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What should we be prepared for in driving rental car from Munich airport?

We will rent a car on an upcoming Thursday morning about 9:00 or so at the Munich airport and strike out for a small town west of Innsbruck, Austria, where we are staying. We are trying to arrange having a GPS and will have paper maps and whatever instructions the car rental people give us, but what do you think we are in for getting away from the airport and out of Munich? For example, I would never rent a car at Heathrow and try to drive anywhere from there. I am hoping it's not a similar scene in Munich! Ann.

Posted by
2716 posts

Hi Ann,

Getting out of Munich airport is a breeze. Very well signed in both German and English. Follow signs for the highway to Salzburg and Innsbruck. The highway signs directing you to both are excellent. You will see how easy it is. Be sure to stop at a gas station/rest stop after leaving the airport and buy the Austrian Vignette (toll sticker for driving on highways in Austria). Yes, they are sold in Germany after leaving the airport. Cost is about 9 Euro for a windshield sticker good for 10 consecutive days, the cheapest version of the Austrian Vignette. DO NOT drive on a highway in Austria without this. Dropping the car off at Munich airport is even easier. ALL rental cars are returned to the same garage and the signs, in both German and English are excellent.

Paul

Posted by
115 posts

Thank you Paul! I am reassured! I had read in Rick's books about the vignette --- but thanks for mentioning it as I had forgotten about it. Ann.

Posted by
498 posts

The Austrian section of the highway (Kufstein-Innsbruck) is a sort of experiment in speed control; speed limit changes dinamically according to weather and traffic, but mostly is a low 100 km/h to keep pollution down. There is a speed radar every kilometer so be sure to stick to limit.

Posted by
693 posts

Dont rent a gps from the car rental. If you have a smartphone by a gps app like sygic. Much cheaper and it works off line so n OK data charges.

Posted by
5514 posts

Read about the experiences of those who have gone before you to see how rental agencies operate. Don't think it can't happen to you.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187275-i116-k4618853-Rental_car_scam_by_hertz-Germany.html
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187309-i118-k4518754-Thrifty_Terstappen_Munich_Airport-Munich_Upper_Bavaria_Bavaria.html
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187275-i116-k4081322-Don_t_rent_a_car_from_SIXT_that_s_all_I_am_saying-Germany.html

Are you planning to drive immediately after a transatlantic red-eye flight? Impaired driving in a new environment is one choice, but not one I'd make. Why not take the train?

Posted by
328 posts

It is a pretty easy drive from Munich airport, you shouldn't have any problems. I wouldn't do the drive if you are just coming in from a trans-atlantic flight that morning, though. Even if you feel fine at the time your body won't be doing very well. It's far to dangerous and not worth the risk.

Check to see if your rental car already has an Austrian vignette on it that is valid for the duration of your time in Austria. We had one once and didn't realize it until we had purchased the new vignette. You will save yourself a bit, if it does.

Posted by
115 posts

Thanks for these latest tips, particularly about the rental car maybe already having the vignette. Our itinerary to four small, out of the way towns and their surroundings in the mountains of Austria, Italy, and Germany doesn't lend itself to train travel. Yes, we will be coming into the airport after a night flight from the Eastern U.S., but our first day's drive into Austria is only 2 hours. Thanks again! Ann.

Posted by
2716 posts

Hi again Ann,

Everyone is different, but once we land and get out, we feel excited to be away and normally drive 2 to 3 hours to our first destination. If you are looking for the car rental, consider www.gemut.com (Andy Bestor). We've used them for our last 4 trips.

Paul

Posted by
18246 posts

In 2001, I had a rail trip of several hours from FRA, where I landed after a trans-Atlantic flight, to my first night's destination, and I fell asleep on the train. I'm glad I wasn't driving.

Posted by
27510 posts

I'll stick up for renting at Heathrow, off Bath Road. Munich may be easy, Heathrow is very straightforward, and straight onto the M4. Heathrow is a bit of a busy airport, but once you have checked out your car and checked all the buttons and knobs, actually getting onto the Motorway system is pretty much a doddle, and you are far enough from central London that traffic usually isn't particularly bad - except at the height of the rush hour of course.

Posted by
115 posts

Thanks Paul, on saying a short drive can be managed. That's what we are expecting. None of us has flown into and driven from Munich, so I wondered what the road/traffic scene was like, getting out of that particular city. But the one of us who is going to drive (not me) has undertaken such a land, rent a car, and get on the road right away scenario in other cities with good luck in the past re being too tired.

Nigel, thanks for weighing in on Heathrow. But would your answer be the same for someone (me, for example) who has never driven on the left side of the road? I am really worried about how I would handle driving in the UK and, sadly, it is inhibiting my travel there, as the TYPE of trip I would like most to take would require a rental car. If I get up the guts to do it, I was envisioning, after landing at Heathrow and going into London, taking a train out to a smaller city in the direction of my itinerary and renting a car there, to get a grip on the technique, not the least of which is shifting with the left hand, away from the worst congestion. Ann.

Posted by
2716 posts

Hi Ann,

Munich airport is not really near Munich the city, which is about 30 minutes drive from the airport. You'll never leave the highway to get into Austria and never go through Munich itself. Zero city driving. Depending on where your fist night is, you should have basically all highway driving and very straightforward. Do pay attention to speed limits.

Before returning the car, we always get off maybe 2 exits before the airport in Hallbergmoos. Easy to fill the gas tank and get right back onto the highway. OMV gas station with a large convenience store, car wash, etc.

https://www.here.com/germany/hallbergmoos/petrol-station/omv--276u286f-c62b7f530ba34e39ac439da32ea41861?map=48.33769,11.75031,14,normal

Paul

Posted by
27510 posts

Ann, yes I would. No city or town roads to deal with, up onto the motorway, no fuss.

At Heathrow you have the best chance of getting an automatic. Having one may help with the transition. Many recommend so to do.