London to Germany HELP PLEASE

I'm having a difficult time trying to figure out how to travel from London to the closet train station to Orscholtz, Germany that has car rentals (need two cars, we have 8 people). This is my problem...I'm leaving London Premier Hotel County Hall on a Saturday In the summer to head to Germany, we need to figure out what train to take, where to end in Germany close to Orscholtz that has a car rental place. I think from what i'm reading is that it takes maybe 4 hours to get to aachen, but the car rental place closes at noon. I'm finding that most car rental places are either closed or are only open until noon, which is conflicting with getting there on time. Can anyone tell me what train to take out of London, what city to end up in with a car rental place that will still be open. From there we will be driving to Orscholtz and ending up in Munich eventually to drop off the car and take again some train to Paris. We are going with a group of 8 (adults, and children). I was given the responsibility of figuring this out, having never been to either country!! (All hotels have been booked, can't change the dates). Thank you, Thank you for any help :)

Posted by Kathy
Germany, Germany
813 posts

From what I understand from your post, here's some options. Firstly, I googled the town, looks like it's between Luxembourg and Saarbrucken. Those are two big towns that absolutely have car rental places. Aachen isn't on your way from London at all. Here's what you could do: take the train from London to either Luxembourg or Saarbrucken. Neither lets you leave London in the morning and get there before noon on a Saturday. Being larger towns, maybe the car rental place is open later. Both of those trains go through Paris. You could rent the car in Paris, but that's a long autobahn drive. Although since you're ending up in Paris anyway, you could just keep the car the whole time. Second choice would be to rent the car in Brussels, you can get there before noon on Saturday from London, then it's another 2.5 hr drive down to Orscholtz. We've driven that way and the Belgian roads are rather crappy compared to the German ones, but you've got the car then. My last bit of advice is the train from Munich to Paris is an easy one, only a few stops, but look into flying. Sometimes the early booking airfares are cheaper than the train tickets for that run. Good luck!

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
2258 posts

As another alternative, if you can only leave Saturday morning, you could fly from London to Luxembourg instead of taking the train, and pick up a car at the airport. However, this has the same issue as the Brussels option above that you are looking for a one-way rental which can be costly within the same country, let alone in two countries.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
13907 posts

You will be out of luck at Saarbrucken. Luxembourg airport, however, has a Hertz which is open until 1700 on a Saturday. There are also Hertz locations open on a Saturday afternoon in Metz if you want to keep it a French rental. Shame about your dates. Most European rental locations are Saturday mornings only. This will cost you extra in logistics.

Posted by Tiffany
Green Bay, WI, United States
11 posts

It's just hard to change the dates because I spent so long finding these hotels that suited everyone's needs. Is it better to rent in a Friday or a Sunday?

Posted by Kim
1608 posts

But you booked hotels in a country that's quite far away from where you're landing that morning!! I don't understand this trip at all.

Posted by Tom
Suffolk, UK; formerly St. Louis, MO, USA
186 posts

Looks like there is a Europcar car rental office not far from the Trier station. Trier to Orscholz is roughly a 45min - 1 hr drive. Hours look to be open until 1300 on Saturday, which only gives you an extra hour. You might call them (number is in the link) and see if you can arrange a late pickup. There is also an Avis office in town, but a look at their site suggests they are also only open until 1300. Most train connections I am seeing (via RailEurope) arent getting you there until 1500ish from London. If you can fly into Luxembourg, Luxembourg Air fly out of London City airport and could potentially get you to Luxembourg at 1050. Drive time from Luxembourg airport to Orscholtz is also 45 minutes to 1 hr. I just picked a random Saturday to look. You could either rent the car at Luxembourg or take the train to Trier and rent it there. But since the drive time is roughly the same, it makes more sense to rent at Luxembourg. As a previous poster mentioned - if you do want to take the train across, Eurostar drops you right in Paris where you could easily rent your car. You would get your car in plenty of time. The only issue you would have then is the ~4 hour car journey to Orscholtz. Avis, Hertz, and Europcar are all near Gare du Nord in Paris.

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8700 posts

If you travel on either a Saturday or Sunday, your only choice for picking up your cars would be the Luxembourg airport. Your best train route would be London-Brussels-Luxembourg, departing at either 06:57 or 08:58. If you travel on a Friday, the logical rental point would be Trier. The advantage to picking up your cars in Trier rather than at the Luxembourg airport is that you would not have to pay the stiff fee for picking up a car in one country and leaving it in another. And you would not have to pay the fee for picking up cars at an airport. Your best train route would be London-Brussels-Luxembourg-Trier. See the timetables on the German Rail site.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
3399 posts

I assume you're talking about going to Orscholz, Germany, just east of Luxembourg. You would take the train to London to Luxembourg. Orscholz is in a region without major cities, and renting cars in Luxembourg would be required. European rental vans max out @ 7 passengers and they're very expensive rentals. Two smaller automobiles would be less expensive. You'd have to pickup the car(s) at the Luxembourg Airport, as city rental car operations are closed weekends. I would suggest using indicates you'd go to Brussels via Eurostar and transfer trains into Luxembourg. The ride is less than 6 hours, and from $276 in Economy Class. flies from Gatwick from Luxembourg, but their weekend flights are busy. Another option would be to take the train from Luxembourg into Munich.
With so many people in your group, there may be advantages going through a good travel agent for your whole trip.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
13907 posts

Is it better to rent in a Friday or a Sunday? Tiffany, I think there needs to be a touch of education here, so you can understand what you are up against. Europe, and the constituent countries of Europe, work considerably differently than the USA, and they also work differently from each other. Most Europeans value their weekends more than most Americans appear to value theirs. That's why on weekends it is very difficult to find most businesses open. Yes, there are stores open on Saturdays and a few on Sundays, but most aren't, and that includes most car rental places. You certainly would have much more choice of locations during the work week, and they would be open longer. If you want to get the cars on a Saturday you need to go to a location open when you get there. A couple of us have noted that if that is in the afternoon Luxembourg Airport (Findel) or Metz look promising. That then brings up the second problem. European rental places don't really like their cars wandering off and crossing borders. At least they'd really rather that they come back to their own country when you're done with them. So virtually all rental companies put on eye-watering fees for cars rented in one country and delivered back in another. Yes, there is the EU, but for the car hire places they only see their own borders. So if you want to rent in Paris, or Metz, or Luxembourg, and return in Munich you will need to be prepared for that cost. Then there are the eight people. I assume that they have some luggage? That sounds like 2 cars to me. The laws vary slightly but basically all children under a certain age and usually 4 ft 11 in need car seats or boosters, mustn't ride in the front and other rules. Every person must be seat belted. Remember when going to Europe from UK you lose an hour.

Posted by Andre L.
Tilburg, Netherlands
2396 posts

Nigel, I'm not sure everyone agrees with your assessment of "Europeans not working". There is a growing trend of of stores extending opening hours. Netherlands is scheduled to Sunday retail rules from Oct. 1 2013. In Italy, that outdated and absurd idea of having weekly half-day scheduled closure of different types of business is being ditched altogether, it is no longer mandatory and those who follow it just lose business so everyone is more and more staying open as they should - the whole day.

Posted by Angela
Sammamish, WA
403 posts

Here's what I would do: 1. Catch the earliest flight you can out of London to Luxembourg. British Airways has a direct flight at 8:40 a.m. for $117 one way. Arrives 10:55 a.m. 2. Pick up rental cars at Lux airport. It will be one of the few places open when you arrive. 3. Drive to Orscholtz, 45 min. 4. Enjoy Germany. 5. When returning home, drive through southern Germany and the Rhineland to return the car back in Luxembourg. This will eliminate the hideous drop-off fee for returning it in Germany. You may want to integrate this journey into your trip with a stop along the way, perhaps along the Rhine.
6. Take the train to Paris. 3.5 hrs. This doesn't allow as much train time as you had originally planned (London to Orscholtz), but is far smoother and probably cheaper for 8 people. Last summer, I tried to sort out a train journey from Brussels to Trier to pick up a car on a Sat. and ran into the same problems you are having. The rental places just aren't open much on the weekend and you have to work around that. Airports are the one exception.