Road Trip Essentials for the Balkans​

What is the absolute must to take with you when you are travelling by car? Are there some special requirements if you travel to the Balkans – Serbia, Albania, Kosovo, Bosna and others? This article is focused on the Balkans, but it will serve also if you travel anywhere else. I believe you don’t need a big, expensive and top-notch equipped vehicle to make a fun road trip. In fact, I have a tiny SkodaCitigo and the car served us surprisingly well! So let’s see what you should take with you on your road trip! I assume you have an emergency kit already.

1. License and Registration

License for your car and car registration are two things which I always carry in my car and I never put it away. Because… where else I would need it, right? Just double check before your roadtrip, you have those things ready. We didn’t do any extra paperwork before our trip.

2. Mandatory Car Equippment

As the emergy kit, I guess you have this in your car already. Pay attention! Each and every country has a different requirements. In addition to our kit, we bought extra a tow ropespare bulbs for car’s external lights and a fire extinguisher and we had two reflective jackets.

3. Insurance

Every car must have compulsory third-party insurance which is valid also if you travel to other EU states thanks to the Green Card System.  Until 1.8.2021 Kosovo was not on the list of Green Card System, which means you had to pay extra for the car insurance. At the moment, just stop at the borders and ask for the BKS insurance. You can obtain insurance also in the city. More information are here. I personally use the car insurance from Direct.

4. Car Manual

I have a car manual always in my car, but make sure you have one printed. You never know when some dashboard warning lights come and you don’t know what does it mean. Instead of panicking, you will control it in you Car Manual. Like in my case, my dashboard warning light allerted me to go to service, but it was nothing urgent.

5. GPS or Offline Maps

Especially in the Balkans, it might happen that you cross borders so often that you don’t even know where are you anymore. Alert! You can buy a single SIM card which includes all the Balkans and more, ten countries are included in this package. We haven’t buy anything, so we relied on my GPS with downloaded maps, but you can try to buy the SIM, which definitely makes your life easier. For example Hello 1010.

However, I must say that finding a Wi-Fi was pretty easy everywhere.

6. Spare Tire

I guess every car has a spare tire in the truck already, so very likely you can tick off this item on the list.

7. PCR or CovidPass

Yes, the world is not as before and besides your ID, passport (or visa), you also have to carry a valid PCR test or a CovidPass. I got my vaccination in the summer 2021 and even though some countries may not ask for it, and I have a screenshot of my CovidPass always with me.

8. Electronics

Powerbanks, Chargers, Camera, Outdoor Camera…

9. Flashlight

We all use phones, but we all know that batteries don’t last long time. I have purchases a Flashlight this year and I am so happy to have one. It makes my nightlife (this word sounds like party life, right?) so much easier! I own Petzl Tikkina 3.0 Black.

10. Cash

Even big petrol stations in the Balkans often don’t accept credit cards, so make sure that you always have cash with you. Even though it might be a little bit headache as the currency are different in each country. I recommend to withdraw a big amount of Euro and than change it according to where you are.

11. Cosmetics

Little obvious, so take this is more as a reminder. I forgot all my cosmetic bags at home  </3, so I want you to avoid this struggle! No special cosmetics is needed, just bring a sunscream and mosquito repellent.

12. Clothes

Depends on your plans, but for a road trip, comfortable clothes are a must. Keep in mind, that summers in the Balkans are very hot, while winters can be very cold. For the mountains bring a solid hiking boots.

13. Entertainment for Long Rides

Definitely make sure you have a downloaded long Spotify list, your favourite podcasts and prepare some car games. If you have an internet, this is not an issue, but we didn’t and the trips might get a little bit too long.

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