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Renting or leasing a car for UK but mostly Europe.

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Canberra
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Renting or leasing a car for UK but mostly Europe.

We are a family of 3 from Australia (where we drive on the left too) and thinking of driving around Europe for 3 weeks in January. We hope to visit Paris, Amsterdam and Germany (hopefully going to Berlin, Hamburg or Dresden) in this time. Any suggestions as to where to hire/lease? Is UK the best or could we do this in France, etc. Our other alternative is to fly to Berlin with Ryanair and work our way back by train using a Eurail pass. Any suggestions or similar experiences greatly appreciated.

Melbourne
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1. Re: Renting or leasing a car for UK but mostly Europe.

Hi Aussie 55 (we have the same first name!)

If you haven't booked your flight yet why not consider flying into Germany (Frankfurt) and the Eurailing back through the cities you want to see in Germany, Holland and France and then use your Eurail ticket to get a cheap Eurostar far to London. Then fly home out of London which most fares permit. Has to be easier and cheaper than a car hire across Britian and Europe not to mention the problems driving on the wrong side of the road and trying to park in places like Berlin, Paris & Amsterdam. We did a similar trip in April (family of 4) and would be happy to give some tips if required.

London, UK
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2. Re: Renting or leasing a car for UK but mostly Europe.

Driving on the Right is no problem for experienced drivers - I do it all the time on frequent trips to mainland Europe, and I actually prefer it now to driving on the left. You will need to be aware of some minor differences in traffic rules however - best to read up about this ahead of time. Traffic in central Paris and London can be, erm, a challenge. In London we have a congestion charge for driving centrally during the working week. And wherever yo ugo you will need a good navigator and a set of large scale maps if you're going to avo

id making too many wrong turns.

You can hire cars from just about any airport I've ever visited. The major firms (Hertz etc) usually have pick-up and drop facilities. You can usually start and stop at different locations. Book ahead online and you might save some money.

Your route sounds quite doable in three weeks but one thing to bear in mind IME is how TIRING it is doing a long driving tour, plus there is the hassle of parking in a safe place, although a lot of bigger city hotels do of course have private car parks. Eurail certainly worth considering if you don't have much luggage or plan to do much shopping.

somewhere out there
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3. Re: Renting or leasing a car for UK but mostly Europe.

Myself, I wouldn't drive my righthand drive car in Europe; too many things to worry about.

If you feel the need for a vehicle then rent one on the continent; it's much easier to adapt to the "other side' when your steering wheel is on the other side too.

Rail transport is ver good within the EU so you may want to look into Eurail passes for your family.

Remember you are on vacation and driving will be tiring and stressful in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar road signs and traffic regulations.

The benefit of rail is everyone gets to look out the window at the scenrey, or take a little nap, read a book.

For cost comparisons dont' forget to add up the price of fuel and insurance for the vehicle when you compare to rail.

Canberra
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4. Re: Renting or leasing a car for UK but mostly Europe.

Thanks for your help guys. I think the family will ban me from trying to drive in Europe. I have finally discovered (as you suggest AussieJohn)that with a eurail pass we can get eurostar tickets, Paris to London, for a reasonable price (110 AUD)so that seems to swing it in favour of rail. Any suggestions for train options if we take a route of Berlin-Hamburg-Amsterdam-Brussels-Paris? I imagine the countryside all looks pretty flat. Should we always try for high speed trains? How necessary is prior booking in January?

Thanks again John, Max and anemone for your wise advice.

brussels
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5. Re: Renting or leasing a car for UK but mostly Europe.

I live in brussels and have not yet found a cheap way of getting to berlin form here it is also and eight to ten hour drive.

on balance i would prefer to dirve and ahve the flexibility to visit some pretty interesting places on th etrip fporm berlin to london when you get to the uk you could always change the car for right hand drive.

crunch the numbers but i wouldnt abandon driving yet.

point to point some rail routes are pretty good brussel to paris and cologne on the thalys spring to mind bu there it is not cheap on premium ie quickest routes and trhere is a fair amount of time spenmt waiting around.

Nice, France
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6. Re: Renting or leasing a car for UK but mostly Europe.

You can take an ICE train from Berlin (Zoologischer Garten) to Hamburg Hbf, which will take 90 mins. Go to reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en… for German train info (they have facilities for English).

You can take the train from Hamburg to Amsterdam (with one change at Osnabrück) in about 5 hours. (A flight would take about an hour).

Amsterdam to Brussels takes just over 2.5 hours, and Brussels to Paris just under 1.5 hours, so all is very doable. And I agree with the others who recommend train over car - it's far more relaxing for all concerned to take the train, and at least you can stretch your legs en route. And, yes, I prefer high-speed trains when I travel across the Continent, as you want to enjoy time in your destination, rather than spending it on transport.

Oh, and you may want to know about this website: www.raileurope.co.uk/europeantickets/…

Canberra
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7. Re: Renting or leasing a car for UK but mostly Europe.

Thanks for all the help guys. I am definitely working on the rail option now. Theartgirl you have given useful info. Have you any idea of prices as well? I seem to get very contradictory information on prices from different sites, agencies. The German site you gave says that for the three of us we can get from Berlin to Hamburg for 174 euro and go from Hamburg to Berlin for 221 euro. However other sites suggest it will be much more expensive!

Nice, France
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for London, Brighton
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8. Re: Renting or leasing a car for UK but mostly Europe.

The German site is an official rail site, so their prices are legit. I notice that (depending on date and time of travel) they also have special restricted fares available - €29 per adult from Berlin to Hamburg in Dec, for example - so it's worth looking into those if available. I'm afraid I have no other insight into prices other than what's available on the websites.