ESSENTIALS FOR OVERLAND TRAVEL
To do long distance overland travel is one of the most exciting and exhilarating things you will ever do in your life, you just don't want it to be ruined by bad planning.
Good planning for an overland trip is essential so here are a few hints as to what you might need, pack and read before you leave. They include what you should do before even planning to travel abroad, what to include in your spares kit, what should go in your first aid kit and what books to read. They are only to be used as a guide as there are many more things that you can add to them... it all depends on what you think is essential!
We have learnt from experience!
Also look at our WORLD PETROL PRICES section and please contribute as you travel around the world.
You can also get an idea of distances that we have covered during our trip by going to the DISTANCES section.
Before You Leave
BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Before you leave you need to do some research on your route to take into consideration the places that you want to visit and the conditions that you will be travelling through. You will need to collect and pay for a wide range of documents to take your car around the world. You will need to obtain permission from the government to drive your car through some countries.
|V5 document (make sure it is correct) or the equivalent car document with details of chassis number, engine number, manufactured year, etc. Essential for police checks and border crossings||A carnet de passage is the passport for your vehicle, to get you in and more importantly out of countries with your vehicle! It is only required in a few countries so research into the ones you want to go to before buying as it can be expensive. From the RAC.||Car insurance from your country into Europe (most European insurances will cover you up to the Baltics if you have insurance for Europe from Britain).||Buy car insurance on every border (the only way as no one will give you expedition insurance)|
|Prepare a good first aid kit with stuff for colds, heat, upset stomach, water purification, diarrhoea, iodine, lypsyl, malaria tablets, plasters, bandages||Get an International Driving Permit or IDP (will need to be renewed after 1 year). They can be obtained from the post office in the UK. Get a photo card driving license if possible and make fake copies of them that you can give to policemen if needed.||
Buy up to date guide books for all the countries you travel through - Lonely Planet and Rough guide are very good
|Find out if you can take your car into the countries you wish to travel to. Vietnam will not allow any foreign vehicles across the border.|
|MOT certificate with the results from the last MOT||Personal Travel Insurance||Medical Insurance||Visas and letters of invitation (if required)|
|If you want to drive through China, start the process of obtaining permission a minimum of 3 months before you want to enter. You will require a Chinese driving license, new number plates, permission from every chinese authority to pass through their province and a guide with you 24 hours a day. Some tourist agencies will provide a guide for you or there are 20 official tour guide individuals that will travel with you (both for a fee of course!). Silk Road Tours or Silk Road Adventure are tour guides and can help with your journey across China.||Carry a box of things from your country i.e. sweets, toys or badges to give to policemen, border guards and new friends! Another idea is to take a polaroid camera and take photos of people to give to them - they may never have seen a picture of themselves. They will appreciate it and it can get you out of very sticky situations.||Copy all of your documents (passport, IDP etc.) and hide in a secure place on you and in your vehicle. Put copies of all your scanned in documents onto a secure internet account i.e. a designated hotmail account as well as leave a copy at home with relatives in case of emergency||Take a crash course with your local garage mechanic on how to do the 10,000 mile overhaul as well as daily checks and how to fix certain things as well as see the warning signs for other squeaks and leaks.|
|Build in secret hiding places in your vehicle for copies of documents, computers, valuables etc. A secure safe is a good way to ensure that you are happy about leaving things in the vehicle.||
Make sure you create business cards to give to interested people you meet. We created a postcard with details of our webpage and photographs of us to give to policemen, border guards and young ladies!
|Dictionary for every country or essential words in every language that you will drive through including car, garage, mechanic, I don't understand, yes, no, please, thank you, excuse me, petrol, leaded, diesel||Write up a list of everything that you have in your vehicle as you load it up. Stick a label on your tools kits to say exactly what is in it and count it in and out.|
As many up to date road maps as you can get your hands on. A GPS system is useful but you may need a lot of updates or you can use a computer based GPS which allows you to record your route. A great system that Wanderlust has set up allows you to download the most upto date maps wherever you are in the world straight to your GPS and incorporates tracks, waypoints and other data .
|Make sure your vehicle is upto it! It seems simple but if you can't even get out of the end of your road then you aren't going travelling!||And remember that although there will be a lot fo stress on your trip, you will never regret it. It is all worth it!|
Prepare a really good spares kit, you will appreciate it as you can't always get the garage mechanic to understand you and you can't be fluent in every language written on the side of the packet if you can find the packet in the first place. There are usually some really good car markets the further you get across to Asia.
|accelerator cable||o-rings, hose clips and UJs||cable, string and wire||fuses - circular and square|
|bolts, nuts, screws and clips of varying sizes||screwdrivers, a hammer, pliers, wrench and ratchet spanners as well as normal spanners||
10m of rope capable of towing you and others out of mud, snow and sand
|battery booster, jump leads|
|warning triangle and high visibility jacket (requirement in Germany and France)||fuel additive (if driving an unleaded or leaded car) and take extra just in case!||spare tyres, inner tubes, wheel nut spanner, tyre caps, tyre pressure checker, 3 tonne jack and chassis prop and compressor||oil and antifreeze (especially if you have an aluminium head (try explaining that one to garage mechanics!))|
|oil filters, air filters, fan belts and brake shoes||rad seal, silicon seal and fire gum||clutch and brake fluid, power steering fluid, EP90, gear oil and grease with gun||full set of spark plugs and spark plug removers, feeler gauge, ignitions file and brush|
|sand ladders and spade||gaffer tape, black insulating tape and no more nails||rubber gloves, overalls and tarpaulin||Redex, WD40 and EazyStart (for cold weather starts).|
|perspex for windows just in case you get broken into - good security||windscreen wipers||wind up torch and wind up radio, battery powered torch, head torch||spare bulbs for lights|
|Universal joints and track rod ends||carburettor seals||spare water pump||brake shoes|
Also don't forget to bring the manual, parts manual and handbook - they are invaluable when pointing to explain to a garage mechanic that doesn't understand your language! This spares list is not endless and there will always be somethings that you could do with!
It is possible to buy a lot of things en route but you are not always guaranteed quality or whether it is the correct product for the job. Outside of Europe we found that there are a lot of automotive markets which you were sure to get what you required, just don't rely on finding the market! Parts are always cheaper the further from Europe you travel... so if you see spares, grab them, you can always sell them on ebay later!!
Here are a few books that are good read for anyone wishing to undertake a round the world trip. These books will give you a helping hand and give you some ideas on what you should do and where you should go as well as inspire you into action.
|Tom Shepherd -Vehicle Dependent Expedition guide, ISBN: 0953232417||Peter Moore's books - especially his drive across Australia, "Crikey!"||Michael Palin's travel books||Dorling Kingsley guides|
|Wexas Handbook||Ewan MacGregor - Long Way Home||That Summer - edited by Simon Clader||Bicycle Expeditions - Paul Vickers
|Jim Rogers - Investment Biker and Adventure Capitalist||Ray Mears - Essential Bushcraft||Border Crossing - Rosie Connell||Lonely Planet guides|
|Sahara Overland, 2nd Edition: A Route and Planning Guide - Chris Scott, ISBN:1873756763||Adventure Motorcycling Handbook - Chris Scott, ISBN:1873756801||Tibet Overland: A Route and Planning Guide - Kym McConnell, ISBN:1873756410||Asia Overland: A Route and Planning Guide by Mark Elliot, Will Klass, and Mark Elliott, ISBN: 1873756100|
|Jim Rogers - Adventure Capitalist||Bill Bryson - Down Under, Notes from a Small Island, Notes from a Large Country||Who needs a road? - Harold Stephens and Albert Podell||Rough Guides|
First Aid Kit
|A good first aid kit can help you feel a lot better (!) about travelling. This is what we took with us but we added to it along the way. Some people also take antibiotics with them just in case.|
|Alka seltzer and resolve for stomach upsets/hangovers
||Antacid for stomach upsets
Anthisan and Tiger balm and Jungle Formula or a DEET based insect spray
|Arnica for bruises
||Bandages||Beechams Flu and cough medicine||Betadine and Flex Heal to give a second skin|
|Bongela for mouth ulcers||Canesten for thrush||Clarityne - Hayfever||Cod liver oil and multivitamin tablets|
|Daktarin gold for athlete’s foot||Diarrhoea tablets including Immodium and Diocalm as well as laxatives
||E45 for sore and dry skin
||Eumovate – itchy skin|
||Indigestion tablets||Karvol – clear breathing||Lemsip for colds|
|Lint||Lypsyl||Medical kit with syringes||Micropur for water disinfectant|
|Motillium for a queasy stomach||Oasis for cystitis||Painkillers including Paracetemol and Iboprufen||Plasters – strip and individual plasters|
|Rehydration powder||Safety pins||Savlon||Sinex to clear your nose|
|Skin disinfectant||Suntan lotion and aftersun||Syringe kits||Zantac|
Here are some useful web pages that we have come across whilst doing background research to our trip and we are sure that sure that you will find useful.
Other Overland Car Trips
Here are some other overland links that we have found useful during our trip preparation for information and solace!
Landyman (other 101)
The Morgans (other 101)
Enable Africa (other 101)
Other Overland Car Trips
World tour (in danish)
Trotter Moggy (in dutch)
Vrolijks On Trek (in dutch)
Landcruising (in dutch)
World Trucking (in german)
Afrika-virus (in german)
Overlander (in german)
Time town (in german)
Sandy and Tom (in german)
2 Globereporters (in french)
Bicycle Overland Adventures
Overland by Tractor
Motorbike Overland Adventures
Rota Che Guevara (in portuguese)
Panamericana (in german)
Cicero Paes (in portuguese)
Motoquimera (in spanish)
Remoto - reisen (in german)
Buena York (in portuguese)
Orta Dogu Turu (in turkish)
Walking Overland Adventures
Driving agents and Escorts
There are some parts of the world that you can't drive across unless you use an agent (the government requires that you use one) or it is wiser to have a local escort to navigate the different regions.
Updated February 2007