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Old 10-15-2017, 01:13 PM   #1
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New member: driving the Pan American highway in 2018

Hi guys,

Love this forum!

I am planning on driving the Pan American highway Alaska to Argentina starting in 2018 and of course I want to do this in style in a converted school bus!

6 years ago I drove from London to Bangkok in a converted minibus picking up random travellers along the way which was a phenomenal experience but I want to now go bigger and better and so would love to get any tips I can to make the dream a reality.


I am an Aussie living in Amsterdam (and so planning from abroad) but plan on packing my bags and flying to either Alaska or Canada to locate and purchase a bus, start a conversion and get basic insurance so I can drive on a regular drivers licence in under 4 weeks and then start driving.

I have a few questions to get started:
- Has anyone had experience as a foreigner getting skoolies licensed and insurance which would cover me for Canada and USA?
- I am not talented enough to do the rebuild myself, does anyone have experience with using hired help for a skoolie in Alaska/Canada?
- I'm doing as much research as I can on all the "watch-outs" and things I need to sort out first, I'd really appreciate any general advice for how things work in North America with this sort of thing.

Finally the idea of this project is to follow the same style as my last adventure from London to Bangkok - picking up travellers, creating amazing multimedia content and building a community. So if you are interested in getting involved in a new project let me know!

Very much appreciated
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Old 10-17-2017, 02:40 PM   #2
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Welcome !

Wow !

You're not one to sit around and read a book, it seems. Your schedule for building a vehicle seems optimistic for such a lengthy journey.

Can't wait to hear more about your journey !

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Old 10-17-2017, 03:31 PM   #3
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I hear rumors of issues if you have air brakes and try to drive across Canada or in canada at all.. Hydraulic brake busses are pretty plentiful.
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Old 10-18-2017, 01:49 AM   #4
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New member: driving the Pan American highway in 2018

Iíve heard similar rumors about air brakes in Canada, but best I can tell they are just rumors. This was something that worried me a good deal as our family has property north of the border that we will undoubtably visit. There do seem to be some provinces that require residents to have an air brake endorsement, but others that donít. That was the first tip off that this is likely a fish tale, I donít believe there is any such Canadian law, vehicles and licenses are primarily regulated by the provinces, much like the states, and each has different rules just as the states do. But I can find nothing to confirm that any province has enforced this on visiting RVs registered in and driven by a licensed driver from a state / province that does not have that requirement. They all have the same sort of reciprocal agreements that the states do, so as long as you are legal to drive the vehicle where you are ďfromĒ you should be fine.

South Dakota is one state a lot of RVers register their vehicles in as they have very accommodating residency requirements. Some folks register their buses in Vermont as they seem happy to put plates on just about anything regardless of whether you are a resident. So those might be worth checking out, though I have no idea how that might work for a non-citizen.


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Old 10-18-2017, 03:34 AM   #5
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i live in alberta canada. if your vehicle has air brakes you are required to take a training course for them. im pretty sure that it can be done in a day or two though so it shouldnt really be a problem. and for visiting or passing through vehicles i dont believe that its required no.
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Old 10-18-2017, 03:54 AM   #6
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also keep in mind to save some money for crossing the darien gap. its a dense stretch or rainforest between central america and south america with no road going through it. (approx 160 km) youll have to take a boat from central america to columbia. read up on how much itll cost and use that to help choose your vehicle too. apparently they charge per cubic foot of space which means a bus could cost upwards of a thousand dollars to ship.
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