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Old 29.04.2019, 11:13
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Driving trip through -- Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus....

I have a few weeks free time this summer (2019) and I love visiting places that others tend to fly-over.

So I'm looking to drive through a few countries and I'm hoping someone has done this and can share a bit of their experiences. I'm doing my research now but it would be helpful to hear others experiences and places for me to save time researching.

Countries visiting:
* Moldova
* Ukraine
* Belarus
* Lithuania

Driving how?
* My personal car
* Purchased / insured in Switzerland / licenses plated
* Car registered in Spouses name (spouse will NOT be on this trip)

Me:
* USA citizen/passport holder
* USA & Swiss Drivers license

Route: TBD

Hotel: Camping (no need for hotels)

When: June 2019

Main questions:
* Can I drive my own car into these countries
* Some countries will require additional car insurance, can I buy that at the border crossing - or do I need to purchase prior to departure?
* I think Belarus is the only place I need a Visa. I think I have to go to Bern for that - is that correct?
* Can I expect that Credit cards are accepted in these countries for stuff like: Toll roads, extra insurance for the car, grocery stores, gas stations....


Thanks for the help - I'm very excited to see these countries, I know there is sooooo much more to research but these are my primary questions.
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Old 29.04.2019, 11:54
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Re: Driving trip through -- Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus....

Not countries where I would make a road trip, especially Ukraine and Belarus. I would at least make sure to be aware of the local political situation.
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Old 29.04.2019, 12:25
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Re: Driving trip through -- Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus....

let me think, it's already 3 years ago:
Ukrainian border (coming with ferry over black see):
spending cca 4 hours arranging papers, yes, there was some paying involved, but problem was that ferry counted as cargo ship, so we need to do "cargo clearance". We also need to check vehicle they are not radioactive, which is kind of funny if you think that you are actually going into the country where Chernobyl is. The cars had to go trough huge scanner, motorbikes not. We had to wait at least an hour for the main guy to sign papers, I think that was just a try to get some bribe, but we were too stupid to recognize it until few days later.
Moldovian border: we had to wait for half a day as informatics system was down, but I had some fun chatting with a female customs officer with a shirt at least one size too small.
Lithuania is EU, so it's like if you would go shopping with a car to Weil am Rhein
Belarus I have never been.


- as they have many land disputes check which border crossings are open and in which direction, countries usually doesn't like if you come in trough occupied lands
- both Ukraine UA and Moldovia MD are on my international motor insurance card (aka green card) which you get free??? (few francs??) together with basic insurance, so no additional insurance needed. Usually even European road assistance (TCS or one from insurance) works somewhere till Ural and all around Mediterranean. Mainland Europe is unbeatable for easy travelling and road trips.


Another thought: sometimes camping is more expensive than hotels.
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Old 29.04.2019, 12:54
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Re: Driving trip through -- Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus....

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Main questions:
* Can I drive my own car into these countries
* Some countries will require additional car insurance, can I buy that at the border crossing - or do I need to purchase prior to departure?
* I think Belarus is the only place I need a Visa. I think I have to go to Bern for that - is that correct?
* Can I expect that Credit cards are accepted in these countries for stuff like: Toll roads, extra insurance for the car, grocery stores, gas stations....
As the car is not registered in your name. Either register it in your name (holder does not have to be actual owner). Or get a notarized (+ apostile stamp) statement that you are allowed to use the car.

Here a template, from the Zurich Insurance which includes many languages. (the Cyrilic is Serbian):
https://www.zurich.ch/-/media/zurich...onen.pdf?la=de

In theory all countries are part of the Green Card agreement and no additional insurance is needed.
https://www.nbi-ngf.ch/en/nvb/dokume...eltungsbereich
However, many insurance exclude certain countries such as the Ukraine or Belarus. Check on your actual Green Card what is covered (might have to order first) and discuss options with your insurance to add needed coverage.
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Old 29.04.2019, 13:37
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Re: Driving trip through -- Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus....

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Countries visiting:
* Moldova
* Ukraine
* Belarus
* Lithuania
There were a few thousand Russians doing road trips and camping in Ukraine you might want to make sure their trip is over by now.

Last edited by gaburko; 29.04.2019 at 14:46.
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Old 29.04.2019, 14:06
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Re: Driving trip through -- Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus....

Have a look at the youtube channel called 'bald and bankrupt', among which videos of a UK bloke travelling though these countries.
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Old 29.04.2019, 14:16
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Re: Driving trip through -- Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus....

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Have a look at the youtube channel called 'bald and bankrupt', among which videos of a UK bloke travelling though these countries.

travel by foot is fine, getting there by car is asking for troubles. Experiencing local public transportation is a journey itself, so why skip that.
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Old 29.04.2019, 14:16
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Re: Driving trip through -- Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus....

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Not countries where I would make a road trip, especially Ukraine and Belarus. I would at least make sure to be aware of the local political situation.
Belarus is a very safe country. And the political situation there is stable.
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Old 29.04.2019, 14:22
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Re: Driving trip through -- Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus....

Some of you are way too dramatic, Ukraine is the size of Texas, and more or less as safe. Probably similar amount of arms and militia and most of people are simply nice (like everywhere), so OP shouldn't have any problem. There is enough of info on internet which areas to avoid.



- learn few words in Russian, do not expect many people to speak English

- and heed the advice of ownership of the car, try to have a document in Russian


btw. I passed trough few countries (including Russia) with photocopies of my

documents, as I lost the originals. So scan everything and put it in the cloud.
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Old 29.04.2019, 14:28
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Re: Driving trip through -- Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus....

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Belarus is a very safe country. And the political situation there is stable.
...usually described as the last dictatorship in Europe. So if that's your definition of stable please keep it.
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Old 29.04.2019, 14:41
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Re: Driving trip through -- Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus....

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...usually described as the last dictatorship in Europe. So if that's your definition of stable please keep it.
Never saw it as a evil dicatatorship, more like, keep it low and slow and you are good. People in countries like that want you to like their country, they want you to go home and feel good about visiting. So in my opinion go for it, you will enjoy your stay.
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Old 29.04.2019, 14:43
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Re: Driving trip through -- Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus....

Like people said before: Get the car registered on your name. Even with a notarized statement (translated and incl. an apostile) it will at least end up in a lengthy control.

Now for the rest:
- Get an international driving licence (must for belarus)
- Get a visa
- Organize insurance coverage for your vehicle (e.g. ensure that it is valid in the countries)
- Photocopies of the car documents are not enough, so take the originals
- As some said: Learn some russian phrases, learn to read cyrillic

When crossing the border to belarus, you will need to fill out a customs declaration (basicly a declaration that you will not sell the car in belarus) and buy an insurance title for your car.

BEWARE: Do not, I repeat Do NOT cross the border to russia in belarus! This seems trivial, but the border between belarus and russia exits only formally as both countries are in a customs union (to summarize it briefly). There are only few border checkpoints, and when driving around in the border area you might suddenly end up in russia. A car with foreign number plates will get some attention. Even if you have a russian visa, it will be considered an illegal border trespass, which will get you into serious troubles.
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Old 29.04.2019, 14:44
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Re: Driving trip through -- Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus....

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...usually described as the last dictatorship in Europe. So if that's your definition of stable please keep it.
One of the loveliest people I known in CH comes from Belarus, and she would wholeheartedly agree with your assessment. She wouldn't say it outloud in her homeland though.

A couple of decent guides, and my eternal 'go to' guides, are these...

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/belarus

https://www.roughguides.com/article/minsk-belarus/
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Old 29.04.2019, 14:47
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Re: Driving trip through -- Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus....

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Belarus is a very safe country. And the political situation there is stable.
Word of warning: about 12 years ago, traveling through Lithuania and Belarus in search of our family roots, we were almost arrested for being in the border zone (near to Vilnius) without a special permit (that we did not know we needed). These special permits were required as the government narrative at the time was that Belarus was in danger of being attacked by western forces.

We were pressured for hours by different officials, likely for bribes. I started to get worried when my mother, who was experienced dealing with totalitarian regimes, warned us to watch out for the possibility of illegal substances planted in our guesthouse room . Finally, we were saved by a member of our extended family who happened to be the mayor of some villages closeby the small town we stayed in.

That night at his house, the chief police officer of the region called us to apologize and to ask to please not speak to western media about the occasion. I can only guess what would have happened had we not been well connected. On the way back to Vilnius our car was stopped again by an army checkpoint. We all cheered upon crossing the border to Lithuania.

Of course, things might have improved since then
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Old 29.04.2019, 15:34
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Re: Driving trip through -- Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus....

Credit cards work well in these countries, with some possible limitations in Belarus. Nevertheless, I would advise to have some cash in local currency with you.

In Ukraine don't go to very east. Chances that you by chance enter controlled by separatists areas are negligible (all roads are controlled from both sides) but even being around the "border" is not much fun. Dnepr river could be a rule thumb - don't go too far to the east of it. And anyway the most interesting places in Ukraine are in the central/western part.

You'll likely have attention with Swiss plates, so follow common sense safety rules - don't stop on the road, even if somebody asks for help; not sure about safety and quality of campings, so I'd stick to hotels or at least have some backup options near your campings. You must have a backup tire plus repair kit, because quality of some roads is terrible. Get local emergency phone numbers (unlikely they speak English but could be better than nothing).

Overall you should be fine, good luck!
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Old 29.04.2019, 15:38
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Re: Driving trip through -- Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus....

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...usually described as the last dictatorship in Europe. So if that's your definition of stable please keep it.
Hugh? They just had elections, someone other than the sitting president won. Poroschenko has declared that he will indeed leave office, not what a dictator would do.
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Old 29.04.2019, 15:50
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Re: Driving trip through -- Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus....

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Hugh? They just had elections, someone other than the sitting president won. Poroschenko has declared that he will indeed leave office, not what a dictator would do.
You are confusing Belarus (Lukashenko) with Ukraine (Poroshenko). Indeed, Ukraine just elected a new one, the tragi-comedy continues
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Old 29.04.2019, 15:54
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Re: Driving trip through -- Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus....

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..so follow common sense safety rules - don't stop on the road, even if somebody asks for help.....
I know you meant well, but if going to strictly do the this rulle, than you are like usual brain-dead tourist: packed in the plane, packed in the car, packed in the hotel behind tall walls, quick walk into souvenir shop, quick view of monument.
I saw too many of such people in my life, lost opportunity and locals always start hating them.
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Old 29.04.2019, 16:39
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Re: Driving trip through -- Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus....

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You are confusing Belarus (Lukashenko) with Ukraine (Poroshenko). Indeed, Ukraine just elected a new one, the tragi-comedy continues
Indeed, I didn't read the post he replied to properly.

Sadly, the Ukraine just looks like a huge punching ball in the powerstruggle between the US and Russia.
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Old 29.04.2019, 16:45
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Re: Driving trip through -- Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus....

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I know you meant well, but if going to strictly do the this rulle, than you are like usual brain-dead tourist: packed in the plane, packed in the car, packed in the hotel behind tall walls, quick walk into souvenir shop, quick view of monument.
I saw too many of such people in my life, lost opportunity and locals always start hating them.
Well, I would not advise to afraid every stranger. Just to remember that it happens sometimes and use common sense.
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