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Renting a car in Belgium to drive to Netherlands?

by ZeekLTK Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 11:49 AM

We're trying to find a way to get from Bruges to the Netherlands in one day (this April) while also being able to stop and see Antwerp for a little bit, so we're thinking that renting a car might be the best option.

I was just wondering what are the requirements for an American to rent a car in this area and which company would be the easiest to work with / cheapest to use?

Plan would basically be to rent the car early in the morning from Bruges, drive to Antwerp, find somewhere to park for a handful of hours to go see/do a few things there, and then drive to either Rotterdam or The Hague (haven't decided which yet) to drop the car off the same night.

I know there are trains/buses that can do this route too, but we're thinking that with a car we can be on our own schedule and also have somewhere to store our bags (in the truck) while we are in Antwerp.

Any suggestions?

Thanks.

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13 Answers
  • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo

    Re: Renting a car in Belgium to drive to Netherlands?

    by pieter_jan_v Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    There may be an age limit at some rental companies. For the rest it's simple; you need a valid driver's license and a valid credit card.

    PJ

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: Renting a car in Belgium to drive to Netherlands?

    by leics Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    You'll need to tell the hire company that you intend to take the car out of Belgium.

    You'll also need to consider what insurances you may already have which will cover you for a hire car in Europe, and what insurances (other than those legally required) you may wish to purchase when you hire.

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  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo

    Re: Renting a car in Belgium to drive to Netherlands?

    by Beausoleil Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    When we were in Brugge last fall, we had a car. However, we used the trains when we were visiting cities. You take the train into the center of the city, do your sightseeing and take the train home. It couldn't be easier. We used the car for visiting small towns and villages and the lovely nature parks. Parking is hard to find, expensive and with traffic, you waste a lot of your valuable sightseeing time. With the trains, you zip in and zip out with the entire day between for sightseeing. It's great.

    As far as renting, check age requirements because there are upper and lower age limits. You will need a credit card and be sure you have appropriate insurance for every country you enter. If you tell them where you're going, they take care of that. You will probably get a lower rate if you arrange the rental before you leave and if you want an automatic transmission, you need to arrange it ahead of time because stick shift is the norm in Europe although I suspect you know that.

    For your itinerary, I highly recommend trains just as a time saver.

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: Renting a car in Belgium to drive to Netherlands?

    by gwened Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    check

     

    and route planner

    it is very easy done several times. You can try the train stations to leave your luggage or the hotel you might need.

    parking at Antwerp I do it at

    hope it helps and happy motoring.

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: Renting a car in Belgium to drive to Netherlands?

    by gwened Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    well dont know why links dont work in the new VT but google autoeurope,Kemwel for car rentals info,and viamichelin for route planner.

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: Renting a car in Belgium to drive to Netherlands?

    by gwened Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    ahh its late here, the parking is here

    vincipark.be/en/index.php/ci...

    in case the link dont work, its vincipark.be and the spot is central at Groenplaats in Antwerpen.

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  • johngayton's Profile Photo

    Re: Renting a car in Belgium to drive to Netherlands?

    by johngayton Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    All these are connected by train services and all the train stations have left-luggage facilities. Trains are regular, relatively inexpensive and are centre-to-centre. So why the need for a car?

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  • Re: Renting a car in Belgium to drive to Netherlands?

    by K_V_B Online Now Feb 24, 2013 at 12:41 AM

    When you rent a car to drop of in another country you are usually charged with a hefty surcharge. Keep that in mind. The trains are quite flexible, and what you may not be used to is that if you have a train ticket you are not necessarily forced to take a particular train. However, at the moment the train schedule between Antwerpen and The Netherlands is a bit in a flux. The railway companies involved made the big mistake of buying trains from a manufacturer with a dodgy reputation, and those trains started to fall apart only a month after being put in service. So they had to withdraw them and improvise a replacement. So the trains run on a temporary schedule that changes all the time. However by April things should have settled. Then you should have a two hourly service from Antwerpen to Den Haag, on top of the 10 times a day High speed service to Rotterdam - Amsterdam.

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  • northeast80's Profile Photo

    Re: Renting a car in Belgium to drive to Netherlands?

    by northeast80 Online Now Feb 26, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    There are certainly luggage lockers (I've used them) in Antwerp train station if you decided to take the trains instead of a car. We drove from the UK to North Belgium, left the car and used the trains to get to the Netherlands and Germany and they worked really well. They're efficient, easy to book, clean and frequent. I wouldn't say that for the distance covered they're cheap but you have to weigh up the pros and cons.

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  • ZeekLTK's Profile Photo

    Re: Renting a car in Belgium to drive to Netherlands?

    by ZeekLTK Online Now Feb 27, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Thanks for all the responses. I think we'll probably end up taking the train then. The main thing we were worried about was luggage, so that'll be great if there's a place to lock them up.

    Is it going to be fine buying a train ticket the day of, or should we start looking online to book in advance?

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  • northeast80's Profile Photo

    Re: Renting a car in Belgium to drive to Netherlands?

    by northeast80 Online Now Feb 28, 2013 at 12:26 AM

    Most fares are similar if you buy them on the day or in advance I've found. The one ticket that was cheaper in advance was Antwerp - Aachen. ie to a different country.
    seat61.com/Europe-train-tick...">seat61.com/Europe-train-tick... is a useful site, they say that for travel within Belgium or within the Netherlands the 'price for these journeys is the same whether you buy in advance or on the day, and tickets can never 'sell out', so there is no advantage whatsoever in pre-booking other than saving time at the ticket office. '
    So I'd suggest you check whether the ticket from Bruges to Antwerp can be found cheaper in advance but for your other journeys within the Netherlands buy your ticket on the day. You can search for that ticket via seat61 website or go to InterCity direct (they run trains Bruges - Antwerp every hour).

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  • Re: Renting a car in Belgium to drive to Netherlands?

    by K_V_B Online Now Feb 28, 2013 at 2:05 AM

    Brugge - Antwerpen is never cheaper when bought in advance. Within Belgium trains are basically mass transit. It's turn up and go...
    For Antwerpen - Rotterdam booking in advance is a good idea. I would book an evening train Antwerpen - Rotterdam. When booking a "Thalys" high speed train there is a "Any Belgian Station" tariff that includes transport from anywhere in Belgium (by train) to Antwerpen. You can then take any train you like in the morning from Brugge to Antwerpen, spend some time there, and then take an evening Thalys High Speed service to Rotterdam.

    You can do that on line at www.b-europe.com or just at the station in Brugge.

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  • northeast80's Profile Photo

    Re: Renting a car in Belgium to drive to Netherlands?

    by northeast80 Online Now Feb 28, 2013 at 4:29 AM

    Oops, I got my countries mixed up didn't I? Listen to K_V_B! Sorry about that.

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