Please sign in to post.

Indian family driving through Eastern Europe

We are planning a driving trip through Eastern Europe this summer. We are about 10 people of Indian origin, all US citizens
(ages 10 to 80).
We were concerned about driving through Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and other countries of Eastern Europe. We are not going to Bosnia. All locations we plan to visit are tourist locations, but we will be driving through small villages/towns.
Should we be concerned about racism? Profiling? Are there any countries we should avoid? Are we better off sticking to Western Europe?
I would appreciate any candid feedback.

Posted by
11389 posts

Ten of you in what vehicles ???! That will be the hard part .

As for racism and profiling - it is remotely possible you may be mistaken for Roma - and that’s not ideal . However soon as you start talking and they realize you’re American it should be fine !

Posted by
1406 posts

hey hey nirali
like pat says, you all in one car/van plus luggage?? wow
read the rental/driving rules and laws of the different countries you plan to visit. do you need an IDP (translation of you drivers license), AAA has them same day $25 and 2 passport photos for each and every driver. are you allowed to take car/van over each border and at what cost to drop off, do you need stickers or other important tags needed, make sure you have zero deductible insurance, ask rental car group (autoeurope.com) get all your ducks in a row with car and rental would be your biggest challenge and worry.
aloha

Posted by
18 posts

We were renting 2 cars in Munich and returning them in Berlin. We were not getting vans/hatchbacks due to the risk of luggage getting stolen from the open trunk area. I checked the restrictions for rental cars so were avoiding Bosnia.

Posted by
18 posts

We were renting through AutoEurope and I have read through their restrictions but will make sure before I book.

Posted by
7153 posts

So you’re going to put 5 people and 5 luggage into each vehicle? What kind of vehicle?

Posted by
18 posts

I had looked at the rates for a large car like a BMW Series 7 or a Mercedes.

Posted by
7153 posts

You "had" looked at rates...so you don't really have a car yet?

Posted by
18 posts

Tim, I do have a car booked. It’s through Alamo. But, I haven't called an agent to discuss the plans in detail yet. We have rented through Auto Europe before and driven through Germany and Austria. It’s the different countries that have me concerned.

James, thanks for your input. I know what you mean about stereotypes. And the main typical Indian part would be being vegetarians. But, we have usually found great food everywhere we have traveled.

Posted by
393 posts

I think you’re really going to have to stress to family members to pack light. 1 carry on and 1 small backpack per person is still going to be a tight squeeze.

Posted by
3904 posts

Of all the risks that you may encounter, the primary one would be being considered Muslim. Some people on those countries may display hostility towards you however if they're aware that you're American then attitudes may change.

Posted by
7153 posts

I don’t think 5 people and 5 luggages and probably 5 carry ons can fit into any car. That’s something you want to figure before you show up at the rental counter. We had 4 people and 4 luggages and when we arrived at our rental car we and our “stuff” simply wouldn’t fit into our estate car...had to turn around go back inside and luckily they had a minivan that we fit into nicely.

Posted by
4866 posts

nirali, it will be helpful to others if you report back here in the forum after your trip and share your experience.

Posted by
18 posts

Thank you so much for your quick feedback. We have followed Rick Steves’ guidebooks and they have always been so detailed and useful! Right down the tram and train number. This trip will be a little different so I was a little concerned.
Luggage wise, we travel light and limit ourselves to what we can carry ourselves on our backs.

Posted by
10707 posts

Getting 10 people on the same tram at the same time will your biggest issue I bet. Dont forget that in Budapest they do sell group tickets for tram and metro travel. Substantially cheaper. Actually at 3300 forint for 5 people, the deal of the century: https://bkk.hu/en/budapest-24-hour-group-travel-card/ Works out to about $2.25 per day per person for unlimited metro and tram travel. I would get two of these and at least two single tickets for each person in the group. Then if someone misses getting on or getting off they will have a ticket in their pocket to catch up or return to the previous stop. My family rule was if you get separated you go to the next stop, get off and wait. This also sounds sort of dumb, but with 10 I would do it wear matching hats or something. Oh and make sure you know where the guy with the group ticket is. And make sure you are with him. You WILL get checked by an undercover metro cop. Guaranteed.

(you do realize you cant drive your car in Budapest .... right?)

Posted by
12084 posts

"...two-thirds of the tourists are Asian." Very true, at least prior to this Virus crisis.

I remember clearly in 2016 seeing groups of Korean tourists, (these were not Chinese) close by when I was there looking at the famous Mathias Church, where the sign pointing to Military Museum (in English and the distance indicated), and likewise on the other side of the Danube in front of the Parliament.

Posted by
1893 posts

In these parts of the world today, there are a ton of Chinese, Japanese, and many other formerly "exotic" persons. Today, we see many different types of persons. I am not a POC, so cannot state that there is no color prejudice. But money is the most important thing, and if you are polite, not loud and act nicely, I think you will be well-treated.

Posted by
10707 posts

Nirali, enjoy the trip. I've been every place you have mentioned. 90% are good people. The other 10% can be found anyplace.

Posted by
16745 posts

I'd encourage you to complete that booking with Auto Europe, including telling them your complete list of destination countries, if you haven't done that already. The supplier may have restrictions or extra fees related to certain countries on your list which I wouldn't want to come up later as a surprise. These rules can also affect which vehicles are available. If necessary, reservations can be cancelled or changed up to a couple of days in advance, even when pre-paid.

(Regarding your original question, I don't have any personal experience to offer.)

Posted by
3085 posts

Just trying to insert some levity, it’s too bad you can’t just rent a couple Ford F-150 King-Cab pickups, Dodge Ram 4x4’s, or Chevy Suburbans with Texas license plates and American decals in the windows. That’d take care of space for people and luggage, no problem.

Seriously, the group hats James E mentioned above - are there trucker or baseball caps, maybe with Stars and Stripes flags or some other Americana icons that you all could/would wear? Or any other “American” clothing item? Maybe American flag patches on your packs, like the Maple Leaf patches Canadians have sported for years? Might or might not make a difference, hopefully for the better.

Posted by
10707 posts

Excellent idea! Works for me (the hat). In nearly 20 years of travel to Hungary, never seen a tourist treated badly. I would suspect the same in the other countries too.

Posted by
3904 posts

I find it sad that the factual data, backed up by official statistics, that directly addresses the questions and concerns posed by the OP have been removed.

If factual and honest information is removed but anecdotal and biased 'facts' are left to remain then one has to question the validity and purpose of such a forum.