We have relied exclusively (and will continue to do so) on Rick Steves' books for the little travelling we've done on our own. We want to travel completely on our own this time but are hung up on transportation and other details. We want to spend mid-April to late May in Germany. We must fly into Brussels (or Amsterdam depending on cost) because we start the trip visiting family in Brugges. From there, we take the train to Amsterdam (more family), then on to Berlin. We thought we would see Berlin and then rent a car to drive to Bavaria where we want to find a long-term rental for the rest of our stay. We assume we'll be combining car and public transportation to tour from there. Does anyone know about renting a car in Germany in one city and dropping off in another? Do you know anything about car rental costs for a month? Should we rent the car in Amsterdam and drive to Berlin? Can you recommend any long-term rentals in Bavaria with access to trains? We hoped to fly home from Germany. Assuming we can drop the car other than in Berlin, would Frankfort be the best choice? Or Munich? Thank you for your help.
People drop off cars in different cities all the time. To keep cost down, you'll want to pickup and drop off the car in the same country. When we went thru AutoEurope.com April, 2012 in Italy, we dropped it elsewhere with no fee. The car was picked up at Hertz, and the price this time was cheaper than we could have rented it from Hertz directly. You can go on Hertz.com and get a price quoted. Then, go on AutoEurope.com to compare their consolidator price. I have taken autos into large European cities, and all they do is sit and cost you $20 a day parking fees. Wait until leaving Berlin to rent the car. Plan on leaving your car at the last stop on your tour. Either Munich or Frankfort would be fine. Remember that if you rent your car outside of airports, you won't be hit with their big taxes and royalties charged by the airports.
Autoeurope can be helpful. Also check Europcar which is not well known in the US. We have had good luck with them on long term rentals. Autoeurope uses them at times but sometimes it less expensive to go direct.
Before you do anything about vehicles, go to Gemut.com. It is a company located in Oregon and has an excellent website on driving in Europe, especially in Germany. They have a way to search for rentals there, but I always contact Andy Bestor. He is the expert on car rentals. Every year I check other sources, including Gemut.com's own, and he can always beat their prices. The cars we have gotten through him are from Europcar.
Just a question: do you have a specific reason to spend most of your time in Bavaria?
Get the really pleasant train to Berlin from Amsterdam to save costs and then pick up a hire car. You don't need a car to see Berlin but make sure to get to Potsdam while you're there it is one of the most stunning places I've seen. A friend who visited recently, admittedly in Hamburg, had a hire car delivered to our house for no extra cost. I assume you could do this to a hotel in Berlin to keep things easy and then make your way south, about 5-6 hours depending on traffic. Sunday is good as no trucks are permitted on the road and with 2 lane highways this makes a difference. The ICE connection between Berlin and Munich is very good but can be pricey unless you book in advance. Hope this helps
Thank you so much. I can't tell you how much we appreciate everyone's extremely helpful advice.
Ditto on the Gemut and Andy Bestor recommendation. We've used them exclusively but also heard good things about AutoEurope. Also agree on picking and returning the car in the same country. From my experience, Germany is best and lowest cost. Not sure about your air travel but Frankfurt is a better supported airport for us here at DFW. American is non-stop to and from Frankfurt. Safe Travels!
I rent from AutoEurope, or their affiliate Kemwel, every year. This past December, I rented an Opel compact, 4 door, automatic diesel with a GPS. It was a great car and was arranged with Europcar. They also arrange for rentals through Avis, Hertz and Sixt. Each rental car company might be located at different locations and has different "benefits". Example would be Europcar where you don't have to pay an extra, daily fee for the second driver if that second driver shares your last name. I call and talk to an AutoEurope rep to get all of the information and to finalize my rental. Also, they do give a small discount for AAA. Like others have noted, you could rent the car after your stay in Berlin and drive to Bavaria. I think a long term rental in Bavaria, or south of there in Austria, would be great. If you need some lodging recommendations, send me a personal message. Have a great trip.