Travelling around the world by motor vehicle is the ambition of many people. The motor vehicle gives freedom to travel independently, stay longer or shorter time as the mood takes you, as well as the opportunity to visit places off the beaten track and to visit well known sights and attractions. It also allows you to experience different cultures and meet people from diverse backgrounds.

Just as you, as a person, require international identification, commonly by way of passport, so does your vehicle.

The document used to identify your vehicle is called a Carnet de Passages en Douane (CPD) which comes from the French meaning 'notebook'. It is a set of vouchers and Customs simply remove one each time you pass in and out of each country.

The Carnet (pronounced car-nay) is valid for 12 months from the date of issue and saves time, effort and expense.

It allows visitors to temporarily import their vehicles for a limited period of time with a minimum of formalities and without the need to make a cash deposit at the frontier in local currency, equivalent to the Customs Duty and other taxes.

A Carnet is essential for the temporary importation of vehicles into most African, Asian, Middle East, New Zealand and South American countries.

A carnet is not required for motor cars, camper vans and motor cycles entering most countries in Europe or the Continent of North America for touring purposes. People temporarily importing vehicles into these parts of the world are required to sign a personal undertaking that they will re-export the vehicle within the prescribed time limit.

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) is a member of the AIT/FIA Carnet network which guarantees to Customs authorities around the world payment of Customs Duties on motor vehicles, temporarily imported for touring purposes.

AAA recommends that individuals wishing to export their vehicle from Australia should be a financial Member of a constituent motoring organisation of the AAA. Being a Member of a motoring club provides you with reciprocal services whilst overseas.

For an application form download here.

The vehicle must carry current Australian registration while overseas and have an AUS plate fitted near the rear number plate. The AUS plate comes with the Carnet pack.

Australian motor vehicle insurance is generally not valid overseas, so seek the advice of your insurance provider. Some overseas motoring clubs offer short term insurance for visitors.

The constituent members of the AAA can also provide International Driving Permits (IDP) (for a fee) and International Camping Cards (for a fee) which provide protection against legal liability for bodily injury and/or property damage to third parties in camping grounds.

Many European camping grounds will only accept guests who are in possession of the Camping Card. Many camping grounds offer discounts and there are a number of special rates for them at parks and attractions available for cardholders.

You should also carry your Australian Driving Licence with you at all times and your current automobile club Membership Card which will entitle you to reciprocal services from member clubs of the Alliance Internationale de Tourisme (AIT) and the Federation Internationale de'l Automobile (FIA), the two world motoring bodies.