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US family - Is it advisable to rent a car in Frankfurt?

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Woodbridge, New...
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US family - Is it advisable to rent a car in Frankfurt?

Hi,

We are a family of 4 ( 2 adults and 2 kids ages 11 and 5yrs) planning on a trip to Frankfurt for 3 days. Is it advisable to rent a car and drive in Germany?

We do road trips here in US most of the times and are comfortable driving.

Just had a few questions.

- Is the US driver's license valid for driving in Europe or do we need anything additional to that?

- Are there parking spots available for free at tourist attraction sites and towns?

-Are the road signage easy to understand ?

- Can we get a GPS for rent as well at the car rental?

- Do kids need to have car seats ? especially my 5 yr old. Can we rent them?

Would love to hear from people who have done similar trips.

Thanks.

Frankfurt, Germany
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1. Re: US family - Is it advisable to rent a car in Frankfurt?

What are you planning to do in Frankfurt these 3 days?

There is excellent public transport within the city and you would probably spend most of your time looking for parking space.

Stuttgart, Germany
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2. Re: US family - Is it advisable to rent a car in Frankfurt?

If you are not planning on spending your days in Frankfurt then a car might be useful,it depends where you want to go!

Your 5 yearold will need a special seat,GPS can be rented or maybe fitted in the car.

It might be wise to get an International driving lisence,I think you get them in your local AAA office.

There will be parking at tourist sitesand towns ,some places require payment some not.

Road signs are pretty easy to follow,main differance is overtaking on the Autobahn is only on the left

Renting a car not in a main station (hauptbahnhof) or airport will save 20%

Please do read the rental terms and conditions. Returning a car will less than a full tank will cost heavily.

Check for damage and get it listed, wheels are the first place to look!

Avoid Dollar/Thrifty/Terstappen,see many threads on here as to why

Woodbridge, New...
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3. Re: US family - Is it advisable to rent a car in Frankfurt?

Thanks for the suggestions quiltneedle and bongoblog.

We are planning to go to Heidelberg castle - Day 1,

Take the river cruise on the Rhine from Rudeshiem - Day 2

Spend with a friends family in Frankfurt. - Day 3

Could you provide suggestions how to go to above places using the metro.

Is there any metro card/tickets/pass for unlimited metro use within Germany ?

Salzburg, Austria
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4. Re: US family - Is it advisable to rent a car in Frankfurt?

http://www.rmv.de/en/

www.bahn.de

Edited: 21 June 2013, 21:00
Frankfurt, Germany
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5. Re: US family - Is it advisable to rent a car in Frankfurt?

Make sure to read something about German traffic rules, as some are different from those in the US.

This might be a nice overview: http://wikitravel.org/en/Germany (go to traffic rules)

Your 5 year old will need a booster seat, your 11 year old will also need a booster seat if he's shorter than 4'11".

If you make a reservation in advance make sure to order the booster seat(s) to be sure they have one or two available for you.

Edited: 21 June 2013, 21:08
Ottawa
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6. Re: US family - Is it advisable to rent a car in Frankfurt?

We were in Frankfurt for one week. The public transportation is excellent. Went to many places including a Rhine cruise. Never thought a car was needed. From the airport to downtown(or back) we used the underground(S-Bahn), and also the S-Bahn for the Rhine cruise. In town, we used the tram, which I think the children will like. I don`t know about metro card or ticket pass for unlimited use.

There has been "horror" stories on car rental, such as a charge of 449 euro(about $630) for a 2 inch scratch. Above, before "Search", Google: Car rental.

By train, Heidelberg is from 48 minutes to 1:16 hour, and costs 28 euro. You can look at www.bahn.de for schedules including Heidelberg and Rhine places.

For information on Rhine Cruise, in this forum, you can look up "Rhine Cruise day tour from Frankfurt" on 10 June 2013. You can also Google: kd line timetable schedule. Good luck.

Edited: 21 June 2013, 21:18
Chula Vista...
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7. Re: US family - Is it advisable to rent a car in Frankfurt?

Hi illusion73,

If you do decide to drive, here's a site with a really good overview--including street signs and rules of the road--of driving in Germany:

www.gettingaroundgermany.info/auto.shtml

Keep in mind, too, that gas is currently running about $8.10 per gallon based on today's prices and exchange rate.

Zed

Paradise, California
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for Rhineland-Palatinate
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8. Re: US family - Is it advisable to rent a car in Frankfurt?

illusion73: "Could you provide suggestions how to go to above places using the metro."

Yes, of course.

"Is there any metro card/tickets/pass for unlimited metro use within Germany"

The outings you have planned will be simple and relatively inexpensive by train; there are all sorts of these passes. Which one you get depends on where you're going, and when.

A direct train from Frankfurt's main station to Heidelberg's main station takes 1.5 hours. A small-group daypass from DB (German Railways) will cost your family of four between 42€ and 50€, depending on the day of the week, for the round-trip journey. On weekdays, you'll buy the "Quer durchs Land" daypass:

bahn.com/i/…quer-durchs-land-ticket.shtml

On Saturday, Sunday and holidays, you'll want the "Weekend Ticket":

bahn.com/i/…quer-durchs-land-ticket.shtml

(Note that the weekend ticket is good for Saturday OR Sunday, not both.)

These passes are good on any and all of the local and regional trains. For Frankfurt to H'berg, the RB (regional train) runs every hour on weekends starting, for example, at 5:06, then at 6:06, 7:06, etc. They return every hour at 12:21, 13:21, 14:21, etc. If you decide to stay later than planned, then just hop on a later train.

There are no reservations to fuss over, no advance purchase needed. You simply buy the pass at the station from a ticket machine (English option) or from an agent (small additional fee.)

These same passes (and others) will no doubt work for you when you visit the Middle Rhine Valley too. Let's postpone any pass suggestions until you have a more concrete plan for the MRV (your train pass depends on which towns,castles, etc. you want to visit, how long you wish to cruise, etc.

If it sounds easy to use the trains, it is. What is difficult for novices is figuring out the train schedules, station names, and eligible trains on the DB website. So I suggest that you repost your proposed travel dates and give the exact location you'll be staying at in Frankfurt. Then, I or someone else can help you with the details you need, not the ones you don't, and help you use the DB itinerary page independently. Here's the page for future reference:

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en

Edited: 22 June 2013, 14:16
Woodbridge, New...
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9. Re: US family - Is it advisable to rent a car in Frankfurt?

Russ,

Thank you very much for your detailed information. Really appreciate that.

We are looking for Aug 3rd week - on weekdays to see Hiedelburg castle and may be the Rhine cruise.

Woodbridge, New...
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10. Re: US family - Is it advisable to rent a car in Frankfurt?

Thanks Zed for the response.

Considering the price of gas per gallon, I can totally dropping the idea of driving.!

WIll consider taking the metro instead.