I am planning a solo trip to Europe. I am a U.S passport holder and have an additional non-U.S. passport. I've never traveled by myself and have some questions. Also, the countries I plan to see are Belgium, Germany and Netherlands.

Question one, I plan to rent a car in Frankfurt. Are there any potential required insurance charges beyond the final pricing shown on a site like Expedia.com? I've rented cars in the US previously, and wasn't required to pay for additional insurance. I'm not sure if car renting in Europe is different.

Second, are there any special consideration regarding driving from one country to the next as far as crossing borders?

Third, I plan to arrive there sometime at the end of December. Is the weather manageable for tourism? What is the best course of action for packing to ensure an enjoyable time and a good level of comfort when walking the streets throughout the day?

Lastly, I'd like to make friends on the way. Does anyone have experience with couch-surfing to find travel friends? I basically want a quick and hassle-free way to meet up with friendly fellow travellers and/or locals.

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    Please limit to one question per question. More people are likely to answer part of it. – Itai Dec 2 '17 at 15:18
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    Weather: if you're from Minot, ND, USA, December weather in Europe will be pleasant. If you're from Miami, FL, USA you might find it to be unbearable. It's all about your tolerance and how you dress. As for car rentals, personally, I'd look directly at car rental company sites instead of third-party sites like Expedia, and you can find how they do insurance. You may also have some benefits on your credit card - check with your issuer to see. – Jim MacKenzie Dec 2 '17 at 15:19
  • @JimMacKenzie, I'm actually from Florida :D – AnchovyLegend Dec 2 '17 at 15:19
  • @AnchovyLegend Even Florida's a big state. Key West? You've probably never experienced 5 degrees C. Jacksonville? You've probably seen snow. – Jim MacKenzie Dec 2 '17 at 15:27
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    One gotcha on the car rental: In the US, a rental car is automatic transmission by default, in Europe is it more likely to be manual. If you are not comfortable driving a stick shift, make sure your car reservation specifies automatic transmission. – Patricia Shanahan Dec 2 '17 at 15:29
  1. Check the details on you home auto policy to understand what coverage it provides when traveling. Then, look at you credit cards to see what insurance benefit they have. Beyond that, I've never had to buy additional insurance from the agency.

  2. You will have to carefully read the specifics of where you are allowed to take the car. 99.9%, Belgium and the Netherlands are covered. Going east, probably not.

But, do you rally need a car? Most worthwhile places are accessible by train.

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    +1 for questioning the need for a car. Trains, and public transit in cities, are at an entirely different level from most of the US. Many interesting places are in old city centers with narrow streets and limited, expensive parking. – Patricia Shanahan Dec 2 '17 at 15:42
  • Since I am stopping in Europe from traveling elsewhere for a few weeks, I won't be packing light unfortunately.. – AnchovyLegend Dec 2 '17 at 15:43
  • @AnchovyLegend You can always ship the excess home and keep a lighter pack with you. I can go for weeks with just a rollabord. FedEx and UPS will tag a suitcase and ship it as-is. Done it. – Johns-305 Dec 2 '17 at 16:12
  • @PatriciaShanahan, also, I don't plan on driving the car into the city centers for obvious reasons - but having a car will allow me to be more flexible and mobile should I decide to move around in/out a particular country. – AnchovyLegend Dec 3 '17 at 1:20
  • Just to stress that is really easy to travel by train. It can be a different experience. You will have less freedom in time scheduling, but a more enjoyable tourist experience no looking for parking etc. Unless you want to visit remote places, public transportation should be almost perfect. – Alchimista Dec 12 '17 at 12:31

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