/// TRAVEL ADVICE
PLANNING YOUR ADVENTURE
How to plan your Adventure
Helping you kick start your planning for your adventure
// TRAVEL ADVICE - HOW TO PLAN AN OVERLAND TRIP
So you’re planning an Adventure Overland Trip. Or at least planning on planning one.
This is where your journey begins! It’s exciting, inspirational and invigorating, especially when checking out the places you want to visit and seeing photos and videos, looking at the kind of roads and routes you might take!
When you start digging further into the preparation though it can become overwhelming.
With an abundance of information on visas, carnets, border crossings, vehicle upgrades, different types of luggage, vaccinations, recommendations on everything about anything, camping gear, routes, budgeting, time it takes to do the routes, weather, home preparation, emergencies... more route options, more reviews … you may just feel like spontaneously combusting and taking a week package holiday instead!
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Don’t worry, we’ve all been there and done it and felt exactly the same.
One thing to know now is that no matter how much planning you do, it may not always go as smoothly as you’d hope and you may end up having to chop and change things accordingly. With this kind of travel you will always be learning and adapting to new travel requirements / situations / legislation and so on and so forth.
As long as you have done your basic preparation, you will be as ready to face your adventure no matter what it throws your way.
And this is where we come in. To help you get started and ease your concerns, take a look at our Expedition 52 How to Plan an Adventure Trip guide below which will give you the foundation to start your planning without being in a muddle!
To make it even easier, register to become an EXP52 Club member today for free and access our Adventure Trip Planner Spreadsheet! It combines pretty much everything you need to plan from shipping, travel, routes, petrol costs, places to see, documentation etc onto a simple spreadsheet you can organise with ease.
// EXPEDITION 52
TOP 12 ADVENTURE PLANNING ESSENTIALS
Take a glance at our quick referral list! For more details read on or select the category you're interested in!
1. ROUTE UP & READ UP
First things first, start planning out where you’d like to go and what exactly it is you’re wanting to see and do. Buy (and read!) guide books, read up on fellow traveller blogs and books, take a look at tripadvisor’s top tens, google until your heart is content and keep a note of all things that makes your eyes twinkle and toes twitch!
Here's some useful places to check out to get your started:
Prioritise Your Route and To Do’s:
Once you have an idea of what you’re wanting to see and do, prioritise your list. Afterall, you may be restricted on time and budget so make sure you get in what you want to see!
Give Yourself Extra Time:
For longer trips (you’re talking a few weeks and longer) we always recommend that you give yourself a day or two a week to take as a breather! You can always use these for discovering things you didn’t know about or perhaps worse case scenario, break downs / delays / any other issues which may occur.
For super long trips (months +) really make sure you do take time off to chill. Heck, book yourself into a proper hotel if you can and give yourself a bit of a scrub up and let someone else make up your bed in the morning and cook you some breakfast! It’s so important to take days off, travelling is not a holiday, it’s a lifestyle and can get pretty exhausting! Try not to rush, remember it’s not a race but a journey!
For help planning your routes, download for free our ADVENTURE TRAVEL PLANNER here to plot your routes and also any must-see destinations on the way!
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To make the most of your adventure, check up on the yearly climate of each destination you’re planning on travelling through. This way you can set off at the right time and head in the direction best weather wise. It also gives you a good heads up as to what gear and clothing you need to take!
Here’s some great sites to check out the weather systems abroad:
Set a budget and then add some!
It tends to be inevitable that you end up spending more than your carefully calculated figures in the first place. This can be due to a number of things, be it extra costs for visiting unplanned places, repairing or replacing travel items, breaking down, spoiling yourself for some posh nosh, upgrading equipment etc etc.
We always recommend to add a healthy percentage to your planned budget and to ALWAYS make sure you calculate enough monies to put aside untouched in order to get you out of a sticky situation (emergency flights home / break downs / illness).
To help you with budget planning, register with our EXP52 CLUB and download our ADVENTURE BUDGET PLANNER – all for free! It covers everything from gear lists, flights, shipping, petrol, travel costs, insurance, vehicle upgrades and so much more! Just bosh in your figures, add anything extra you may want and all the figures will be calculated for you to use as an estimate!
4. GEAR & PACK LIST
Making sure you are equipped for your trip!
Armed with the knowledge of the weather systems you’re planning on facing and type of terrain you’re going to be traversing getting the right gear will ensure you make the most of your adventure.
Categories of things you will need to consider for your trip:
Health and Hygiene
Emergency Kits (Repair Kit / Survival Kit)
The best way to keep on top of this is to have a list prepared. Download our ADVENTURE TRAVEL PLANNER spreadsheet which has a gear list section with all the basics already inputted for general travel to help you get started! Simply register for free and access a load of great resources for your trip! You can then update them and put in whether you’ve yet to buy / pack them and any extra details on each item. It’s a great way to keep track of where you’re at.
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5. PAPERWORK PREPARATION
The boring bit!
Getting all your documents lined up and prepped will save you trouble when travelling. It can be a bore and a repetitive process trying to get the best prices with multiple form filling but once you’re done you’re ready to rumble!
Travel Visa. A travel visa is a document which allows you to legally enter a country for a specific length of time for the purposes of travelling. Each country will have their specific requirements as to whether you will need one and what is required when applying for a travel visa. It can sometimes take quite a few weeks – if not months – to apply and finally be issued with a visa so plan these in well in advance.
ESTA / ETAs
Both an ESTA and ETA are much the same as a VISA in the respect they give you the authorisation to travel within the countries such as the USA, Australia or Canada for a set period of time. As of early 2017, it is recommended to apply at least 72 hours before travelling as a bare minimum but ideally well before then.
Something often not checked before travelling is the time you have left on your passport! Many countries will not allow you to enter if you have 6 months or less left on your passport from the date you plan on returning! So check and get this sorted well in advance!
To renew your passport you can pick up an application form from your local post office or alternatively complete the application online, print it off and send it away!
For more information, take a look at our VISA / ESTA / ETA page:
Carnet De Passage (CPD) and International Driving Permits (IDP)
So if you’re planning on taking a vehicle with you on your adventure, there’s a possibility you may need a carnet or IDP for your journey.
In short, a Carnet De Passage (CPD) is a customs document which allows you to temporarily import your vehicle (i.e. travel in your vehicle) through a variety of countries without having to pay any duties.
The International Driving Permit (IDP) on the other hand is an official, multi-language translation of your UK drivers licence which is recognised worldwide.
Not all countries will require either and as with all applications for documents, they can take a few weeks to set up so plan these ones well in advance of leaving.
For more information, take a look at our on Carnets and IDP’s page:
It’s always better to be safe than sorry so getting the right insurance set up for your adventure will give you peace of mind when travelling. There are a lot of comparison sites out there now but not all of them give you the full details of the policies on offer. Be sure to request these and read them in full (including the small print) before signing on the dotted line and handing over your wonga!
We recommend looking at the follow insurances before travelling, although please note that certain travel and circumstances may require other forms of insurances.
General Travel Insurance (if you’re travelling as a pair or in groups you can sometimes save pennies by doing a dual/multiple insurance policy)
Vehicle Travel Insurance
For more information, take a look at our Insurance page:
7. HEALTH & VACCINATIONS
Fine tuning yourself
Making sure you’re fit and healthy for your adventure will make for a more adventurous time! We’re not just talking about getting the right jabs but also ensuring your fit in yourself for your plans.
Our recommendations for planning a healthy, spritely adventure:
Visit the Docs. Take a trip to your doctors for a general check up! Making sure everything is ticketyboo is always a good start to your trip. For the ladies be sure you are up to date with any smear tests and won’t be missing any whilst away! Whilst you’re there it’s a good time and to ask for any prescriptions you may need in advance and any advice on vaccination requirements. Some doctors will be able to book you in for various vaccinations at the surgery but for others you may need to visit your local health travel clinic.
Vaccinations. As mentioned above, make a few quick calls to confirm what it is you’re needing in advance and the length of time it will take to have the full course to complete the vaccination. Some can take up to 5 weeks + with 3 to 4 visits! Time to get yourself booked in!
Visit the Dentist. Tooth ache sucks! A quick visit and sit down in The Chair will help forecast any potential mouth problems which you can sort before you’re off.
Medical Kit. Get yourself the best suited medical kit for your trip – don’t leave without it! You ideally won’t have to use it but it’s always best to be prepared!
Get fit for the purpose of your trip. Being physically healthy is pretty important when travelling, especially if you plan on exerting yourself to the extreme be it rock climbing, trekking, motorbiking difficult terrains, cycling etc. If you can, speak to a physical trainer and get a professional plan drawn up for your specific needs. Also, ask for a fitness plan to have WHILST travelling. It’s so easy to get out of shape when travelling so get into a routine before you go and it will be easier to maintain whilst you’re on the move.
Mind over Matter. So you’re physically shipshape, but be sure to be mentally geared for your trip. All the preparation and excitement, changes, applications, saying goodbyes etc can become overwhelming so be sure to set some you time aside for you to switch off from it all. Be prepared that your adventure will put you in situations you may have never been in and may push you to your limits, cause stress, make you miss home and generally have the blues. It’s okay to be like this but make sure you have someone to talk to and if things get tough it’s fine to come home or seek help!
Please note we are not a medical authority and can only provide guidance or suggestions. Always follow up any advice given with the relevant medical authorities prior to any action you take to ensure you have the most up to date and relevant advice that is suitable to your individual needs.
For more information on keeping fit and healthy for your adventure, take a look at our Travel Health Page:
If you’re looking at shipping your vehicle to your destination, it’s worth to get the ball rolling early on so you know where you stand.
You’ll initially have to decide between Sea or Air Freight. Here are some considerations to help you along the way:
Cost. Sea Freight is often cheaper, although not always by much and on the rare occasion can cost the same if not more. You can either be charged by container sizes (of which you can try to arrange to share the costs with fellow travellers) or by the weight and size of your vehicle. Where you can get caught out though is by the import duties and taxes and the port so make sure you identify these costs before booking your travel!
Air Freight tends to be a lot more costly upon initial glance. The cost will be based on the chargeable weight of your vehicle. The chargeable weight is generally the volumetric size of the packed vehicle but if your vehicle weight exceeds this, they will charge according to that weight.
So the chargeable weight can usually be calculated as…
Size of Crate or Shipment = (Height x Width x Length in cm) / 5000
Chargeable Weight = Weight of Vehicle (sometimes including crate/sometimes excluding depending on airline)
… Whichever is heavier!
As with Sea Freight, you may also have to pay import and export fees as well as other costs depending on your destination – be sure to check before booking!
Timing. Sea Freight. You can deliver your vehicle to the port and then from there it depends on the shipping schedule and time it takes to travel. Naturally takes longer to arrive to it’s destination (from days / weeks to months) and weather can cause both minor and major delays. Once it has arrived at it’s destination it has been known for same day pick up but can take much longer.
Air Freight. As with Sea Freight you can normally drop your vehicle down to the airline 24 hours prior to flight and then be collected within 24hours of arriving at it’s destination. Again, there can be delays from bad weather or incidents but normally these are rectified quickly by the air liner.
Crating. A lot of travellers opt to pack their own vehicle for shipping which requires a bit of prep. Make sure you find out the regulations for freighting your vehicle before rocking up with some wood and nails and boshing something together! Alternatively you can get an agent to arrange this for you.
Agents. Freighting your own vehicles without the aid of an agent is possible although becoming much more difficult with stricter regulations. For normally a negligible amount, using an agent can make life much easier and reduce the stress of shipping at the start of your adventure. With forms filled, they can negotiate the best prices for you and ensure all the correct documentations and costs are set out from the word go. Well worth their weight in gold and to put your mind at ease.
For more information on shipping, take a look at our Shipping advice page:
9. VEHICLE PREPARATION & UPGRADES
Getting to know your vehicle before leaving is a big recommendation from us! This can be done whilst upgrading your vehicle or by spending time working on it and learning about how it ticks!
Create a List. Get a list together of what you’re wanting as upgrades and prioritise it according to the items you need first up and the extras as a last job. You can use our ADVENTURE BUDGET PLANNER for free to help figure out costs and make yourself a useful list of to-do’s!
Tinker and Learn. Play with your vehicle. Read up on it and if you can, see if you can spend some time with a mechanic you know who can run through some basic how to’s with it. Be it from changing oil, tyres, other kinds of vehicle maintenance etc… it’s all good to have a lesson from a pro!
Service. Get your vehicle up to scratch with any kind of service before you leave. Let your dealer or mechanic know what it’s about to go through and ask them to do a thorough check over to make sure it’s all dandy.
10. LEARN THE LINGO
Okay so we’re not talking getting a PHD and being fluent but getting a basic few lines down which will ultimately help you on your trip when chinwagging with the locals. Either pick up a local phrase book or google translate some popular phrases you are likely to use.
Here’s a basic list of suggested phrases to look up – if you sign up and download our travel planner there’s a few extra there and a place to keep all your phrases/print them off with ease!
Yes / No
Do you speak English?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
How much is that?
Please can you write that down for me?
Where is the bathroom?
Do you have any rooms available?
I would like a room for ** people please
Can I camp here?
Do you have a shower we can use?
Where can I park?
I am lost
I need a doctor
Where is the doctors?
Where is the hospital?
Where is the UK Embassy?
Please call the UK Embassy
Please call an ambulance
Please call the police
My blood type is ___
Their blood type is ___
I am allergic to ___
I am a British Citizen
General Travel / Vehicles:
Where is the petrol station?
Where is the local bus station?
Where is the train station?
How do I get to **?
Please can you show me on the map?
Where is the local garage?
Where can I find a mechanic?
Food / Drink:
Where can I get something to eat?
Where is there a supermarket / Restaurant / Café?
What is this?
How much is this?
Please can I have a drink of **?
Please can I order **?
I am allergic to **
Planning for an emergency.
Okay, so it’s not really an eventuality you want to think about but it’s something we urge you to plan for. There’s some simple steps you can take to help plan as below:
Contacts and Info. Make a list of important contacts and addresses for the locations you are travelling to. Include addresses and telephone numbers for embassy’s, emergency services, hospitals, your insurance company, next of kin, local garages / mechanics.
Get Tracked. Set yourself up with a tracker, such as Spot Tracker. This normally requires a yearly subscription but gives you something for family and friends to follow you on and the opportunity to let them know you’re okay or if you need help!
Sat Phones. Some people are content with just taking a mobile phone but in some places your signal may be non existent! Another option is to get yourself a Sat Phone set up. Normally a monthly or yearly subscription is required.
Use our ADVENTURE TRIP PLANNER for free to record all of your important emergency details which you can then print off or keep on a USB stick with you.
12. HOME PREPARATION
Leaving nothing behind
So you have the basic structure to plan when you’re away, but what about all you’re leaving behind! Read below to find out some of the important things to consider doing before you leave on your adventure travel trip!
Your Home and Vehicle. If you’re a home owner, you maybe leaving it unoccupied whilst travelling or you may choose to rent it out. Things you will need to consider on both accounts:
Insurance. Notifying your insurance company of your absence or changing the policy to cover letting your property is definitely something you want to get in order before you get going!
Mortgage. If you’re hoping to rent your property be sure to check with your mortgage lender that you are able to do this without causing any issues with them.
Council Tax. Whether you’re vacating the property or renting it, let the council know your plans and ensure they bill the correct people or change it so it reflects it being a vacated property.
Gas / Electricity / Water. More important if you’re planning on renting out your property as something you need to agree with your tenants as to who is paying and how. If you’re leaving it empty for a long period of time, it’s worth considering changing your tariffs or going metered to save on pennies!
Property Maintenance. If renting, consider having a property maintenance company deal with your tenants and any problems which may occur. When you’re in the middle of no where, trying to source a plumber in the middle of the night to come out to your home to fix a bust boiler will cause you major headaches! It’s always an idea for those to take a number of a local builder / electrician / plumber you trust with you as a just-in-case!
Heating. Sounds bonkers, but if you’re leaving your property vacant, it’s worth keeping the heating switching on and off here and there, especially during the winter months so to avoid mouldy patches and problems with pipes!
Lighting. We always recommend setting up a timer for your lighting to switch on and off in the evenings if your property is being left empty.
Post and Plants. To save yourself from coming back to a wedged door with tonnes of mail and a home full of dead plants and a jungle of a garden, organise for someone you trust to come in on a regular basis to collect all your mail, top up plants and mow the lawn! If it’s easier, get any important post redirected to a family member or friend (with their permission!) via your local post office!
Your Vehicle. Namely Insurance / MOT / Tax / SORN. Depending on the length of time you’re looking at heading away, you may want to make sure your MOT / Insurance and Tax isn’t due before heading off. Nothing worse than coming back to a fine for delayed Tax payments! If you’re off gallivanting for a long time it may even be an option to SORN your vehicle to save any additional costs.
Banks. You’re more than likely going to be taking some bank cards with you so don’t forget to give your Bank a buzz and let them know which countries you will be visiting and for how long. Take this opportunity to find out how much it will cost to use a bank card abroad – it may be worth opening up another account elsewhere if it’s going to cost you mega bucks.
So! You’ve reached the bottom! There’s a lot to take in but it’s a good guide to get you started. Remember, this is advice only and may not apply to everyone’s situation. Please be sure to check with your local authorities, be it the government, health organisations or brokers to ensure you are advised with the latest requirements and regulations.
Before you go be sure to take full advantage of our micro managed spreadsheets to help you set yourself up with ease! You can download them by registering for free to become an EXP52 Club Inspired Adventurer! Not only can you get some great resources but also some exclusive deals and discounts!