Camping in Europe


New member
Call me nuts, but I plan on shipping my '78 Westy to Germany in 4 yrs to travel around Gemany and Europe during the world cup soccer tournament and after. It will be over there 2 to 3 years and we will fly over there several time to do a tour in our beloved Westy. It will be stored at a relatives house while we are gone.

I have several questions i'm hoping will get a response.
1. Anyone know about the regulations regarding driving an American registered vehicle over there?
2. What is the situation regarding the use of propane? Do they use the same fittings and bottles. I seem to recall that the fuel of choice is butane, but I'm not sure.
3. What would be the best way to ship it? I've thought about just buying a camper over there, but I have this dream of camping in Europe in MY Westy.

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated.

Capt. Mike

This post lost to a computer glitch, the first part. I'll try to recreate the answers:

1. AAA can give you all the information on Int'l Driver's License and probably any restrictions.

2. No, they don't use the same propane fittings. See the LP Forum where it's discussed in detail, including a resource to but the adaptors. The do use a lot of LP, especially in industry where LP equipment like fork-lifts are common.

3. The most secure way to ship, especially if loaded with personal effects & camping equipment, is via sealed container. Most cargo is now shipped intermodul in containers and properly done, the sealed container is delivered to you at the designated unloading facility. If shipped as loose cargo on a regular freighter, it will be subject to whatever the longshoreman decide they don't want to take home. Sorry, but that's a reality. The car must be unlocked for loading/unloading and shipping companies will not accept responsibility for loose contents inside. Contact a freight forwarder or broker.

Shipping companies like Sea-Land/Maersk or Lykes Lines can give you guidance. American Consolidation Services, a division of American President Lines, specializes in less that full container lot sizes (A 15' Westy would have plenty of room in a 20 footer and be lost in a 40 footer.) A.J. Fritz is the worlds largest and industry leader.

One flaw in buying a new Westy over there is that it will be a Westfalia built, but when you return it to the US or Canada, all support is based on the Winnebago built model. Thus you may experience some problem with parts & service. That's assuming VW would have Westfalia build a US/Can-spec vehcile for you. They have discontinued the tourist delivery program.

Since you are going back & forth, renting a camper just while you are traveling is an option. As is buying a European version and then selling it at the end.
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New member
Several years ago I started to look into this issue but bailed out because it was fairly complicated and required shipping the vehicle at least two months before it was needed on the other side--it didn't fit into my plans. I believe I found a freight-forwarder who was willing to ship from the east coast for somewhere around $1700.

There are a lot of Americans (military etc.) in Germany, and the U.S. gov't ships privately-owned vehicles frequently. Perhaps you can get in touch with someone on a military base and get lots of answers.

I'd still love to ship my rig over for a summer someday...

Good luck!


New member
I'm a Canadian living in the Netherlands. I brought my Canadian bought Toyota Corolla wagon here.. I can't tell you a ton about the paperwork because it was taken care of for us.. But it is possible to Bring NA cars here temporarily. There are a lot here in The Hague. It's even possible for me to leave NA cars here for ever. It may mean a ~2000 euro "inspection" fee depending on whether or not a simular model was done before.

I concure about putting it in a container.. Ours came over on a drive-on/drive-off and someone went through it and took everything of value out.

As far as bringing a Vehicle from here to there is concerned.... I've bought and am waiting for a new T-4 California Coach camper to arrive (3 month wait). I've looked into bringing it back to Canada with me, but it seems to be impossible. If the vehical was over 15 years old, or built to Canadia spec. it would be possible. Not many car manufacturers are selling local vehicals built to Canadian spec. anymore..



New member
We lived in England and Turkey for 13 years between 1978 and 1998 and had a VW camper (not the same one!) the whole time. Your questions:
1. You can drive on your US plates as a tourist. WE have friends who shipped a VW camper over in 1988. They travel in it from May til Oct each year. Alternating years they either drive it down to Greece and spend the winter on a Greek island; or, drive it up to England and store it there for the winter and fly back to the states. They have never registered it overseas and have never had any problems. I assume they keep their US registration current.
2. Propane question. Ah this is the problem. Most all European camper vans do not have permanently installed propane tanks. They use small, portable bottles which are usually stored under the cabinet. You can get propane for fuel for the engine at some petrol stations. You could fill up if you had an adapter, but the fittings are NOT the same. Wasted many hours trying to fill up the installed tank in Germany, England, Turkey--it never worked. Finally just broke down and bought a small portable bottle, put it under the sink, and redid the tubing.
3. Agree with above, must ship by sealed container. Don't leave anything of value because it will still be raided.
Feel free to write me if you have any questions. :)
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