We conquer the Schengen area on our own car

If you are going to embark on a trip by car, we recommend that you carefully prepare in advance and scout out all the nuances. AND tripmydream will help you with this!

Alin suciu

For independent auto travelers who do not want to “stumble” over the insidious Schengen area, our tips:

Preparing documents

It’s no secret that in those countries, well, they love documents, certificates and permits (especially when it comes to visitors from outside). Therefore, if you are going to hit the European roads with a rally, you will need to prepare well. First of all, let me ask you, do you have a visa? If you are in doubt about which country’s embassy to apply for a visa, choose the one where you are going to stay for more days (even if we are talking about one day of difference), or the one you enter first.

To travel to the Schengen countries, you will need a multivisa or transit visa. A multivisa is needed if you are going to make a small euro tour, staying in several countries of the zone. And in any case, you will have to drive several of them. A transit visa is suitable only if your route passes through the countries of the zone, but the destination is outside it.

You can get a visa either on your own or using the services of one of the many agencies that provide them. Please note that for those traveling by car, there is a list of documents that must be attached to the standard set. It includes:

– a copy of a driver’s license (necessarily international!);

– a copy of documents confirming your ownership of the car, as well as a copy of the registration certificate;

– Green Card for a car (mandatory document for all car owners on the roads of the Schengen area)

Let’s take a closer look at the Green Card – a document that can give a green light to your car on smooth European highways. Simply put, this is a special insurance policy that must be obtained for all motorists in the Schengen countries. Its registration guarantees you compensation for damage, for example, after an accident caused by a foreigner during your stay in a foreign land.

A similar policy is issued in many insurance companies. The amount of insurance may vary and is calculated individually for each case, depending on parameters such as the category of the car and the specified period of stay in the territory of another country. In most cases, its receipt does not take much time and does not involve special difficulties, if, of course, you submitted a carefully collected package of documents in time.

Making routes

fork in the road

In addition to the above list of documents, you should also take care of a detailed travel itinerary. Such a measure is necessary not only to facilitate travel planning, but also come in handy when applying for a visa, because at the embassy you will be asked to fill out a route sheet. You can find the form for it on the website of the embassy you need.

The main thing that should be clear from it is how many days you are going to spend on the territory of each country. Also indicate the hotel in which you are going to stay (with a room already booked), its exact address and telephone number. Do not forget to slightly “move” the dates for the time of entry-exit and in case of possible unforeseen circumstances.

By the way, there are already several routes “trodden” by the Ukrainian autotourist in Europe. Among the most popular are Severny, which runs mainly around the Baltic coast, and Yuzhny, with the most interesting and multinational program. Even if you choose one of the beaten paths, we still strongly advise you to enlist the support of a good navigator. Believe me, you definitely won’t have to regret this purchase.

Learning to drive in a European way

traffic rules in Europe

And, of course, you shouldn’t bring your “charter” to a Schengen monastery, even if you are on your own wheels, otherwise you may simply not be allowed there. So, before leaving, you should study the European rules for cars and their owners and carefully prepare your car for the trip. Overly tinted windows, a sports muffler or out-of-season tires can be a problem at the border.

Remember that even in the Schengen countries, the rules for driving and maintaining a car may differ slightly. For example, the dipped beam must be constantly on (regardless of weather conditions and time of day) in countries such as Austria or Hungary, while in others this rule only works at certain times of the year.

A car seat in most European countries is a compulsory attribute for those traveling with a child under 12 years old, and seat belts must also be used by those sitting in the rear seats. Speed ​​limits and lane assignments on autobahns are also different.

Calculating costs

euro coins
Marian Vejcik Slovcar

Calculating, anticipating and avoiding unnecessary costs are skills that a new European motorist must master. For example, when making a route sheet, do not forget about toll roads – there are a lot of them here. Also, be sure to subject your car to a mandatory technical inspection, because an unexpected breakdown that can await it on a difficult journey can not only spoil your trip, but also cost a pretty penny when repairing it overseas.

The prices for gasoline differ from ours there – they are much more expensive already in the countries closest to the border, and, for example, in Germany or France – prices are even among the highest. Be sure to fill your tank to capacity, because this can significantly save your money.

Take into account the unpleasant surprises that your chosen hotels can throw at your “horse”. Before you book a room (no one will return money for your reservation), take the trouble to inquire about the parking conditions. Often, parking for guests’ cars is not provided at all, or it is provided, but paid or also with a preliminary reservation.

Experienced travelers also advise not to disdain roadside motels: they are perfect for a one-two-day stopover, besides, there are no problems with the park here.

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