A friend and I are planning a trip to Germany and were thinking of renting a car from Strasbourg (on our way out of the city) and using it to see Baden-Baden, a senic drive through the black forest on our way Ruette/Fussen and to see the neighboring castles around the Ruette/Fussen area. We would like to return the car there and take a train to Munich or drive up to Munich and return the car upon entering the city. Can anyone suggest an affordable car rental company that would allow pick up and return in those cities? Also, if you have any sights that you recommend along our route, it would be appreciated! Thanks!
The favorite rental agencies on this board are probably autoeurope.com and gemut.com. Pickup & return in the areas you're visiting won't be a problem.
I have a problem with both gemut and autoeurope. Gemut is simple: I refuse to go through their rigamarole of giving them all my scoop before I know what the deal is. I want to compare prices, make a decision, and be done with it. Autoeurope simply doesn't have the best prices. I just checked them for a month rental at a spot I snag a car a couple or three times a year. Their cheapest deal is $1085. Kayak.com shows a vitrually identical car for $670 (the agency's website shows the same price).
Both Autoeurope and Gemut offer to meet or beat any competitor's price.
I have a problem with Gemut. Before every trip, I get a quote for a car rental (I really do. If the cost of renting a car were enough less to justify the increased inconvenience, I might.). Often I get it from Gemut. I always specify complete collision coverage. I have no risk exposure with the train and bus; I want to compare apples to apples. They always refuse to quote it the way I ask, telling me instead to use my credit card coverage. BTW, even without full coverage, with a fuel estimate from Michelin, they are hundreds of dollars more than what I've already figured out public transportation will cost me.
I don't want to hijack the thread, but here's what I've found with autoeurope after a couple or three tries at getting them to meet/beat a price: They usually make an apples to oranges argument, when all I want is a stinking car at a the best price, not something a bit different for more money. They once met the other price, but only after an exchange that took up too much of my time. I went with the other folks who were up front about what they would do. Renting a car should be a straight-forward operation - - a few clicks on the computer and you're done. Renting a car is not a life-changing experience: you don't need hand-holders and sage advice. The way I look at it is that I'm buying and they're selling. Give me the price and I'll decide - - right then. Haggling should be saved for rugs and cabbage. I'm not anti-autoeruope. I check them just about every time, just because they're so highly touted. But, I've just about decided they're a self-perpetuating myth. In the last couple or three dozen european rentals, they've only gotten the nod once or twice - - and then only because they had the best up-front price. EDIT: 'Before every trip, I get a quote for a car rental (I really do).' Chisel that in stone and send a copy to the National Enquirer. :) I also agree with Lee: I don't need somebody telling me how to do my business - - usually because it benefits them.
A couple of times I have found better rates by booking through the UK site rather than the USA site of a rental agency. We did this trip in reverse a few years ago and it was lovely. If you have time, stop at the Black Forest Open Air Museum for a couple of hours. http://en.vogtsbauernhof.org. It is right on the route you will be driving, I believe.
As long as you are looking for competitive quotes, go to http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en You didn't indicate how many days you plan on spending, but if you spend any time in Baden-Baden and drive leisurely through the Black Forest, I would think you would want to spend two days from Strasbourg to Fuessen with an overnight in, say, Baden-Baden - 3 days total. With the Bahn, you can go from Strasbourg to Baden-Baden to Fuessen to Munich for about €100 for 2, €90 if you do Baden-Baden to Fuessen on a weekend day. Fuel estimates from ViaMichelin for a hatchback is €50. So a 3-day car rental quote is going to have to be €40-€50, $52-$65, to be competitive with the train.
Hi Katie, We have rented through www.gemut.com for our last 3 trips to Germany, the last trip being Nov. 2010. No complaints with them at all. We recently paid $332 for 9 days, and we picked up at Munich airport. The car we got was a Ford Fiesta (4 door hatchback). I used my AMEX card for the rental and paid extra ($29.95) for the AMEX "Premium Car Rental Protection" insurance for the CDW for the rental period. Picking up and returning in the same country is, of course, much cheaper than picking up in France and returning in Germany. Hope this helps. Paul
Thank you everyone!
I wonder, Ed, how you get a price if you don't want to give your "whole scoop?" Seems normal to me that the broker/supplier has to know what kind of car, how many days, the city and country, manual or automatic, the level of insurance coverage, etc., before they can tell you what it's going to cost. I've booked several cars with Gemut.com; they will price beat or match if I find a lower rate elsewhere, and they are absolutely the most knowledgeable folks in the business. I also like the idea of talking the same live person trip after trip.
I wan't clear, I quess. Never gotten a price from gemut since I refuse to do things their way - - identify myself before I know what they're selling. This is why I don't use gemut. I don't do it at the grocery store and I won't do it at a rental agency. I don't care how nice somebody is - - not looking to make friends, just want a car. I sure don't want to talk to somebody after a trip, I'm already planning two more ahead. All other comments were about autoeurope, not gemut.
Bob summed it up pretty good about why I use Gemut. I have had two ocassions where I was slightly overcharged by the rental company. Each time I contacted Bob or Andy Bestor at Gemut and they got a refund for me which was credited back to my credit card. I possibly could have gotten the refund on my own but with maybe more of a hassle since I do not have the leverage that Gemut has because of their volume of business. I understood Bob to mean that he prefers to deal with the same people on each trip he takes rather than talking with them after he returns from a trip.
Hi again, We had an instance last year where we had reserved a car from 9am on a Tues. through 1pm the following Sat. Due to a flight delay, we wound up picking the car up at 3pm on Tues. instead of 9am. This meant we had the car 1 less day than expected. All it took was a quick call to Gemut and our CC was credited for the "extra" day. As Lane stated, I could have dealt with and received the refund myself, but my one short call to Gemut was probably easier than dealing with the rental co. myself. Paul
Like others have mentioned, there are several things to do when renting a car in Europe. My last rental was with Kemwel which is affiliated with AutoEurope. However, when I mentioned to AutoEurope, and Gemut, that I had a better price with Kemwel, they both said to go with it. By the way, I booked with Kemwel but kept checking almost daily for a better price with them & AutoEurope. The prices fluctuate that often. You will get a better price if you pick up and drop off in the same country. Also, the more days you rent, the better the rate. I would pick up in a town across the border from Strasbourg and return outside of Munich--not downtown or at the train station (too hard to drive to). You could also return it in a town outside of Munich. Fuessen is a possibility depending on your itinerary. Or the airport outside of Munich. Google map the pick-up & return locations before you leave. Most rentals in Europe are standard shift. If you need an automatic, you need to reserve it. If you are a first-time driver in Europe, I would suggest getting the CDW insurance unless you are getting travel insurance, in which case, they could cover the car. Before you leave the States, buy a good Michelin map. You can buy them in the Travel Store on this website. Get familiar with their road signs. Have fun on your trip!
Several people have alluded to picking up a rental car in Germany rather than Strasbourg. The town of Kehl (pop 35,000) is just across the Rhein, 11 min from Strasbourg Gare. The fare is €3,80 per person from the Bahn; the French fare could be slightly different. Kehl is listed as a downtown site by AutoEurope (be sure downtown is checked on the "Search" page). There is no rail station pickup in Kehl. The next AutoEurope pickup site is in Offenburg, a slightly larger town, 60,000 inhabitants. Offenburg is a stop for most trains between Mannheim and Freiburg. Pickup can be at the station. It's 30 min from Strasbourg; the Bahn fare is €7,70 per person.
Hi Katie, entirecarhire.co.uk will definitely help you.
For more details visit us at: http://www.entirecarhire.co.uk/germany_car_hire.htm
I have used gemut Fra to Munich. I never had an issue with them. I too was confused by all the agencies but found this family run car rental broker most accommodating and went with them... Too easy. You need to get this rental thing behind you and enjoy the actual planning of the actual trip. Bavaria is everything you have seen or read about times ten!