Please sign in to post.

Car Rental Pickup/Dropoff: From the Airport or Train Station

We will be renting a car from Munich for one week, traveling to (and through) the Black Forest, and then dropping it off in Frankfurt. One debate is whether to initiate the rental from Munich airport vs train station downtown (we will staying near the Marienplatz). I'm thinking it would be easier to take the S-bahn to the airport and rent the car there, thus avoiding driving our rental through the main city.

But here's the situation when we drop the car off in Frankfurt: we need to catch a train to northern Germany. If we drop off at the airport, the scheduled train trip is about an hour longer than if we were to drop off the car at the main train station and take a train from there to our destination. Is the main train station easy to get to or would the extra driving through town not be worth any time we save on the actual train ride. Frankfurt Airport is outside the city and (in my opinion) easier to get to. But maybe not....

Posted by
12040 posts

Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof is an easy straight-shot from the A5 Autobahn. You're not driving typically winding European city streets, you drive along a wide boulevard, with only one slight curve to the right. Even if traffic is bad, at most, it takes about 15 minutes to reach once you leave the Autobahn. Rental car return is in the underground garage. Look for the sign that looks like a big "P" wearing a hat. But if you miss the entrance, it's a little complicated to circle back.

Although driving in Munich is not fun, it's fairly easy getting out of town from the Hauptbahnhof. I don't think its worth the extra effort to go all the way to the airport.

Posted by
16059 posts

I am surprised that dropping at Frankfurt airport adds a whole hour to the trip. There are S-bahns every 7 to 10 minutes from the airport to the Hbf and the trip is 11 minutes. There is also pretty frequent ICE service from the airport Fernbahnhof that bypasses the Hbf.

Posted by
478 posts

I should have been clearer; the hour difference is in the arrival at our destination in the north using the Frankfurt train station vs the airport station. The airport has most trains going through Hannover; the main train station has a direct route with no changes in trains, saving us just under an hour in travel time.

Posted by
4892 posts

Whichever you decide, note that a slug reading "Fft(Main) HBF" in the online identity of even a major rental company dropoff doesn't necessarily mean that the place is physically adjacent to the train station. For example, the Avis/HBF in Cologne is nearly 1/4 mile away, in a hotel lobby, with the garage up the street entirely separate from the hotel. (Another brand is actually at the train station.) If you don't get good info from Google Maps, be sure to allow time and luggage-rolling effort for this possibility. You should also check if there's a price difference, and whether the place happens to have shorter hours on the day of the week you're going to be there.

I agree with your sentiment about traffic, but note that Frankfurt is a very modern city, with lots of wide boulevards.

If you aren't doing something like stops by the Rhine or Moselle, could you drop the car further south? I don't know if Stuttgart or Wurzburg are worth visiting: Just an idea.

Posted by
12040 posts

About Tim's note above. I know at least Sixt and Europcar are located directly in the Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof, and perhaps Avis as well (I'm kind of picturing their yellow placards by the reserved spaces in my head, but you know how fallible memory can be).

Posted by
478 posts

Are the luggage lockers at the train stations safe to keep suitcases? We are hoping to leave our large suitcase in one for a long weekend and travel by train with a carryon, hoping that the suitcase will still be there when we return.

Posted by
12040 posts

"Are the luggage lockers at the train stations safe to keep suitcases?"

That's kind of an unanswerable question, unless you have access to the relevant crime statistics (I don't), but let's put this in perspective. The lockers at the Bahnhof are not the thin metal containers you remember from high school. They're thick and have electronic locks. Unless a thief is really technically savy, would he really risk making all the noise that would be required to open a random locker, in a station that always has several Polizei on patrol, for a reward that more likely than not consists only of some random traveler's dirty clothes? Thieves aren't that dumb. They're not going to risk getting caught just to grab something that likely has zero street resell value.

Posted by
16059 posts

A more important question might be how long the lockers can be rented for. If you are going a way for a few days, is that possible? BTW, the lockers located by track 24 are right next to the police station.

Posted by
6567 posts

To save money, you'll always want to avoid renting a car in any airport. Additional taxes and concession fees jack the rental prices up dramatically.

I would suggest you find a medium size city along your train route to the north and look up the rental company's locations in that city. Many car rental offices are in close proximity to the train station or a short taxi ride away. It might keep you from having to detour to a place like Frankfurt.

I do know that Hertz's rental office addresses world wide are easily found on their website. It's the same with AutoEurope.com.

Posted by
6 posts

We rented our car from the Munich Hauotbanhof. The counter is on the second level and the garage was less than a 2 min walk away. Getting out of town was easy as I used the navigation system on my smart phone.

Posted by
2 posts

from what i understand, if you pick up a rental car from a train station or airport, you'll have to pay a sizable tax for doing so. dropping off at a train station or airport is no extra fee. not sure what to say about the rest of your question