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trek621 asked this question 2 years, 1 month ago:

Car or No Car ??? (that is my question)

Hi everybody- can you give me some advice?

I keep going back and forth and can't quite make a decision about this because I have never been over to Landstuhl/Kaiserslautern area before. I'm a new civilian employee and will arrive the second week of January.

I have a car that (because of a recent repair) won't ship in time to be in Landstuhl when I arrive.

It will be shipped when I fly out and I am told it takes 45 days to arrive.

Will I be able to get around easily for awhile without a car (mid-January) or will I have to get a rental? How expensive is this and is there anyway to be reimbursed (worth a shot I guess)?

Alternately, I was considering selling my car here (I doubt it would sell in Germany- it's an automatic and all four of the Germans I've met before considered automatic cars to be a joke) and then buying a car in Germany.

Does anyone have experience with this and any ideas?

Thanks very much! Any advice - even remotely applicable-  will be very appreciated.



2 years, 1 month ago

Hopefully this helps...

"Will I be able to get around easily for awhile without a car (mid-January) or will I have to get a rental? How expensive is this and is there anyway to be reimbursed (worth a shot I guess)?"

Not knowing your circumstances makes it kind of hard to give you an accurate answer. Are you married? What post/base will you be working on?  However, my best response is that it's not easy to get around without some means of transportation. You can find rentals for around $500 per month. You will NOT be reimbursed for vehicle rental costs. BTW you will need a USAREUR Certificate of License before you can operate a vehicle here. 

"Alternately, I was considering selling my car here (I doubt it would sell in Germany- it's an automatic and all four of the Germans I've met before considered automatic cars to be a joke) and then buying a car in Germany."

Bring it. You can easily sell it to another American as most do not know how to drive a vehicle with a standard transmission.

Hope this helps. Feel free to PM me if  you need further assistance. Good luck!


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2 years, 1 month ago

Yes thank you that is actually very helpful because I didn't really think of the possibility of selling to other Americans (duh! It's been a looooong week! that's my excuse)

I am not married and I don't even know exactly where my daughter will be going to school yet. We are looking at an international school but, if they don't offer at least some financial aid, that may not work out. So I guess I will need a car pretty bad. I am going to see if I can ship mine earlier then and rent one here, I suppose. 

Are the trains pretty reliable for use, too? There is a train that could take my daughter to the IS but all we have to go on is inter webs information and google maps- so we are still kind of guessing at things.

2 years, 1 month ago

Hallo,

you can make it without a car - of cause.... if it feel ok to you, it will depend of your needs, wishes and the worktime and place, as well where you are living....

if you work at the hospital and living Landstuhl, you can make it without... only you need good warm clothing, cause january is freaking cold, when you wait the bus, or train. As well if you went home from shopping.

Landstuhl got the Sickingen-bus - the local  bussystem works ok and trains and busses work out as well in the german community-part....

you just try out for a few days - see, that you find a location near your work. To buy a car should be not too difficult...



anyway - good luck and good transfer



2 years, 1 month ago

Quote by trek621:

Hi everybody- can you give me some advice?

I keep going back and forth and can't quite make a decision about this because I have never been over to Landstuhl/Kaiserslautern area before. I'm a new civilian employee and will arrive the second week of January.

I have a car that (because of a recent repair) won't ship in time to be in Landstuhl when I arrive.

It will be shipped when I fly out and I am told it takes 45 days to arrive.

Will I be able to get around easily for awhile without a car (mid-January) or will I have to get a rental? How expensive is this and is there anyway to be reimbursed (worth a shot I guess)?

Alternately, I was considering selling my car here (I doubt it would sell in Germany- it's an automatic and all four of the Germans I've met before considered automatic cars to be a joke) and then buying a car in Germany.

Does anyone have experience with this and any ideas?

Thanks very much! Any advice - even remotely applicable-  will be very appreciated.

Hi trek621 -

My family moved to Germany in January of 2010.  We had the fortunate (NOT!) experience of arriving during the worst winter in (what we were told) 30 years.  I learned quickly that all season tires were not the way to go.  Dedicated winter tires made it so much easier to drive up and down the hilly roads.

As you mentioned in your reply post, if you can ship your car early and rent in the U.S., it is less expensive that way. On the other hand, if you can get yourself some VAT forms, you can save the 19% VAT on your rental and with the USD/EUR exchange rate being what it is, kind of break even on the rental prices.  

If you don't mind, I am going to give you a couple of links to use. These links help support this site.  The trick is, if you change computers, you need to come back to click the link again, please.

You'll need an Emergency Car Kit for your car.  It is mandatory in Germany to have one in any vehicle you are driving.  I ship these, myself.  www.everythingkmc.com/eck

Great prices for a rental car in the U.S. or Germany: http://bit.ly/1PYx7PQ

If you want to get winter tires, check locally for used ones first at ramsteinyardsales.com.  If you don't find what you are looking for, check TireRack using this link: http://bit.ly/2c9SfX0

If you shop at Amazon, this is our support link: http://amzn.to/2fO6R0k

2 years, 1 month ago

Thanks very much! 

I saw the car emergency kit and purchased one last night. I'm glad to have found it bc I hadn't yet been told about that requirement. 

Winter advice is much needed! I'm worried about winter driving in the first place. Where I live it is currently 70 degrees in the day so you can imagine I have very little real winter experience. I'm looking forward to learning though. I like cold (from what I've exp so far)

Im going to try to find out about the VAT forms  i was wondering what VAT was because I saw it on a few things (PS4 and the few cars I looked at)


To the poster about bus and trains - thank you, too. We will try different things out. We are pretty sure we want to live out on the economy so having as many transportation options as possible will be good. My daughter is 16 so she will need to be able to find her way around. (She hasn't gotten her license here yet so can't drive overseas I'm told. Only has a permit) 

I always like to know as much as possible up front but I suppose some things I will need to experience and experiment with when we arrive


 



2 years, 1 month ago

Quote by trek621:

Thanks very much! 

I saw the car emergency kit and purchased one last night. I'm glad to have found it bc I hadn't yet been told about that requirement. 

Winter advice is much needed! I'm worried about winter driving in the first place. Where I live it is currently 70 degrees in the day so you can imagine I have very little real winter experience. I'm looking forward to learning though. I like cold (from what I've exp so far)

Im going to try to find out about the VAT forms  i was wondering what VAT was because I saw it on a few things (PS4 and the few cars I looked at)


To the poster about bus and trains - thank you, too. We will try different things out. We are pretty sure we want to live out on the economy so having as many transportation options as possible will be good. My daughter is 16 so she will need to be able to find her way around. (She hasn't gotten her license here yet so can't drive overseas I'm told. Only has a permit) 

I always like to know as much as possible up front but I suppose some things I will need to experience and experiment with when we arrive


 



Thank you!  I packed your emergency car kit, last night.  It's heading out to NC with the mail carrier in a few hours.  I appreciate your support!

2 years, 1 month ago

Hey- I got the car emergency kit yesterday. That was super fast- thank you! That's one less thing for me to worry about!

1
2 years, 1 month ago

Quote by trek621:

Hey- I got the car emergency kit yesterday. That was super fast- thank you! That's one less thing for me to worry about!


I always ship via Priority Mail and usually ship within 1-2 business days.  I aim to please.  Enjoy your time in Germany. I loved it there and try to get back, often.

2 years, 1 month ago

here to link to the site of the german-kaiserslautern-county-Landratsamt

http://www.ramstein-gateway.com/

hope you find some infos more. Wish you, as well, a good time over here!

2 years, 1 month ago

About the daughter...hooboy. If she doesn't have a US license then she will be going through the German side if she wants to drive here. Cost is 1600 euro minimum...my son is going through it now. 14 hours of mandatory classroom time and 20-30 hours of driving time. The tests are much more difficult than anything in the US. 99% of current USAREUR license holders would fail flat out. My son understands German quite well for the lecture part but has an English-speaking guy for the behind the wheel bit.

A lot of people send their kids back to a state that has...uhh...more lax standards such as Florida (JOFTAA will likely confirm) and that US license will allow them to take the USAREUR tests (2 x written) only.

2 years, 1 month ago

Quote by Betze4Ever:

About the daughter...hooboy. If she doesn't have a US license then she will be going through the German side if she wants to drive here. Cost is 1600 euro minimum...my son is going through it now. 14 hours of mandatory classroom time and 20-30 hours of driving time. The tests are much more difficult than anything in the US. 99% of current USAREUR license holders would fail flat out. My son understands German quite well for the lecture part but has an English-speaking guy for the behind the wheel bit.

A lot of people send their kids back to a state that has...uhh...more lax standards such as Florida (JOFTAA will likely confirm) and that US license will allow them to take the USAREUR tests (2 x written) only.


Yup!  Even with airfare and license fees, getting the license in the U.S. is far less expensive!  And, if you work it into a vacation or a RAT year, even better.  

By the way, Betze4Ever, I can almost hear you saying "hooboy" out loud.

2 years, 1 month ago

For the car-- thanks to y'all's input I have decided to ship it when I fly and rent overseas. I'm going to try the public transportation and see if any of it works on a day-to-day until the care arrives. If public transportation does the trick- then the rental can be returned.

I'm packing the emergency kit and the regular tires in the car for shipment with snow tires on. (I think I read here that snow tires- not year round tires- are better for Germany?) 

Wow- Germany doesn't fool around with licenses I guess! My daughter won't be able to get her license for awhile because I don't see us making any flight back to do that anytime soon. Plus, she is a nervous driver for some reason and I can't understand why. She has driven SOMETHING since toddlerhood (power wheels, golf carts, dirt bike, etc) and she is, literally, obsessed with cars and car design. Teenagers are a mystery... So here's hoping she doesn't mind trains and busses!

Ok I have another question---- off topic----homes. To buy or not to buy? How difficult is it to get a loan as an American in Germany. I'd rather buy then rent (so American of me!) but the Interweb says that they have a different credit system in Germany. Can you tell me your experiences with renting vs buying, loans, etc? Any advice?  


PS- ditto to the "hooboy" :) and what is a RAT year? Also, thanks for the link to the Rammstein gateway! It has a sightseeing link and one of the things we wanna do upon arrive is do a tour around to get the feel of the place.

2 years, 1 month ago

Quote by trek621:

For the car-- thanks to y'all's input I have decided to ship it when I fly and rent overseas. I'm going to try the public transportation and see if any of it works on a day-to-day until the care arrives. If public transportation does the trick- then the rental can be returned.

I'm packing the emergency kit and the regular tires in the car for shipment with snow tires on. (I think I read here that snow tires- not year round tires- are better for Germany?) 

Wow- Germany doesn't fool around with licenses I guess! My daughter won't be able to get her license for awhile because I don't see us making any flight back to do that anytime soon. Plus, she is a nervous driver for some reason and I can't understand why. She has driven SOMETHING since toddlerhood (power wheels, golf carts, dirt bike, etc) and she is, literally, obsessed with cars and car design. Teenagers are a mystery... So here's hoping she doesn't mind trains and busses!

Ok I have another question---- off topic----homes. To buy or not to buy? How difficult is it to get a loan as an American in Germany. I'd rather buy then rent (so American of me!) but the Interweb says that they have a different credit system in Germany. Can you tell me your experiences with renting vs buying, loans, etc? Any advice?  


PS- ditto to the "hooboy" :) and what is a RAT year? Also, thanks for the link to the Rammstein gateway! It has a sightseeing link and one of the things we wanna do upon arrive is do a tour around to get the feel of the place.

I don't know if you get Renewal Agreement Travel (RAT).  You can take a look here:
https://www.dfas.mil/civilianemployees/civrelo/renewalagreement.html

Getting a loan for a home is not really difficult if you have good credit.  Buying vs renting is really a call you'd have to make.  I know that if I had stayed in Germany for a longer period of time, I would have bought.  Why not allow Uncle Sam to pay for your mortgage?  Keep in mind, if you buy, the utilities are on you.  I have a friend who bought.  I will see if he can come answer that one with more authority that I could.


2 years, 1 month ago

The process for purchasing a home here is much different than it is in the US. You have to have a fairly decent size downpayment (think 20%) as well providing a credit report, at least three years of tax returns as well as income statements and that's if you can find a bank that will finance an American now. There are people in the area that can work with you however, I recommend you contact Lisa Walker, TDYHOMES, after your arrival. Germans don't look at home investment the way Americans do. Not to say it can't be done. 


2 years, 1 month ago

Oy! That is not exactly the news I was looking for--20% is probably more than I can relinquish at this time...I guess it depends on cost of home.


Would it make a difference if I could convince them that I can pay it off quickly? ;)

DO people ever buy? And when you say "if they will loan to Americans" what does that mean, exactly? Has there been difficulty? I know I will find out more when I arrive but if I could preempt some of the problems ahead of time...that wqould be ideal.

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