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Old 26th March 2008, 01:17   #16
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@DerAlte;

Thanks for sharing your expierience! Seems we have a lot in common!
I've been thinking a bit more on the subject and I've come up with
some more words of advice.

- it might be wise to rent a (turbo) diesel powered car, if such great distances are to be covered. VW group (Seat/Skoda/VW) TDI cards can easily reach 20 kilometers with one litre of diesel fuel at 120kpm. Same goes for the HDI engines found in modern Citroen/Peugeot & Renault cars. As well as for the newer diesel powered Fiat cars.

- bringing a credit card (Mastercard/Visa) can save you a lot of time when buying a ticket for a toll road. Same goes for re-fueling. What is even more
important, you can book a motel along the road and check-in even when there is no one at the desk! Check the cheap-but-clean motels from the
Accor group like F1 or Etap.

- always have like 10 Euro's of coins in your purse. Some parking lots or
garages only accept coins or foreign parking cards. Remember to buy a
"parking disk" these cost like 1 Euro but they are needed in some parking zones.

- Do yourself a favour and forget about crossing the speed limit. Otherwise your holiday might become a bit expensive. Same goes for drunken driving.
Laws are pretty strict here.

- Re-fuel at large shopping centers. Prices of fuel are MUCH lower there.
You can eat-out there as well!

- This might be "global" but never go to a restaurant in the "middle of town". The "outskirts" offer better meals at a lower price.

These are just a few things I came up with, hope they help!

TDR
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Old 15th May 2008, 18:05   #17
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hey everyone

thanks a lot! i have got a lot of useful tips and responses from you guys.

just wanted to update you on the status of the trip ...... we got our schengan visa today from the consulate of france. passports will be sent to the consulate of swiss tommorow morning. I am told it might take 3-5 working days for them to return our passports.

biggest update is we are NOT crossing the channel to UK as we are running short of time to apply for our UK visa. its a little disappointing but i was promised tickets to london this winter so i guess thats ok.

current plan of action -

june 4th - landing in paris
june 5th - paris
june 6th - paris - lyon - nice (hiring car from this day)
june 7th - florence
june 8th - rome
june 9th - venice
june 10th - 13th - swiss (includes zurich, geneva, lausanne, bern etc etc)
june 14th - innsbruck - salzburg
june 15th - frankfurt
june 16th - dusseldorf - cologne
june 17th - amsterdam
june 18th - rotterdam
june 19th - brussels
june 20th - paris (returning car on this day)
june 21st night - on our flight back to india

as for the car we were looking at the new citroen C5 or the opel zafira. choices seem more limited to the frenchies (renault, peugeot, citroen). we were also considering the vw passat. but after TDR's reply i think we should surely consider a nice diesel for rent.

@TDR, lancer_rit, DerAlte, anyone else - can you refer me to a car rental company in paris who have good deals on diesel cars?? i am ready to spend $1000 on the car for my rental period of 14 days.

@sam_kapasi - can i have your M3??? pleeeeeeze!!!

points noted so far -

1) lotsa rules to follow on highways lilke lane traffic, speed etc
2) honking is rude and is not a musical instrument
3) i have to get my IDP from AA as headers mentioned. thanks mate i thought i had to go to the RTO office in thiruvanimayur
4) petrol/diesel and food is cheaper in large malls which are located in the outskirts
5) 10 euros in change for parking and credit cards for fuel and toll
........... ok what else?

keep the inputs coming guys .... places to see ..... driving routes ..... places to stay etc etc

andddddd before i forget, where can i get a GPS on rent ...... apparently only the expensive rental cars come with a GPS option. i really think we need one.

a little over two weeks before i'm off!! keep the inputs coming guys!!

Last edited by flipsyde : 15th May 2008 at 18:10.
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Old 16th May 2008, 11:04   #18
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Hey flipsyde,

check out Car Rentals from Budget, The Hertz Corporation, SIXT rent a car | car rental / holiday car rentals / limousine and shuttle services.
Most of the details are available online.
Right now, I am with my family in Switzerland for a break and since you already have your itneary set, no point in me confusing you. Anyways, from what I have seen here, avoid big SUVs. We have rented a Pajero here and it is a pain in the town.
Get something like a Passat estate or and Octavia kombi depending on your budget.
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Old 21st May 2008, 14:28   #19
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Hey Flipsyde, hows the travel plans progressing?
Thanks for your help regarding the visa. The papers have been cleared and I should have it in my hand by the end of this week

I just checked your itinerary and I see that I would be following you pretty closely for the first couple of destinations

Am reaching paris on the 7th june, Would be in Venice on the 9th,spend a couple of days there before moving on to Rome and then back.
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Old 21st May 2008, 15:18   #20
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hey lambo do let me know your opinion and suggestions to the set itinerary. i wouldn't mind making a few feasible changes.

yeah even i thought it would be a bad idea to rent a big SUV. i was looking more along the lines of a vw passat sedan or a citroen c5. i have to hire the car from paris so my choices of cars are more or less limited to citroen, renault or peugeot.

since you've rented a car yourself mayb you can tell me......
1) where would i find a diesel rental car??
2) what is this funda of extra driver?? the car will be taken in my fathers name and i would be the extra driver. i am 23 years old so i am having to pay additional charges for the extra driver thingy. is it important that we take that or can we skip it all together and just say there is going to be just one driver??
3) am i allowed to take a rental car on a track?? i was thinking about squeezing in a trackday at the nurburgring on my way from frankfurt to cologne.
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Old 21st May 2008, 16:18   #21
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Well,
In Switzerland, some of the places that I loved were Locarno, which is a 3 hour drive from Zurich and Interlaken. Both of these places are the type where you would have great fun driving. There are lots of hills and valleys which you can drive up and the drive is amazing fun. There are lots of places to see around Locarno and Interlaken.
In places such as Zurich, it is better to park the car and take the tram as parking is a pain!
Locarno is near the Italian border and the food there is mainly Italian.
In Interlaken, you'll get loads of swiss food such as Fondue and Racalette.

About your questions:
1 - When booking, ask for a diesel car instead of petrol There are loads of diesel cars available here for rent.
2 - It is better to have the extra driver thingy even though it costs more.
Also, an advice would be to get the insurance and a GPS system as they are very useful.
3 - I am not sure about that. Still some time before I am allowed to drive here. What you could do is drive around in Monte Carlo. The track there is actually an everyday road and is beautiful.
Cheers!
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Old 21st May 2008, 16:23   #22
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Also,
In france, be careful and don't leave any valuables in the car.
We had gone there a long time ago, 3 families and rented 2 Merc SUVs and while travelling, we stopped for 15 min and when we came back, our car was broken into and our passports and cameras stolen.
Was quite bad so please be extra careful.
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Old 21st May 2008, 16:45   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lamborghini View Post
Also,
In france, be careful and don't leave any valuables in the car.
We had gone there a long time ago, 3 families and rented 2 Merc SUVs and while travelling, we stopped for 15 min and when we came back, our car was broken into and our passports and cameras stolen.
Was quite bad so please be extra careful.
How did you come home without a passport?
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Old 21st May 2008, 16:53   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lamborghini View Post
Well,
In Switzerland, some of the places that I loved were Locarno, which is a 3 hour drive from Zurich and Interlaken. Both of these places are the type where you would have great fun driving. There are lots of hills and valleys which you can drive up and the drive is amazing fun. There are lots of places to see around Locarno and Interlaken.
In places such as Zurich, it is better to park the car and take the tram as parking is a pain!
Locarno is near the Italian border and the food there is mainly Italian.
In Interlaken, you'll get loads of swiss food such as Fondue and Racalette.

About your questions:
1 - When booking, ask for a diesel car instead of petrol There are loads of diesel cars available here for rent.
2 - It is better to have the extra driver thingy even though it costs more.
Also, an advice would be to get the insurance and a GPS system as they are very useful.
3 - I am not sure about that. Still some time before I am allowed to drive here. What you could do is drive around in Monte Carlo. The track there is actually an everyday road and is beautiful.
Cheers!
got it! i will be taking insurance and GPS. i think i will give monte carlo a shot too but i really wanna hammer down the ring. anyway lets see how things go. and also how about wifi zones there generally. i need to be connected to the net. and i am also thinking of picking up nokia n95 for its wifi and gps facilities.

GPS on sixt.com is costing me rs.450 a day. and problem with sixt.com is they don't offer unlimited mileage. 3500kms is not enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamborghini View Post
Also,
In france, be careful and don't leave any valuables in the car.
We had gone there a long time ago, 3 families and rented 2 Merc SUVs and while travelling, we stopped for 15 min and when we came back, our car was broken into and our passports and cameras stolen.
Was quite bad so please be extra careful.
i have heard one too many horror stories about thefts in france. i will be careful. we will be driving out of paris as soon as we get the car.
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Old 21st May 2008, 16:57   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flipsyde View Post
i have heard one too many horror stories about thefts in france. i will be careful. we will be driving out of paris as soon as we get the car.
Not just France but Italy too. Infact Italy is worse. Also please make sure you keep photo copies of your passports just to be on the safer side.

Last edited by sammyboy : 21st May 2008 at 16:58. Reason: spelling
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Old 21st May 2008, 17:32   #26
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And what are you going to get for your fellow thirsty BHPians in Chennai ?
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Old 21st May 2008, 18:07   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flipsyde View Post
hey everyone

...
current plan of action -

june 4th - landing in paris
june 5th - paris
june 6th - paris - lyon - nice (hiring car from this day)
june 7th - florence
june 8th - rome
june 9th - venice
june 10th - 13th - swiss (includes zurich, geneva, lausanne, bern etc etc)
june 14th - innsbruck - salzburg
june 15th - frankfurt
june 16th - dusseldorf - cologne
june 17th - amsterdam
june 18th - rotterdam
june 19th - brussels
june 20th - paris (returning car on this day)
june 21st night - on our flight back to india

...
Looks good. This is quite similar to the itinerary of some of the packaged tour operators. We went for a Europe tour with Thomas Cook in 2006 and the route was completely on road, pretty much the same except that it started with Rome and finished with London. The part from Paris to London was by EuroStar. That was a 15 day tour and the bus was from an Italian tour operator. The driver was a nice guy and gave lot of gyan about driving in continental Europe. Even though we visited 8 countries in 15 days, it was hardly tiresome as most of the drives were in early morning hours with breaks every 2 hours.

Last edited by appuchan : 21st May 2008 at 18:09.
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Old 22nd May 2008, 00:57   #28
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Originally Posted by esteem_lover View Post
And what are you going to get for your fellow thirsty BHPians in Chennai ?
i was thinking a BIGGG bottle of absinth!! but people are scaring me saying its illegal anywhere outside the neatherlands and is not worth the risk. so i think i'l bring back a ferrari

Quote:
Originally Posted by appuchan View Post
Looks good. This is quite similar to the itinerary of some of the packaged tour operators. We went for a Europe tour with Thomas Cook in 2006 and the route was completely on road, pretty much the same except that it started with Rome and finished with London. The part from Paris to London was by EuroStar. That was a 15 day tour and the bus was from an Italian tour operator. The driver was a nice guy and gave lot of gyan about driving in continental Europe. Even though we visited 8 countries in 15 days, it was hardly tiresome as most of the drives were in early morning hours with breaks every 2 hours.
true i have heard driving in europe is hardly tiresome. lets hope thats true i have quite a bit of travelling lined up.

anyone have anything to share about driving a rental car on the nurburgring?? the car would most probably be a vw passat or a ford mondeo.
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Old 22nd May 2008, 10:35   #29
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filpsyde,
you can try Avis, Europcar, sixt. Check out for special packages on their websites. You can also use your Frequent Flyer (LF, or AF) to get good offers with their discount codes. I checked out 3 or 4 sites before going with Avis in my trip in Germany/Austria/Venice.
GPS you can get from the rental car company for a fixed charge per day. I thought Avis gives you option on any car. Email their customer support and confirm. Take printouts of your trips from viamichelin website with the right date and time of travel (you can plan from fastest, no toll, shortest etc.).
I am guessing you already have your IDP (please take you DL as well as IDP). The cost difference between diesel and petrol in Europe is not like in India, though you do get some benefit. The passat 1.6FSI I rented returned 7/7.5 l to 100km for a trip of about ~3000km and mostly in the Alps.

Enjoy your trip and driving :-)
Regards,
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Old 22nd May 2008, 14:45   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lancer_rit View Post
filpsyde,
you can try Avis, Europcar, sixt. Check out for special packages on their websites. You can also use your Frequent Flyer (LF, or AF) to get good offers with their discount codes. I checked out 3 or 4 sites before going with Avis in my trip in Germany/Austria/Venice.
GPS you can get from the rental car company for a fixed charge per day. I thought Avis gives you option on any car. Email their customer support and confirm. Take printouts of your trips from viamichelin website with the right date and time of travel (you can plan from fastest, no toll, shortest etc.).
I am guessing you already have your IDP (please take you DL as well as IDP). The cost difference between diesel and petrol in Europe is not like in India, though you do get some benefit. The passat 1.6FSI I rented returned 7/7.5 l to 100km for a trip of about ~3000km and mostly in the Alps.

Enjoy your trip and driving :-)
Regards,
hey lancer_rit. i have been checking out these car rental websites all day. i kinda feel europcar.com offer good value. like avis even europcar seems to be offering GPS on all their cars but they cost a bomb!!

GPS rentals on europcar for my rental of 14 days is costing me rs.10k!! thats ridiculous considering i am spending only rs.40k for the car!!! i am kinda looking at buying myself a nokia n95 8gb phone which comes with built in GPS and work my way with that. this way I have music for the entire trip and a GPS to make sure I'm not lost.

i have heard quite a few say the n95 GPS system isn't quite a replacement for the in-car GPS..... it still makes quite a lot of monetary sense to me. (or am i being pennywise pound foolish??)

i will take a look at viamichellin today. i am waiting for my passports to come back with the swiss visa stamped on them after which i will go get my IDL.

reason i considered a diesel is more comfortable highway cruising and better mileage ..... i am going to be driving 4000kms all together.
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