My father and I did a road trip across Europe in Summer of 2017. We had our 2001 Toyota Sequoia shipped from Houston, Texas, USA to Hamburg, Germany. Then we drove the Sequoia from Hamburg all the way to Lahore! 10,500 km. 6500 miles. 12 countries. 4 weeks.
Crossing Switzerland, France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Iran. Driving through mountains, valleys, cities, towns, tourist destinations, deserts, ports, etc. It was quite an adventure.
The Toyota Sequoia was very dependable and fun to drive. You just have to be very careful on mountain roads that have sharp turns.
Some of my favorite moments from the trip include meeting new people (most people were nice and genuinely interested to know about our trip), the nightlife, tourist sites, and food in Istanbul, the ski lift in Chamonix, France, and the beautiful Alps mountains and surrounding lakes of Switzerland. The kebabs in Istanbul are great (doner, adana, and kofte kebab) and seafood along Bosporus was amazing, best I ever had.
Some problems included car issues (our hood LED light came loose and made a lot of noise, I accidentally broke the back door handle at the Bosnia/Croatia border stop and the customs guard laughed at me, and the front passenger door handle also broke a few days later).
In addition, our car had the window broken by thieves at 5:00 am in Istanbul at the hotel parking lot. Long story! But watch out for thieves and con artists in Istanbul. There ARE genuinely nice people in Istanbul who help tourists, but there are also people looking to rob tourists, including most taxi drivers.
If you are going to make a similar long trip, I can only say "be prepared".
Prep your vehicle (oil change, tuneup, good tires, first aid kit, extra tire, some basic tools, flashlight, cigarette lighter inverter, jumper cables, battery charger, bottles of motor oil, empty cans to fill with petrol, good navigation system that isn't internet-based, etc).
Be ready to spend extra money for unforeseen expenses. Be prepared for exchange rates.
Learn, learn, learn European road signs!
Give yourself extra days in your trip for getting lost, car repairs, needing to stay in a city longer, etc.
Try to learn a few phrases for each country ("I need help", "I need police", "where is petrol pump?", etc) But if you have good wi-fi or data plan, use Google Translate as much as possible.
If asking for help or directions, try not to pronounce foreign words in desi accent! Try to match local accent as much as possible! However, most countries do speak or understand English. Especially Western Europe.
When giving cash to any vendor, business, taxi driver in Istanbul, make sure you KNOW which denomination of currency you are giving and announce it to the vendor as you are giving it to them. They love to fool you with sleight of hand, trickery, and making you think you gave lira when you really gave euro...or making you think you gave 20 when you gave 100.
Bulgaria and Turkey are quite corrupt. Be careful at Bulgaria border! The officials may try to give you a hard time for bribes. Do not do anything to get them angry with you because they will try to take your vehicle. At Istanbul border, watch out for fake "military guys" and fake "motorway vignette pass sellers" who will try to get you to donate for military or will try to sell you a "mandatory" vignette pass when you don't need one.
For more information, please check out my video travelogue on YouTube:
Germany to Pakistan by Road - Part 1 - Hamburg, Germany to Interlaken, Switzerland
Germany to Pakistan by Road - Part 2 - Interlaken, Switzerland to Chamonix, France
Germany to Pakistan by Road - Part 3 - Chamonix, France to Trieste, Italy
Germany to Pakistan by Road - Part 4 - Trieste, Italy to Rijeka, Croatia
Germany to Pakistan by Road - Part 5 - Rijeka, Croatia to Neum, Bosnia
Germany to Pakistan by Road - Part 6 - Neum, Bosnia to Sarajevo, Bosnia
Germany to Pakistan by Road - Part 7 - Sarajevo, Bosnia to Markovac, Serbia
...more to come...
Link to Travel Diary from Germany to Turkey
Pics are posted below.
Let me know what you think! Thanks!