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Old 22nd May 2008, 16:46   #31
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GPS rentals on europcar for my rental of 14 days is costing me rs.10k!!
In Rs 10k, you can buy a Satellite Navigator which covers whole of western Europe.
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Old 23rd May 2008, 00:01   #32
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In Rs 10k, you can buy a Satellite Navigator which covers whole of western Europe.
how about me buying a nokia n95 8gb?? it would work as a GPS and would carry all music. even if i buy a used one for 20k i would lose 1-2k max after a month which is still worth it!
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Old 23rd May 2008, 01:06   #33
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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.
Even a somewhat underpowered Passat 1.6FSI was very comfortable cruising (and upto 150-180kmph on the A-bahn). Top speed I reached for short duration was 198kmph :-) Please remember speed limits : Austria - 130kmph on A-bahn, Italy - 130kmph on Autostrade (110kmph on dual carriageway), France - 130kmph on A roads. For safety, go for a sedan (boot is locked and what you have in the car is not visible and locked). Italy is "the india of europe" - bad road signs, people breaking rules, driving like crazy, even fighting with each other on road (one incident seen in one day drive to/from Venice), honking madly. I am told it never pays to get in trouble with Polizza there -so drive within 10kmph of speed limit. Also, France is very strict on speed limits and issues big fines (viamichelin will conveniently tell you about the location of the speed radars). B roads in Germany and Austria are at 100kmph and town/village limits at 50kmph (got a ticket at 11PM in night doing 87kmph since I missed the town limit sign, 150 or 170Euro fine)... For you drive plan, I would advice you to drive across the Alps from Italy and into central Austria through Kaprun/Zell am see (near Grossglockner and Kitzsteinhorn)...

For the N95 question, I bought this phone in Apr last year only for the GPS :-) It works quite well (if you are ok with the slower fix from cold start and slightly lower accuracy compared with SiRF III receivers). But I have used it in India, US and Germany quite effectively. Nokia Maps is reasonable but not terribly uptodate - plus now they removed tracking, so you have to buy navigation (which you can do for the countries you visit for a week or whatever). Using freeware mgmaps, you can just download offline tiles from google or yahoo, and it works pretty good too (you need GPRS for driving directions from google - mgmaps is what i used largely).
Also, you can buy Garmin best of class map and navigation software for N95 - it comes on a 2GB uSD card (maps are preloaded for the region). Pl note the N95 8GB does not have a uSD slot, so you can use this only on N95-1 with uSD/uSDHC slot. Nowadays, you get 8GB (and 16GB ?) uSDHC cards. N95-8GB does have a .2" bigger screen and double the RAM. After FW 20.0.015 and demand paging, N95-1 works pretty well, and running 3 progs together does not crash one of them.
Finally, for N95 navigation, you need to buy a car charger and a car mobile holder (I have a windshield mounted clamp holder) to use the phone as a navigation element.

Regards,
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Old 23rd May 2008, 05:22   #34
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@Proxima - we had to go to Paris, to the indian embassy and get a new temporary one.
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Old 23rd May 2008, 15:43   #35
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Originally Posted by lancer_rit View Post
Even a somewhat underpowered Passat 1.6FSI was very comfortable cruising (and upto 150-180kmph on the A-bahn). Top speed I reached for short duration was 198kmph :-) Please remember speed limits : Austria - 130kmph on A-bahn, Italy - 130kmph on Autostrade (110kmph on dual carriageway), France - 130kmph on A roads. For safety, go for a sedan (boot is locked and what you have in the car is not visible and locked). Italy is "the india of europe" - bad road signs, people breaking rules, driving like crazy, even fighting with each other on road (one incident seen in one day drive to/from Venice), honking madly. I am told it never pays to get in trouble with Polizza there -so drive within 10kmph of speed limit. Also, France is very strict on speed limits and issues big fines (viamichelin will conveniently tell you about the location of the speed radars). B roads in Germany and Austria are at 100kmph and town/village limits at 50kmph (got a ticket at 11PM in night doing 87kmph since I missed the town limit sign, 150 or 170Euro fine)... For you drive plan, I would advice you to drive across the Alps from Italy and into central Austria through Kaprun/Zell am see (near Grossglockner and Kitzsteinhorn)...

For the N95 question, I bought this phone in Apr last year only for the GPS :-) It works quite well (if you are ok with the slower fix from cold start and slightly lower accuracy compared with SiRF III receivers). But I have used it in India, US and Germany quite effectively. Nokia Maps is reasonable but not terribly uptodate - plus now they removed tracking, so you have to buy navigation (which you can do for the countries you visit for a week or whatever). Using freeware mgmaps, you can just download offline tiles from google or yahoo, and it works pretty good too (you need GPRS for driving directions from google - mgmaps is what i used largely).
Also, you can buy Garmin best of class map and navigation software for N95 - it comes on a 2GB uSD card (maps are preloaded for the region). Pl note the N95 8GB does not have a uSD slot, so you can use this only on N95-1 with uSD/uSDHC slot. Nowadays, you get 8GB (and 16GB ?) uSDHC cards. N95-8GB does have a .2" bigger screen and double the RAM. After FW 20.0.015 and demand paging, N95-1 works pretty well, and running 3 progs together does not crash one of them.
Finally, for N95 navigation, you need to buy a car charger and a car mobile holder (I have a windshield mounted clamp holder) to use the phone as a navigation element.

Regards,
i like the idea!! let me discuss with the family and get back to you on that. the places names are really really hard. now i know how people abroad feel about places in india.

i am looking to buy the 8GB n95 mainly for the better ram and newer firmware. i thought if needed i can buy maps from garmin and transfer then from the SD card to the memory on the phone. and about the huge capacity SD cards... i think they are really slow when it comes to trasfer rates. thats my only quam. otherwise its a miracle how they fit all that data on such a tiny card!!!

nokia still offers maps online for freee.....they aren't uptodate as u mentioned but i heard they are just fine for something which is free. GPRS option is going to work out expensive.... so i am going to rule that out now. wat i heard is that the voice activated navigation costs some rental charge and needs a gprs/edge or wifi connection. i might need more gyaan in that region cos i am still exploring those options.
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Old 23rd May 2008, 16:29   #36
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i like the idea!! let me discuss with the family and get back to you on that. the places names are really really hard. now i know how people abroad feel about places in india.
Yes, what I meant is don't take the Autobahn in Austria towards Villach and then up towards Salzburg (great roads for usual motoring), but you miss the scenic drives across the Alps and close to snow peaked mountains :-) Kaprun is this small ski resort town (or village is more appropriate) where I was based (due to my late trip planning, I couldn't get places in more well known spots like Kitzbuhel etc - turned out to be a big blessing in disguise). I drove all across Austria and south to Venice from here - its an amazing place. Kitzsteinhorn is the highest peak (3000m+) in Austrian Alps that has all year ski slopes and there are also 2 fantastic lakes north of where the cable car starts to this place. Check out the official site :-)
Kitzsteinhorn - Glacier Austria - ski holidays Salzburg - glacier skiing Kaprun - glacier ski ressort Zell am See
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Originally Posted by flipsyde View Post

i am looking to buy the 8GB n95 mainly for the better ram and newer firmware. i thought if needed i can buy maps from garmin and transfer then from the SD card to the memory on the phone. and about the huge capacity SD cards... i think they are really slow when it comes to trasfer rates. thats my only quam. otherwise its a miracle how they fit all that data on such a tiny card!!!

nokia still offers maps online for freee.....they aren't uptodate as u mentioned but i heard they are just fine for something which is free. GPRS option is going to work out expensive.... so i am going to rule that out now. wat i heard is that the voice activated navigation costs some rental charge and needs a gprs/edge or wifi connection. i might need more gyaan in that region cos i am still exploring those options.
1st the N95-8GB and Garmin. Initially, when this was launched, I read that the map software and maps are fixed to the specific SD card since Garmin is bound by their licensing terms with Navteq. But maybe, there are other possibilities (the Garmin launch preceded N95-8GB)
The read speed from uSDHC cards is pretty fast. Even though N95-8GB has integrated storage, I don't know if the bus interfacing is significantly faster in it. In any case, N95-8GB has more RAM and a bigger screen, so it is a great product (they had to remove the camera lens cover though)
For the Nokia maps, of course they are still available free. I have used the maps for Bangalore, Bavaria and San Franciso & Bay area. But you cannot even track your location on the highway anymore in the "totally free" mode. This was removed with Nokia Maps updates (and indeed worked in the original firmware of N95-1). I made a lot of search/research on GPS, map software, tracking etc last year :-) And you bet I researched a lot on the N95-1 RAM issues which with fw 20.0.15 are non-existent! But, good thing is you can buy navigation even for a day or a week which can be quite cheap. I, of course, found google/yahoo maps with mgmaps a much better and flexible option.
Also, use Nokia Sportstracker to record your route all through your trip and then you can look at in Google maps, as well as get statistics like drive vs time/distance etc which is fun as well as informative...

Cheers,
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Old 24th May 2008, 01:04   #37
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Originally Posted by lancer_rit View Post
Yes, what I meant is don't take the Autobahn in Austria towards Villach and then up towards Salzburg (great roads for usual motoring), but you miss the scenic drives across the Alps and close to snow peaked mountains :-) Kaprun is this small ski resort town (or village is more appropriate) where I was based (due to my late trip planning, I couldn't get places in more well known spots like Kitzbuhel etc - turned out to be a big blessing in disguise). I drove all across Austria and south to Venice from here - its an amazing place. Kitzsteinhorn is the highest peak (3000m+) in Austrian Alps that has all year ski slopes and there are also 2 fantastic lakes north of where the cable car starts to this place. Check out the official site :-)
Kitzsteinhorn - Glacier Austria - ski holidays Salzburg - glacier skiing Kaprun - glacier ski ressort Zell am See

1st the N95-8GB and Garmin. Initially, when this was launched, I read that the map software and maps are fixed to the specific SD card since Garmin is bound by their licensing terms with Navteq. But maybe, there are other possibilities (the Garmin launch preceded N95-8GB)
The read speed from uSDHC cards is pretty fast. Even though N95-8GB has integrated storage, I don't know if the bus interfacing is significantly faster in it. In any case, N95-8GB has more RAM and a bigger screen, so it is a great product (they had to remove the camera lens cover though)
For the Nokia maps, of course they are still available free. I have used the maps for Bangalore, Bavaria and San Franciso & Bay area. But you cannot even track your location on the highway anymore in the "totally free" mode. This was removed with Nokia Maps updates (and indeed worked in the original firmware of N95-1). I made a lot of search/research on GPS, map software, tracking etc last year :-) And you bet I researched a lot on the N95-1 RAM issues which with fw 20.0.15 are non-existent! But, good thing is you can buy navigation even for a day or a week which can be quite cheap. I, of course, found google/yahoo maps with mgmaps a much better and flexible option.
Also, use Nokia Sportstracker to record your route all through your trip and then you can look at in Google maps, as well as get statistics like drive vs time/distance etc which is fun as well as informative...

Cheers,
wow! you've really done your homework! that road sounds magnificient and the ski resort is a major bonus! i think that settles it. we're heading thru Kitzsteinhorn!! is accomodation easily available?? are there more than a few resorts??

ok about the phone. you really know what your talking about don't you!!

i got a good deal on a n95 8gb. i'm yet to pick it up but i'm a little hesitant when you tell me that location tracking is not possible in the totally free mode. i thought it was just the voice navigation which required me to pay for the service. it would be useless if its just going to act as a digital map. i might as well use my laptop for that.

kindly help me out with this phone GPS thing!! you seem to have gone thru alot the same thing with your trip to europe.

thanks a million.
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Old 24th May 2008, 11:36   #38
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wow! you've really done your homework! that road sounds magnificient and the ski resort is a major bonus! i think that settles it. we're heading thru Kitzsteinhorn!! is accomodation easily available?? are there more than a few resorts??
Thanks. I did my trip in Sep '05. There are quite a few hotels and apartments/timeshares in Kaprun (it is a tourist place), but even more possibilities are at Zell am See (~20km away if IIRC). I stayed here (on a RCI timeshare exchange)
www.zellamsee-kaprun.com - Online Buchen
The hotel was pretty nice, though it did not have that many facilities (the swimming pool was closed though I had no intention to spend time indoors in that lovely place). You'll find many other hotels, and apartments in this site. Kitzsteinhorn has a glacier on top where skiing is done even when snow has melted in other lower areas. To enjoy it, you probably need to arrive in the evening (before sundown, else the scenic drive is lost in darkness). Then spend the whole day @Kitzsteinhorn + the stausee lakes (Everything at a glance). In the evening you could drive onto Salzburg (~2-2.5 hour drive)
Grossglockner scenic alpine drive:
Großglockner Hochalpenstraße - Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse
ViaMichelin : Itinéraire, Route, Plan, Carte de France, Plan de Ville, Carte Europe
So, your trip (also from geography :-)) should be something like

Nice -> Florence -> Rome -> Venice -> Heligenblut -> Grossglockner scenic drive -> Kaprun -> Salzburg -> Innsbruck -> into switzerland -> frankfurt -> ...

Hope that helps and you also get good weather (all the peaks have snow cams which should you live conditions in video at the top)

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Originally Posted by flipsyde View Post
ok about the phone. you really know what your talking about don't you!!

i got a good deal on a n95 8gb. i'm yet to pick it up but i'm a little hesitant when you tell me that location tracking is not possible in the totally free mode. i thought it was just the voice navigation which required me to pay for the service. it would be useless if its just going to act as a digital map. i might as well use my laptop for that.

kindly help me out with this phone GPS thing!! you seem to have gone thru alot the same thing with your trip to europe.

thanks a million.
Well, like I said N95-8GB will do nicely esp for 0.2" larger screen. Nokia Maps will also do. You can buy (almost) whole Europe navigation for Euro 12 for a month. This is the easiest option and Nokia maps has probably improved after Navteq acquisition. Do download all the countries /regions you require into your phone using your PC before starting. It also helps to have a roaming connection with GPRS (The A-GPS gives a quicker satellite fix with the N95) - Go for the Europe mega region for navigation...
Nokia Europe - Nokia Maps - Pricing
BTW, I didn't have a GPS on my trip in '05 and drove atleast 10-15% extra miles due to detours or getting lost or whatever. Recalling some of the info for you was a nice trip down memory lane :-)

PS - if you like man-made historical places, Rome can hardly be seen in less than 2-3 days...
Cheers,

Last edited by lancer_rit : 24th May 2008 at 11:44.
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Old 24th May 2008, 20:44   #39
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... BTW, I didn't have a GPS on my trip in '05 and drove atleast 10-15% extra miles due to detours or getting lost or whatever. Recalling some of the info for you was a nice trip down memory lane :-) ...
That's the spirit of travelling, amigo! Maybe I am old fashioned, I prefer to pick up paper maps locally at the filling station, and trace my route with a highlighter. It serves as a memoire later. One of the best is the European maps of ADAC Germany - a thick book.

Get off the A-roads, if you want to see the beauty of the countryside in Europe. Doesn't matter even if you don't know the local language - there will still be plenty of friendly souls to help you. For them, as many have told me, it is the world bringing experiences to their doorstep when people coming from other countries come and chat them up.

Losing your way is part of the fun. If you are lucky, you get to see many things that a normal tourist can't. I once almost drove into a lake when I took a wrong turn in Switzerland (near Inter-laken) - it was the track taken by boat-owners for launching their boats! But, the view-point that I got for the setting sun between the hills was something I couldn't have got if I had travelled the normal route.

In France, Austria, Switzerland and Germany there is a very economical option to stay if you are on country roads or Bundes-strasse (state highways): Pension (French) or Gaststaette (German). These "guest houses" or "Country Inns" are discoverable by simple "Zimmer Frei" signs in the neighborhood near frequently travelled roads. Comfortable, clean rooms, run by families, usually with a simple breakfast on the house. Some even have private cooking facilities. One has to take a chance in the evening, but outside the peak seasons of March-April and July-August it is easy to find accommodation.
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Old 24th May 2008, 23:24   #40
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That's the spirit of travelling, amigo! Maybe I am old fashioned, I prefer to pick up paper maps locally at the filling station, and trace my route with a highlighter. It serves as a memoire later. One of the best is the European maps of ADAC Germany - a thick book.

Get off the A-roads, if you want to see the beauty of the countryside in Europe. Doesn't matter even if you don't know the local language - there will still be plenty of friendly souls to help you. For them, as many have told me, it is the world bringing experiences to their doorstep when people coming from other countries come and chat them up.

Losing your way is part of the fun. If you are lucky, you get to see many things that a normal tourist can't. I once almost drove into a lake when I took a wrong turn in Switzerland (near Inter-laken) - it was the track taken by boat-owners for launching their boats! But, the view-point that I got for the setting sun between the hills was something I couldn't have got if I had travelled the normal route.

In France, Austria, Switzerland and Germany there is a very economical option to stay if you are on country roads or Bundes-strasse (state highways): Pension (French) or Gaststaette (German). These "guest houses" or "Country Inns" are discoverable by simple "Zimmer Frei" signs in the neighborhood near frequently travelled roads. Comfortable, clean rooms, run by families, usually with a simple breakfast on the house. Some even have private cooking facilities. One has to take a chance in the evening, but outside the peak seasons of March-April and July-August it is easy to find accommodation.
couldn't agree more with you on the exploring bit. some friends and i had a fun trip to goa where we got lost a million times....reached our destination at odd hours....but overall it was great fun!! the ghat sections after mangalore were just fantastic during the late evenings.

the only thing which has been a little worrying is the fact that we are tourists from another country there and then again there is always the language barrier. i wish i could be as confident as you about not carrying a GPS but it just somehow seems very necessary. perhaps i'd feel better once i get there. i dunno!!

i have booked for an alfa romeo 159 1.9 diesel or similar car from europcar.com. the car is mine for 15 days and is costing me rs.41,000. they offer free road map of europe along with the car .

can someone please tell me if it is possible to take my rented car on to the nurburgring?? some websites say that the renter might charge me a penalty for doing so. while quite a few seem to have taken their rental cars on the track. i am confused.
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Old 24th May 2008, 23:32   #41
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One small bit of advice. Countries like Switzerland, France and Austria have a motorway tax. You need to buy a small sticker (which pays for the tax) and paste it on windscreen. There can be a heavy penalty if you are caught driving without this
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Old 25th May 2008, 12:32   #42
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One small bit of advice. Countries like Switzerland, France and Austria have a motorway tax. You need to buy a small sticker (which pays for the tax) and paste it on windscreen. There can be a heavy penalty if you are caught driving without this
doesn't this come with a rental car?? if not where can i get a hold of one?
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Old 25th May 2008, 13:31   #43
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doesn't this come with a rental car?? if not where can i get a hold of one?
No flipsyde. Like I mentioned in one post on this thread, you need to buy this before you enter Austria for example. Not just the toll sticker, but also fluoroscent safety vests for all occupants of the car in Austria. Check the requirements for Switzerland etc.

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That's the spirit of travelling, amigo! Maybe I am old fashioned, I prefer to pick up paper maps locally at the filling station, and trace my route with a highlighter. It serves as a memoire later. One of the best is the European maps of ADAC Germany - a thick book.

Get off the A-roads, if you want to see the beauty of the countryside in Europe. Doesn't matter even if you don't know the local language - there will still be plenty of friendly souls to help you. For them, as many have told me, it is the world bringing experiences to their doorstep when people coming from other countries come and chat them up.

Losing your way is part of the fun. If you are lucky, you get to see many things that a normal tourist can't. I once almost drove into a lake when I took a wrong turn in Switzerland (near Inter-laken) - it was the track taken by boat-owners for launching their boats! But, the view-point that I got for the setting sun between the hills was something I couldn't have got if I had travelled the normal route.
DerAlte,
you are quite right in that. I have also some memorable experiences including driving through village roads, seeing a 'cattle festival' procession or something in rural Bavaria, for example - plus one is holidaying and not on a job :-) Asking for directions is also nice in terms of interacting more with the local folks (and usually I found people quite helpful even if language sometimes causes hurdles). There are other times where you are stretched for time, and you don't want to take the wrong turn which puts you on a narrow road with heavy traffic/construction and by the time you can turn around and come back on track, 1 hour has passed. For eg., if you are going to catch a sunset, 15 minutes later is no good. So, I am of the opinion that keep the maps and GPS etc and planning in hand. Then, do some spontaneous stuff and re-adjusting as you experience the travel / sightseeing :-) A combination of the advantages and charms of either approach, maybe ? Aim is to thoroughly enjoy the vacation and the travel including the way to get to the end-points in the plan. BTW, getting lost in Munich city and driving around through one ways and so on is one place, where most times one would prefer a GPS
B roads and internal roads are fabulous in Bavaria and even more so, in Austria - I would be more than happy to simply would just drive around and come back :-)

Last edited by ajmat : 25th May 2008 at 16:54.
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Old 25th May 2008, 20:13   #44
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No flipsyde. Like I mentioned in one post on this thread, you need to buy this before you enter Austria for example. Not just the toll sticker, but also fluoroscent safety vests for all occupants of the car in Austria. Check the requirements for Switzerland etc.
oh yeah! i remember the fluoroscent jacket. forgot about the pass. will put it down!
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Old 25th May 2008, 21:01   #45
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... Countries like Switzerland, France and Austria have a motorway tax. You need to buy a small sticker (which pays for the tax) and paste it on windscreen. ...
Rental cars would have already done that in the home country. If you are driving through with a rental car, you normally don't have to (unless you have long term contract). Personal cars - yes and no, depends on the time that you intend to spend in that country.

Switzerland, not being EU, I think you have to. Just check, if you are lucky, the guy before you might have - and it just might be "gueltig" for your drive-through!
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