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Leasing a Car in Austria

May have the opportunity for a few months (up to six) in Austria. Wondering if anyone has experience leasing a car for such a period and is it better than renting (I like a car when possible as I usually stay in small villages).

Thanks in advance,

Gerry

Posted by
4690 posts

Personally, I would just buy a cheap car and then sell it again. You'll need to get an international driver's license. That said, I have lived here for over 8 years without a car and been just about everywhere - even small villages.

Posted by
169 posts

Thanks Emily.

Oops. I have rented cars in Germany and Austria for years and not had to show an international license. Is it only necessary in some cases?

To get to small villages I assume you end up on a bus at the end of the journey. One of my problems will be that I will have luggage tailored to a trip spanning summer and winter weather. So I will have a fair bit. I have been thinking of going without the car though nevertheless.

Do you hike in those small villages and do they have a Wanderbus? I know Dienten am Hichkoening has sucha bus, not sure how many do.

Posted by
8774 posts

What you actually need is an International Driving Permit (IDP), which can be obtained at a AAA office. It costs $15 and you need to provide a passport sized photo. They can take it for you at AAA for a small charge. You also need to have your State issued drivers license. The IDP translates your license into multiple languages. Most car rental companies don't require you show the IDP when you pick the car up, as they don't care if you have one. When you need one is if you are involved in a traffic accident or are involved in any type of incident while operating the car.

Posted by
781 posts

If you lease a car you probably wont be on the hook for repairs,check on this.A car is a must in rural areas,I was just there in October in the Salzkamergut for the third time.Austria requires an IDP Driving Permit.
Mike

Posted by
16883 posts

I have leased a car for six months under the typical program for visitors and had a very good experience with it, but it costs over $3,000 for that time period. Buying and re-selling a used car on your own would be cheaper. This is a French program, offered through Peugeot and Renault, and there is no pick up available in Austria, but there is in Munich. See also https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/transportation/car-leasing.

Posted by
169 posts

Laura:

What do you mean by a typical program? And which company did you go with? Renting estimates at the moment for 6 months are more than 6,000. So anything below that would be good.

Just checked Auto Europe and it's $6,140 for five months and the CDW has a deductible. This was at Vienna Airport.

Thanks,

Gerry

Posted by
781 posts

I have rented through Hertz all over Europe and a midsize car ran 210 Euro for 10 days and my insurance came from American Express at a very good rate,better than Hertz.
Mike

Posted by
169 posts

I understand but I am looking to rent for months. And IIRC credit card insurance programs usually run for a max of 30 days. I will recheck.

Am checking out more leasing options on Rick's page Laura linked to.

Posted by
4690 posts

This just seems like a really expensive, really bad idea. Sorry. You are really overestimating the need for a car in Austria. From your other posts, I gather that you will be spending time in Vienna. Parking is crazy expensive here and you will need to figure out how that works, might need to get a parking pass depending on the district you stay in. Plus, it is a real PITA to drive around this city. If I were you, I'd just rent a car when you really need it.

Posted by
169 posts

Actually I am here mostly at Christmas time. But in the summers I like to stay in small villages. I know some have hiking buses but to go to any trailhead you want you really need a car. One of the leasing links Laura gave is much cheaper than the option I just listed. So I will check that out a bit more. Some cars I have not heard of I will admit (Clio4 and DACIA Duster both from Renault - anyone heard of them?).

Posted by
153 posts

I rented cars in both Austria and France. They just need a drivers license. The International license, is just a translation of your license you can get an AAA office (even without being a member). Its only purpose is to make it easier for the police if you get pulled over. Apparently the police have a fair amount of discretion in deciding how to handle you, and they not necessarily speak English, and might get more irritable if presented a foreign license. So having it translated on the international license is just a precaution to make things smoother. None of the rental agencies even wanted to see my international license when I had it in my hand.

Posted by
27743 posts

Of course the rental car dudes don't care if you have an IDP. It is a law for driving, not a requirement for rental. All the rental car dudes want is your money.

If you get arrested for not having a legal document the rental car dudes just get more money.

It is a legal requirement to be able to present an IDP and a local DL to a member of the police and to any person you may have the bad luck to have an accident with (sorry for the bad grammar).

I'd strongly advise listening carefully to what Emily says. She is on the spot and deals with transportation in Vienna and wider areas of Austria all the time.

Posted by
27743 posts

A Clio 4 is a small hatchback, often used in racing (in a souped up version).

A DACIA Duster is made by DACIA (you can google it) in Romania.

Both are fairly primitive.

Posted by
169 posts

Has anyone had leasing experience with Renault Eurodrive?

Thanks,

Gerry

Posted by
31471 posts

Gerry,

You might find it helpful to touch base with the folks at gemut.com to sort out the best options for car rental or leasing in Austria.

Regarding your plans to stay up to six months, I assume you're aware of the provisions of the Schengen Visa with respect to length of tourist stays?

Posted by
169 posts

I will check to make sure but I have an EU passport so I should be OK. Thanks for the link.

Gerry

Posted by
4690 posts

RailRider - your advice is completely wrong. Driver's with non-EU licenses must have an IDP if stopped by the police. I live here and have been through this. You really shouldn't talk with such authority about things you don't understand.

Posted by
169 posts

I believe he said the same as all of you. It's not needed for the rental companies, but for the law authorities.

I started this thread about leasing/renting. The IDP was a tangent. I totally get the reason to get it from now on. So I hope the thread will just stay on the topic of long-term leasing.

Posted by
153 posts

Emily - thank you for so aggressively agreeing with what I said. You felt so strong about it, that you followed me around to other threads claiming I am giving dangerous information - when its exactly what you said yourself.

Posted by
153 posts

It depends on what you are doing, but I think the best plan might be to take trains at times, stay put for a while, and strategically rent cars for a week here or there. Thats what we have done in the past in Austria, France, and Italy.

I don't agree with Emily at all. You can not easily get to everywhere you want without a car. Try going to the famous resort of Hallstatt. You need to get off the train, then wait for a boat to take you across the lake. Driving there was much more convenient. And those boats did not seem to be moving very frequently. In fact, everything looked pretty dead after 6 pm, and god help you, if you arrived at 6:30 and had to spend a night in a train station.

If you check DB bahn, you'll see that taking trains via Hallstatt, Vienna, Krems An Donau, Salzburg, etc are not particularly convenient at all. It might take 2.5 hours from Vienna to Krems but only an hour driving. And taking a train from Linz to Cesky Krumluv was not piece of cake - its a 3.5 slow train that stops ever 10 minutes, and then you get dumped out at a closed train station and have to walk a mile into town.

If you buy a car, its going to cost $5k-10k for a used car, you have to worry about registration (possibly without having a permanent address in your host country), registration fees, possible smog certifications if its like the US. And the biggest worry is how to get rid of the car when you have a week left? Austrian Craigslist? And what if it doesn't sell? Are you going to lose your entire investment? Thats too big of a risk for me.

Posted by
31471 posts

Gerry,

Whatever car you decide to get, be sure that it has the Austrian highway tax vignette. Hefty fines if you're caught without one!

Posted by
169 posts

Thanks. NP, I know about the vignette. I have contributed a lot to the Austrian economy since the early 90s. Which I don't mind - my favorite tourist destination.

Posted by
4690 posts

Dear RailRider. I have re-read your post several times. I see now what you were trying to say, but I don't think you said it well. I still read that you imply that an IDP is not necessary when driving around, but I get what you are trying to say.

As I live in Austria, I follow the Austria board. I am not stalking you. If someone posts on here, I generally comment. That said, you didn't have a great start with your whole Klimt posting which was really off base.

I have no problem with you disagreeing with me. If you think that Gerry needs a car to get around, fine. As someone who actually lives here, as Gerry is intending to do, I think my advice is sound.

PS - Rather than check DB, you should check OeBB, which is the Austrian rail carrier website. More accurate info. For example, the train from Vienna to Krems takes 1 hr 09 minutes, not 2.5 hours, so about the same time as driving. No stops either. Trains to Salzburg? 2 hours 20 minutes - faster than a car. Getting to the smaller villages is easy as well, once you know how. That said, I do rent cars from time to time to get to some of the harder to reach areas - like my grandfather's village. Finally, there is an Austrian version of Craigslist. It is called Wilhaben and it is very popular.

Posted by
169 posts

I appreciate the advice from everyone. If this possibility comes to fruition I will be traveling from village to village about every week and there are trailheads I go to that don't have buses. So I have found an interesting possibility with leasing through Renault. Yes it is a chunk of money but I like the flexibilty of the car also. (Every summer I have used a rental car.) So I am thinking of leasing at the moment. We will see.

Posted by
153 posts

Gerry - It sounds like you found a good solution, and thank you for sharing - in that this might be valuable advice for others too.

Emily - thanks for the info on the austrian train site. I didn't now that. I use DB Bahn because I travel all over Europe and its usually bra pretty good one stop solution to that. I don't know as much specific information about Austria as you do.

Also thanks for the info on the Austrian craigslist. I still think its risky buying a car in a foreign country and then needing to sell it with a looming deadline to leave the country, and possibly needing to abandon the car and your entire purchase price.

I do think its a little spooky how follow me across multiple threads and respond regarding completely unrelated threads with inflammatory information out of context. I don't mind someone to disagree or correct me, but I am concerned by our need to follow me around multiple threads and make out-of-context false and inflammatory statements about me which are irrelevant to the topics at hand.

Posted by
4690 posts

Again, I comment on every post relating to Austria. There are only a couple of posts every day, so it is no coincidence we are contributing at the same time on the same posts. Happens all the time on here. Don't flatter yourself by thinking that I am singling you out. You just have said several things that I think are wrong/misinformed and that need explanation/correction.