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Europe road trip - Advice needed

Discussion in 'Holidays & Travel' started by exile69, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. exile69

    exile69 Member

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    Hi all,

    Over the last couple of days I've been planning a month long road trip (23 june – 23 july 2012) with 2 others around europe. So far the main thing we're certain on is a trip to the nurburgring involving a day on the track. We've put together a rough idea of a possible route, although we're possibly thinking of dropping Paris as it might not be reasonable to try and fit it in: http://g.co/maps/7czqq

    We havent had a chance to research thoroughly at this stage. If poland isn't worthwhile going to even with the bonus of free accommodation, then we'd prefer to see other destinations. We're all ~21-22 years old, intend on staying in hostels where possible.

    We intend on hiring an audi A4 avant or equivalent upon arrival in germany, we have checked that it is fine to take this particular vehicle to all of our desired destinations. We do not intend on taking the rental on the Nurburgring, it has already been decided we'll be hiring the RS200 Cup from RSR Nurburg. We realise that the Nurburgring is not always open for tourist laps and we'll have to co-ordinate the itinerary to suit.

    If there are any seasoned travellers that could provide some advice on where to go in the area, that would be superb. I look forward to your replies.:thumbup:
     
  2. xplod140

    xplod140 Member

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    Who are you going through for the car rental? I am doing a trip in late July and not sure where to start with that.
     
  3. chainbolt

    chainbolt Member

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    The Nürburgring is a bit outside of the mainstream tourists path. The nearest cities are Frankfurt around 110 km or Cologne around 80 km. On the other hand, depending on your time, you are quite close to many attractive places. I would not go to Poland, you would have cross all of Germany. I would rather recommend to go west, France, Netherlands, or Switzerland. To Paris for example it's just 450 street km, you can do this in 4 hours, and that's more fun than Warsaw. In case you go east to Poland, have a stop over in Berlin, it's on the way.

    Keep in mind you are traveling in the main vacation time. Highways across Europe will be jammed like hell.
     
  4. Thudd

    Thudd Member

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    I'm [sort of] doing Europe in August-September; I intend to hire a care for possibly one day max, the rest of the time will be trains.
     
  5. poinda

    poinda Member

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    having tavelled europe recently (nov-jan) the only change I would suggest making to that route would be skip Warsaw. I did Warsaw and then went to Krakow. If I was going to do the trip again I'd skip Warsaw. I spent 2 days in Warsaw (which was too long for me) and ended up spending about 5 days in Krakow and probably couldve spent longer. The atmosphere of the place is awesome (especially around the Market Square) and I felt there was just more to do and see.

    edit: oh and you are insane if you want to drive in Paris. I don't know how a first would country functions with the insane mess of traffic they have. the place is worth seeing though!
     
  6. mopiko

    mopiko Member

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    My queries
    - can you hire an A4 at 21/22? You may want to check this.
    - why do you want to do a road trip? Actually I'll re-word that - what do you intend to see on this holiday? Cars are great between cities so you can take it at your own pace and leisure and see something interesting along the way. If a lot of the stuff you intend to do is in cities and you intend on going from city A to city B, I'd take trains, buses, planes. It's way less pain. You only really want a car if you plan on going from City A to Small Town B, stopping off to see something else, etc, etc.

    So yeah my advice would be to just hire a car for certain parts of the trip rather than the whole trip.

    My tips:
    - check that the hire car has unlimited kms and is allowed to go in all of the countries you are thinking of.
    - get hire car insurance instead of insurance with the car rental company. It will be way cheaper.
    - depending on the country, the roads can be terrible, or jammed with traffic. In Australia we're used to guesstimating 100km taking ~1 hour. In Europe, this isn't the case unless you're in non-peak times.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  7. k14

    k14 Member

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    Do you have a link to an appropriate policy? My wife and I are going over in June/July and I saw a recommendation on here regarding the same thing. All I was able to find was some insurance that covers the first few thousand euro (basically the excess) on the car insurance but over that it was worthless. So if you wrote the car off and had to pay 30k you might get 3-5k off it.

    So far the cheapest for a car I have been able to find is around 270 euro a week incl CDW. We are taking 3 weeks and driving a similar route to the OP.
     
  8. mopiko

    mopiko Member

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    The hire cars are all insured (as they are here?). The insurance is to cover the excess which is usually pretty big. 'Luckily' most rental companies allow you to remove or reduce this excess by paying more each day. Or you can buy through a third party company. Just check the terms and conditions carefully. I remember getting a years worth of insurance for something like 60-80 GBP?

    EDIT: In Australia, sometimes this comes under travel insurance. I haven't looked for a stand alone product in depth since I was overseas when I got it
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  9. k14

    k14 Member

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    Yeah so it isn't actually insurance for the car, it is excess insurance. I have travel insurance that covers up to $3000NZD so most likely it wouldn't help.

    P.S. Most rental places don't actually have "insurance", they have a CDW (Collision damage wavier). Apparently it waives the right for the rental company to go after the person hiring it if they make any damage (apart from the excess). Semantics I know but could save some confusion.
     
  10. Kore_5022

    Kore_5022 Member

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    I couldn't recomend poland enough, in specific krakow, warsaw was boring. Krakow was probably the best fun i had on my trip. I stayed at greg and toms (non party one). The location was AMAZING, there is tons to do during the day, the pub crawls and events the hostel organise are just amazing.

    We had the BEST hostel staff ever, they really got along with us staying there at the time and we got taken to a 21st house party, a college dorm party and to local pubs that they don't normally take people to as they are local spots. The hostel pub crawls where also great the hostel staff once again amazing and greg and tom the two guys that own it are a massive laugh, they will make you try every flavour of vodka you could imagine and then take you out and buy you drinks etc

    I could go on for pages about krakow, it really was the most amazing experience please don't skip poland :)

    Also if you haven't been to europe before, driving in the cities is NOT GREAT, it's nothing like driving in australia and (i haven't looked at your map) but driving in places like rome, florence, berlin, munich, vienna, prague etc etc would be a horrible experience. With trains and ryanair/easyjet being so so so so so cheap i would seriously reconsider the car option
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  11. Sir Ghallahad

    Sir Ghallahad Member

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    Here's my two cents.

    Poland - Forget Wroclaw ('vrot-suave') and Warsaw, and stay longer in Krakow. Three young guys I assume you want to party, and that's what Krakow has in spades, and the others don't. Warsaw is fantastic if you are in to WW2 history...but apart from that meh. Wroclaw is just tiny with nothing to really do. All three are beautiful cities though, extremely photogenic.

    Hire car - Having a car around Europe is cool for seeing random 'off the beaten track' stuff (nurburgring), but that's about it. All hostels are located in the city centers, so you are going to have to try and drive in nutso euro cities, and then also find parking. Where as trains are fast, efficient, and will deliver you to the city center.

    I would stop at Salzburg on your way to Munich. Also go through Strasbourg and Nancy on the way to Paris. Or go the way you are currently and go up to Luxembourg for the day.

    The whole route seems kinda strange to me, especially if this is your first time going there. There's going to be a lot of boring days of driving through pretty 'nothing' places.
     
  12. Badger

    Badger Caveat lector

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    Re travel to the nurburgring, I'm going to be staying in Koblenz, which is the nearest major city, I found an apartment on homeaway.co.uk.

    Also if you are driving for more than 3 weeks, consider buying a car on the buyback scheme in france, as it could be a lot cheaper.
     
  13. EpHeSuS

    EpHeSuS Member

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    Europcar.

    We have checked it. We can definitely rent it.

    The idea of hiring the car is 1. It's easier than trains/buses where you're on a specific schedule. Half the idea is that we get to see a lot of things along the way to the cities rather than just the cities themselves. We most likely wouldn't get around the cities via the car, just leave it wherever we're staying and get around via public transport.

    Insurance when hiring a car in Germany is a requirement - it is completely different to hiring a car in Australia.

    The car is extremely cheap considering ($1310 AUD for the car for 4 weeks). I just don't like the idea of having to be on a schedule with trains/buses, where as with a car we can leave and stop wherever we like + both of us enjoy driving a lot. I know driving within the cities isn't great, but between them shouldn't be that bad, particularly if we try and time our trips at the right time of the day.

    Reason for Warsaw is that I have family there and therefore free accomdation and free food (same deal in Krakow). We wouldn't spend more than a day in Warsaw regardless, but there are decent things to see there (the Old city etc...)

    http://tinyurl.com/6u5jsbf <- That's our latest route, but also far from complete at this stage. And no, I'm not really interested in partying TBH... I can do that here in Melbourne. Sure, we'll go out for drinks, but neither exile69 or myself are the big party types...

    Also, the other advantage of Warsaw (other than what I mentioned to the above poster) is the fact that I know a certain young lass our age who should have a few good friends that we could go out with one night ;)

    The buy back scheme actually would work out about $1000 more expensive than the car hire!
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  14. Badger

    Badger Caveat lector

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    yes, depending on how long you are driving around for. It's better for longer term driving holidays.
     
  15. mopiko

    mopiko Member

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    Sorry as above I meant insurance excess. Haven't rented a car in Germany, but have in about 6 other European countries and its a similar thing having the opportunity to reduce the excess for a daily fee. You can also get insurance on the other hand to cover the excess for not a lot of money. Food for thought if you're on the road a lot.

    Fair enough if you plan to stop short term (say up to half a day) at spots in between cities. Though looking at your schedule that doesn't seem immediately obvious to me. There are a few bits where trains aren't as frequent or easy (particularly around Eastern Europe - Poland way), and definitely the trip to the Ring a car wins hands down, but the other bits I think you're underestimating how good trains are, and how much of a pain driving is. I'll take that back. Driving isn't too bad if you can time it right, its the having to deal with the car at the destination for a decent cost that's the pain.

    All that said, that's just my experience so take it as you will. I'm sure though that even if you do drive the whole way, that's an experience within itself that's pretty cool.
     
  16. [SweN]

    [SweN] Member

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    and no matter what country you end up in, the streets will be jammed with German tourists lol
     
  17. Appius1

    Appius1 Member

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    You've said a lot about not being on a schedule. A Eurail pass will remove a lot of that trouble. There is no schedule unless the train requires you to book and this is only a day or two in advance in most cases. Cars are good, but trains, especially in Germany allow you to do random stops. Another option is keeping an eye out for AirBerlin offers, they do a really neat 5 city tour pass during the summer.
    The real trick is to take the aussie reluctance to public transport out of the equation. Poland is a must, esp Krakow! Dont bother with Paris its over rated IMHO.
     
  18. xplod140

    xplod140 Member

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    Just a heads up, I just booked a Citroen through www.globalcars.com.au

    Worked out to about $100 per day.
     
  19. Kore_5022

    Kore_5022 Member

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    100 a day is more than i lived on over there are you going to be sleeping in it ?
     
  20. Badger

    Badger Caveat lector

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    I'm paying about half that for a renault megane (Europcar)
     

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