Tired of walking around during in-processing or waiting on your friend or sponsor to pick you up because your car hasn't arrived yet? Time to get a rental. Fortunately there is an Enterprise right next to the newcomers building that can help you get going. I just picked up my USAEUR temporary license yesterday and it's time to start venturing off on our own to see what the area is about. It will also be quite nice to have some wheels to make sure I get to those scheduled appointments on time not to mention being able to drive to a dealership to pick up a new car or to the VPC to pick up the car we shipped.
Well just head down the sidewalk a bit from the newcomers building and you will see the Enterprise office. There you will be able to see what they have available and rent a vehicle. Europe is very flooded with manual vehicles so be prepared to have a limited selection of vehicles to choose from if you don't know how to drive one.
In order to rent a vehicle you will need your USAEUR license, insurance, and payment for the vehicle. If you already got your German insurance setup through USAA then your insurance will cover you for the rental. If you have Geico, like I do, you will have to pay for insurance through the rental company. Traditional German insurance insures the vehicle, not the people driving it, and this is how GEICO works. USAA follows the American way of insuring each driver (which was more expensive for our family).
Ready to hit the road?! Not quite. If you will need gas at any point during your excursion and don't want to pay the hefty German prices, you still need to get your Esso card from the Exchange. The Esso card for a rental authorizes you a standard amount of litres of fuel based on the number of days for the rental at a greatly reduced rate only available to cardholders.
Before you can go get your Esso card, you need to stop by the customs office and get a form for your rental vehicle. You will need to bring in the vehicle registration, orders (if it's your first time in the office), military ID, and the rental contract. In just a few minutes you will have the appropriate customs form in hand and with that you can head to the Exchange customer service to get your Esso card.
At customer service you will need to bring your customs form, military ID, and possibly additional vehicle information. You will need to fill out some forms discussing the terms and regulations for the card and then you will receive the Esso card with your information and the specific rental car you requested it for. The card is only good for the registered user of the vehicle and is specific to the vehicle and license plate. Any changes and a new card will have to be issued.
When you go to a gas station to fill up, you will need to bring your customs form, the Esso card and your ID card. It may be a little work to get it all in place but everyone is very friendly and you will be on the road in no time. Good luck with the new signs and driving styles!