There are funny things to do during preparations for a longer trip – and there is the obligated paperwork. But of course, it is one of the most important things to organize before you leave.
We give you a summary of the relevant paperwork. Germany seems to be a quite bureaucratic country, you might stay safe with our approach. But keep in mind, that it can differ from country to country.


In Germany, it is possible to get a second passport for specific reasons. The best known are multiple business trips – among other things, in different countries which wouldn’t allow to enter with a visa from another specific country.
We wrote a short cover note, stated all the countries we want to visit. We explained that we have to apply for visas in different countries. In the time, the embassies are working with our passport, we have to be able to identify ourselves – that’s why we need a second passport. And even though, we two applied in different cities, we received it without any problems. We just had to confirm that we will return the second one, after we will have come back home.
Of course, keep in mind that the passport(s) should be valid at least for another six months, when you leave. It is required in many countries for entering at the border.
Also take your ID card with you. Sometimes it is more handy to have the ID card (e.g. in the night club or on a hike, where you probably won’t need your passport).

Carnet de passages

For several countries (e.g. Australia, Iran), you need the Carnet de passages as toll security. With this document, stamped at entering and at leaving the country, you ensure that you don’t sell the car or the like. If you can’t show it at leaving (or the car is totalled or stolen) the country can demand the import tax from the issuing authority.
There are different amounts of securities – depending on the present value of your car (or bike) and the countries you want to visit. The highest securities are for Egypt, India, Iran, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (and for more expensive cars).
There is a great overview with all the relevant countries at Overlanding Association website.
It is pretty easy to apply for the CDP at ADAC, Germany. It is valid for one person and one year. If you travel more than a year, you can extend the document. You just have to pay the fee again (around 200-450 €). ADAC will send it even to countries outside Europe. It is also possible to reduce the security in the second year, if you don’t drive to Egypt, India, Iran, Pakistan and Sri Lanka any more.
The fee differ from country to country, resp. automobile club to automobile club. But at least in Europe, there is no big difference between Germany, Austria, Switzerland etc.
The security can be quite high, up to 60.000 € and more (outside Europe it is calculated individually). It might be possible, depending on your bank and account balance, to get a bank guarantee – instead of saving all the money for the CPD.
As you can read in our post about money (LINK), we will probably use the security for the CPD as buffer for the time, after we will have returned home.

For application have ready:

  • application document with your signature
  • copy of your passport
  • copy of vehicle registration
  • bank guarantee or deposit receipt
  • if available, copy of ADAC member ID

International driving license

In Europe the national, European driver license might be valid as well. But outside, always take an international driving license for longer trips. In Germany you can apply for this at the local issuing authority for driver licenses (usually within one day), valid for three years. There might be exceptional cases (e.g. shortage of time), where a (official) translation of your national driver license can be sufficient, as well.

International vehicle documents

For many countries, it is obligatory to carry an international registration for your car. We can apply for one at the local vehicle registration office. Usually, it is valid for one year. If you travel longer, you might have to prolong it from the distance, or try to apply for an extension at first attempt.

Proxy documents (bank account etc.)

We recommend to fill out some proxy documents. We will leave them with our parents, others with our financial accountant. Online banking will be our preferred way of handling our finances. But there might be situations, when you need a person at your home base to organize some stuff.
You can complete one form for each bank account, or a general proxy to be able to handle all your finances.

Health care proxy/advance health care directive

Besides the recommendation for everyone to have a health care proxy and a advance health care directive, especially for a longer trip it can become very important. There are different laws about that in every country. In Germany it is advisable to have a document (called health care proxy) about the person, who is allowed to step in, when you won’t be able to decide stuff anymore. Otherwise, there will be an appointed person from court to act in your name.
On the other side, there is a document – advance health care directive – where to determine the medical procedure in critical situations.
For convenience we completed one document for both. There are great templates online. We created our own and stored it at our home base.


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There are a few important documents more (and their copies) to carry on your trip:

  • vaccination certificate
  • member cards (automobile association, youth hostel, etc.)
  • health insurance certificate (more about that in our post about health LINK)
  • third party insurance – personal and vehicle
  • vehicle certification
  • vehicle sales contract
  • other certificates: e.g.Physician Identity Card (like Anna’s), blood donation card with your blood group, PADI diver certification
  • many passport photos

Last advice

Keep in mind to have enough copies of your documents.
Take some printed ones with you, stored at different places. You can have copies at a USB flash device and/or in a cloud (or your e-mail inbox). Then you are able to print them, whenever you need them. On the other side, it is less likely that they will be stolen. Another copy (on paper and digital) should be left at your home base. In a case of emergency, they can be sent to you or to the demanding authority.

This is the second stage of our Trip Planning Series. You can read all stages here.




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