hi, me and 4 friends (all aged between 23-26) are from Australia and are planning on going to England in july/august 09 and buying a motorhome and travelling through as much of euro as possible , we don't have much of an idea on what we have to plan, e.g
licenses, visa's, insurance, best time to see certain spots, who to fly over with for best comfort/money ratio, any costs we should take into account any info at all would be appreciated because i have no idea where to start, so far we only know we want to be in germany for octoberfest, and want to see the greek islands aswell as any other land marks
As far as driving licences go, you'll probably be fine with your Australian ones but you need to check each country - particularly non-English speaking countries, as they may require either a translation or an international driving permit.
An alternative to this is when you're in the UK to exchange your Australian licences for British ones - the DVLA would send back your Australian licence to the relevant state authority, however it's easy enough to get your Australian licence back based on the UK licence! The UK licence is also definitely recognised without anything else in other EU countries.
There's no need to take a test to exchange your licence like this, and both the UK & Australia exchange each others driving licences (depending on which state in Australia, you might have to take an eye test when exchanging the UK licence for an Australian - however here in VIC you certainly don't).
ok thats a start thanks mate, has anyone else got info on the other questions?
1. Visa issues: You are not allowed to stay for longer than 90 days out of a 180 day period inside the Schengen area (=most of Europe except the UK & Ireland).
The best way around it is to apply for a Working Holiday Visa in one of the Schengen countries.
2. Buying a motorhome in the UK is not the best option as the steering wheel and the doors are on the other side compared to Continental European vehicles.
You'd be best off buying a motorhome in one of the countries where you got a Working Holiday Visa. Looking for one can take time.
3. Flight tickets are most expensive in July/August. You'd be better off coming earlier, say April or May. This would also enable you to find a job in a tourist resort before the summer season starts.
4. Munich during Octoberfest and motorhomes do not mix. If you go there I strongly recommend that you park your motorhome permanently outside the city on one of the camping sites and take public transport to the site. If you don't, your baby will be towed away and you won't see it again unless you pay a steep fine. Also when they tow it the chemical toilet usually spews its contents out into the van so it makes a really nice smelly mess.
Did some more digging and at one of the usual suspect sites I found the following advice:
The 2008 edition of Europe by Van and Motorhome contains all the details on renting, buying, and shipping, and includes a free, personal consultation (David Shore and Patty Campbell, 268 pages, $16.95, Odyssey Press, www.roadtripeurope.com, tel. 800-659-5222).
Campanje, a Dutch company, specializes in long-term rentals of small-size, fully-loaded campervans and RVs (4–7 people) for camping through Europe. Rates run from 780 USD per week for a four-person camper van up to 1,280 USD per week for a seven-person RV (minimum 3 weeks), including tax and insurance. Ask about discounts for early booking and off-season (www.campanje.nl, Dutch tel. 030/244-7070).
thanks t-maia, i'll prob go buy that book it sounds helpful, if anyone else has advice don't be shy
About the driving license: you need an international driving license at least in Croatia, Hungary and the Czech Republic, as well as Poland and I guess most of eastern europe. Check that viamichelin site for informationr egarding that topic, everything's there.
hey guys im after a bit of help too thanks. ive been living in ireland for the last 6 months. in 1 and a half months im heading over to europe for van tour for 3 months. our van is registered in the uk and tax and mot have both expired. ive tried to figure it out but its just gunna work out real dear to re register it in ireland and its a mission to re reg it in the uk considering were not even going back to the uk. its insured all through europe via the walkabout vehicle insurance we purchased. would we be fine through europe without mot and tax or would we need to suss that out before we go. were just gunna dump the van at the end of the trip so were dont care about resale.
I'm gonna leave the other experienced travellers to carry on with the licence and vehicle advice. I'll give you a some gen on the insurance you need.
I'm a regular visitor to Eastern Europe - and have been for years.
EU insurance will cover you in every EU country - and will normally have a Green Card extension on it, which means your 3rd party cover becomes fully comprehensive at no extra cost. Meaning that if you have an accident that is your fault - you're covered for damages to your vehicle, with an excess to pay (normally around €300).
However - and it's a big however, EU Green Card Cover is NOT valid in European countries outside the EU, unless stated in the conditions of the Green Card Cover on your policy. An example being - it may say something like.... "This policy is automatically extended to Green Card Cover in all EU countries, plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland " etc. etc. It may also add other non-EU countries. It is vital that you check the wording - or ask your insurance provider, if you're unsure. To give you a nasty example that would happen without it.... In Serbia it is compulsory to have Serbian Green Card Cover on an EU policy to enter the country. If it isn't included, you have two choices when you reach the border. 1) Pay for the cover in the insurance office at the border. By the way, they take your passports off you while you apply -so as you can't sneak through when they're having an hour long smoke break. Or 2) Tell them you dont want to pay for it - in which case, they turn you round and send you back. The cost for a Serbian Green Card Extension is €125. If you're just crossing the country for a few hours, that's still the minimum price. And once you've left Serbia and entered Croatia for example, your Serbian Green Card is null and void. You have to pay again for more cover in non-EU countries as you enter them. Different countries - different prices, but that's your €125 gone forever - unless you return within 28 days, which is how long the cover is valid for. Incidentally, you can't sell it on - unless you flog your vehicle within Serbia. But if you sold it to a Serbian, they wouldn't want your Green Card, because they'd already have insurance cover of the same value.
Have you got all that?? I know it sounds complicated, but read it a few times and it'll become clear.
Basically, get the right cover, check with your insurance company - or avoid the country.