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European Car Rentals
February 17, 2012 12:42 PM   Subscribe

Need some advice on renting a car in Europe this summer

I'm travelling to Europe this summer and am looking to rent a car for the 3 weeks that we will be there. Most of the time we will be in Germany (flying into and out of FRA) but for 6 days we will be travelling within the Czech Republic.

Is there a website that would show which rental companies will allow me to travel from Germany to the Czech Republic, and what restrictions they may or may not impose (i.e. not allowed to rent certain vehicles).

Alternatively, have any Mefites had experience with a similar situation and have suggestions on which firm to look into? I'm not sure about the rental car brokers that I've been seeing and would prefer to deal directly with the rental car company.
posted by smcniven to Travel & Transportation around Germany (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
We rented from Europcar in Berlin to drive to Wolfsburg and it was very easy (we booked it online in out hotel room the night before). They gave us a free class upgrade and the vehicle we got had a built-in navigation system; they had no problem cancelling the GPS charge on our credit card because of this. No hassles, very nice.

Not sure about the country restriction, but I imagine their website would disclose the conditions before you commit to book. Happy travels!
posted by area.man at 1:04 PM on February 17, 2012


If you don't know how to drive a manual stick transmission, be aware that automatic transmission is can be an extra fee.
posted by dgran at 1:24 PM on February 17, 2012


I've rented cars in Germany from Sixt.com. I like their selection of cars and found them to be very nice. Most cars include GPS built-in and they offer things like re-routing for traffic and construction. At least the last time I rented from them, they did not charge extra to drop off at another office within Germany which was nice since I didn't need to pay for a car I didn't need, I could just turn it in at the local office and if I needed a car a few days later, I just got another one. I don't think Sixt charges extra for automatics but certain classes (the discounted classes) are usually all manual transmissions and the higher end tend to be automatics. Because I was an American, the clerk assumed I wanted an automatic and when I said I'd prefer manual, she gave me a nice BMW 3-series with a stick which was a car class up from what I reserved.

The site or the rental agreement essentially said that I could take my rental anywhere in the EU (and Switzerland) without a problem or extra charge (there may be a charge if you rent in Frankfurt and drop it off in Prague... but like I said you can pick it up in Frankfurt and drop it off in Berlin without a surcharge). For certain high end cars, like the ones that go for >300€/day they do have country restrictions (eastern European non-EU countries if I recall) as well would not offer unlimited km and required the drive to be 25+ with at least 3 years of driving experience.
posted by birdherder at 1:51 PM on February 17, 2012


My wife and I rented a car from Sixt in Austria and drove to Slovenia. Here is German language rental restrictions.

"Cross Border & Territorial Restrictions
Trips abroad in the following countries, including the islands, allowed:
Andorra, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Gibraltar, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Portugal, San Marino, Sweden , Spain, Switzerland and Vatican City.

In the following countries may be entered, but not with vehicles from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, VW, Porsche and Jaguar, as well as all Jeeps and off-roaders:
Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary . With all the vehicles of groups IVMR, SVMR, FVMR (including Mercedes-Benz B-Class, Mercedes-Benz Vito, Viano Mercedes-Benz), as well as vans and trucks may be driven in the latter countries.

If you breach the conditions for trips abroad all insurances"

In addition, you will likely need to purchase a "medallion" (essentially a road use tax sticker that has replaced tolls) somewhere at or before you reach the Czech border (usually at a gas station rest stop. The car will probably have a German one when you rent it, but the rental place is unlikely to have a Czech sticker.
posted by chrisulonic at 1:57 PM on February 17, 2012


I'd be very surprised if you had any problems with any car company - there are no border checks between Germany and the Czech Republic, and Europeans expect travel between countries these days.
posted by Dasein at 2:02 PM on February 17, 2012


From this brochure:

"Restrictions exist on driving rental cars from some countries into countries in Eastern Europe. Please check with Hertz reservations if plans include such travel."

I'd wager anything that those countries don't include CZ - it's not ever really Eastern Europe. Give Hertz or Europcar a call to check if you're worried.
posted by Dasein at 2:05 PM on February 17, 2012


Ya, I've done this. You're a PERFECT candidate for Renault Eurodrive's "short term leasing" program (which I've done twice with great success).

From the website:

Renault Eurodrive is an all-inclusive, tax-free purchase / repurchase program for new vehicles aimed at people living outside the European Union (or in French Overseas Departments and Territories) staying in Europe for between 21 days and 6 months.
Your new car awaits you at the center of your choice across Europe.

You get to organize your stay as desired and get to the road in complete freedom !

* Comprehensive insurance with no excess to pay
* Roadside assistance 24/7
* A brand new vehicule
* unlimited mileage
* 40 pick-up and drop-off centers across Europe


It's pretty great, actually.
posted by rumbles at 2:19 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seconding the Renault Eurodrive program. We leased a Clio (Carminat) and decided to keep it. There is literally nothing to worry about through the term of the lease, and it was break-even with rental after about ten days; thereafter you end up saving money. We went with Renault because they had Clios with automatics (my partner's knees can't cope with a stick). If you like to drive a stick, Peugeot offers cars that are more fun (207). Clio diesels come only with sticks AFAIK, but those cars, with the larger 1.9 liter diesel, are delightful to drive with the torque they have, and you are happy when you pass up so many gas stations.
posted by jet_silver at 8:58 PM on February 17, 2012


I think you will need to check the companies' individual terms. It's my understanding that most will have restrictions on leaving the country eastwards.

Germen car renting companies are e.g. budget.de, sixt.de, europcar.de, avis.de, hertz.de. Of course there's more and lots of locals ones, which might be more loose with their restrictions. I think in all cases, you can work out an additional fee.

The German word for car rental is "Autovermietung" and Yellow Pages are gelbeseiten.de.
posted by oxit at 11:32 PM on February 17, 2012


Check individual restrictions. A few years ago when I lived in Germany a friend of mine rented a car to drive to the Czech Republic and I don't think he got in trouble but he later found out that he was specifically not supposed to drive in CR(could have been eastern europe as a whole but he was only in CR) with a car rented in Germany. My memory is fuzzy so that may not be a general thing, but check with the rental company anyway.

Also about the automatic vs manual cars, if you need an automatic make sure to reserve the car at least a few days in advance(a week would be preferable) because they can't always guarantee that they will have one at the lot where you are picking the car up.
posted by fromageball at 8:04 AM on February 18, 2012


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