The Quest on a desert road next to palm trees on Fuerte Ventura.

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Welcome to "How to America": Your Guide to the Ultimate Camping Adventure in North America

September 17, 2023

Are you dreaming of an unforgettable camping adventure in North America with your own vehicle? We've compiled this guide based on our own experiences to help you make your dream a reality. Here, you'll learn everything from vehicle preparation to shipping, from flight bookings to visa requirements and insurance matters. Let's embark on this exciting journey together!

Vehicle Preparation and Shipping

The selection and preparation of your vehicle are crucial for your camping adventure.

In this article , we have compiled all the essential information for you. Here, you will learn what to consider, the timeline, and valuable tips for shipping your vehicle.

Flight Booking and Traveling with Pets

Flight booking is an important step on the way to your adventure. Especially if you are bringing pets, there are some specific considerations to keep in mind. We booked our flight well in advance and opted for the Flex option to be able to adjust our plans. Due to our dogs, we chose a direct flight to Halifax, which is only offered by Condor in the summer. Remember to procure the flight crates for your pets yourself.

Our blue bus under trees. In front of the bus stands Momo, our German Shepherd

But be sure to book your flight well in advance, especially with a dog. Only a maximum of 3 dogs are allowed per aircraft.

Total €1369.98
1 Dog (small crate in the cargo hold) €154.99
1 Dog (large crate in the cargo hold) €254.99
2 Adults €960.00

Visa Requirements

Visa requirements vary between Canada and the USA.

Green landscape and a river where our T4 is parked


For Canada, you need an ETA, which can be easily applied for online and is valid for 6 months. The cost of 7 CAD is reasonable.


To stay longer in the USA, you need the B2 visa, which allows for a 180-day stay. The application involves extensive forms and scheduling an appointment at the US Consulate. Be sure to fill out the forms carefully, as a wrong click can lead to a temporary block.

Scheduling an appointment at the US Consulate requires patience and timely planning. Note that there are consulates in Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich in Germany. Allow enough lead time, as appointment wait times can be longer than expected. We did our research beforehand, and it was said that the wait times would be a maximum of 60 days. In the end, we waited for 6 months.

Certain rules must be observed during the consulate visit, such as the prohibition of electronic devices. Obtaining the visa does not automatically grant you a longer stay in the USA; it only determines the maximum length of stay upon entry.

By the way, a US visa is not cheap. The B2 visa costs $185 per person, and you must pay this when submitting your PDF application.


  1. Even though you have to specify your flight to the USA in advance, it doesn’t matter for the visa. We were very confused and thought we had to fill out the entire PDF again, but we had already paid for everything! We had to reschedule after registration because we couldn’t take the original flight due to the later appointment.
  2. Even if you specified a different consulate in the PDF, it doesn’t matter!!! What matters is what you indicated in the form when registering. This also confused us.

Bird’s-eye view of a baseball field.

Vehicle Insurance

In the USA, German drivers are often considered inexperienced, regardless of their previous driving experience. This can lead to higher insurance costs. Two popular insurance options for North America are “Thum” and “Seguro Gringo.”


You come across Thum insurance first when it comes to vehicle insurance in North America. They offer comprehensive coverage for 6 months or 1 year.

Seguro Gringo

This is an alternative often chosen for older vehicles. It offers flexible terms, which can be very practical if you don’t plan to stay for exactly 6 months or 1 year.

Our VW T4 Multivan, which we call ‘Quest,’ in the woods


During our research, we found this excellent blog article that really helped us and that we would like to recommend to you:

Health Insurance

North America is the most expensive country when it comes to health insurance, but it is essential. However, costs can be high, and there are different offers and options, depending on how long you plan to stay in Canada or the USA.

Research carefully and look on the internet to find the best option for your needs. Offers constantly change.

Jo next to the bus with Nelly on a yoga mat in a yoga pose

We hope that this guide helps you successfully plan and execute your camping adventure in North America. Keep in mind that this information is based on our own experiences and conditions may change. Preparation and planning are the keys to a smooth and unforgettable adventure.

Side view of our bus, the rear hatch is open. We are sitting with our chairs under the rear hatch, enjoying the view

If you need more tips or have any questions, feel free to leave us a comment!


Questions, Remarks or just Greetings?

Related articles:

How to travel with your own Van to America!

July 16, 2023

Those who dream of traveling to America with their own camper will find numerous blog posts on the internet. We also did a lot of research before our trip and acquired a wealth of knowledge. In our post, you will find not only general information but also everything we have gathered, including the current prices for shipping to America and a detailed schedule. Planning is everything when it comes to this endeavor.