General advice

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Welcome to the Overland General Advice Page.

The information below is intended to give advice and information about issues and problems commonly faced by Overlanders. Feel free to add information questions if you need further clarification.

My Vehicle Registration will expire while I'm on the road. What do I do?[edit]

There are a few ways this can be handled.

  1. Depending on where your vehicle is registered, it might be possible to renew it online, or have a relative go the relevant authority to renew it on your behalf. Check with your local auto-registation office if this is an option. Once it's renewed, you'll need to get the new papers sent to you on the road.
  2. Lots of overlanders put their vehicle into "NoOp" (No Operation) status - i.e. once they've left the first world, they tell the registering office they will not be driving the vehicle, and the registration won't be valid anymore. It can easily be resumed upon returning. When doing this, Overlanders then just show their Title at each border crossing, as it won't expire. (see note below about expired registration)
  3. Lots of overlanders simply let their registration (and associated insurance from home state/province) expire while on the road, and don't bother renewing it until returning to the first world. When doing this, Overlanders then just show their Title at each border crossing, as it won't expire. (see note below about expired registration)

NOTE on Expired Registration: When traveling with expired Vehicle Registration, many overlanders have said nobody at borders will even notice, while others have been called out on it immediately. Everyone's experience is a little different. If you choose to travel with expired registration, there are a couple of pieces of advice that are worth following:

  1. Only show your Title at each border crossing - if the border officer asks, just say that document is the registration and title.
  2. Make a copy of your Vehicle Registration and fake the expiry date, or remove it completely. Use a scanner and a photo editing program, then a color printer. Laminating it will make it look more offical. This option is by far the easiest for travel in undeveloped countries, especially for people without a vehicle title (i.e. Canadian registered vehicles)

I've heard about making a copy of my Drivers license. What's that about?[edit]

A common bribery tactic is for the officer to ask for your Drivers license, then not give it back unless you pay them money.
To counter this, it's common practice to make a couple of copies of your Drivers license, and only hand out copies, never the original. That way you won't be worried if the officer won't give it back.
Use a scanner, photo editing program, color printer and laminate the copies to make them look more real.
You can extend this advice to your Vehicle Registration, Title, and any other important documents you would not want to lose the original for.

NOTE: Copies of documents should NEVER be used in First World countries.

Do I need and International Driving Permit (IDP)?[edit]

Everyone's experience is different on this - some people can drive though 20+ countries without ever being asked for an IDP, other people will be asked in their first country.
The most common advice given is to get an IDP before you leave home. It's cheap, and you never know if you're going to need it or not, so it's better to have it.

My vehicle on has one license plate, should I get/make a second one?[edit]

Some vehicles will only have one plate issued from the registering office. While it's completely possible to drive around the world with only one plate, it's just another avenue for bribery attempts and hold ups at border crossings.
If your vehicle only has one plate, the common advice is to get a second plate made at a sign writer and attach it to the vehicle. Attach plates with security screws so they can not easily be taken off.

What do I do about insurance for my vehicle and stuff?[edit]

Comprehensive insurance for a vehicle and contents is extremely expensive when driving through multiple countries, very few overlanders do this.
Countries that require third party insurance will force you to buy it at the border. Check the page for that country in WikiOverland, details and prices are listed.

What do I do about travel insurance for people?[edit]

World Nomads offer the most flexible Travel Insurance at the best prices for multi-country / multi-year trips. You can buy, extend and claim online, even after you've left home.
Other options include...

What do Overlanders do for long-term Malaria medication?[edit]

Above all else, it's highly recommended to always cover up in the mornings and evenings, wearing long pants, sleeves, socks and shoes. Also bug nets and bug sprays containing DEET are recommended when in Malaria areas.
As for medication, advice on this topic is very varied, with everyone having their own advice and experience.
Recent discussions on the topic in various Overland Facebook groups are here, here, here and here.

Overland and off road safety advice?[edit]

Tips for the beginner overlander & off-roader - Off Road driving tips