Overland Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to the Overland Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
The information below is intended to give an overview of Overland Travel. Feel free to add questions if you need further clarification.
- 1 What is "Overland Travel"?
- 2 Wait, I can drive around the world?
- 3 Surely only National Geographic and sponsored people can do that kind of thing?
- 4 Whoa, that's cool.
- 5 What about all those Oceans?
- 6 Surely Overlanding is a difficult thing to do?
- 7 Why bother? You could just jump on a tourist bus like everybody else
- 8 Sounds dangerous. Is It?
- 9 Border crossings must be a nightmare?
- 10 You mentioned insurance, tell me more.
- 11 Overlanding sounds horribly expensive. Is it?
- 12 Can I buy gasoline / diesel everywhere?
- 13 I'm not a mechanic, I'm doomed.
- 14 OK, I'm starting to warm up to the idea, where can I learn more?
- 15 Is there anything I can do to help?
- 16 Come on, I've never even left my own country. I can't help Overlanders, can I?
- 17 This is exciting! I can't wait to get out there on my own Overland adventure!
What is "Overland Travel"?
Overland Travel (commonly called "Overlanding") is all about traveling through countries "on the land", with some kind of vehicle, for an extended amount of time. Exactly where you go, what vehicle you take and how long you go for are all up to you!
From the Overlanding page on Wikipedia:
Overlanding is the self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal. Typically, but not exclusively, accommodated by mechanized off-road capable transport (from bicycles to trucks) where the principal form of lodging is camping; often lasting for extended lengths of time (months to years) and spanning international boundaries.
People that participate in Overlanding are often called Overlanders.
Wait, I can drive around the world?
There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of people out there this very minute driving and riding motorbikes around the world.
Surely only National Geographic and sponsored people can do that kind of thing?
Not true at all.
The vast majority of Overlanders out there are ordinary people looking for an extraordinary adventure. They have no commercial sponsorship and are by no means "rich".
If you want to get out there, you absolutely can.
Whoa, that's cool.
Yep, it sure is.
That's why WikiOverland exists, so that everyone out there can get the information they need to head out on the trip of a lifetime.
What about all those Oceans?
Good question, I can see you're no dummy. That's where ocean freight comes in. Drive your vehicle into a shipping container, get it loaded onto a container ship and meet it on the next continent. Overlanders with motorbikes often use regular commercial airplanes to move their bikes around. It's not nearly as difficult or expensive as you think. See the Vehicle Shipping page for more information.
Surely Overlanding is a difficult thing to do?
As with all amazing journeys, the reward is in the challenge, and Overlanding has some interesting challenges, that's for sure!
Why bother? You could just jump on a tourist bus like everybody else
Like. Every. Body. Else.
Overlanding is about going where you want, when you want, whether a bus does or not.
Overlanding is about connecting to the land and the local people.
Overlanding is about a sense of self-reliant achievement.
Overlanding is an extremely exciting and rewarding way to travel.
Sounds dangerous. Is It?
As with any kind of travel, it's up to you which countries you visit and where you go within those countries. With some thought and planning, there is no reason for Overlanding to be more dangerous than other forms of travel.
Border crossings must be a nightmare?
Every country is different, but for the most part it's not difficult. For example, it's simple enough to drive from Alaska to Argentina, through some 16 countries without any pre-organized agreements or paperwork. Simply show up at the border, fill out a few forms, purchase insurance when required, and you are on your way into the next country. In other parts of the world there are countries that require a Carnet de Passage for entry, which is kind of like a Passport for your vehicle. Learn more at the Carnet de Passage page
You mentioned insurance, tell me more.
Some countries require the vehicle to be covered with local insurance for the duration of the stay. This is often inexpensive and easy to purchase. See the detailed List Of Countries for specific information on each country.
Overlanding sounds horribly expensive. Is it?
Short Answer: No.
In the interests of saving money to prolong their journey, most Overlanders choose to camp wherever possible and cook their own meals, saving massive amounts on accommodation and food. While it's an added expense to purchase gasoline, Overlanders save money in airplanes, buses and taxis. Short of hitchhiking everywhere, Overlanding is a very economical way to travel large distances for long periods of time.
Can I buy gasoline / diesel everywhere?
You need to remember that every country in the world has cars, trucks and motorbikes.
That means they all have gasoline & diesel.
I'm not a mechanic, I'm doomed.
Not at all. As with the above, because every country has cars, they also have mechanics willing to help and spare parts. With some basic knowledge, some well chosen spare parts, a willingness to learn a new language and make new friends, getting stranded is highly unlikely. See the Vehicle Choice and Vehicle Modification pages for more information.
OK, I'm starting to warm up to the idea, where can I learn more?
You're already here!
WikiOverland contains all the information you need to Overland anywhere in the world. From border crossings to gas prices and availability, it's all here. If you want to have informal discussions, read trip reports from people out there and meet other Overlanders, checkout the Overland Discussion Forums page.
Is there anything I can do to help?
I'm glad you asked.
Any information you have about your own country will help the community immensely. Take five minutes and put it into WikiOverland.
Come on, I've never even left my own country. I can't help Overlanders, can I?
Living in your own country you know a ton of things that can help others. You know things like gas prices, camping, drinking water, roads, maps, police bribery, etc., etc. The list goes on. All of this information is invaluable to Overlanders. Please take five minutes to find your country on the List Of Countries and add the information. (If your country is not on the list yet, please see the page country template for instructions on adding your country)
This is exciting! I can't wait to get out there on my own Overland adventure!
Overlanding is extremely rewarding and addictive. Be sure to talk to past and current overlanders - they all love telling overland travel stories and will keep you inspired for hours.