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Taking my US Registered Van (RAM Promaster) to Europe.

Hello all - I'm currently building out a camper van that I intend to ship over to travel Europe at the start of 2022. I intend to keep the van registered to the states and take advantage of the temporary use tourist status. I'm very familiar with the Schengen Area visa rules (90/180 rule). But I'm not sure if our vehicle falls under the same rules.

I'm planning to spend 3 months within Schengen, then head to Croatia for 3 months to "reset" the Schengen clock, then spend another 3 months in Schengen. At that point my vehicle would have been in the EU for 9 months and the Schengen area for 6 months. Is this going to get me into trouble?

After this 9 month period I plan to take the van over to UK for 6 months before shipping it back to US.

I'd love to know if anybody has experience doing a similar trip with a US registered vehicle, and has any advice on any pitfalls I might run into?

Thank you

Jamie

Posted by
6982 posts

Insurance, emissions and safety standards are questions that come to mind. In addition to how long a US license would be acceptable as 'temporary'. ( 15 months seems to be a stretch)

No personal experience, but the logistics and 'paperwork' look like they will keep you well occupied for a good long time.

Good luck!

Posted by
17872 posts

Can't help with the vehicle aspects of your question, but be very careful about your dates. Your post refers to 90/180 (which is correct) but also to 3 months, which is not (unless that period spans February of a non-leap year). Know, too, that both your arrival and departure day count toward the Schengen total, so you must spend at least 90 full days (so really 92 days the way I would think of it) outside the Schengen Zone before returning to it.

I'd also urge you not to commit to the full 90 days in each Schengen block, because stuff happens. You might get sick on Day 89 or 90; your van might need repairs; something like Brexit might close a key border.

I have read several times over the last five years that Croatia is very close to being admitted to the Schengen Zone, so you'll need to stay on top of that situation. However, there are other attractive Balkan options should Croatia not prove viable.

There are all kinds of quirks regarding traffic rules in the various European countries. Do careful research before heading over. Don't risk coming back to a stack of expensive traffic tickets born of ignorance.

Posted by
333 posts

Even within the Schengen zone each country has its own laws about importing a car. So you need to check with each. Also the last I heard is that you have a total of 6 months before the van would need to be registered there. You will have to pay fees, taxes and be sure the van can meet safety and environmental standards. And it can take a week or more to ship, a week or more to go thru customs inspections, etc.

While it would be fun to have your own van, I think it would be easier and much cheaper to rent or even buy one there to use.

Posted by
24626 posts

Good advice above.

Schengen rules don't apply to the van. Schengen rules are about immigration and the movement of people. The van is "stuff" and vans are governed by Customs laws. Customs is for stuff, Immigration is people.

There are not Customs regulations at the Schengen level. There are Customs laws which are different from country to country, and there are overriding Customs laws at the European Union level.

Not all members of the EU are in Schengen, and not all Schengen members are in the EU.

You need to be on top of all of those.

In the UK, for your 6 months if they allow you that much time, your steering and driving position will be on the wrong side of the van, making narrow roads and driving interesting....

Is this Ram Promaster much bigger than the small cars we have here? Many roads in many parts of Europe are narrow and winding. Some are one lane shared by both directions and the laws are clear about who has to back up, who can use the passing point, etc.

If it is higher than a normal car it will be restricted from many car parks which have steel overhead height barriers designed to keep out overnight camping and larger vehicles. An image is in this article, but most barriers are either yellow or yellow/black stripes. This image is a red one. https://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/16281666.barriers-installed-poole-car-park-deter-travellers/

Posted by
1566 posts

acraven has a very important point, do not plan on 90 days in a row in Schengen! It is allowed, but something as simple as a flat tyre can delay you. And if you leave Schengen on day 91, you might not be allowed back. Also, make sure you have a back up plan in case Croatia becomes a Schengen country. I don't know how likely it is, but all that is left for them to become a member is for the council to approve it. I think they hoped for a decision last year, but then Covid came… However, Montenegro, Kosovo or Albania can be good alternatives. And don't rule out Bulgaria or Romania.

I'm not familiar with RAM Promaster but googled it and it seems like a rebadged Fiat. Those vehicles are common in Europe but come in different sizes, and when you make a camper van out of it, make sure it doesn't become too heavy. With a standard (car) driving licence you are not allowed to drive any vehicle heavier than 3500 kg in Europe. If the van is heavier, you'll need a lorry licence. Also, make sure to check the regulations for all countries to make sure the van is legal and that you know the driving laws and road signs. Especially the parking rules if you plan to stay overnight outside official camp sites.

You are allowed to use a US vehicle temporary in other countries, but I have no idea what temporary means. And while I understand that it can be fun to have your own van, I have to admit that it sounds a lot easier to lease or buy one in Europe.

Posted by
20901 posts

You might run a search on this site as this question has been discussed in the past and you might be able to connect to someone who has done it. Americans tend to be casual about deadlines and limitations. Europeans not so much. There was a posting a couple years back where someone thought she had three months and was one day over when leaving. Cost her a few hours with the immigration officials, 500 Euro fine, and missed her flight home. Don't take any of the requirements lightly or think someone will cut you a little slack because you are a tourists.

There is no "resetting" of the Schengen clock. It is 90 days out of the past 180 days. Everyday starts a new clock or counting cycle. It is a look back count. You could do 30 in and 31 out endlessly.

This site may not be the best resource for your questions. I would contact the travel section of the consultants of the countries you intend to visit. The last thing you want to happen is transport your van and find that you cannot drive it where you want to drive it.

Posted by
4947 posts

This is a case where the distinction between the EU and Schengen is significant. Schengen only covers people (well for this case), you seem to have a handle on that. The Van though is subject to EU and individual Country rules, and while you are "Resetting the Schengen Clock" by going to Croatia, the van is still in the EU, and would be still, if you took it to Croatia. The "rule" I found online (well consensus of various sites) seems to be that after 6 months, you need to register the vehicle in your resident EU Country (tricky, since you have no resident country).

You may also find you fall into the Member Country/EU crack. If you were to call an Embassy (pick one), if you are not planning on being in their Country for more than 6 Months (for which you would need to have an extended Visa) then they really do not want to help or even can help you. In their viewpoint, if you want to visit their Country and adhere to the tourist stay rules, then there is no need to register the vehicle. The fact that when you leave you will still be in the EU, really seems not to be their concern. There may be some exception to this you can find. Students or a professional on certain types of non-resident visas for example can exceed the 6 months, the Military has it's own set of rules, etc.

Also, while retaining US plates will exempt you from EU emission and safety requirements for the vehicle, an inspection may be required on entry and obvious issues addressed. The fact that you are heavily modifying the van to be a camper might have some problems (things like toilets, cooking surfaces, heaters, electrical, compressed gas storage, generators, etc. needing to meet certain requirements). Also, US plates does not exempt you from the requirement to carry certain safety equipment (Vests, reflective triangles, flares, flags, etc.) which can vary by Country.

I would bet there are better sources of information than here. One may be a company that ships vehicles, they should be able to give minimum requirements or identify red flags, but beware, you are doing something out of the ordinary, so they may not know all the ins and outs. There may also be ex-pat and camper van groups that have more information and experiences.

Posted by
6982 posts

If you plan to use RV parks and plug into to utilities, be sure you have the needed power converter. I do not know, but you may also need adapters for plumbing connections. Perhaps you have already foreseen these issues.

You may want to contact a manufacturer who makes camper/RV kinds of stuff and see if they export to Europe and what modifications they have to make to those vehicles for that purpose. Give you an idea of what you may need to do to make sure physical connections fit and everything passes regulatory muster.

Posted by
153 posts

I'm not a camper van person, but this seems to be a stack of bad ideas on top of bad ideas.

  • The cost of moving a vehicle across the ocean (the need for which is left for some reason unexplained)

  • The risk of it not being allowed because of emission or lighting standards (such as side blinker lights or fog lights, required on European vehicles)

  • The driver's license and need for an International Driver's Permit

  • The likely unfamiliarity with local driving laws, practices, and signage

  • The hokey pokey with Schengen trying to stay legal

  • The insurance coverage both for the vehicle and personal liability

Is there some compelling reason why one would undertake such a mission? Although it wouldn't address all the problems posed by the suggested itinerary, why not just rent a camping car in Europe? They're not exactly rare.

Posted by
1919 posts

Interesting question. I side with Sammy and his concerns. I now have a Dutch license, Dutch registration, and Dutch insurance as I own a car with NL plates. But in 10+ years living in multiple European locations, I did have to work around only having a US license (Fortunately, I moved back and forth to the States so that helped).

I've been stopped at rolling roadblocks in Italy and Belgium, border crossings during "events" (like the terrorist issues in play when we drove to Lille, France), and yes, for a traffic violation. Each time I had to present my current license and my car's registration --- whether it was my personal car or a rental car. I wonder how local police would react to a USA registration? Even my father, as US military, when stationed overseas drove our huge American STW with a local tag & registration.

Annually in the NL, we have to do an APK inspection to verify that our vehicle is roadworthy, environmentally safe (emissions), and registered. To Sammy's point, that was when I found out about the specific lights required on my car (Tailights that have a fog setting?)

As mentioned, would US-based car insurance cover you overseas? Again, my father had a special "overseas" policy. I've done a few extended car leases in the EU. RV's are popular here and I know you'd prefer your vehicle, but leasing vehicles for different segments of your trip may provide you the insurance and registration coverage you need. Good Luck!

Posted by
3419 posts

You might want to take a look at Auto Europe's options for camper van rentals in Europe: https://www.autoeurope.com/motorhome-rental/

Scroll down to the bottom of the page for links to specific countries. There are pictures and basics on the many kinds of vehicles available. They all seem to be manual transmission and diesel.

Posted by
333 posts

So jamiedeanstevens, are you still planning to do this?

Posted by
1797 posts

I would follow Croatia very carefully. One of the local papers, which we subscribe to, had a recent article about going to the Euro in January 2022. This would coincided with their full acceptance into the EU and the Schengen Zone.

Posted by
333 posts

BTW, Croatia jointed the EU on 1 July 2013. And being a EU member doesn't make one a member of the Schengen agreement or the other way around. Croatia is in the EU but not the Schengen just like Iceland is in the Schengen but not the EU.

Croatia has committed to adopt the euro once it fulfills the necessary conditions. Until then they use the Croatian Kuna HRK. They are also hoping to join the Schengen within the next few years.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you all for the responses. It's given me some important issues to ponder.

Alot of folks are suggesting that I just rent instead of shipping my own van, but renting a van for a 12+ month period is just not that economical. A similar van to the one I'm building is going to cost me approx $10k for every 3 months of use. It's only about $1200 USD to get my own van shipped from the ports of New Jersey to Southampton UK using a RoRo shipping method. Then once in Europe, there are an abundance of ayres that are basically free campsites that will help to keep expenses down.

I'm not too worried about my van not meeting the European countries various emissions/safety standards. I intentionally chose a brand new RAM Promaster because it is basically a re-branded Fiat Ducato, and (except for the foreign plates) should blend in with all the other Fiat vans over in Europe. I think I've got a handle on all the legal paperwork for the van such as insurance and titles etc. And I intend to get an international driving permit before I start this trip.

I happen to also be a dual citizen of US and UK, so I'm also pondering as to whether I should just get the US van registered to the UK and make that it's new home base. That will make things alot easier for popping in and out of Europe for 90 days at a time. But then that may make it harder to get the van back to the US after my (approx) 15 month trip is over.

Posted by
333 posts

Please come back and let us know how it goes.

Posted by
1566 posts

To Sammy's point, that was when I found out about the specific lights
required on my car (Tailights that have a fog setting?)

That is a great safety feature, don't US cars have rear fog lights?

One of the local papers, which we subscribe to, had a recent article
about going to the Euro in January 2022. This would coincided with
their full acceptance into the EU and the Schengen Zone.

Croatia has, as mentioned, been a full EU member since 2013. Adopting the euro and joining Schengen are two different processes that are not related to each other.

Alot of folks are suggesting that I just rent instead of shipping my
own van, but renting a van for a 12+ month period is just not that
economical. A similar van to the one I'm building is going to cost me
approx $10k for every 3 months of use. It's only about $1200 USD to
get my own van shipped from the ports of New Jersey to Southampton UK
using a RoRo shipping method.

There was a thread a while ago about someone who planned to ship their car to drive around Europe, the consensus there was that it was a terrible idea that would cost a fortune. With a camper the situation is a bit different, but it still sounds like it could be a lot more expensive than planned. Shipping is one thing, then you might need to add customs handling fees and more. Regarding renting one in Europe, for long term rental it could be worth looking at some kind of long term lease deal or just buying one and then sell it after your trip. You could contact a few dealers and ask them what they can offer.

Then once in Europe, there are an abundance of ayres that are
basically free campsites that will help to keep expenses down.

Is there a spelling error here or some local word I'm not familiar with? But relying on ayres seems like a really bad idea, especially as they are not that abundant.

I'm not too worried about my van not meeting the European countries
various emissions/safety standards. I intentionally chose a brand new
RAM Promaster because it is basically a re-branded Fiat Ducato, and
(except for the foreign plates) should blend in with all the other
Fiat vans over in Europe.

True, those Fiats are pretty common. But they come in different sizes and how big is yours? Before you go any further with this project, there are two very important questions you need to answer. 1. How heavy (gross weight) is your van? 2. What kind of driving licence do you have? If the answer to question one is "the gross weight is more than 3500 kg" and the answer to question two is "a regular car licence and nothing more", then you have a problem that you need to solve before doing anything else.

Posted by
1919 posts

Badger, I'll have to admit that I've rented many cars in Europe in the last 25+ years and NEVER knew about the taillight fog setting - until I purchased a car. My wife was driving one day and turned on the lights, hitting the "wrong" setting resulting in the taillights changing to the fog setting. The result, a FAR brighter taillight which looks like your brake lights are always on. Numerous Dutch drivers flashed their lights and honked at her. She complained to me; I checked it out in the garage... then took the car into the shop to get "the brake lights repaired."

The mechanic looked at me for a minute, shrugged, reached in the car, and turned the light switch OFF the fog setting... then lectured me on the light principles of a Renault, before suggesting I should go back and reread the 250+ page Dutch driving education manual. Sometimes driving in Europe is just not the same as in the USA!

Posted by
24626 posts

don't US cars have rear fog lights?

they didn't when I was driving there.... in the 70's and 80's and part of the 90's, at least not on my cars.

ayres may be an autocorrect of the French Aire, the service areas and parking areas along autoroutes and some N roads. If that is what is being counted on, just remember that at night, and often during the day, most of the space is taken up by long distance trucks. Unfortunately when the truck spaces are all taken the will park along most of the head-in car spaces too, and then the side of the road, usually both sides. They have, mostly, digital tachometers which are regularly inspected by the authorities and they have very very strict laws about rest times, so the trucks pretty much stop at the nearest aire when their time is up. Unfortunately my experience shows that many of those drivers would rather not leave the vicinity of their truck to visit the one or two toilets in the aire and find the wheels of the truck easier - so the ground in and around the aires can have a somewhat interesting personality. Not the atmosphere I'd want every night for over a year.

Posted by
1566 posts

Thank you both! You learn something new every day. In Europe rear fog lights are mandatory and something you learn about when you get your driving licence, and that might show up on the exam. Just like the turn signals or the horn.

For any confused americans, the rear fog light is a powerful rear light that you use when visibility is low. Such as in dense fog, heavy rain or when there is light and fluffy snow on the road. In those cases the normal rear light can be hard to spot for cars behind you.

Posted by
4947 posts

A couple add-ons:

Concerning safety and emissions devices designed into cars:
1. If you stay with US plates for the allowed amount of time, then the vehicle does not need to meet EU or UK standards (like the rear fog lights), just US requirements.
2. Depending on the requirements of the Country you register in, if you register it, you are essentially importing a car, may be required to pay duties, and may need to upgrade to the Countries standards. I can not speak for the UK or EU countries, but to bring a car into the US to register, less than 25 years old, you are required to upgrade to US standards...and they are not the same as European standards. Even a new vehicle that is a copy of a European vehicle is nowhere close to meeting European standards, not that any one is better or strict than the other, just different. Some of the differences are big, emission device type, the rear fog lights example, others are small (Color of certain lights, for the US the little glow in the dark handle in the trunk to open it from the inside). Point being, don't assume just because the van is like a Fiat, that it will meet European standards if you are required to meet them if you register it. You need solid answers from the authorities there. Maybe they even have no upgrade requirements.

The second point above is why a number of European car companies have ceased their "pick up the car in Europe and ship back to the US programs" They have to build the car for the US market, and those they build in the US or Mexico. It is also why sports car enthusiasts wait until a model is over 25 years old to bring one to the US. For a camper van example VW has made some neat camper vans in Europe, enthusiasts are gnashing their teeth that they can not bring them to the US.

Finally, I hesitate to mention this, but while the Schengen rules operate a limit within a longer period, vehicle requirements appear to be a flat 6 month limit. Perhaps an Itinerary change that would get the van out of the EU zone within 6 months (to the UK, Montenegro, or other Balkan country), then re-enter (retaining any documentation of the event) is all that is legally required to meet the requirements for another 6 months. You would need a better source of information before assuming this.

Posted by
7950 posts

Wow! I’ve been driving for many decades and have never heard of rear fog lights. That’s genius! Even regular fog lights aren’t found on many car models.

Posted by
24626 posts

they are only supposed to be used in the UK when visibility is less than 100 metres - about a football field. There are always some however who put them on at the first sign of fog or snow, and forget to turn them off. And the other bozos when you can't see your hand in front of your face who don't put them on.

they are a legal requirement, as in much of the rest of Europe.

Posted by
7191 posts

Until you’ve hit Andrea’s “Tule fog” as found in the Central Valley, you’ve never driven into a ball of cotton. You are lucky to see one meter, much less 100. One of my life’s more scary moments.

Posted by
1797 posts

badger, if you read my response about Croatia, I am merely telling the poster not to assume Croatia will not be in the Zone. If you are planning a 15 month trip now for 2022 much can change and he should be aware to keep up-to-date. When Croatia changes over to the Euro, will the prices double like they did in Italy, who knows, they might, or might not. But it is something to be aware of if you are traveling with a budget.

Posted by
333 posts

badger, if you read my response about Croatia, I am merely telling the poster not to assume Croatia will not be in the Zone.

Sorry Barbara that wasn't what you were saying:

I would follow Croatia very carefully. One of the local papers, which we subscribe to, had a recent article about going to the Euro in January 2022. This would coincided with their full acceptance into the EU and the Schengen Zone.

You were saying that Croatia isn't a full member of the EU and that basically by switching to the euro it would make them a member of both the EU and Schengen. As I pointed out before they are not the same thing. If it was the same article I read, the president was saying that it looks like the country has met the requirements to switch to euros. Also that they are working to meet the requirements to someday join the Schengen. It could be years before they could become members of the Schengen if at all. It isn't as if a country decides to use the euro and magically becomes part of the EU and/or the Schengen. When a country decides to join the EU they have the choice to keep their current currency (like Denmark) or change to the euro. If they choose to change then they must meet the requirements which takes time. And there's no set time frame in which to do so. To join the Schengen there are many things to consider on both sides, the country applying and the current members. As your husband is Croatian maybe he can explain it to you better.

Posted by
2546 posts

Another thing to consider is purchasing a used camper in Europe and then selling it before your extended vacation ends. Worst thing would be having to get rid of it quickly and taking a big of a beating on the sale. As is, you’ll pay about $2,400 for round trip shipping plus getting it to and from the embarkation point. The purchased vehicle would be Euro-legal, works in continental electric, not oversized - easier to cope with narrower roadways.

Posted by
7950 posts

Bets, you are so right about Tule fog. One thing I’ve noticed is that presumably because of climate change fog is rarely a problem anymore.

Posted by
2054 posts

I would follow Croatia very carefully. One of the local papers, which we subscribe to, had a recent article about going to the Euro in January 2022. This would coincided with their full acceptance into the EU and the Schengen Zone.

Horrible mistake. This is going to quickly increase prices in Croatia. We went to Montenegro (euro) and Croatia (kuna). Croatia is possibly 50% of Montenegro prices. Moving to the Euro will involve resetting all prices. Prices will go up. A truely stupid choice by Croatia.

Posted by
5758 posts

I'm not too worried about my van not meeting the European countries various emissions/safety standards.

That’s nice.

Posted by
422 posts

I know it’s done. Ran across a guy from Seattle driving a US registered Ford Pick up around Normandie a couple years ago. Will leave it at that with apologies for previous comments.

Posted by
3 posts

"Maybe contact an immigration attorney and not a bunch of people that are vacationing in Europe?"

Jeff - Come down off your high horse, pal. You think reaching out to travel forums for advice 1 year in advance of my trip is giving very little thought? I got my answer on the rules. I'm allowed 6 months in EU and 6 months in UK, so I'll adjust my itinerary to comply. Lol, you don't need an immigration lawyer to figure this out, Jeff.

Posted by
153 posts

Jeff, are you somehow under the impression that everyone reading this forum is just vacationing? Some of us live in Europe and have studied and passed driving tests here to get a driver's license in an EU nation. You should know: you evidently live (at least a little bit) in Normandie. Some of us deal annually with the intricacies of renewing residence permits. Few of us are attorneys and even fewer -- if any -- are in the business of offering legal advice for pay in local jurisdictions, but personal experience and knowledge of processes and procedures are not without value, as long as the recipient keeps in mind the limitations of the information provided.

The original poster seems reasonably comfortable in that stew. He/she didn't really need a wrist slap from you.

Posted by
4136 posts

Re: rear fog lights on cars in the USA, back in 2005, when SAAB cars were still being sold here, they came with Sweden-ready rear fog lights. Occasionally you’d see one at night, with a really bright red glow in back, and a driver likely unaware that the light switch had been activated. Then again, lots of folks drive with their front fog lights on all the time, as if they’re giving their low beams a boost, seeing down the road in clear conditions. Or maybe that’s like someone with their turn signal on as they continue down the road.

A few years ago on Skye, Scotland, there were a LOT of visiting camper vans on super-narrow roads. They almost all appeared to have Belgian or Italian plates. And almost every one was hanging over the center line of the wider roads. drivers with the steering wheel on the left of the cabin, and maybe not accustomed to driving on the left as well, we’re kind-of taking their half of the road out of the middle! They weren't as big as an enormous American motor home, but we’re wider than most everything else on the road, and we tried to give them plenty of room in our tiny rented Ford.


Posted by
7191 posts

Jeff did have an important point: "I know it's done."

No one answering has imported a van for camping. Although he's received some answers to chew on, we can offer rules and opinion but no experience.

Posted by
175 posts

Logistics specialist here.
1. I would ensure that the RO/RO quote is all in. Usually it isn't.
2. The quote won't be the same on the return to the US, in fact, it will probably be far higher.
3. No port, anywhere in the world, is near the rest of civilization (ok, there are some minor exceptions). Plan for a long uber ride or taxi ride to get there.
4. If your converted van is delivered to you at destination without any damage (on either end), I would be highly surprised. That includes outright theft of anything inside, including anything nailed down. The line will not be responsible for any damage. Ftr, most military that ship vehicles anywhere in the world know this offhand, but it happens everywhere.
5. You will need a broker to clear this van on both sides, so you will need an experienced one. Remind the broker on the US side that this is "US GOODS RETURNED" so you don't pay US Import duties.
6. Do not plan on shipping your luggage in the van (see #4, but also, you can't declare a vehicle with HHG/luggage in it as just a vehicle).
7. Ask the line what happens if the vessel is delayed and skips POD. Also, the opposite - what if it is is delayed and skips it's POA? Where will the vehicle be delivered?
8. Are there facilities at destination to give you a jump? Vehicles must be shipped with less than 1/4 tank of gas and batteries disconnected (I've seen a container that exploded (it wasn't really bad, but the container was damaged) because the gas vapor ignited & the battery was not disconnected). Same on the return side.

9. You may very well be subject to a US Customs exam of the vehicle on the return side. Have the line provide you with an estimate of fees (you're looking for VACIS exam, but potentially a USDA exam).
10. Know your demurrage terminology. How much free time at destination are you given to clear the freight and pick up? Is it working v calendar? And what's the charge per day after free time? Does it increase? if so, to what? Same on the reverse (NY ports, demurrage probably increases multiple times due to space constraints). If there's no storage fees, get it in writing (as that's the only way out of the charge).

Anything else, feel free to ask.

Posted by
7191 posts

Skunklet1771–were you the shipping specialist who told us about all the vehicles damaged on the docks or in the containers? I had been ready to bring my Prius to Europe for one of our long stays until I read that very educational post.

Posted by
4136 posts

jamiedeanstevens (Original Poster), if you’ve come back to re-check this topic, I’m curious:

1.) how long will that shop take to get your van to Southampton?

2.) how prominently will the American speedometer on your Dodge display the KPH scale? You’ll certainly get used to it after driving around Metric System countries after a while, but how much effort will it take? Your eyes are likely a lot better than mine, but the metric numbers will likely be quite a bit smaller than the miles numbers. But those bigger numbers will be handy in the UK!

Posted by
32 posts

Hi Jamie, might be worth taking a look at some RV or motorhome forums. I am not familiar with those in the USA and Canada but many British travellers take their motorhomes to Europe. I find MotorhomeFun to be quite informative. Likewise blogs by RV full timers travelling in Europe might give some useful insight.

Posted by
12 posts

Hello Jamie,

This would be a BLAST to do. It takes some research and work on your part, but can be done.

There are other options besides shipping your own vehicle, such as Renting. It's much less stress & work, but expensive. Another would be to have a company in say, Germany or Belgium, "buy" an RV for you for licensing, vehicle tagging, suppling a European address, insurance, etc. The kicker is even though you have paid the funds for purchase, it belongs to the European agency. Perhaps some legal reasons that you can't bring said RV back to the states, and have to store in that country. You would need to research this.

As this isn't an RV forum, I will furnish a few interesting links from 3-4 families that have done exactly what you wish to do. The age demographic is all over the place, so something for everyone.

1st-- Rick and Kathy Howe from http://www.travelin-tortuga.com/Travelin-Tortuga/index.html. They have traveled all around everywhere in their own RV for the last 15 years +-, covering Europe and beyond for the last 5 or so years. They were recently on their way to Australia. A wealth of travel information for Schengen issues as it relates to non-Schengen dwellers, shipping their vehicle. Age demographic: Retirees

2nd-- Mali Mish from https://malimish.com/. Family of 5 now in a Sprinter 4x4 DIY camper exploring across Europe. They also have a YouTube channel. Age demographic: Working Digitally with Children

3rd-- Wheeling It from https://wheelingit.us/2018/01/21/moving-to-europe-i-overcoming-fear-inertia/. This couple RVd the North American Continent for Years and have now relocated to France. Wealth of information on immigration, visas, traveling Europe in an RV, etc. Age demographic: Working Digitally with No Children

4th-- World Towning from World Towning on YouTube. Family of 5. Homeschooling their children around the world. Relocated temporarily to France. Bought an RV traveled around Europe and have now relocated to a Catamaran to sail the seas. Age demographic: Working Digitally with Children

5th-- I will add myself, once I win the lottery. :)

As most of most of us are not traveling due to COVID-19, hope these sites are helpful, or at the very least provide some fun reading/viewing.

Sorry I couldn't get the addresses to hotlink.

Regards.
GG

Posted by
31183 posts

As someone else noted above, you'll need an International Driver's Permit as it's compulsory in some countries. These are used in conjunction with your home D.L. but are only valid for one year.