Current car rental rates in Germany are “the lowest of the century,” says Bob Bestor, publisher of Gemutlichkeit, the go-to electronic newsletter for travel to German-speaking Europe. Rates for rentals beginning by April 1, including tax, now start at $151 a week for a four-door compact such as a VW Golf. Even summer prices are good, so Bestor suggests reserving now and locking in a good rate—which you can cancel for no charge if you change plans.
Bestor’s site arranges rentals at good rates, or you can go through individual companies, AutoEurope, or try one of the opaque booking sites.
No matter how you arrange it, however, try to avoid picking your car up at a “premium” location. In Germany and Switzerland, you pay an extra 20 percent of the entire rental (including tax) when you pick a car up at an airport or rail station office. Instead, arrange for a downtown office pickup and cut your costs by a bundle.