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When first time driving through southern Germany for two weeks...

When first time driving through southern Germany for two weeks...

Mar 16th, 2009, 01:59 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 43
the type on fuel you need depends on the car you rent. afaik rental cars come with diesel engines, naturally requiring diesel fuel (at least all cars i've rented were diesels). however i could imagine that smaller sized cars run on reg or premium gas. make sure with the rental company which type of fuel your vehicle will need.

at gas stations just be careful. pumps indicate the type of fuel they provide. diesel=diesel, regular=normal, premium=super. then there are several premium and diesel derivates which promise higher performance and cost even more. this may be confusing, since several gas stations use denotations like "premium diesel" which might be confusing even for german motorists. just be careful. diesel is normally the least expensive fuel. regular and premium prices are higher. again, just take care while fueling and, if need be, ask for assistance.

as for the gps, i would not use one, at least not for entering smaller cities. they change traffic conditions more or less frequently (e.g. shifting directions of one way streets, closing roads for thru traffic...), so that the gps cannot be up to date and might misguide you. for longer distances it is ok however. when in cities and towns, just watch for the traffic signage which is well identifiable and in most cases, as i said earlier, "self-explaining". dont be scared of driving at all. it is less confusing than you might expect right now.

don't worry about the language. in many places, english is understood and even spoken - to certain extent, of course. since german and english are based on the same historical and lingual backround, you will understand many things without having any knowledge of the language.
Holly76 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 07:34 AM
  #22  
 
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We used our GPS on our 3 week trip to Germany and Austria in Sept 2007 and mostly visited small towns. The only time we had any confusion was with the hotel in Bernkastel-Kues which was actually in the pedestrian zone. But it got us with a couple of blocks. We parked the car and walked until we found it.

For us, it was still invaluable even in the smallest towns but you definitely should have a back up source such as a detailed map or clearly written directions.
bettyk is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 07:42 AM
  #23  
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Sounds encouraging!

I'm planing just rent the basic economic/compact 4-door eurocar. So I guess I should use the diesel (or normal?) fuel.

And I think I'll just make a good plan with my maps (as fourfortravel suggested) without GPS for this trip.

Glander
Glander is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 08:02 AM
  #24  
 
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ASK when you pick up the car what kind of fuel this particular car uses. They will tell you exactly because they want it back with a healthy engine. And then use nothing else but this type.
quokka is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 10:17 AM
  #25  
 
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>I'm planing just rent the basic economic/compact 4-door eurocar. So I guess I should use the diesel (or normal?) fuel.

You usually don't get a Diesel powered car unless you go for a big Mercedes. "Normal" (regular) 91 roz gas isn't sold anymore, you only can buy "Super" (premium) 95 roz or Super Plus 98 roz. Cheap price today in Munich is 98ct/Diesel and 1.16/Super per liter.
logos999 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 10:20 AM
  #26  
 
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Isn't regular defined as 87.5 roz and premium as 91 roz in the US?
logos999 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 10:37 AM
  #27  
 
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as quokka said, ask upon picking up the car. also, usually the tank cap's inside indicated what type of fuel is needed.

normal/regular is still sold at many gas stations, however prices of reg and premium are the same, so you should shift to premium ("super") (unless you have a diesel car...).

btw, make sure you check with your rental company whether or not you need an international driver's license. hertz for example is requiring one for non-e.u. drivers.
Holly76 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 10:58 AM
  #28  
 
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When you pick up your rental car it wouldn't hurt to ask if they have any diesels. Volkswagen makes a Polo diesel that gets 70+ miles per gallon! That might mean one fillup for the whole trip! I just saw it on Top Gear afew minutes ago.

But like the others said, only use the type of fuel the rental agency tells you to use. If you forget, there is usually a reminder on your gas cap too.

And don't feel intimidated by all this info. It really is very very easy to drive in Europe. After the first 5 minutes you barely notice there's any difference. IMHO the two most important rules are first, using the right gas; otherwise you might kill the engine resulting in an expensive reapir and some embarassment. Secondly, KEEP RIGHT on the highways. If you're from Maryland or Virginia where putzing along in the left lane is acceptable, forget about it in Germany. You'll have cars flashing their lights and maybe even cops coming after you.
Otzi is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 11:15 AM
  #29  
 
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And, just to make sure, there's no mutual agreement on International Driving Permits between Germany and the USA or it's states, the same goes for Canada. Whatever is recommended, it's not a document accepted or needed by any german law enforcement official. Use you local license instead.

In Austria otoh the IDP is needed.
logos999 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 01:10 PM
  #30  
 
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Thanks Logos. I've always maintained that the International Driving Permit is a huge ripoff perpetuated by AAA to make a few bucks. It says nothing. Besides, any German officer is gonna be smart enough to look at a US license and figure out what your name is, your licence number and address without needing a translation.
Otzi is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 01:38 PM
  #31  
 
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Origin of the IDP (from http://www.drivers.com/article/206/)

"The IDP is a special license for tourists authorized by United Nations conventions on road safety in 1923, 1943, 1949, and 1968. Nearly 180 countries are signatories."

Two organizations in the United States are authorized to issue IDP's:

"...the U.S. State Department says it has authorized two organizations to issue IDPs--the American Automobile Association, and the American Automobile Touring Alliance, which offers IDPs through the National Automobile Club."
bettyk is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 01:46 PM
  #32  
 
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>Nearly 180 countries are signatories.
Yep, but not Germany (neither "east" nor "west"). As simple as that ;-)
logos999 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 01:56 PM
  #33  
 
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But I do envy those Austrians that can simply get an IDP and drive in places like Japan. It's an endless hassle for Germans there since the German license isn't accepted and we havn't got a treaty with Japan on IDPs either. (sigh) Fortunatly Germany has bilateral treaties with the USA and all the Canadian provinces to accept the local licenses.

Your Canadian or US license is valid on your holiday in Germany no matter what.
logos999 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 01:58 PM
  #34  
 
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it is correct, the idp is not mandatory 8and not accepted, btw) by german officials. however rental companies such as hertz germany may require that document. i read it on their website today. funnily enough, hertz did not require me (german) to have an idp when i was in the u.s. recently. they accepted my german license.

anyway, to avoid any trouble, i recommend to check with the rental company well in advance, whether or not they want to see an idp.
Holly76 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 02:11 PM
  #35  
 
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holly as a German, you're not even able to provide the IDP for the rental car company. We Germans have the same "problem" with our "Internationaler Führerschein" in the US. It is not the type of IDP which would be needed for the US. They may accept it, but since there's no agreement between Germany and the US or it's states on an IDP, no agency in Germany is able to issue an IDP valid for the USA.

Very strange situation, isn't it?
logos999 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 02:35 PM
  #36  
 
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actually, i thought idp was kinda euquivalent to the internationaler führerschein. the strange thing is that hertz in germany requires non-europeans to show an int'l document, while hertz in the states just accepts non-americans' national licenses. this is, say, weird.
Holly76 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 02:50 PM
  #37  
 
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Yes, it's a messed up situation. The German government never joined this IDP agreement, intstead they signed a different agreement with far fewer countries "=Internationaler Führerschein" (Russia interestingly being one of them) and added some bilateral agreements with a few of the other countries to accept national/local licenses for tourists.

Why they didn't join the agreement is a mistery when countries like Austria and Italy joined...
logos999 is offline  
Mar 18th, 2009, 11:35 AM
  #38  
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We'll bring the international drive license by AAA anyway.

And by searching avis.com, it's $3.36+tax per day for GPS rental (I suppose it speaks English..?) which I think it acceptable. So we'll have it as a backup. Any trouble using the rental one?

As far as the maps, I found too many choices... the country's, city's or the regional. I thought I just wanted the basic must-have... how about http://www.amazon.com/Michelin-Germa.../dp/2067123033

or

http://www.amazon.com/Michelin-Germa...7404565&sr=1-8

perhaps I could get some free or cheaper local maps when I get into towns?

Glander
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Mar 18th, 2009, 12:24 PM
  #39  
 
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I'd rather buy some smaller scale map now. You need at least one of Bavaria and one of Baden-Württemberg. 1:300000 better 1:250000.
Those 1:1000000 map are pretty useless for planning.

www.amazon.de will deliver to the US. Go for a "Shell Autoatlas" or a "Falk Plan" or an "ADAC" map. They are not that expensive.
logos999 is offline  
Mar 18th, 2009, 01:25 PM
  #40  
 
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what i can recommend, is aral's "Deutschland-Atlas 2009". i have one (not the latest edition) and i am very happy with. i am not sure, but i think they are selling it at aral stations. their website price is €15.95, but they are not shipping the north america.

as for the gps, it makes sense to have one, since the price is that low. gpss are available in various languages, so you should ask the rental company to set up the english version. this would not be a problem for them.
Holly76 is offline  

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