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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, i have a question..
This summer i might be going with a few of High School Buddies on a trip to Europe. Our "home base" will be London and from there we want to go to France, Germany and maybe places in the way (if we have time.. Dont want to rush, we want fun). We plan on using public transportation 2/3 of the time but we might want to rent a car for a day or two (Germany was the first place to come to my mind....)
And the guys have sort of named me the de facto driver of the group, first is that i dont drink (they will be drunk most of the time), i am a good driver, and i know how to work a stick since i have driven both stick cars and i have a Motorcycle. It also helps that in Germany I can speak the language a little since I took it in High School.

So now my question is about the laws, renting and etc for someone like me.. I am ONLY 19 years old (Oldest of the group I think is 20.. Maybe one of my friends might be 21 by that time.. Not sure)... And i am worried this might cause a problem since i am that young. I am fully insured state side for both cars and my bike and never been in a accident. But what should i expect if i want to rent a car there? Do i need a special licenses or will my CA Driving licenses be honor? How about insurance? What rates should we be expecting to be paying for renting? How about AAA’s International Driving Permit? Are they worth anything? I can take any of the help you guys can give me.
Thanks!
 

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One rental in Germany was when I was 22. The rental company would not let me have anything more powerful than a mid-size sedan (Opel Vectra at the time). In terms of licensing, you can drive in Europe with your CA license for up to six months. As far as insurance goes, check if your CA policy is applicable in Europe. For the collision damage waiver for the rental, use a credit card that offers the insurance. Make sure that the credit card (i.e. Mastercard/Visa/Amex) provides the coverage in the country you are visiting. Lastly, have fun and be safe.
 

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To be safe, get an international driver's license... you can get it at AAA. Basically, it's just a translation of your CA license (it's not valid without the CA license).
 

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Get the AAA International permit. IT IS NOT A INTERNATIONAL LICENCE, but it wil be to your benifit to have. Especially if you get pulled over.

Make yourself familular with the european road signs and laws. If you are going to drive on the Auto-Bahn, as I suspect you are going to do, remember that there are very few places left that have no speed limit. Auto-Bahn is a very loose term, it means "interstate". All international highways are referred to as Auto-Bahn. You will see a posted speed limit almost everywhere you go of 120 kmph. This does not mean people are all driving the limit, much like here, but there is speed control. If you see a white circle with five black lines running down at an angle, then you have enter a zone that is not speed regulated and you can go for it.

DRIVE IN THE RIGHT LANE! Only get in the left to pass and then get your ass back over.

Get a book that lists the youth hostels and out of the way places to visit and stay. Get a Euro-rail pass. Be prepared to get lost at least once.

Have fun 8)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
passaturbonium said:
Lets see.....have you ever driven around Manhattan.....or any other heavly populated urban area? If not you might want to start there.....cause In europe its the same.....but the streets are not as wide....
<--- Look where i am from =P I have been able to take my Passat and get her thru many of the small streets we have here in the City with some crazy traffic. I have been to Europe before, but always was driven around by family when i was there. This is the first trip where its just going to be me and my friends.
And Rawerw, thanksfor the heads up.. I know about the move in the Autobahn to limit speed limits., I wrote a paper about it for my German class in High School, but i will be looking out for the nice section of the road that has that no more speed regulation =P
All i am worried about is they might deny renting a car to me since i am 19.
 

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I do not know about the rental age. Look up a few on the internet and I am sure they will list the requirements on the site. Hertz, Avis and Eurocar all have sites that list the various cars and the rates.
 

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Rent a Golf TDI if you can - it'll cruise at over 180 kmh and get 40 MPG while doing it. The last two I rented in Frankfurt had the 6-speed tranny!

I am not sure about the age limits, but the Golf isn't anything special as rental cars go, but they go like stink!
 

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If your 'home base' is London, I suggest you take the train to Paris and rent a car there. It's probably cheaper, and you don't need to transport the car via boat or train to the mainland. Use the subway (underground) in London! The other thing is you will get a right hand side drive car...Maybe you like it, but it would be annoying for the other european countries. Also, the speedometer will be in mph, and not in kmh as you'd need in the rest of europe.

As for driving. There is no 'keep your lane' in Europe. Drive in the right lane, pass on the left. Watch the posted speed limits. The maximum speeds are different per country per road type (freeway: 130 in france, 120 in belgium and netherlands unless otherwise indicated, 120 or 130 in germany unless not indicated, etc. In urban areas it's 50 or 50 generally, but could be inducated less 30, 40, 45, 70, etc). This is in kilomters per hour.

Have you considered taking the train? I don't know that you plan to do, but if it is visting big cities, train is better. The train in europe is developed a lot better in terms of coverage then in the US. There are special eurail eurail passes that allow to travel up to 4 weeks on a flat rate (exclusive erservations for several trains).

Hope this helps.
 
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