TSS: Planning & Preparation


Note 1: Most of the below Tipps & Tricks are geared toward the traveller from Europe. 

Note 2: There are many good companies and organizations that can provide you with equipment, parts, information etc. The list has no means of merit to any of the listed neither of not listed organizations. The companies described below are simply those I have used or dealt with to my satisfaction and can recommend. 

Web-Links you want to have in your favorites for the preparation:

http://panamericanainfo.com/ offeres a wealth of information for the preparation of your trip whether you are still at home or already on the go and looking for the latest on specific subjects. Hundreds of links to fellow-travellers and a fast panamericana search-engine. 

http://drivetheamericas.com/ the second panamericana specific web site I am using, as panamericanainfo from travellers for travellers


the day I picked it up at ORB
Off-Road-Böhlen: Andreas Böhlen, the owner of the shop will give you perfect advise and plan your vehilce with you, he will not sell you something you don't need, unless you insist. This is where I had the pop-up roof and some other modifications on my Toyota done and bought most of the material for it. According to my research one of, if not the best place to get the roof chopped off of your truck. You can have an entire vehicle custom built or buy your new Euro-5 HZJ Land Cruiser there. Full service maintenance shop and parts supply as well. 
Contact: Off-Road-Böhlen, Seestrasse 24, CH-3600 Thun, Switzerland Tel.: 033 221 06 19, Fax: 033 221 68 42 E-Mail: info@orb.ch 

At ATW off-road training
Atlas Travel World: Buy all kind of high-end outdoor gear, take off-road driving and 4x4 maintenance classes or buy your roof tent at ATW. If you are more the group tour kind of guy, check ATW's web site for guided tours. Excellent book and map store as well. 
Contact: ATW, Expedition-Service, Bahnhofstrasse 76, CH-3232 Ins Switzerland, Tel. +41 32 313 4407
Bookstore: Atlas Reisebuchladen & Outdoor-Shop, Schauplatzgasse 21, CH-3011 Bern, Tel. +41 31 311 90 44

Swiss Unlimted GmbH: I have bought various parts, i.e. all the WAECO equipment, my AGM batteries and other things from Swiss Unlimited. Beat Schärz, Managing Director of Swiss Unlimited will go above and beyond and will organize even parts you might not find on their web page.  
Contact: Swiss Unlimited GmbH, Breitistrasse 18, CH-8302 Kloten, Switzerland, Tel. +41 44 777 74 90 E-Mail: b.schaerz@swissunlimited.ch 

Tourfactory: I have ordered some parts for the modification and some spare parts to take along from Tourfactory in Germany. You can also have a Camper-Typ Cabin manufactured for your Toyota at tourfactory, I can not state on the quality as I have not seen one live. You can download the Cataloge on-line, you can find some unique things you might not find somewhere else and also some valuable information in the catalogue if you are building your own vehicle. 
Contact: tourfactory Expeditionsbedarf, Alst 12A, D-41379 Brüggen, Germany, Tel. +49 21 57 87 2277, E-Mail: info@tourfactory.de

Tom's Fahrzeugtechnik: I have once looked at a used already built up Toyota at Tom's but decided to build my own. Nevertheless I have ordered some parts at Toms. Delivery to the none EU country Switzerland was quick, with the correct paperwork and no troubles at all.

Outdoor Gear:

Spatz Camping: This unique small, 20 employee company is manufacturing top-quality tents in Switzerland, right in the City of Zurich. Spatz has been providing campers, especially boy and girl scouts since 77 years with equipment, actually long before fancy names like functional clothes and such existed. But you can purchase much more than tents at Spatz. Camping stoves, clothes etc. Check out their website for details and an on-line shop.  
Contact: SPATZ Camping AG, Hedwigstrasse 25, CH-8032 Zürich, Switzerland, Tel. +41 44 383 38 38 E-Mail: info@spatz.ch

Hillberg tent, bought at Transa
Transa: For all kind of non-vehicle related outdoor gear. Click here for your nearest store.

hajk: Everything for the life outside of your four walls. Tents, Backpacks and all sorts of equipment. Check the web page for the on-line store and their locations in Bern and Zurich.

Books & Maps:

Travel Book Store: If you are living in Switzerland and like to travel, you will sure know this store, this is an institution since 1975, right in the heart of Zurich's pretty old town. The address for books and maps. Visit their web page the on-line shop is separated to countries, which makes it easy to find books and maps for the country of your dreams. What is not on hand in the store will be ordered for you.
Contact: Travel Book Store, Rindermarkt 20, CH-8022 Zürich, Switzerland, Tel. +41 44 252 38 83, E-Mail: info@travelbookshop.ch

Orell Füessli: Zürich's biggest book store, maps, guide books etc. On-line shop: www.books.ch 
Contact: Click here for store addresses

Insurance & Paperwork:

Carne de Passage: (not needed for a Panamericana Trip) can be obtained at the Automobil Clubs, in Switzerland for example at TCS or ACS.

Insurance: You are European and want to travel with a European Vehicle? It might be difficult for you to obtain insurance in a foreign country, especially in the US. Below find where I have obtained insurance for my truck, which is registred in Switzerland. 

USA/Canada: Tourinsure in Germany, Tourinsure is also offering a South-America package, however some of the countries are excluded so you will have to be very careful to really have coverage in the specific country.

Mexico: I have bought insurance on-line at www.bajabound.com, very simple and quick, you get your policy and insurance card on-line, all you need is a printer and you will have the paperwork you need.

Guatemala: Insurance is not mandatory. (I recommend you have sufficient cash (in USD) with you to settle a possible dispute on-site)

Honduras: I have bought insurance at the border

Nicaragua: I have bought insurance at the border

Costa Rica: I have bought insurance at the border

Panama: I have bought insurance at the border

Colombia: I have bought insurance at the border

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