Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

Log in to snowHeads to make it MUCH better! Registration's totally free, of course, and makes snowHeads easier to use and to understand, gives better searching, filtering etc. as well as access to 'members only' forums, discounts and deals that U don't even know exist as a 'guest' user. (btw. 50,000+ snowHeads already know all this, making snowHeads the biggest, most active community of snow-heads in the UK, so you'll be in good company)..... When you register, you get our free weekly(-ish) snow report by email. It's rather good and not made up by tourist offices (or people that love the tourist office and want to marry it either)... We don't share your email address with anyone and we never send out any of those cheesy 'message from our partners' emails either. Anyway, snowHeads really is MUCH better when you're logged in - not least because you get to post your own messages complaining about things that annoy you like perhaps this banner which, incidentally, disappears when you log in :-)
Username:-
 Password:
Remember me:
durr, I forgot...
Or: Register
(to be a proper snow-head, all official-like!)

Geneva hire car

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I know there has been some threads about this before, but I wanted to ask a logistics question re hiring a car in geneva. I'm aware that you can hire on the french side or swiss side (winter tyres potentially not on french side cars?), for our journey the swiss side works out about 2.5 times the price of the french side. The price of hiring on the swiss side makes the cost of a taxi transfer look like a bargain. So, assuming we hire on the french side, what are the logistics like for getting our stuff to the hire place (including skis, luggage and car seat for 4 year old)? Is it far away from the terminal? How do we go about purchasing a vignette?

I'm just trying to figure out if it is worth the bother. The taxi transfers aren't that much more as we aren't going sat-sat, but hiring is a little easier to stop in bourg at the supermarket and load up with supplies, and of course stopping en route for comfort breaks if needed.

Many thanks in advance. snowHead
ski holidays     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

So, assuming we hire on the french side, what are the logistics like for getting our stuff to the hire place (including skis, luggage and car seat for 4 year old)? Is it far away from the terminal?

The French car hire is actually in the terminal. Once out of luggage reclaim, turn left up the escalator or lift, through the French border and the car hire is straight in front of you. The actual cars are on the ground floor. It is very easy.
Quote:

How do we go about purchasing a vignette?

If there is not one already in the car they can be purchased at the border. If you ask the car hire will tell you where exactly or supply a map so you don't need one.

I actually find hiring from the French side much less hassle than the Swiss side.
snow report     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@johnE, you can be fined for purchasing at the border. You are supposed to have one before you drive on a Swiss motorway.
You can buy them for 40chf cash at the post office in the Swiss terminal near the Swiss side car hire.
latest report     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
one gotcha which almost caught me out was that when I returned my car to the French side the night before my flight they wouldn't let me walk back to the Swiss side (Where my hotel was). The only option was going to be a 30ish Euro taxi ride, until the rental guy kindly gave me a lift! They will let you walk through if your flight is the same day.
latest report     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
First, make sure you've checked the rates from the ~.ch Swiss pages of the main car hire companies, via the Geneva Airport pages at https://www.gva.ch/en/Site/Passagers/Acces-Transports/Location-de-voitures/Suisse. They sometimes (but not always) have offers and cars that you won't see if you go to their ~.com corporate or ~.co.UK pages.

Second, make sure you don't have access to better rates either via your employer (my last company was a corporate whose travel service was very happy to arrange private rentals, but with a big discount), or a professional association etc. (e.g. I get 20% off Hertz as a member of my professional association).

Third, make sure the pickup and drop-off is definitely from the GVA terminal. Last year, a friend of mine 'got a great rate' only to find when he picked up at the terminal that he had to return the car to Fernay Voltaire and walk (yes, no shuttle) back.

Fourth, like any car hire comparison make sure it's really apples-to-apples. Particularly in terms of 'winterisation' i.e. winter tyres and chains and insurance cover. Plus the vignette, of course.

Finally, you can buy a vignette online from the Swiss Travel Centre in London at https://switzerlandtravelcentre.com/en/gbr/tours/motorway-vignette if you do need one.

I'm not saying that the French Sector hire isn't cheaper all other things being equal, just worth checking the four points above to be sure.

I also sometimes wonder about loyalty rates: for the last 4 years I've been booking through Hertz Gold (Gold membership is free) because of the discount I get, as above. When comparing the alternatives, I've never found anyone else to be much cheaper. It makes me wonder if, since they have a record of my bookings with them, they alter the rates I'm offered. Just to see, I've looked as a generic user, then logged-in to my loyalty account and looked again, and noticed that there are cars/rates on offer to me that aren't there for an anonymous user. Just a thought. And I definitely have been upgraded more often than not by Hertz as a Gold member (e.g. last hire I booked a 1.1L 2-door Fiesta and got a new BMW 120d xDrive Sport ...) Anyway, f you do go for Hertz, simply join the free Gold loyalty scheme and rack up some points. And you also can then collect from the Gold desk at GVA as well, by-passing the queues.
snow report     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
@LaForet, I'm an Avis gold holder with a company discount but haven't rented with them for years, their rates were almost double rates I got offered via the brockers, so in a viscous circle of never using them now and thus not getting good rates.
snow conditions     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I thought that with the law changes about winter tyres, that from next season winter tyres would be on cars hired from french side too? Happy to be corrected if I am wrong!
snow report     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Europcar seem to be cheapest for me and have confirmed cars on the french side will be fitted with snow tyres. I will of course rent chains as well. Looks to be about £370 for hire, chains, vignette and petrol for our 11 day holiday. I’m thinking it might be do able then Puzzled
ski holidays     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Hiring on the French side is simple
Process is (assuming you're going to France):
Pick up luggage in arrivals - exit security - take escalator or lift to first floor departures - turn right and follow signs for "destination France" - go through gate - pick up keys from car hire desks (which are just after the gate) - take lift to ground floor - load up hire car - follow exit signs - drive under runway into France - turn right at next junction (signposted Switzerland) - stop at Ferney border customs post and buy vignette (if you need one) - follow road into Switzerland - follow signs onto motorway - follow signs for France - pass through Swiss/French border again at Bardonnex - follow route to final destination
All manageable with luggage & 4 year old - better than catching transfer bus to on Swiss side - but make sure you buy the vignette
Return route is the reverse - plus there's a Total garage by the Ferney customs post for filling up the hire car before returning - easier than on the Swiss - plus if you have time to spare there's also a good Carrefour a further 200m away
Also take a look at the discount car hire prices offered by the airlines - even the ones you aren't flying with - best price in the summer was with Ryanair even though I flew into Geneva with Easyjet
snow report     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Quote:

drive under runway into France - turn right at next junction (signposted Switzerland) - stop at Ferney border customs post and buy vignette (if you need one)

This is in the wrong order. The border post at Ferney is near the road out of the French sector of the airport and immediately before you drive under the runway into Switzerland.
latest report     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Agreed but not quite
The road from the French side of Geneva airport goes under the runway and takes you to the French side of the Ferney border post
You turn right, go through the border post and then under the runway again but this time you're in Switzerland
ski holidays     
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
will be dropping off and collecting family from geneva airport several times next year, do you need a vignette if only driving in france ?
latest report     
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@robs1, why would you need a vignette for the Swiss motorway if you are only driving in France?
snow report     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
It's easiest to get to the border at Bardonnex by using Swiss motorway. Not for many miles but a vignette is needed. Alternatively you can drive through Geneva, which can be slow when there's a lot of traffic and is more complicated.
snow report     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
robs1 - if you're not going into Switzerland and pick up your family on the French side you won't need a vignette but it's a long way round if you're travelling from one of the nearby French resorts - I wouldn't bother and would just buy at vignette at the Bardonnex border as recommended by Pam
ski holidays     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

Agreed but not quite
The road from the French side of Geneva airport goes under the runway and takes you to the French side of the Ferney border post
You turn right, go through the border post and then under the runway again but this time you're in Switzerland

I don't understand. From the French car hire you drive along the boundary road of the airport, then turn tight right onto the main road, go through the border then go under the tunnel.
latest report     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@robs1, @robs1, @robs1, @robs1, If you are going to drive on the swiss motorway you need a sticker even if its just from bardonex to the airport . It is possible to get to the airport without using the motorway but it is a real hassel especially at busy times !
snow conditions     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@robs1, It depends where you're going.
If you're going to Chatel, Morgins, La Chapelle, Abondance, Bernex, Thollon, St Jean D'Aulps ( even Morzine) you then you would not need one, as going through the city and round the lake is shorter than via the motorway.
Also, since Geneva city has got rid of the parking bays along by the Jet d'Eau making it fully 2-lane with well sequenced traffic lights, the traffic flows much better than before. They have also remodelled the approach from Mont Blanc, to make it 2 lane. This has improved the traffic flow upstream along the Paquais, so it's not as bad as before if you go down by the UN or Gd Sacconex then Route du Lac.
You can also buy Vignettes in petrol stations if you forget / can't be bothered at the border.
To do this just come out of French car hire, turn right through the border, then go under the tunnel. Take the lane for Gd Sacconex, and at the little roundabout take the 1st exit (straight on). There is a BP garage just past the DuPont campus.
snow report     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
@johnE, I have spent too many weeks working at Palexpo staying in various nearby spots (Switzerland much prefered to the various boring towns in nearby France though Geneva is hardly party central....). All of the airport including the "French exit" is in Switzerland. There is the special customs road which directly links the nominal French exit with French territory adjacent to the border post at Ferney Voltaire. If you take this road you pass under the runway and if you go directly back into Geneva you pass under the runway again as you are effectively going back the way you have just come.

It is no big grief to drive through Geneva to the the border post at Thonex and not use the Swiss Autoroute. If you really dont want to spend out buying a Vignette it is not hard to do, if you are heading towards Chamonix / PDS etc it is even possibly quicker, depends on whether you prefer longer motorway driving or more direct urban driving.
snow report     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Sometimes French side isn't French side...

I hired via one of the comparison sites for the EOSB this year and went for French hire as the price was better. When I checked the paperwork, pickup was at the Swiss Avis desk. Car (Swiss registered) had winter tyres but no vignette Puzzled

I've only hired a car at Geneva once so don't know how common that is.
ski holidays     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Just be aware that if you hire a car in Swiss you'll NEED to have a credit card (for all expect AVIS car hire) although we'd hired a car in the past with Hertz and they happily accepted our Debit card, we were not so lucky this time and they refused our debit card even though the email reminding us about picking up our car said 'Hertz welcomes Debit cards'.

And they've installed a new (wasn't there in Jan 2019) speed camera on the slip road back to P51, you have to go from 100km to 60km in an eyewateringly short distance - we got zapped! It must zap everyone!
snow report     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I think for the cost of it we will get one, at least we can go via the motorway if we choose, last time we stayed in chatel we had to come back via Switzerland due to a land slide on the back road, I made sure we were through before 7am on the saturday, to be honest we need a similar thing in this country to help pay for our roads
ski holidays     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Just on that - the road is closing again next week, it's scheduled to be closed for 6 weeks.
snow report     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@robs1, when the road from Châtel to Thonon is closed there is a diversion via Vinzier. Adds about 10 mins to the trip and doesn’t involve going on a Swiss motorway.
snow report     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Quote:

buy at vignette at the Bardonnex border as recommended by Pam

No, at the first border crossing, which is just BEFORE the road takes you under the runway. Or buy online in advance. I know it's irritating, but given the cost of a ski holiday and the tensions (and the time wasted in Geneva traffic) trying to avoid the Swiss motorway, it's not a biggie. Unless the cost difference is great, hiring on the international side of the airport is easier. I wouldn't assume without explicit assurances that you will get French hired cars with winter tyres without paying an additional cost.
snow report     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Be aware that after returning on French side you are not able to take luggage trolleys through the border into the Swiss side. involves a bit of a one way maze of gates then down an escalator into Swiss Arrivals hall (can pick up another trolley here) and then through to Swiss check in , fine if a manageable amount of luggage but I had 2 kids car seats, skis, bags for 3 weeks and one of the kids that was too little to walk - painful exercise of multiple trips of carrying bags up to the one way gates, pushing them thru to wife on other side returning for more, repeat for escalator etc. I think they deliberately make it as hard as possible. luckily arrived with lots of spare time as needed it.
ski holidays     
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
The arrangements between the two sectors of the airport seemed to be much simpler last time I did it - NOT involving the Swiss Arrivals hall - a swift walk-through. However, I didn't have heavy baggage. I have also parked my own car on the French side when taking people (or picking them up) in recent years and it's been no problem. How long ago did you have that miserable experience, @perthpowchaser? I remember a similar nightmare, many years ago, with three French-hired cars, masses of baggage, several kids and a disabled grandmother.
snow report     
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
It was this year, Jan 19, it’s fine if carry on only and checked in can go from French side through to Swiss side easily via a different access gate but to check in with luggage have to Trapse around as described in my post above, made me appreciate how easy my preferred gateway airport of Lyon is vs GVA when travelling with kids, obviously not an issue if hire car is on Swiss side.
ski holidays     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@perthpowchaser, If you only have carryon lugggage the French side is an absolute breeze. There is never a queue at the security gate and it is usually only about 10 minutes from dropping the car off to being airside (but with the usual queue at passport control). In fact it is so easy that a couple years ago an 8 year old girl was able to get from the centre of Geneva to actually on a aircraft without being stopped or having documents checked. No doubt she would have made it to Corsica if she hadn't sat in someone elses seat.

@pam w, Yes, if you want to pass through from the French side to the Swiss side you have to go through baggage reclaim and through customs. Non of this is made any easier by Easyjet being at the furthest extreme of the airport.
snow report     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
It was this year, Jan 19, it’s fine if carry on only and checked in can go from French side through to Swiss side easily via a different access gate but to check in with luggage have to Trapse around as described in my post above, made me appreciate how easy my preferred gateway airport of Lyon is vs GVA when travelling with kids, obviously not an issue if hire car is on Swiss side.
snow conditions     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@perthpowchaser, @johnE, Yep, I'll third that warning.

We did it this summer, going from Albertville, returning car on the French side, (because our rental started in Albertville) then flying out of the Swiss side. Oddly it was the first time I've done actually done that, despite pondering it many times.

It was a haul from the rental drop off garage, with two large wheeled duffle bags and carryons getting to our EJ departure terminal (we were going to Sardinia). As in, probably 20 minutes on foot. We just barely made our flight. We wound up buying the vignette b/c of the time issue.

Next time I'll allow an extra 30 minutes.
ski holidays     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
This topic comes up regularly and after a couple of years of watching plus my own contributions, my conclusion is that there's a balance between cost and risk when hiring at Geneva. There are two big variables: (1) using the GVA car rental landing page vs an intermediary website and (2) Swiss or French side. This gives you four main options of

1A Direct+CH
1B Direct+France
2A Intermediate+CH
2B Intermediate+France.

Generally, 1A costs the most, but has the lowest risk of any problems (but the risk isn't zero - some people will still have a bad rental experience). All the others cost less, but you're more likely to encounter problems of one sort or another. You'll get the usual feedback of positive and negative experiences from individuals for each of the options, but this isn't necessarily representative. My own approach is that there it's all the same companies operating at GVA, and I always prefer a direct relationship with the vendor (rather than an intermediate) and the minimum complexity (CH rather than France) and am willing to pay the premium. But other people will weight these factors differently. To make a truly informed decision we'd need data from the rental companies that they're never going to release, so it's always going to be an uncertain choice ...
ski holidays     



Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy