Road trip - Zeebrugge to Budapest - any advice and tips?

Discussion in 'Cars, Bikes 'n AFVs' started by trackbasher, Jul 1, 2008.

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  1. I'm delivering a Land Rover (ex Army 110 2.5na) to a friend in Hungary. I'll be towing a trailer (3/4 ton with generator).

    Thing is I haven't driven on the continent since the early 80's.....any advice would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Happy to give you some: I drive this route a couple of times a year, though never in something as slow as what you will be tootling along in (record is 9 1/2 hours).

    For the route, go to www.viamichelin.com and enter your route. This is one of the better route planners out there. Do you have a road GPS unit (tom tom, iGo, Co-pilot, etc)? If not then get a modern road atlas as there are changes every year.

    In Austria and Hungary you will need to buy a vignette (minumum 10 days for Austria, 4 days for Hungary). In Austria this is a physical sticker, but Hungary has gone digital so just make sure you keep the receipt. The price is cheap (about 10 euros each), but do not be tempted to go without: the consequences are expensive. In Austria obey the traffic speed limits, especially when the limit drops for any reason: the police enforce these and the fines can be large (not that you will be going that fast in your wagon). Police in both countries operate unmarked pursuit cars.

    In Hungary there are now several speed cameras on the motorway between Vienna and Budapest (at the 152, 97, 79, 63, 34, 17 and 10km stages IIRC). They are all set to flash at 140kmph.

    In the cab of your vehicle you need a flourescent jacket (in the boot isn't good enough for the Austrians), as well as fire extinguisher, warning triangle, first aid kit etc. A quick search on the RAC website will show you exactly what is required. Be aware that photocopy documentation is not sufficient! Originals must be carried (vehicle papers and insurance)! If you are not the owner of the vehicle then you need a letter from the owner giving you permission to drive (required for Hungary). This needs to be on headed paper and accompanied by a notarised copy of the owner's signature!

    If you are stopped by the police for any reason (and they don't need a reason in this part of the world) then possession of a 'Green Card' insurance document will make things easier: your insurance company will give you one if you stamp your feet and get beyond the mong on the phone (they will try and tell you that you don't need it: this is accurate, but do you want to get driven to a local cop shop and try and convince some old ex-communist plod to accept your elephant.co.uk insurance certificate (that you printed out yourself, complete with nice elephant)?

    Hungary is now part of the Schengen zone, so there is no requirement to stop at the border (apart from to stop at the Shell garage at the Austrian side (400m short of the border) to buy a Hungarian vignette). In addition to the vehicle docs you must also carry your passport at all times (even in a pub, on the tram, etc) as you don't have a Hungarian ID card. A photo driving licence often works, but not always!

    What else? Fuel? Carry a couple of jerry cans in the trailer as the gap between petrol stations in Germany can catch out some motorists: re-fill whenever you hit 1/4 tank remaining. All petrol stations sell decent fuel (including all the ones in Hungary), and all accept credit cards. Hungary doesn't accept Euro.

    More to follow if you need it.

    The quality of the roads, once you are outside Belgium, should be excellent. As I don't know when you are travelling I am unable to give advice about traffic.
     
  3. Thanks for that - esspecially about the insurance and letter from the owner - I'll get on to him.
    If there's more I'll be happy to hear it and appreciate your time!