Crossing Borders

The freedom that a motorhome can give you is not to be sniffed at – you may need to jump on a boat or hop under the channel to start you off, but once you’re in Europe, you can literally go where you please. The same is true for those of you who spend your time on the road in the USA or even further afield. However, there are sometimes obstacles along the way, and crossing borders isn’t always as easy as it should be.

Europe and the USA

In theory, within the European Union you are free to move as you please and travelling within Europe shouldn’t present itself with a problem. You will find that you probably don’t even need to show your passport if you’re travelling in Western Europe. The USA is a different matter, however, and the federal borders between states have different rules and different regulations: check before you drive.

The Right Papers

If you are travelling between borders you will need to remember that whatever paperwork you have may not be valid in the next country. For example, if you’re travelling in France and you decide to dip into Geneva for a day, all of a sudden you’re in Switzerland: a non-EU member state. Your motorhome insurance may not be valid here, and if you’re travelling from further afield you may even need a visa.

Cargo and Baggage

Again, goods are, in theory, completely free in the EU, but in the USA you could encounter problems crossing borders. There are areas in the USA where alcohol is severely restricted and, if you’re under 21, you need to be very careful with what you bring across the borders. Some states may have a problem with pets if they have not been appropriately vaccinated and laws on hazardous substances can vary drastically in just a few miles. Be aware and well informed.

Every locality has its own ideas about what is right and what is not, and as a tourist you’re obliged to respect that. If you come into problems crossing borders, it’s always safest to declare anything you think may be a problem: honesty can get a long way. The worst that can happen is that you may be turned around. Always research your plans before you depart and make sure you know the risks before you travel.