Paperwork - big trip - preparation - paperwork it gets really boring!

We need:-

Passport -

no visas are needed in advance for honorable upstanding members of Her Majestys British Empire, except for Suriname which was processed in Guyana and cost $20.

UK Driving Licence

International Driving Licence

Vehicle Papers -

registration document, MOT.

Carnet de Passages et Douanes -

Needed for some South American countries. This has been a real nightmare due to the fact that the Landy was 'semi' exported to Switzerland.  Its taken ages to get the official UK registration document - they even made me buy 3rd party UK insurance cover as they said my Swiss cover wasn't valid!  Without this document I couldn't apply for the carnet.   The carnet has been processed by the helpful Paul Gowan and Sue Collins at the RAC.  We're going for indemnity insurance for the carnet so we don't have to lodge a lump sum in the bank.

Aug 2002 - We have needed the carnet only for Colombia so far. As we shipped there this made the import different to entering overland, hence the need for the carnet. They said it would have been a lot more paperwork without it but possible. We used it to enter Venezuela too but it wasn't strictly necessary. At the moment we think that the carnet may not be really necessary and maybe a waste of time (and money). However, our friends at planetincognita shipped from Panama to Ecuador without a carnet and had huge problems because of this, eventually getting escorted out of the country by a customs offical.

July 2003 - We needed the carnet for Ecuador as their law states that a hefty deposit on the tourist vehicle must be made if no carnet is available. Ours expired last year and they just said that that must be the date we started our trip..errr, yeah, okay!


Vaccination Certificate -

had polio, tetanus, diptheria, typhoid, cholera, hepatitus A + B and yellow fever - not a pleasant experience but better than catching the diseases.   Bringing Larium and Chloroquine as malaria treatment - only need prophylactics in 3 areas of the Amazon despite what the guidebooks tell you - don't fancy taking prophylactics for months at a time anyway. Proof of yellow fever vaccine needed to enter Brazil or they give it to you free and you have to wait 10 days to cross the border.

July 2003 - We never took any malaria pills and, although we went through plenty of jungle, meeting locals who'd had malaria we got bit but never contracted the disease.

Loads of photocopies of all of the above


Insurance -

This is possible - we're looking into it for the vehicle and stuff.  You can even have 1,000,000 quids worth of kidnap cover including post kidnap psychiatric care!

Aug 2002 - We never got any insurance except for Mexico (which was handy as T had a bit of a bump) and Belize, where it was compulsory. Insurance for Venezuela would have been prudent!

July 2003 - We bought SOAT insurance for Peru because we heard the cops were real gits. This turned out to be the opposite and, instead, they're annoyingly nice!



Make good quality colour photocopies of your driving licence, vehicle document and passport and laminate them. The police everywhere assume they're the originals - if they want to fine you then let them keep your 'licence' and drive off. If they ask for strange documents and won't budge on it, make them! 'International Insurance' documents are very handy! For a UK car, make your own registration doc without the confusing 'previous owner' stuff on it and some reference to England written in large letters too.