Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hell Track
    Posts
    8,397

    A Europe Travel Question

    The background story: Me and 2 other guys land in Paris next weekend to ride bikes in France and Italy for a week. The plan was for a friend who lives in Europe to pick us up in his RV, and we'd travel and sleep in the RV. That plan has fallen through due to Visa issues, so the RV is a no-go. That leaves the 3 of us without transportation or lodging, and not a whole lot of time to get that sorted out.

    Anyone have any thoughts on the situation?
    Rent a car? SixT appears to have a car that might fit us, but it's expensive.
    Rent an RV? Indicampers.com looks to have some viable options that are somewhat affordable.

    Noteworthy info:
    -there's 3 of us, and we'll have 3 bikes with gear. So any vehicle will need to fit that.

    - main destination is the aosta valley in Italy, with various stops to ride on the way there / back.

    - we all fly in/ out of Paris.

    - none of us has any sort of international endorsement on our driver's licenses. It seems like that may be difficult to get on this short notice. None of us live in a major city. It looks like the international license thing is only necessary in Italy? Maybe we just be careful not to get pulled over?

    Any suggestions from the worldly members of the collective would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Squaw valley
    Posts
    2,544
    Your driver's license will be fine everywhere.

    Sounds like the rv is the way to go.

    Hotels will be 100 a night, and a car big enough will be expensive.

    The other option is rent a moving van from these guys
    https://mobile.ada.fr/

    Pretty cheap, you can sleep in it, three ride in front and you have plenty of room for your bikes. And gear.

    Sent from my Armor_3 using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    livin the dream
    Posts
    3,488
    An International Drivers license is a joke. You show up at a AAA and give them $20 and they give you a piece of paper. I have one, and rented several cars in Europe, and never been asked to see it.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    Best Skier on the Mountain
    Self-Certified
    1992 - 2012
    Squaw Valley, USA

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Before
    Posts
    20,456
    Train.

    https://www.sncf.com/en
    https://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html

    So easy, cheaper, more environmental, more exposure to Yurp kulcha. Fuck the car and driving.

    Train to Grenoble or Oulx. Ride to Aosta. Oulx is way cool.

    Cham will be crowded and more expensive, but you could train there and bus it to Courmayeur and ride Aosta from there.

    Or train to Martigny, lots of crash space there, ride St. Bernard to Aosta.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Big in Japan
    Posts
    35,687
    From Rick Steves:

    "Passports, Driver's Licenses, and International Driving Permits

    Whether you're American or Canadian, your passport and driver's license are all you need in most European countries. However, some countries also require an International Driving Permit (IDP). An IDP is an official translation of your US license (making it easier for the cop to write out a ticket). You can get an IDP at your local American Automobile Association or Canadian Automobile Association office ($20 plus the cost of two passport-type photos — OK to bring your own; doesn't require AAA membership). AAA is authorized by the US State Department to issue permits; avoid scam artists peddling overpriced, fake international licenses.
    You may hear contradictory information on exactly where you need an IDP. People who sell them say you should have them almost everywhere. People who rent cars say you need them almost nowhere. People who drive rental cars say the IDP is overrated, but can come in handy as a complement to your passport and driver's license. It's a good idea to get one if you'll be driving in Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, or Spain — countries where you're technically required to carry a permit. If all goes well, you'll likely never be asked to show it — but the permit is a must if you end up dealing with the police. That said, I've never been asked to show one."

    So, just go down to an AAA office and get one, to feel more comfortable. It takes maybe twenty minutes.
    Be aware of speed cameras over there, you will get the ticket in a few months if they nailed you.
    I just read that French rental outfits are into scamming Americans (maybe others) with ridiculous charges for almost invisible damage to cars when returned, so do a complere inspection when picking up the car with pictures on your phone (timestamped).


    Road or MTB biking?

    Let's do some livin'
    After, we die

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Beaverton, OR
    Posts
    270
    Its gonna be pricey no matter what you do - summer in euope last minute - one option is to find a Biking tour company in France to take the place of your friend and RV. They exist, but yeah it will cost you. HOwever...its gonna cost you anyways...at least this way you take the pain of planning and stress of it all working out from your hands.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Bottom feeding
    Posts
    7,013
    Yup, take the train to a cool mountain town for 3 days, ride around, take train to another cool town, ride around, go home.
    Well maybe I'm the faggot America
    I'm not a part of a redneck agenda

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars
    Posts
    3,248
    Why do you need an auto for? If you must get to an arbitrary destination the trains are great. But really, a bike, Europe, no itinerary, locate lodging ride to it. Eat great food, drink wine, ride, repeat.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Boulder
    Posts
    962
    Trains were pretty easy in Italy when I took my MTB to Val Gardena last November. Most will have a car specifically for carrying bikes, and you'll need to purchase an additional (very cheap) ticket for your bike. I packed very light - 30L pack for 2wks+ of travel, which made train travel much easier.

    If you go the train route, budget some extra time for delays, random trains that surprisingly won't take bikes (Austria), etc.

    Pro tip that helped me quite a bit after some early guesswork and dice rolling: If your ticket is confusing to you in any way or you forget where your connections are (sometimes it won't say on the ticket) , ask for a full itinerary from the ticket window - it'll show all times and connections.

    Predictably, train travel was pretty low key in Italy. Once I popped over the border into Austria it was rules rules rules and much more scowling and exasperation from rail employees.

    RE: "Does our plan sound fricked?" I showed up in Italy with no hotels booked and aside from a night 1 bivvy in an apple orchard (which, admittedly sucked) due to a comical amount of bad luck, we had a great time playing fast/loose with bed n Breakfasts and AirBnbs.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hell Track
    Posts
    8,397
    Thanks for the advice, all.

    We looked into trains. For 3 of us, tickets pretty quickly exceeded the price of a rental vehicle. That, combined with the hassle of dragging around bikes and gear on trains made that option not particularly attractive. And we're mountain biking, so while riding from the train station to wherever would be rad, we won't really be set up for that on this trip.

    Good to know about the IDP. I'll see about the local AAA.

    The moving van idea is interesting. I'll look into that.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Posts
    4,880
    Quote Originally Posted by North View Post
    I showed up in Italy with no hotels booked and aside from a night 1 bivvy in an apple orchard (which, admittedly sucked)
    Gotta be at least 2 Ogdens.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    I smell poutine!!!
    Posts
    7,978
    Moving van won't require some additional level of endorsement? Commercial vehicle? And I'd love to see some Benny Hill soundtracked footage of trying to drive one of those though some tiny village. Did you factor in fuel costs when comparing to train?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    on the banks of Fish Creek
    Posts
    1,096
    If you’re flying into Paris and you don’t have any transportation to Italy, why don’t you just hang out in Paris? Plenty of places to ride your bicycle around in circles in that town. They got pretty countryside there too.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Posts
    1,834
    You know gas is >$5 a gallon and there are toll roads right mr euro jong? Mt. Blanc tunnel alone is $85 return for an RV.
    Last edited by dunfree ; 07-22-2019 at 07:17 AM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    5,980
    With three people, I don't doubt that car rental is the least expensive route to go. That said, I've rented cars and driven in Europe most of my adult life. It is generally stressful and takes away from the fun of the vacation.

    Being able to drink beer, sleep, play cards or just look out the window is the way to go. Take a train to somewhere in the mountains that looks good and take it from there. I haven't looked at all the details but trust me when I say you'll have a good time if you do what Buster says. He really could be a travel agent and tour guide for maggots in Europe.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hell Track
    Posts
    8,397
    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    With three people, I don't doubt that car rental is the least expensive route to go. That said, I've rented cars and driven in Europe most of my adult life. It is generally stressful and takes away from the fun of the vacation.

    Being able to drink beer, sleep, play cards or just look out the window is the way to go. Take a train to somewhere in the mountains that looks good and take it from there. I haven't looked at all the details but trust me when I say you'll have a good time if you do what Buster says. He really could be a travel agent and tour guide for maggots in Europe.
    That's a fair point.

    We have a rough tally on gas / tolls, so those are factored in. Biggest thing with renting an RV is that we wouldn't have to pay for lodging, which is a significant cost saver. But fitting 3 people + 3 bikes + gear (including bike cases, although we could probably stash those in Paris) might be pretty tight in the rental RV's. And yeah, driving a big RV around the mountains seems... unfun.

    We'd kinda written off trains because of the cost, but I'll take another look.

    We're semi-flexible on schedule, but we already booked some guides in Aosta for a few days (back when we thought getting / staying there was going to be straightforward), so we're kinda working around that.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    LV-426
    Posts
    15,658
    I've gotten the international driving permit from AAA for a couple of overseas trips. Only the rental companies in Ireland and Japan insisted on seeing it when handing over the rental car. YMMV, but if the rental agency wants to see it and you don't have it...
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    9,135
    Didn't Dexter just rent a car in Europe? Perhaps he'll chime in here.

    Sometimes you just wanna go where no train goes.
    "timberridge is terminally vapid" -- a fortune cookie in Yueyang

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Big in Japan
    Posts
    35,687
    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    With three people, I don't doubt that car rental is the least expensive route to go. That said, I've rented cars and driven in Europe most of my adult life. It is generally stressful and takes away from the fun of the vacation.

    Being able to drink beer, sleep, play cards or just look out the window is the way to go. Take a train to somewhere in the mountains that looks good and take it from there. I haven't looked at all the details but trust me when I say you'll have a good time if you do what Buster says. He really could be a travel agent and tour guide for maggots in Europe.
    Yeah, but there are just a lot of places in Europe that trains don't reach.

    Let's do some livin'
    After, we die

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •