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I'm hoping to travel from Europe (Germany) to India in a van. My route would not be a straight one. Here's the route as I have currently (preliminarily) planned it.

This would take me from Germany through Czechia, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, Pakistan, and finally to India (as well as Sri Lanka and Nepal).

Some of the legs of the trip are still very tentative, as, for example, I'm not sure whether I'll find any sea transport from Cyprus to Israel.

Either way, my plan is to hopefully also sleep in the van, except for locations where it might be very unsafe. I'd try and get information on that ahead of time as well as locally.

The route I have planned takes me through some possibly dangerous areas (e.g. Baluchistan in Pakistan). I figure the countries listed in bold above might have some areas with especially high danger. While I am planning to minimize the time in those areas, and cross the especially dangerous areas of such countries in a day each if possible, I've been thinking of one possible other way to reduce potential danger: Getting local license plates, so as not to parade around with european license plates.

However, I'm not sure how easy this is, or whether it's even possible to get license plates for another country remotely. While I doubt it's possible (or at least easy) to do so, I'm still wondering if anyone might know better.

So, specifically, is it possible to, from Germany, get License plates for some or any of the countries indicated in bold above?

Alternatively, is it somehow possible to get local license plates at the border of some of these countries, when entering?

I'm also open to any other advice, whether it be about the license plates, other ways to avoid avoidable danger, or any other aspect of this trip.

Note: I'm a white male in my 30's.

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    I think a van packed with stuff for your travels and driven by a white guy is going to stand out no matter what the license plate you have on the back of it, unless you have totally dark windows and drive using a periscope.
    – Peter M
    Jul 15, 2022 at 22:32
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    Obtaining licence plates would imply that you are importing the vehicle. Jul 15, 2022 at 22:37
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    A local registration usually implies having at least an address, and possibly proof of residence. I highly doubt this is really going to be possible. Also it may require conformity with local laws, and possibly having to pay import taxes. Don’t quite think this is a viable option.
    – jcaron
    Jul 15, 2022 at 22:47
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    This sounds like an XY Problem
    – Midavalo
    Jul 16, 2022 at 4:16
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    Israel doesn't stamp the passports for a long time now, you get a separate piece of paper.
    – user4188
    Jul 16, 2022 at 6:36

3 Answers 3

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You do not need local plates but you at least need to redo your routing and most likely abandon the whole thing because you are going to be in mortal danger at a lot of places. You are 45 years too late. But if you insist...

  1. Turkey to Iran. Take the Gurbulak - Bazargan border crossing. The roads are good on both sides and the other crossings can't be recommended: the road on the Iranian side of Kapikoy – Razi is not the best and going even further south in eastern Turkey at this time is a very unwise idea. Do note Canada, Ireland et al have issued travel advisories saying "avoid all travel to Iran".
  2. You do need to get to Iran if you wish to eventually arrive to Israel because there are no ferries from Europe to either Israel or Egypt and both Iraq and Syria is very dangerous to drive in and I do not even know whether you could enter either. From Iran, take the Bandar Lengeh ferry to Port Rashid in Dubai.
  3. From there you can get to Saudi Arabia which recently started to issue tourist visas and on to Jordan and then to Israel. It might look counterintuitive but the Allenby / King Hussein bridge crossing is a shorter drive than Aqaba. And most of the things you want to see in Israel is much closer to that too.
  4. If you want to drive to Egypt I would recommend going back to Saudi Arabia and take the Duba-Safaga ferry. Here's a recent report. While this obviously takes longer it skips the Sinai which is really dangerous for a single traveler to cross -- should you decide to take that route anyways, go south via Sharm El-Sheikh even if it's a longer route because you really need to avoid the northern Sinai for safety reasons.
  5. Even if you skip Egypt, on the way back you need to enter Saudi Arabia again. Make very sure you have nothing in the car indicating you have visited Israel. Your passport won't be stamped, Israel issues a separate piece of paper for that but Israeli souvenirs etc can give you away. Jordan will avoid stamps too -- but make sure you ask for it from both authorities on the Israeli-Jordan border. Jordan might give you a harder time by giving you a form to be filled out and then stamping that but it's not a big deal, they know what's up.
  6. Now you will get back to Iran and I presume continue to Pakistan. This is relatively easy now, there are new border crossings: https://en.irna.ir/news/84153386/Inauguration-of-Rimdan-Gabd-cross-border-gateway-major-step https://tribune.com.pk/story/2296118/pak-iran-border-mand-pishin-crossing-point-inaugurated but sectarian violence tends to flare up at the border so be very careful.
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  • Various sources say Iran may be safe in a tour party but definitely not welcoming to solo travellers, especially from UK or US, so I'd echo the warning (article on driving to Asia), this site says you need to employ a guide if you're travelling independently
    – Stuart F
    Jul 16, 2022 at 17:17
  • Reading the above links, a guide is required in Iran for citizens of US, UK, Canada, but seemingly not most other nations.
    – Stuart F
    Jul 16, 2022 at 17:22
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    Iran can be very welcoming for European solo travellers, and there are quite a lot of them at popular tourist spots. Most of them without any guide We actually even saw some kind of camper with German license plates in northwestern Iran. But this may depend on your nationality. For Germans, the main dangers are dangerous driving and that you never can know whether someone in the system needs another hostage for another round of hostage diplomacy.
    – Jan
    Jul 16, 2022 at 17:34
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    If a visit to Israel ever comes up while in Iran, I suspect a lot of trouble to the traveler. No matter nationality. Just sayin...
    – littleadv
    Jul 16, 2022 at 18:43
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    This doesn’t answer the question Aug 4, 2022 at 1:41
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To actually answer the question: no, you can’t get local license plates (full stop, not just not remotely) without also adhering to wildly different local laws and taxes, and having to start procedures of various and unknown length, especially in the more corrupt nations.

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The Israeli part of the trip doesn't sound like a good idea, because:

  1. There are no ferries to Israel, from Europe or anywhere. There are some cruise ships but they don't carry cars.

  2. There are various limitations about cars crossing between Israel and Jordan/Egypt. E.g. [the Taba crossing website] (https://www.iaa.gov.il/en/land-border-crossings/menachem-begin/i-travel/) lists requirements for Israeli cars, doesn't mention other cars. I'm not sure the information is up to date, as most Israelis don't enter Egypt with their cars, though it seems very convenient. An unofficial page I saw says there's a limit of 50 cars per day.

Another possible issue is entering Cyprus from Turkey. The Republic of Cyprus considers this illegal entry, which can cause trouble when crossing from TRNC to RoC. Being an EU citizen may make it easier.

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    FWIW, when I crossed from Israel to Jordan by car (and this was admittedly a long time ago), we were issued temporary Jordanian license plates, because driving around with Israeli ones would not have been a good idea. The plates were surrendered when we returned to Israel though. Aug 4, 2022 at 2:16

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