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Driving Through Europe - I need some do's and dont's!

Travel Forums Europe Driving Through Europe - I need some do's and dont's!

1. Posted by thommo44au (Budding Member, 2 posts) 23 Feb '09 01:53

My girlfriend and i are looking to travel through Europe next year and my preferred method would be to purchase a car and drive the trip ourselves.

I would like some tips on the following please:

Where is best to buy the car? (our entry point will be either London or Rome)

What the laws are with registration?

Which countries are good to travel in and out of by vehicle?

Which places or even countries to avoid?

How and where best to dispose of the car upon completion?

Anything else you could think of would be a great help. Thanks very much.

2. Posted by Holly76 (Budding Member, 10 posts) 23 Feb '09 02:25

hi thommo44au,

if your nickname's "au" indeicated that you are from australia, thena you should consider flying into london, b/c of left-hand traffic you should be familiar with.

in the other case you should fly into rome, where - like in the rest of europe - right-hand traffic is common.

in any event, you should rather think about renting a car instead of purchasing, b/c long time rates are not too expensive, the cars are relatively new, and you won't have the hassle of being in need to sell the car. the rules that apply for registering - and insuring - a car differ from country to country, so it is difficult to give any reliable information.

traveling on the road in europe is convenient (anyway, the better your driving skills, the better it is). but in countries of eastern europe there might be still an increased risk of car theft. therefore, many rental companies do not allow entering these nations).

to give you more details, it would be helpful to know where you are coming from.

3. Posted by thommo44au (Budding Member, 2 posts) 23 Feb '09 02:38

Yes i am from Australia but i will be most likely coming from America as we are hoping to go there first.
Driving on the opposite side of the road will not present a problem as i am a good, confident driver.
Im not sure whether or not i will be able to hire a car bcos i am only 21?
Not too sure what parts of Europe we will visit yet but i am very open to suggestion.

Thanks for your help!

4. Posted by Holly76 (Budding Member, 10 posts) 23 Feb '09 03:18

ok, your age should not be a problem. the only minus is that rental companies may charge an extra fee (minimum age is usually 21, but extra fee may apply if you're under 25). you should check with respective rental companies.

i would definitely prefer to rent a car, b/c of the advantages i've already mentioned. even with an extra charge for your age, it might be less expensive than purchasing a car and you won`t have all the trouble with authorities for registering and insuring the vehicle.

if you're intended to buy though, you should do so in continental europe, b/c you would have problems to sell a uk car in continental europe. i've heard that best places for purchasing mid-sized cars are spain, greece, and denmark (this applies for new vehicles).

as for your itinerary, as a german, i may recommend visiting germany, including driving on the autobahn, of course. there are many sections without general speed limit, and driving fast without being scared of getting a ticket for speeding provides a lot of fun. places like berlin or hamburg offer a lot to see and do, especially for young guys.

with regard to your language, the uk might be your first priority. in germany, english is widely understood and spoken. however you might face some difficulties due to your aussie accent... in various places, english information is given to visitors (e.g. ticket vending machines, museums).

elsewhere, in large cities such as paris or rome you won't have any difficulties too, but in other places (e.g. rural areas) it might pose problems. anyway, i may not generalize, everything depends on the particular case, as always...

provided you will be renting a car, you should not enter countries east of germany/austria/italy. though there are many place worth visiting (like prague, budapest, croatia), this could violate your contract with the rental company. something might have changed since poland, czech republic and other nations have joined the e.u. and the so-called schengen area, so you should check with the respective company. in all of western europe, you can hop between nations without any barriers (bordercontrols may take place temporarily, e.g. in the event of international search for a criminal, but this is extremely rare). traveling between nations is very convenient and should not present any problem.

hope this info helps you.

5. Posted by t_maia (Moderator, 3291 posts) 23 Feb '09 08:29

One of the cheapest ways to do long-term rental is doing a French tax-free short-term auto lease.

http://www.autoeurope.com/buyback_home.cfm
http://www.ideamerge.com/long_term_one_way_europe_car_rental.html
http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/carrental_2005.htm

6. Posted by mouldyking (Budding Member, 24 posts) 23 Feb '09 12:01

Due to the recession in England and Ireland, Cars have got very cheap. As long as your car has tax and insurance there should be no problems.

I mean England has different rules to France and such, Once you can show insurance you will be ok. In England you will need MOT, Insurance and Tax. MOT and tax will hopefully come with the car, but if not make sure it at least has MOT.

As for the car when your finished What a lot of people do here is leave it at the airport. In shannon airport Ireland there are always cars that get dumped. People travel over from England travel around Ireland then fly home.

As for countries to avoid, Latvia, some say Poland.

On your foreign license there should be no hassle from police. When I was in oz they just looked at my license and told me to drive on. ITs the same when I go to Europe, A fine is the worst that will happen ( for speeding and such ). England for me would be different,

When are you planning to travel?? Me and my mate are touring in August. Got nothing else to do. LOL

7. Posted by way2goeh (Full Member, 159 posts) 25 Feb '09 07:32

I agree with Poland being a problem. Border patrol there is a nightmare. Recently I drove from Prague to Budapest and had no problems except the police pulled me over in prague in front of my hotel for a road check. They didnt like my Brasilian drivers license and a Canadian passport but let me go after 10 mins (dont speed there!)..lol ALso keep in mind the prices of tolls. France is SOOOOOOOOO expensive and also in Spain. Czech, Hungary and Slovakia was about 5 dollars for a week pass and u buy at the first gas station u come across. I took some minor roads in Cxech Republic and it was so wonderful. I love Eastern Europe but people say that cars get stolen. And parking is not free like in the states. Very expensive (3 dollars an hour is the norm). I have driven in almost every country in Europe and driving is fun (mind the expenses of gas, tolls and parking).

have fun