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Old 07-26-2006, 07:37 AM   #1
tdew
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Hi all,

Just a couple of quick questions for those who have been there recently...

Does anyone still get an international driver's license? I plan to drive a couple of days in Norway
and then a different rental from Berlin to Paris. The rental company will be Hertz, so I think I don't need to run to AAA ?

If a hotel offers high speed internet - and it turns out to be wired rather than wireless, is the cable connection the same as the one we use? I know the phone connectors are different, but I'll put off my connections if dial up is the only route. I'm bringing the computer mostly for downloading pix and other stuff that's on it.

Terry
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Old 07-26-2006, 09:24 AM   #2
weblet
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In the many ( ) years I've been around, I could probably count on one hand the number of clients who have actually gotten an international drivers license.... I think AAA is still the only place you can get one.

Not sure about the computer thing. Someone else will have to take that one!
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Old 07-26-2006, 09:52 AM   #3
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Your American driver's license is fine, no need to get and international one.
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Old 07-26-2006, 10:13 AM   #4
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Really not needed in Western Europe. However, I usually suggest it for car travel in certain, more remote areas of Eastern Europe, especially when driving across frontiers.
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Old 07-26-2006, 10:14 AM   #5
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bini, I have to disagree. I live in Europe and have several times been asked for an international license. It is usually based on the kind of day the border patrol/police/rental agent--its only like $15 and valid for a year, so not a big expense. but some countries are extremely strict--I have been stopped and fined in Italy and Spain for not having mine with me.

berlin to paris is an extremely long drive by european standards--my best suggestion, go for a midsize (economy size by us standards) or full size (midsize by usa)--also remember engine sizes here in europe are much smaller--so don't expect something similar to american standards because even bmw and audi use small engines (my A4 had a 1.6L). i would advise AGAINST hertz--extremely expensive unless you have a contracted rate--plus they put big hertz stickers on their cars here so it makes you more of a target for thieves. in germany, book directly with budget.de (www.budget.de) as they are quite inexpensive and i had great luck with them before purchasing my own vehicle.

very few hotels will have internet access unless you stay at a main chain. All the Accor brand hotels have wireless through T-Mobile (if you are in germany an extended period, buy the week or month long pass as daily rates run about $25-30). Marriott is hit or miss whether it is wired or wireless, but most use a strange service and supply a short ethernet cable (Hilton and Sheraton are the same way--actually it seems most upscale chains go the cable route and offer wireless in common areas and lower end hotels go for the wireless route). but a standard ethernet cable from the usa works just fine.

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Old 07-26-2006, 01:33 PM   #6
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Thank you to all.

If I find the time, I might still get the license... might not. Time will tell.

The drive from Berlin to Paris will be over a period of days, so distance is not a problem, we'll still get to see some sights as we go.
We'll drive one day from Berlin to Zeven in the north of Germany.
One day to Vianden, Luxembourg,
one day to Riems, France
and then the next day to the Paris airport.

I had checked rates with Hertz and Europacar and Hertz was a much better deal. I've used Hertz often and I believe that they don't try to make up for lower rates by adding on every extra charge they can think of. In Naples, they required the car to be parked in a garage, not on the street, but they supplied a list of garages that the company would pay the charges for. They did not put any big stickers on the car either. When someone punctured our tire at a stop light in Herculaneum, there was no charge for the ruined tire (but I had taken the insurance) Luckily, we were close to "our" garage and managed to get there before the tire went completely.

It's good to know that the cable is the same one we use. Access is not important enough that I'll pay $25-30 per day!
Some of our hotels offer free access, others mention broadband, but do not say if it's free.

Now if only the temperatures in Paris will cool down before we get there, we'll be happy.


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Old 08-04-2006, 01:25 PM   #7
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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(tdew @ Jul 26 2006, 02:33 PM) [snapback]32629[/snapback]</div>
Quote:
Thank you to all.

If I find the time, I might still get the license... might not. Time will tell.

The drive from Berlin to Paris will be over a period of days, so distance is not a problem, we'll still get to see some sights as we go.
We'll drive one day from Berlin to Zeven in the north of Germany.
One day to Vianden, Luxembourg,
one day to Riems, France
and then the next day to the Paris airport.

I had checked rates with Hertz and Europacar and Hertz was a much better deal. I've used Hertz often and I believe that they don't try to make up for lower rates by adding on every extra charge they can think of. In Naples, they required the car to be parked in a garage, not on the street, but they supplied a list of garages that the company would pay the charges for. They did not put any big stickers on the car either. When someone punctured our tire at a stop light in Herculaneum, there was no charge for the ruined tire (but I had taken the insurance) Luckily, we were close to "our" garage and managed to get there before the tire went completely.



It's good to know that the cable is the same one we use. Access is not important enough that I'll pay $25-30 per day!
Some of our hotels offer free access, others mention broadband, but do not say if it's free.

Now if only the temperatures in Paris will cool down before we get there, we'll be happy.
[/b]


My daughter lives in Milan, Italy, a USA Govo't employee- and was told that she SHOULD have an International DL. For me, the $15.00 and the "effort" would be well worth avoiding any hassles. /
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Old 08-04-2006, 01:49 PM   #8
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An international driver's license is required if you will be accessing any American military installations while on your trip. $10, 2 passport photos and 10 minutes at AAA is all it takes.
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Old 09-05-2006, 07:36 AM   #9
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Hi all,
Here's my report about what I found. The overall trip was wonderful. There were very few problems of any kind, and none that we couldn't deal with. I did find that some of the web pages told us that there were amenities at hotels that were imaginary and that terms like "guest laundry" and "air conditioning" are used creatively, but the heat wave had broken by the time we got there and we got really good at washing things ourselves. No one could have predicted that the DPW would decide to rip up the asphalt right in front of our Helsinki hotel's open windows at 10:30 pm and to put fresh Asphalt down the next night at the same time.

I did get the International driver's license translation and though I offered it to the agent at locations in
Bodo, Norway, Stavanger, Norway and Berlin, Germany - no one wanted to see it. I didn't get stopped for any reason, so I'm not sure whether local police would have wanted to see it in that case.
Even though I've seen it before, I'm still shocked by the speeds people travel on the Autobahn. We were doing 130 km in a small Pugeot and the other cars (not necessarily big luxury cars) were passing us like we were stopped. The one thing that makes it not as dangerous as you'd expect is that NO ONE passes on the right. You don't see any of the weaving that we have here on our roads. There are rules and everyone follows them.

It seems odd to me that the Europeans are so considerate on the road and then so "up on top of you" when they are on foot. The number of times my 88 year old mother was bumped into by someone who never even apologized was very surprising. We also found that if you left a gap on a line between yourself and the person in front of you, it was assumed that you were not on the line and people would jump in to fill the gap. We didn't feel that anyone was being intentionally rude, just that there's a different perception of personal space.

Though I carried plenty of paperwork for the grandchildren (passports, letters of permission to travel, birth certificates) no one questioned whether it was okay to take them out of or into the different countries, including our return to the US.

I'm glad to be home. I had to drive up to Boston the day after we got home, so I'm just now catching up on all the things that have to be done around here, but wanted to report the answers to some of my earlier questions, in case it will help someone else down the line.
Terry

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Old 09-05-2006, 09:18 AM   #10
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Welcome back, Terry!
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