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August/September Car Trip EU Requirements

August/September Car Trip EU Requirements

Old Aug 3rd, 2021, 09:32 AM
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August/September Car Trip EU Requirements

We're vaccinated and planning a month-long car trip starting 8/26/21 involving several of the EU countries. We are US citizens, and flying from ATL. We're landing and departing from Paris, and have a lease car (not a rental car). What is the current situation when driving from country to country regarding COVID? Are there checkpoints, as in the "old days" before the EU, or are you cleared to freely travel between countries once you clear entry at the airport? No public conveyances are involved, only the car. I am mostly concerned with COVID requirements.

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Old Aug 5th, 2021, 10:56 AM
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Nix the car.

I take it you’ve never watch a Rick Steves video? He rarely drives a car, and when he does it’s because he has to bring a film crew along to make his videos.
The train and other public transportation systems in Europe are wonderful. They’re cheap, fast, and comfy. Driving is an expensive hassle and exhausting.
I would really think long and hard about your transportation decision. Europe is not America. You don’t need to do “road trips” there.
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Old Aug 5th, 2021, 11:05 AM
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We have taken several train trips in Europe before. We have also taken many car trips in Europe before. Our trip plans can't be met by public transportation. We are experienced travelers--my question was ONLY about traveling between countries in view of COVID restrictions.
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Old Aug 5th, 2021, 11:32 AM
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This is not first hand experience.. and I think many on this forum are not traveling too much right now which is why you are not getting any replies. But I’m reading elsewhere that most borders in Schengen are pretty open. You might meet a guard who waves you through, you might see no one. Maybe you will encounter someone but if you have your vaccination papers, just show them. It is possible that things will change when you are on the road! I wish you smooth sailing.

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Old Aug 5th, 2021, 11:36 AM
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Each country has its own rules, and these will very likely change again before your trip. Probably a passenger locator form for each country, though maybe not if you are only traveling through for less than 48 hours. You will have to do your research on this.
Most EU countries now accept a vaccine passport and do not require a test. But that depends on where you are coming from.
There are no checkpoints, you can drive across the border as you did before covid, but there maybe spot checks. The Netherlands just announced that they will check vaccination status at the border, but only as a spot check. I haven't seen checks at the border since the first lockdown, but it is a possibility.

Also be aware of different rules regarding low emission zones. For example if you drive your French lease car into Antwerp or other cities in Belgium you will need to register for the Low Emission Zone, even if your car is new. Every country has its own rules regarding this too.
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Old Aug 5th, 2021, 12:46 PM
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Most countries are currently doing spot checks at the border or even away from the border. Hotels can ask for proof of vaccination in some countries. It depends somewhat on the level of infection in the country you are leaving.
As well as low emission zones and their stickers (for France and Germany) you will also need toll vignettes for many of the countries you want to visit. Most can be bought around the borders, and must be displayed correctly. They can be expensive, but in some countries it is almost impossible to avoid toll roads. In Italy ensure you take the toll ticket and keep it safe for ten years. They can come after you for a fine for that long!
Currently you need N95 or equivalent face masks in Germany. Not sure about other countries. I think Croatia still wants a PCR test regardless of vaccination status, but I haven't looked lately. These things change constantly and you must keep checking, before and during your trip.
If you wear glasses for driving you must have a spare pair for many countries. Also check your car has a warning triangle, safety vests for everyone in the car and a first aid kit.
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Old Aug 5th, 2021, 01:35 PM
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Thanks, I appreciate the additional information. I know about toll vignettes and the pollution stickers.

Didn't know about the N95 requirement. Is a KN95 acceptable, or does it have to be the actual medical N95?

Where do you get the safety vests? Do you have a link or photo?
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Old Aug 5th, 2021, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by hetismij2 View Post
Most countries are currently doing spot checks at the border or even away from the border. Hotels can ask for proof of vaccination in some countries. It depends somewhat on the level of infection in the country you are leaving.
As well as low emission zones and their stickers (for France and Germany) you will also need toll vignettes for many of the countries you want to visit. Most can be bought around the borders, and must be displayed correctly. They can be expensive, but in some countries it is almost impossible to avoid toll roads. In Italy ensure you take the toll ticket and keep it safe for ten years. They can come after you for a fine for that long!
Currently you need N95 or equivalent face masks in Germany. Not sure about other countries. I think Croatia still wants a PCR test regardless of vaccination status, but I haven't looked lately. These things change constantly and you must keep checking, before and during your trip.
If you wear glasses for driving you must have a spare pair for many countries. Also check your car has a warning triangle, safety vests for everyone in the car and a first aid kit.
The OP said nothing about going to Croatia. But just in case, PCR tests are not required to go to Croatia but there is a border control as they are not in Schengen. vaccinated people can get in (since April 1.) I am confused about your N95 mask statement. Do people need to wear them to cross the border in their car, to Germany? That is not what I have been hearing, not for driving, anyway.
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Old Aug 5th, 2021, 02:07 PM
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Yellow safety vests should be in the car, as well as other mandatory equipment, but it's true that different countries have different requirements. This is hardly ever checked. Checks at the border are rare. Better to have to right forms with you, it could cost you if you are unlucky and get pulled over for a spot check.
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Old Aug 5th, 2021, 10:39 PM
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Now I see why Croatia was mentioned, because it was tagged. Croatia and Bosnia have border controls and you just need to show your proof of vaccination, at the moment no test is required. Croatia has a form to fill out to speed up entry at the border, you can find it here: https://entercroatia.mup.hr

As others have said, this could change in a few weeks. You will have to pay attention as stuff changes with little notice.

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Old Aug 6th, 2021, 07:40 AM
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TEN countries were tagged on this thread. That's quite a driving trip, with or without Covid regulations.

As others have mentioned, things could change while you're moving around, so you'll have to monitor the situation more or less on a daily basis and be willing/able to pivot if necessary or advisable. That's the best argument for having a car...
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Old Aug 6th, 2021, 08:30 AM
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I understand wanting to do a trip by car. The number of people going on holiday by car has increased, since intercontinental holidays are not possible and people don't want to deal with airports. There have been huge traffic jams in France on the route du soleil. Late August should be OK, school holidays are almost over then. Just keep it flexible and change your plans if needed.
Let us know once you have a better idea of where you want to go, and we can better advice on LEZ rules and such.
The covid rules you will have to keep checking yourself. I live in Belgium, but do not keep up with what the rules are for entering the country.
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Old Aug 6th, 2021, 09:54 AM
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I think that out of all these countries it might be a good idea to drop Bosnia-Herzegovina. Not because you can’t get in but because entering some other country afterwards might be an issue simply because they are not in the EU. Keeping it flexible and change plans as needed is perfect advice!
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Old Aug 17th, 2021, 12:03 PM
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I've driven a couple of times recently both in and out of BiH to Germany, Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Austria, France and Spain. I've not had a problem at any of the borders, entering or leaving Schengen/EU from or to BiH other than the usual paperwork checks and no border checks at all within Schengen/EU other than between Croatia and Slovenia - but - it's like a military exercise making sure for each country the paperwork for me, the car and the requirements for what to carry in the car etc etc, tolls, vignettes, emission stickers etc etc are correct and current.
The question was about covid requirements and I can only echo what has been said that you will have to check every country just before entering as these things do change regularly. Also the areas of each country you wish to visit if the country, e.g. Germany, has different rules.
In principle, being fully vaccinated and can prove it, should cut short most obstacles.
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Old Aug 17th, 2021, 12:17 PM
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I've driven from Austria to Italy and then back to Austria. Also drove from Salzburg to Berchtesgaden, which technically crosses a border.

No border checks.

However, when I drove from Salzburg to Italy, heading towards the Brenner Pass, the last 20-30 kilometers before it split between heading towards Innsbruck and heading towards Munich, there was bumper to bumper jam.

As soon as I split off towards Innsbruck, it cleared up.

Was Germany conducting a border check that day?

Not sure, but for whatever reason, traffic towards Munich was heavy.
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Old Aug 27th, 2021, 08:16 AM
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Following with great interest...Are you there? Boots on the ground information? We hope to do similar in mid September...
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Old Aug 27th, 2021, 11:16 AM
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Hi—these boots just landed today! MUCH easier than I expected. I showed our vaccination cards and passports at our home airport in Little Rock, and that was the last time the vaxx cards were checked. Atlanta just wanted to see our passports. We were given a “traveler trace” form on board, which.was collected by the airline upon arrival in Paris. The usual passport check at customs, but no vaxx card check, and no one looked at or collected the sworn statements that we weren’t sick or recently exposed. Before leaving home I tried numerous times to get the Pass Sanitaire for French restaurants and museums, but their email server kept bouncing my email back as a problem with the server, even though I was using the address shown for Americans. I have jpegs of all the documents, so will try later when we return to France towards the end of the trip. No problem getting a pizza at our hotel in Rouen tonight, and desk clerk didn’t ask to see anything other than a credit card.

BTW, a comment was made about going to Bosnia. We are transiting the 6 mile stretch at Neum only. We have a lease car, so Bosnia is on the list of allowable countries. Rental companies do NOT allow Bosnia, so renters would have to use the ferry at Ploce, Croatia to a peninsula that cuts back in below that 6-mile stretch. You can lease a Peugeot or Citroen much cheaper than renting if you plan a few months ahead and have a stay longer than 21 days. It saved us about $400. The pickup experience was seamless immediately outside CDG. Better car, no restrictions, full insurance, and it had a grand total of 2 (two) kilometers on the odometer! It is a Peugeot 3008 SUV, similar to our Porsche Macan, so we knew what we were getting except for the color.

Day 2 starts tomorrow, hopefully not jetlagged! Dunkirk is the next night, with the WWII sites and museums.

For peace of mind, get your COVID booster before you leave…
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Old Aug 27th, 2021, 03:06 PM
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Looks like you travelled just in time: EU moves to reintroduce COVID travel curbs on U.S. -diplomats | Reuters

Last edited by nonconformist2; Aug 27th, 2021 at 03:15 PM.
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Old Aug 27th, 2021, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by nonconformist2 View Post
Only for unvaccinated people.

Stu Dudley
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Old Aug 27th, 2021, 10:29 PM
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Yeah, we are fully vaccinated and got boosters about 12 days ago. I expected this.
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