Car hire to get to Ski Resort

Car hire to get to Ski Resort

Started by T1berious in France - 11 Replies

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T1berious posted 28-Nov

Hi there,

Never done it before but wondered if anyone here has rented a car to get to the ski resort? We've unfortunately got a pretty early flight from Geneva (11:20) but when you factor being at the airport early, say 10:00 that 3 hour transfer suddenly seems less appealing.

One Transfer company wanted to pick us up at 5am! So the other half suggested car hire. Has anyone here hired a car to go to Val D'Isere from Geneva?

I could be wrong but I thought in France you had to have winter tires and snow chains if driving to a ski resort?

Just interested in hearing about anyone's experience doing this or if its not worth the hassle?

Cheers for any info T1b!
Finally went off Piste!

Admin
reply to 'Car hire to get to Ski Resort'
posted 28-Nov

T1berious wrote:wondered if anyone here has rented a car to get to the ski resort?

Pretty much every trip for (cough) quite a few years...

Hire from the Swiss side for convenience and quicker/simpler access to the motorway out of Geneva; hire cars in Switzerland will all be fitted with winter tyres and most will have chains in the boot. This may also now be the case on the French side (as their local regs have changed) but it used to be luck of the draw or a hefty extra charge which negated any saving you might make by renting from France.

(handy hint - even if you decline to pay the often ridiculous "winterisation fee" or "chains surcharge" sometimes asked for, even on the Swiss side, you'll likely find the chains have been left in the boot in any case as it's more hassle for them to take them out!).

Definitely pick "on airport" when booking your car, although you'll still take a short shuttle bus to the car park in any case (it's a 10 minute walk if you want the exercise...).

Most cars have satnav so take a moment to check it's speaking English before you drive out of the airport. Plan ahead by (gasp) looking at a map first and enjoy the drive!

You've got a choice of two main routes to get you to Bourg Saint Maurice; autoroute is much easier for your first time albeit less scenic. The alternative is via Annecy and Albertville; more pleasant and you can stop to admire the views or get a coffee by the lake in Annecy - BUT avoid this route at peak hour as the roads get very busy. The Autoroute is longer in distance but the time's roughly the same.

From Bourg just follow the signs up to Val d'Isere.

Keep a weather eye on the forecasts; the roads are generally kept clear but Snowmageddon events have a habit of hitting busy transfer days.

HTH,
The Admin Man

T1berious
reply to 'Car hire to get to Ski Resort'
posted 28-Nov

That's brilliant! I'll look into it! Many thanks!
Finally went off Piste!

Msej449
reply to 'Car hire to get to Ski Resort'
posted 28-Nov

As a baseline, it's worth looking at what's available via the Geneva Airport website car hire pages at https://www.gva.ch/en/Site/Passagers/Acces-Transports/Location-de-voitures/Suisse. Sometimes, they have cars and rates that you won't find on their generic ~.com pages.

If you work for a multinational or are in a professional association, you may find you can get cheaper rates or discounts through them. When I worked for a large Corporate, our business travel agency was very happy to take bookings for private hire - just make sure you're clear it's not business rental (as cover and insurance may be different). My professional association gets me 20% discount on Hertz.

If you're booking through Hertz, join their Gold Club first - it's free, and you'll get to use the Gold Club checking desk (useful when it's busy), 2nd driver free, and often an upgrade. The 2nd driver needs to have their Driving License (potentially an IDP with Brexit) and present this at the desk on pickup. They can't register subsequently other than by going into a Hertz office.

Also check that all your passports are valid for travel at https://www.gov.uk/check-a-passport-for-travel-to-europe The VALID UNTIL date on a passport is not necessarily the latest date of validity e.g. if the passport was renewed ahead of the previous passsport's expiry date.

Beware rentals involving Ferney Voltaire on the French side. This is way out on the airport perimeter, as opposed to the main airport P51 Car Rental multi-story. OK if you understand the longer transit time and more circuitous access route, but this is why a lot of people only hire from the Swiss (Cointrin) side. Also, there's endless debate about FV rentals having/not having winter tyres, chains or Swiss motorway Vignette. Double-check that you're both picking-up and returning to P51: just because you pick up from P51 doesn't always guarantee you're returning the car there, as opposed to distant Ferney Voltaire.

Here is the GVA car hire desk location:



Here is the P51 main car rental parking/pickup at GVA and the walking route from the car hire desks. You may opt to walk if you just miss the shuttle bus, or it's packed.



The route is in yellow, with the pedestrian crossings dotted. You walk through a couple of low gates in front of the office blocks but that's OK, lots of people go this way. Note the location of the self-service petrol station in front of the second building - this is the last place to top-up before you return your car.

As you walk into the P51 ground floor Car Hire level, note the layout for when you return. You both exit and return at this point:



Above is a photo of the entrance. The shuttle bus stops at the hatched area. You drive out the lane beyond the little barrier (where it says 'STOP'), and drive in on the right, taking the right of the two lanes to the ticket barrier (right of the small traffic cone). Take a ticket, and just 10m further on, you re-insert the ticket into the machine to get into the Car Hire return parking (go figure).
Edited 13 times. Last update at 28-Nov-2019

T1berious
reply to 'Car hire to get to Ski Resort'
posted 28-Nov

Cheers Gent's, really useful info!
Finally went off Piste!

SwingBeep
reply to 'Car hire to get to Ski Resort'
posted 28-Nov

If you look at the EU web page on car hire https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/driving-abroad/car-rental-abroad/index_en.htm it states that if you are an EU resident and intend to drive a car hired outside the EU back into the EU you have to ask the rental company for an EU-registered car otherwise you are in breach of EU customs law.

Fortunately, this information now appears to be out of date. If you scroll down to Article 197a and take a look paragraphs 24 and 25 in Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/1063 of 16 May 2018 amending and correcting Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/2446…… https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2018.192.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2018:192:TOC
They have amended articles 215 and 218 of Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/2446 as follows:

(24) Article 215 is amended as follows:
(a) the following paragraph is inserted:
'2a. Natural persons who have their habitual residence in the customs territory of the Union shall benefit from total relief from import duty in respect of means of road transport which they have hired under a written contract concluded with a professional car hire service and which they use privately.';
(b) paragraph 4 is deleted;

(25) in Article 218, the following paragraph is added:
'4. In the case referred to in Article 215(2a), the means of road transport shall be re-exported within 8 days of having been placed under the temporary admission procedure.';

It looks like the regulations have been returned to what the were under the old customs code. Now all you have to look out for are the speed cameras!

Admin
reply to 'Car hire to get to Ski Resort'
posted 28-Nov

SwingBeep wrote:Fortunately, this information now appears to be out of date.

Good spot Mr.Beep; that's good news, although the majority of hire companies (and, importantly, the French border gents) appeared to be ignoring the regulation when it was supposedly in force anyway. Glad it's sorted out though.
The Admin Man

SwingBeep
reply to 'Car hire to get to Ski Resort'
posted 28-Nov

If my interpretation is correct then it is certainly good news. It would be a good idea if someone could obtain confirmation from the EU. As J2SkiNews is a journalist maybe he could do a bit of sleuthing, he might even be able to sell an article or two to the MSM.

EU residents hiring cars in Switzerland and driving them back into the EU before the regulation was amended were taking a considerable risk as they were evading VAT and import duties to the tune of several thousand euros. Serial offenders such as yourself often receive a custodial sentence if caught.

Compliance with customs regulations is nothing to do with the car hire companies, it is the sole responsibility of the person hiring the car. It looks like French customs didn't carry out any checks, but other EU countries did. Last Christmas (after the amended regulations came into force) it was reported in the local press that Italian customs had confiscated a Bentley that an Italian guy had hired in Switzerland. It might be an idea to download Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/1063 and save it on your phone just in case.

In general driving cars especially ones for which you are not the registered owner from third countries into the EU is a legal nightmare. Our family car is registered in my name, when another family member wants to drive it into the EU I have to give them written permission, otherwise they could be liable for VAT and import duties. The Swiss equivalent of the AA has a form that you can download, the fields are labelled in several European languages including English, it might come in handy in the near future https://www.tcs.ch/mam/Digital-Media/PDF/Info-Sheet/bewilligung-zur-benutzung-eines-fahrzeugs-durch-drittpersonen.pdf
Edited 2 times. Last update at 28-Nov-2019

Topic last updated on 06-December-2019 at 23:26

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