop the car in Perpignan and take the train across the border as far as Figueres and rent another car there...Europecar, Hertz, and others have rental offices there. You'd be far enough away from Barcelona that you could still do that bit of Spanish coast you want to see and not be going all that far out of the way before getting into Barcelona itself.

To just take a train across the border you would have to leave a car in Cerbere and then pick one up in Portbou which is unlikely IMO.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2010, 08:44 AM
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Do the math after you figure out the exact drop-off charge for keeping the french car the entire time, and the short Spain rental if you don't.

We did the Costa Brava as a easy day-trip from the Perpignan area (actually Ceret). Another option would be to keep the French car for your entire driving trip, then return to Perpignan & dump the car & take the train to Barcelona.

Stu Dudley
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Old Aug 3rd, 2010, 08:46 AM
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Hi,

I just returned from a trip in this area. We flew into Barcelona, stayed in the city for a few days, then picked up our rental car and drove into France where we stayed for a week near Carcassonne. We then made a slow trip back to Spain, staying near Besalu, returned the car at the Barcelona airport and flew home. There was no stop at the border in either direction, and aside from the fact that we were mistaken twice as Spanish because of our license plate, there were no issues at all driving the car in France.

Patti
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Old Aug 3rd, 2010, 09:44 AM
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Stu Dudley's advice may be the best. The longer you keep the car, the lower the daily rental cost.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2010, 11:23 AM
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The international drop off charge is generally at least 400€. I found that out during the volcanic episode. I was just doing a local rental, but everybody else seemed to be wanting to drive from Paris to Madrid or Milan. They were so desperate that they happily accepted the excess charge (I suppose that a lot of them were being reimbursed by their employers due to it being a business trip.).
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Old Aug 3rd, 2010, 01:09 PM
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thanks for the good answers everyone!
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Old Aug 4th, 2010, 03:37 AM
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Find out what the drop-off fee will be. I've had them as low as €75. It seems to vary a lot.
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Old Aug 4th, 2010, 08:15 AM
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Louie_LI,

Are you talking about drop-off fees or fees that are imposed at the end of your trip for airport pick-up and road usage fees?
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Old Aug 4th, 2010, 08:15 AM
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Louie_LI,

Are you talking about drop-off fees or fees that are imposed at the end of your trip for airport pick-up and road usage fees?
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Old Aug 4th, 2010, 08:16 AM
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Louie_LI,

Are you talking about drop-off fees or fees that are imposed at the end of your trip for airport pick-up and road usage fees?
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Old Aug 4th, 2010, 08:17 AM
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I meant "about cross-border drop-off fees or ..."
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Old Aug 4th, 2010, 08:20 AM
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It's the fee for picking up a rental car in one country and dropping the car in another country. That's in addition to airport surcharges, taxes, etc. For example, it would be about 270 euros for us to pick up in France and drop off in Belgium. (Taking train.)
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Old Aug 5th, 2010, 04:21 AM
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I'm talking about the fee for dropping the car off in a different country.
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Old Aug 5th, 2010, 09:01 AM
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I'm talking about the fee for dropping the car off in a different country.

I think that readers would be interested in having more specifics about this, for it seems to contradict general experience.

I also apologize for the multiple postings of the same message.
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Old Aug 5th, 2010, 10:43 AM
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I remember a time when there was no drop off fee between major countries (France > < Germany) for rentals of at least two weeks. And in Luxembourg, there was no fee for returning the car in France (and probably Belgium). I have no idea if this has completely disappeared, but it would just take a quick phone call to a car rental company to find out.

When I worked at Avis in Paris, we received a huge number of foreign cars (usually from Germany, Switzerland or Italy) and one of our goals was to send them back to the proper country, or at least in the right direction, within one week. For example, giving an Italian car to somebody leaving the car in Nice was almost as good as if they said Milan. And if someone rented a foreign car to leave it in the correct country, the drop off charge was waived immediately (it would be really nasty if this has changed). That was one of the advantages of renting a car in one of the biggest stations (train station or airport) -- finding a car for which the fee would be waived. We spent a lot of time phoning other agencies to find an appropriate car. I was working at Gare de Lyon, but somebody looking for a Spanish car to drive to Madrid was totally happy to go to Montparnasse if necessary to get a car with no drop-off fee.

Nevertheless, now that I rent a car about twice a month out of Gare du Nord (almost always from Europcar), and usually just for 2 or 3 day local needs, I have been given an Italian car 3 times. (And that conforms to what we did at Avis. While waiting for long distance rentals, we would rent the foreign cars to our regular customers for a few days.)
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Old Aug 6th, 2010, 03:40 AM
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Michael, it's more hit and miss. I've had experiences like Kerouac mentions, where they waive the fee (or have a very small one) because I'm doing them the favour of taking the car to its "home". Other times, the fee quoted for different trips and different companies has varied between €50 and €250 or more.

I don't have a magic way to get low drop-off fees, but I have found that it is worthwhile taking the time to plug the trip into several different web sites (or call specific locations) to see what comes up, before ruling out the possibility. You may have more luck in finding a low fee if you look at airports or train stations for the pick-up.

Also, as someone mentioned earlier, the dance of returning one car to get another could make you lose the price advantage of a longer rental, add on other transport costs and lose time. This has to be factored in when assessing the impact of the drop-off fee.
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