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Relocation Fee

Hi there,

is there any website that shows the cost of the relocation between each country? I am planning to drive from France - Belgium - Netherlands - Germany.

I have booked my flight ticket and I have not booked the car yet. I just knew that there is a relocation fee between each country, but after googling for a while, I truly cannot find the exact cost.

Do you guys have any ideas? Or what is the best option for me to travel between these 4 countries? The travelers are just me and my wife.

Hope someone can help me out. Thank you

Posted by
5697 posts

Are you committed to driving so that you can see places other than big cities ? Trains go between cities easily and efficiently, and relatively cheaply.

Posted by
10 posts

Hi Laura

Thanks for your response. I intend to travel and see smaller cities in between these countries.

I can check the train fare (Eurorails), however, I cannot know the relocation fee for cars, or any procedure I should do before leaving France and entering Belgium. Do I need to change the car plate or do I need to report to the nearest office, etc etc?

Posted by
8035 posts

We were always quoted the cross border drop fee when we booked with europecar -- the fee is quoted when you book to pick up in one country and drop in another. As I recall it was about 300 Euro 10 years ago from the Netherlands to France. If you can't figure it out on line before booking, call and ask.

Posted by
10203 posts

There will not be a fee to drive from one country to the next, nor will you have to change license plates. The additional cost, likely quite large, is to rent a car in one country and return it in another. Do be prepared for toll roads too.

I have always used the consolidator Auto Europe to rent cars. I avoid returning in another country. If you tell us your itinerary (if known) we might be able to help you work around the extra charge. How long will you be needing a car?

Posted by
10 posts

Hi Andrea and all

THANKS so much for responding

I was quite amazed with the comment from Andrea, which states that there are no relocation fee nor I have to change the car plate. If this is true, I will be jumping off the roof...yooohoooo...hahahhaa....

I will rent a car , starting from Paris Charlles de Gaul airport, stay in Paris for 3 nights, then start to travel north to Brussels. I will stay here for 1 night and then, I will continue my journey to Amsterdam. I will stay here for 3 - 4 nights and then, I will start entering Germany soil (Cologne, etc and ended up in Munich - I will return the car here in Munich)

So, apart from the car rental fee, what other fees I need to know? I heard about the relocation fee and this is why I asked it here....

Hopefully Andrea can confirm me on this particular stuffs and again, BIG THANKS!

Posted by
15144 posts

Have you ever traveled to Europe before? The fact that you thought you had to change license plate to cross borders makes me think you have never traveled abroad before, because even just thinking that is absurd.
You don't need a car to visit those places or to travel between them. Actually a car will be a huge hassle. If you want to visit the countryside somewhere take public transportation or rental the car for a day.

Posted by
10 posts

Hi Roberto

I have been to Switzerland/Italy 2 years ago and Spain/Portugal last year. However, at that time, I joined the travel agent and they arranged everything for me (well, we use bus to travel between cities - it is normal if you travel in a group of 20 ppl)

In this July, I decide to change course and I like to drive myself. This is why I have no experience at all in driving a car myself across Europe.

Why do I want to drive? Convenient and more things to see. I plan to stop over countryside and I want to continue my journey without needing to check and run for a train.

Posted by
795 posts

I'd go to www.eurail.com and buy a railpass and let someone else do the driving. Keep in mind the price of rental car, insurance, high priced gas, fees to drive in the cities and the fact that you aren't allowed to drive in many parts of European cities. A first class Eurail pass will get you safely and efficiently from place to place and the local transport (which is excellent in Europe) plus staying in central hotels eliminates the need for a car.

Posted by
10344 posts

I will rent a car , starting from Paris Charlles de Gaul airport, stay
in Paris for 3 nights,

You don't want to have the car while you're in Paris.
If you're going to rent a car, rent it on the way out of Paris.

Posted by
437 posts

A car is convienent. The rental fee and insurance are just the start of the cost. If you use the insurance from the credit card it can be cheaper and the rental agency may put a temporary charge on your card up to the cost of the car, but usually the insurance deductible. Not a problem if you have a different credit card to use for your other expenses.

Then add parking which can be expensive in cities or free in smaller areas. Tolls in France, not in Germany. Gas is very expensive. Be aware of automated speeding cameras and restricted driving areas in cities and historic town centers. If you go to Austria or Switzterland you need to buy a vingette at the border and stick it on the windshield.

Viamichelin.com has a cost estimation function.

Excellent rest stops and food along the highways, good roads and well trained drivers make driving in Europe fantastic. Stop in a tiny town, alongside a farm field, linger when you choose.

Loop back to France to avoid the drop off fee. The airport in Geneva has a French side where you can drop the car and will not incur the fee, then walk through the building to the Swiss side.

Enjoy the planning and the trip.

Posted by
83 posts

Your plan seems extravagant to me. By train you could easily go from Paris to Brussels in about 1.5 hours, and from there to Amsterdam in just a couple more hours. And it will be easy to go by train to Germany from there. It isn't expensive if you book your tickets ahead. As others here have said, there will be a large drop-off fee if you return your rental car in a different country.

You can check the schedules here:
capitainetrain.com

Posted by
10 posts

Hi all

Thanks for the response.

It looks like most of the replies here are against the idea of driving a car.

I have checked the eurails and it looks like I have to spend more than 1000 EUR for 2 weeks travel for 2 person in these 4 countries.

Please advise if I am wrong

Anyway, I am still into the the idea of driving the car. I love the idea to just rent the car while I was out from the Paris.

About the drop-off charges, how much should I expect to pay and where can I pay it? Thanks

Posted by
9549 posts

Hi Yulianto -- I think you are missing the fact that there is a HUGE fee if you pick up a car in one country and drop it off in another. I don't know what a "relocation" fee is, but it is NOT inexpensive to rent a car and drive it around different countries in Europe.

Also, I don't know why your tickets would need to be so expensive as 1000 euros. You do NOT need a Eurail pass -- that is a good way to throw away a bunch of money. Those countries are all very close to each other and you should be able to buy reasonably priced tickets for each segment of your travel (i.e. Paris-Brussels, then Brussels-Amsterdam, then Amsterdam-Berlin or whatever) if you can plan in advance and stick to your plan.

Posted by
10 posts

Hi Kim

You really made a point. I do not really need a 2-week pass. In case I decide to travel via train, I will certainly follow your advice.

If in case I do not rent a car, do you think it is easy to travel via bus to any tourist spots within Paris? The main reason for me to rent a car is the convenience factor. I can simply hop into the car, drive to a suburb in Paris or Brussels or Amsterdam.

Anyway, I am open to ideas

Again, BIG THANKS for those who have replied

Posted by
10344 posts

Do you think it is easy to travel via bus to any tourist spots within Paris?

Paris has one of the better public transportation systems in Europe: the Metro (subway), buses, and a suburban train system called RER that connects with the Metro. Plus walking.
The historic center of Paris is compact, compared to most capital cities.
All tourists use a combination of the above 4 methods to travel to tourists spots within Paris: Metro, buses, RER, and walking.

No informed tourist rents a car to drive in Paris, that would be a big mistake, a hassle for you, and would significantly detract from the quality of the Paris part of your trip.

Posted by
11613 posts

I would take the trains until I get to Germany and then rent a car, no drop off charges to worry about. Look at each country's railway site to price tickets.

Posted by
32701 posts

81,

What country are you from? What type of driving are you familiar with?

Residents of different countries have different regulations in other countries, much like visa regulations. Depending on where you are traveling from you may have a visa requirement to travel to various European countries, or you may be covered by Schengen visa waiver programme.

You will require, most likely, an International Drivers Permit in addition to your home driving licence. There is, for example, a new regulation on British licence holders renting cars in continental Europe requiring a the obtaining of a special PIN from the British government.

Driving in and around Paris takes the patience of a saint, and parking, where you can find it, if very difficult and expensive.

Driving in and around Brussels can be very difficult. Belgian drivers have a bit of a reputation, and my experience has not been good with Belgian drivers, especially in and around Brussels. The kerb stones are very high, made of stone, and the edges are sharp. Trust me. Virtually no car rental insurance covers tyre damage. Brussels drivers apparently disable their car's turn signals as soon as they buy them. Expect a driver in Brussels to suddenly veer from the fast lane directly across you without signalling to an exit ramp, crossing 3 or 4 lanes without apparently looking at all first, causing screeching of brakes. This is the voice of experience.

The Belgian road plan is very dense, as is the country (not the people, certainly not Poirot).

The speed limit in the Netherlands is quite slow, but that's OK because you won't always be going that fast. The traffic, particularly in the Randstad is very dense.

Brussels, Amsterdam, and Paris are certainly NO PLACE for a car. It is an albatross around your neck - an extremely expensive albatross.

Where are you flying into (CDG?) and where are you flying out of?

If you hire a car in France and want to drive it in German cities it will likely not have the legally required umweltplakette - the green sticker. You can't drive into most German cities and large towns without one.

The trains between Paris, Brussels and surroundings, Amsterdam and surrounding, are fast, comfortable, can be quite cheap, and very frequent. Big picture windows which are usually clean with much better views than you can get from a car in many places.

Posted by
10203 posts

Yulianto, I want to start by saying that some people refuse to drive in Europe and some don't. I do drive, but only when necessary. The last thing you want to do is drive in Paris. Trust me, on my first trip I drove into Paris to return my car. What a nightmare. If you must get a car, get it on your way out of town. But do you really need one? Paris to Brussels is easy by train. Were you planning to stop anywhere between? Brussels to Amsterdam. Also easy by train. Amsterdam Is another city you don't want to drive in. If the smaller town areas you want to stop in are in Germany, wait until you get there to get a car. You will avoid additional drop off fees. Driving in Munich is difficult, and you don't need a car there. If you have a car in Germany return the car when you get to Munich. Driving in Germany is easy. If you drive, rent the smallest car you can get away with. Parking spaces are small. In small towns some streets are very narrow too.

Get point to point train tickets. If purchased as soon as they are available, usually 90 days prior to the trip, the prices are quite reasonable. If you have an American Express card you can enroll at no cost for their car insurance program. For each rental you pay for with your AE, full coverage insurance is about $25. Most rental cars have a manual transmission. Can you drive one? It's recommended, and in some countries it's required, to have an International Drivers Permit, to be used in conjunction with your drivers license. It can be obtained at AAA and is very inexpensive.

Posted by
16893 posts

At least the first half of your trip is not a good area to drive (big cities) and not a good area to use a Eurail pass (high reservation fees for Thalys). If you want to pick up a car in Koln for a few days in Germany, you could do that more affordably, or if you have 3 or more long train rides, you could get a German Rail Pass from $145 per person, but given your trip description so far, you don't necessarily need either one of those. I will also advise a mix of train tickets, with the longer routes purchased ahead for the best discount and the shorter German routes purchased as regional day tickets for two.

Posted by
4407 posts

There are no 'relocation' fees, just the very high drop-off fee as already discussed. And there's no such thing as 'eurorails', so I don't know where you're getting your information on the trains...but I know it's not the correct place!

For travel between the cities you've mentioned, your tickets should easily be no more than 400€ total for both of you, depending on how far in advance you can purchase them online. I would definitely take the train between these particular cities. As already mentioned, you'll have the added costs of fuel, parking fees, etc., with a car. Plus, you can't use it while you're IN those cities. You won't be driving between the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, for instance. Your be walking, using the metro, or the riding the bus.

Where do you Iive (so I can offer some more information)?

When exactly is this trip?

Posted by
23240 posts

I am guessing a little bit of a language barrier or translation problem. I assume his "relocation fee" and our "drop fees" are the same. For yulianto, a drop fee in American english is the fee for renting the car in one location - city, country - and returning it in another location - city country. Sometimes the fee within a country is reasonable but the fee for returning the car to a different country can be very high. The rental company when you are making the reservation will tell you the additional fee for returning to another country.

Posted by
10 posts

Hi all,

THANK YOU so much for your valuable feedback

I guess I will follow you guys advise not to drive in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Munich. I will probably just take a train of flight from Amsterdam to Cologne, where I can stop by and rent a car for a few days. In Munich, I will just take a public transport again

If there is anything I should be aware of, please do let me know
Again, I really appreciate your help :)

Posted by
32701 posts

Amsterdam to Koeln, 2:37 or 2:40 by train, as low as €34.

No changes of train, big ICE seats and services, very comfortable, very fast, no hassle, no security. Buy your ticket and walk on. City Centre to City Centre, directly opposite the incredible Koelner Dom (cathedral).

Flying, 20 minutes from the centre by train, 2 hours check in and security circus, no saying how expensive a plane ticket would be, 40 minutes flying, 30 minutes at least to get out of airport, an hour by train to the centre. Total - about 4 and half hours.

Which do you really want to do?

Posted by
11294 posts

If you are using Rail Europe for anything, stop immediately. They are a reseller, they do not list all trains, and they mark up (sometimes substantially) the tickets they do sell.

Instead, use the list below to find which website to go to for each train. If you can commit to non-refundable and non-exchangeable tickets bought in advance online, you'll save a fortune. Just to give one example from my own experience, in 2012 a one way ticket from Berlin to Dresden was €38 "standard" fare per person, but €19 for one and €29 for two if bought in advance as a "saver" fare (non-refundable). The savings can be even greater on the Thalys from Paris to Brussels and Brussels to Amsterdam.

Here's where to look to buy each ticket (or at least to get accurate prices): http://tinyurl.com/bo8x6o6

Unless you would enjoy driving in Boston or New York, do not even THINK of driving in Paris. And unless you want to spend €50 a day to park the car in Amsterdam's center, you'll have to park it on the outskirts and take public transit; so, you might as well take the train to the center and take public transit (excellent) or walk.

If you're in the US, you should look at Rick's books for your destinations. He has all the details about getting around the cities. In general, European cities have excellent mass transit, and being centuries older than automobiles, are lousy places to drive. Europe doesn't have cities like Phoenix or Houston, where driving is easy and mass transit is limited, so a car is a near-necessity.

And while looking at costs, it's not just the rental car and the drop charge you have to think about. There's gas (much more expensive than in the US), tolls (high in France), parking (as I said, exorbitant in Amsterdam and very high elsewhere, like €20-25 a day in many cities), and tickets (lots of reports of people who thought they obeyed all the traffic rules, only to find out that a camera caught them going slightly over the speed limit or entering a restricted zone). If you're seeing rural areas, a car can be great; between large cities, the train is the way to go.

Posted by
10 posts

Hi harold

Thank you for your valuable response and i really appreciate it

As what then other suggested here, i will take a public transport and i will cancel my plan to drive

I could not imagine my days in europe without your help, guys!!!

Another concern that pops up in my mind. If i take train to travel, i have probably 1 large bag and 1 small bag to bring. I heard some horror stories about pickpocket in paris, etc.

Any suggestion of places that i should be aware of? My friend has even lost his hand carry while he was in CDG airport. I have travelled a lot, alaska, japan, australia, south africa, switzerland..however, many warned me while travelling in paris. How about belgium, holland and germany?

Well, in japan, no one even bothers my bag, even it is left unattended. Japan is really, really safe country to travel. Switzerland is also excellent

Posted by
11613 posts

Make sure you do not leave your bags unattended and you should be fine. I never used to use a neck pouch/money belt but now I do most of the time.

A friend who lives in Switzerland was robbed while boarding a train, so caution when you are in transit is important because that's when distractions (checking schedules, buying tickets, boarding trains) are inevitable. Most people have a great, safe time in Europe, don't overthink potential problems but travel smart and eliminate most of them.

Posted by
1307 posts

Yulianto, I would strongly encourage you to obtain the latest issue of Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door travel skills book. It will answer a lot of questions that you haven't even thought to ask yet. It also has sections on some of the larger specific locales that you plan to visit. The sections on packing light, safety, and public transportation will be especially helpful.