Step by step, our guide will lead you to all the important information you might need for your international work.

Here we go!

The Guide

Car, truck or bus

If a rental car is to be used for transport, it should be noted that some car rental companies have entry restrictions for certain countries.
In its Conditions of Entry, AVIS (only available in German), for example, points out that “due to an increased accident and theft risk for certain brands/types,” certain countries are off-limits. These countries include Turkey, Greece, Poland, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, etc. Entry restrictions may also apply to the UK, Ireland, and Italy, for example, when using Europcar.
If the restrictions for travel abroad are violated, all insurance policies and limitations of liability are rendered void.

Old driver's licenses issued in the EU and new plastic card driver's licenses are valid without translation in all EU countries. However, an International Driver's License is required for holders of driver's licenses from non-EU countries wishing to rent a car abroad.
If the rental car is to be driven by more than one person, e.g. the band or theatre group, each driver must be specified on the rental contract, otherwise the insurance policy will be invalid.
When renting a car, it is advisable to take out comprehensive coverage without an excess, as this covers most damages and helps avoid possible disputes concerning liability and the assumption of costs between the driver and the artist (ensemble) in the event of an accident. However, there are certain damages which are not covered by comprehensive insurance, e.g. when culpable misuse is involved, e.g. filling up the car with diesel instead of petrol. The resulting engine damage and repair must then be paid for by the person responsible for the damage. 

Provided that it is feasible in terms of time and distance, transport by car, truck or bus is certainly the more cost-effective option. In this case, however, all customs formalities must be completed by the driver himself/herself, if the transport is to leave the EU.

To top

Traffic laws in other EU states

Different traffic laws apply in different countries; you should be aware of this before travelling in the EU by car. The network of European Consumer Centres has published information brochures for individual EU states in which the most important things are listed that drivers should know: speed limits, special traffic rules, toll roads, parking information, etc.


To top

Car and truck tolls

On January 1, 2005, the federal government introduced a truck toll for heavy-duty commercial vehicles (over 12 tons admissible total weight) on German highways. Fees are based on the route, number of axles, and emission class of the vehicle. For this purpose, a system has been established that combines satellite positioning and mobile communications technology, so stops at toll booths on the highway are avoided and drivers only pay for their individual use. This system is operated by Toll Collect. Registration is possible via the Internet.
The EU ministers of transport are seeking to establish a uniform toll system for trucks. So far, the member states are free to select their preferred technology but the systems have to be compatible. 

The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and the Toll Collect website offer comprehensive information about truck tolls.   

Germany does not charge car tolls. However, other European countries have been levying tolls and congestion charges on cars for some time now.

To top

Truck driving bans

In Germany, trucks over 7.5 tons admissible total weight and all trucks and cars with trailers are subject to a driving ban from midnight to 10 p.m. on Sundays and on legal holidays.
Legal holidays (only available in German) differ in the various federal states. If a day is not a legal holiday Germany-wide, the ban is limited to the states in which it is a holiday: Transit is thus not possible unless the route is subject to a blanket exception.
Likewise, a driving ban applies to certain routes on all Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the period from July 1 to August 31.

The Federal Office for Goods Transport provides further information about the German truck driving ban (only available in German). Bans also exist in other EU countries. Further information can be found here (only available in German).

To top

Environmental zones

Since March 1, 2007, a regulation has been in force in Germany that allows federal states and cities to set up so-called environmental zones. Within these zones, measures may be established that aim at improving air quality, for example, limiting harmful particulate emissions. This includes traffic restrictions.
Such zones are marked by signs. Motor vehicles require a so-called pollution badge that allows them to enter these zones: Vehicles with 3-way catalytic converters or particulate filters may enter the environmental zone, provided a clearly visible pollution badge is attached to the windshield. The environmental zone is off-limits to all other vehicles.
Entering the zone without a pollution badge is subject to a fine of 40 euros (German citizens will also get a point in Flensburg). Even vehicles from abroad require a German pollution badge, which can be obtained on the Internet. 
Environmental zones also exist or are being planned in other EU countries. The concepts and rules differ greatly and cannot be generalized. 

More information can be found here: Umwelt-Plakette (environmental badge) or Low Emission Zones in Europe.

To top

Nightliners, tour buses with driver

Under certain circumstances, a trip in a tour bus with driver or in a nightliner (also called a sleeper bus or entertainer coach) could be an option. Nightliners are coaches that are specially converted for tours, featuring comfortable sleeper cabins. In most cases, the artists can travel with all of their luggage, technical materials and instruments, which can also be stored in a special, lockable trailer, if necessary.
However, due to special speed limits for coaches, trips in a tour bus or nightliner may take longer than with a van.
Many smaller venues do not have parking space for larger tour buses/nightliners or are located in narrow streets or streets with restricted access (e.g. low-emission zones), meaning that they cannot be accessed directly. 

When travelling and transporting equipment in a nightliner, it is also important to bear in mind the following:

  • The costs are relatively high, even if you are saving the cost of a hotel because everyone sleeps in the nightliner. However, a so-called buy-out for hotel costs can be agreed with the organiser, which can then be used to pay part of the bus rental.
  • A nightliner can make it easier to organise a tour, as all members of the group always sleep in the same place (the bus), which is parked in close proximity to the venue. The risk of leaving behind technical equipment, instruments or personal belongings in hotels is lower. 
  • Nightliners can be useful if the tour route leads through regions and countries with lots of traffic and few hotels and the schedule is tight. In such cases, it is often less stressful for drivers and artists to drive to the next destination at night, right after the performance.

To top

Transfer by taxi or transfer service by the organiser

When artists travel by train or plane with their equipment and instruments, it is important to organise transfers between the train station/airport and the hotel or venue.
It cannot be guaranteed that a sufficient number of taxis will be available everywhere at all times, especially taxis with sufficient luggage storage. In some places, taxi drivers only accept passengers with a limited number of luggage pieces and charge an additional fee for large suitcases, instruments or several pieces of luggage per person. Taxis may also be reluctant to drive to destinations close by, even if it is too difficult to walk this distance with the luggage.
To ensure a successful transfer by taxi, it is advisable to book a suitable car in advance. You can research the corresponding costs and companies in almost all cities and regions on the Internet.

Alternatively, the transfer can be arranged with the organiser of a guest performance. It is important to inform the organiser of the exact number, size and type of luggage items as well as the number of persons to be transported so that the transfer and pick-up service can be arranged accordingly.
It is also important to communicate the exact time and place of arrival and to ensure that the artists and drivers have each other’s' names and mobile numbers.

To top


ATA Carnet - forms, IHK Berlin (German)

Certificate musical
form 221, BfN

form 226, BfN


Tips ATA Carnet, IHK Berlin (German)

Checklis ATA Carnet

Checklist Temporary
use without ATA Carnet