Subject: Car Rental in Europe/Driving in Poland

We've rented cars in Hungary, Germany, Spain, &France from National, twice in Slovenia from Avis, and once in UK from Auto Europe. We had no problems with any of them and all gave friendly, excellent service when needed. We've also rented on a half dozen Caribbean islands and Mexico, again from various companies, and always had good cars and service. We've been fortunate not to have any theft problems or vandalism except Ljubljana, Slovenia, where our tires were slashed in the hotel parking lot. (The very nice guys from Avis were there in a flash, and instead of making us wait to have new tires put on, just brought us another car.) Over the years, we've been involved in two accidents, neither our fault, and the companies both were efficient and helpful. According to what I read, rental cars seem to be always more of a target for theft than privately owned cars, no matter where you rent them, even in the USA or Canada. (Just this month when we rented on Curacao the company provided us with a club which we were required to use everytime we parked the car.) However, I always feel that with reasonable caution and awareness, your chances of theft are still low. As I'm sure you know, you can buy insurance from the rental company to cover theft.

But, all car rental companies have restrictions on driving a car from Western Europe into former Communist Bloc countries. Some say absolutely not; others may allow it for an additional fee. Most don't even allow you to drive from one FCB country to another. (You can usually drive to a non-FCB country, however, if you rent in a FCB country.) However, I think Auto Europe is more flexible on this than some of the others (for an additional fee.) Although I've spent quite a bit of time in Poland, I've never had a car there, but some American friends of mine rented a car in Germany and drove to Poland. I will check with them to be sure, but I think it was Auto Europe and Poland was allowed.

Even though I love train travel, there's nothing like having a little car to go into all the nooks and crannies of a country. (However, having a car in a city is just a burden.) Hope you have a nice trip.

Corliss Jacobs KC