Is Overlanding for me?
Updated 9 years, 6 months ago
If you’re looking at going overlanding but aren’t sure if you really want to commit to sharing the back of a huge truck with 20 odd other strangers and camping out in the middle of deepest, darkest Africa, then this may help you decide…
Potential overlanders’ biggest concerns!:
Will I get on with everyone?
This is a frequent concern for first time overlanders but it shouldn’t be. You’ve all got one thing in common to start off with – the travel bug! Of course, living in such close quarters everyone does have to make the effort to be considerate to each other and not everyone is going to be your best friend. But most people make life-long friends and some of your best overlanding memories will be about your travelling pals.
I’m nervous about going on my own
Overlanding is one of the best ways to travel if you’re on your own, especially if you’re heading off for the first time. Being thousands of miles away from home can be a bit scary and lonely at first but here you’ll have 20 odd mates to share fantastic experiences with. You’ll probably find many in your group are secretly a little nervous about the same thing or camping for the first time etc. It doesn’t take long to get to know everyone and before you know it, you’ll be having the time of your life.
Am I too young/old?
Most companies require you to be at least 18 in order to join a trip. Some companies have maximum age limits, anything from 40+ but more commonly around 60 (as many trips can be quite physically demanding). It’s worth chatting to the travel company if you’re older but really keen to go as they can let you know how demanding the trip is, what the general age group is etc. It can be a good idea for anyone to check out the age group as, forgive me if I’m stereotyping but, if you’re 18 and going on your gap year you may not want to be hanging out with a group of 40-something career-breakers and if you’re making the break at 50, you probably don’t want to be surrounded by a group of party-every-night students. Having said that, a lot of companies take a broad range of ages per trip who all get on fantastically well!
I don’t think I can cope without a hot shower every night!
Different overland trips can vary greatly in how demanding they are and what facilities you’ll get along the way. A Trans Africa expedition for example means you will be travelling for at least 4 months with a lot of long travelling days, many nights bush camping with no toilets or showers and when there are campsites the beer may be warm and the showers cold! It can be hot and dusty, you’ll get rained on and muddy – but you’ll have the adventure of a lifetime!! At the other end of the scale, there are shorter trips that use a mixture of campsites and basic hotels, hot showers are more frequent, the roads between the amazing sites you stop at are tarred and less bumpy and you visit towns more often to stock up on your little luxuries and to phone home. So if you’re a bit worried about roughing it, perhaps try one of these trips first. Or you could just jump in at the deep end and go for the big one!
I’ve never put a tent up in my life!
Don’t worry! You won’t be the only one and most crew will give you a demo on the first night. Top tip: until you get used to erecting your tent, do it before you head to the bar or it could all go horribly wrong.
I prefer independent travelling
You might be a bit concerned about this one if you’ve done a little globe-trotting already. The main aspect of independent travelling that you won’t find on an overland trip is having the choice every day of where you go and what you will do, although some overland trips, particularly the longer expedition-type ones, do allow you freedom to head off on your own for a few days and join up with the truck later. The other advantages to truck travel are having the safety and companionship of the group, camping out in the desert/bush/mountains/beach, crew who have experience of places unknown to you, easier border crossings and bureaucracy, less time organising your trip and more time enjoying it! For these reasons many travellers join overland trips to places they feel less confident travelling alone in, e.g. Africa or the Middle East.
I hoped that’s helped you decide whether overlanding is the way to go! If you think of something I haven’t, please send me a message.
Whichever way you do it, enjoy your travels!
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