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Overlanding: What to Know and How to Organize It Properly

Every now and again, we all need a break from the dullness of the city and we set out on a great adventure. And a great way to do that is by going overlanding. This activity has been booming in popularity recently, particularly among people that wish to get away from all the city madness.



However, to make the most of it, you’ll need to know what overlanding is, where it came from – and how you need to prepare for it so that your trip is successful, especially if you’re traveling with your kids. This article should provide all the basics that you need to know.

What Is Overlanding?

More often than not, overlanding is confused with off-road driving – but that is not exactly true. Indeed, overlanding involves a lot of off-roading – but at the same time, you might remain on the beaten track.

You will be going “over lands” – which means that right now you might be going on a steep hill and later on, you might be driving through cities. Some may say that overlanding is the equivalent of a road trip – but while the road trip puts an emphasis on the destination, overlanding focuses mostly on the landscape on the way.

Most of the time, when you are overlanding, you do not even know where you are going. It’s all about the journey itself – and while you may prepare a route and a destination beforehand, most of the charm is in what you are experiencing along the way.

For many people, overlanding is a family adventure – and the age of the person in the car does not matter. As long as you have an attraction for the outdoors and are willing to dig your car out of the occasional hole every now and again, you should be able to do it.

The Origins of Overlanding

Some would say that overlanding traces back all the way to the 13th century when Marco Polo conducted his trip from Venice to the Court of Kublai Khan. It would take a few more centuries until that “ancient overlanding, would become the modern overlanding that we know today.

When overlanding began, it had its origins in Australia – where farmers had to continuously move their cattle around as the seasons changed. The term was used to describe the experience that they went through during the journey.

Now, overlanding enthusiasts use motorized vehicles to gain the same experience – to travel miles and learn about the places surrounding them.

The Popularity Growth of Overlanding

With the growth of technology, overlanding became a more and more popular activity. Many people nowadays can work remotely, which has given people a lot of flexibility to pack up and take their work on the road. And all they needed was a good car, some provisions, a laptop, and perhaps a modem or hotspot for an Internet connection.

Overlanding has also become fairly popular due to the fact that it’s cost-effective. Because of the nature of the trip, you do not have to spend a lot of money to stay at a hotel and eat fancy restaurant food. All you need is your car, some camping equipment, and you are good to go.

Overlanding became popular as a friends’ or family activity – because the more, the merrier. The time on the road would allow you to connect with your spouse, your children – or anyone else that would accompany you on your trip. It provides closure and flexibility – which is why it took on to the people to this extent.

Routes for Overlanding

When it comes to overlanding, the world is your oyster. However, if you need some guidance on some good routes, here are a few popular ideas for you:

  • The Pan American Highway: Going all the way from Alaska to Argentina, the Pan American highway is perhaps the most popular option for overlanders everywhere. And the best part is that this road can be achieved even if you are traveling with your kids.

  • The Rubicon Trail, California: If you need something a bit more challenging, then the Rubicon Trail should definitely be the one to go for. Featuring both paved roads and dirt trails, this will take you through some of the most beautiful landscapes of California.

  • The Silk Road: Want a longer trip? If that is the case, then this one will take you all the way from China to Rome or Paris – or any part of Europe that you may want. It is certainly a spectacular road to go through.

There are many other beautiful routes that you can try out, such as Cape Town to Cairo, Europe to Singapore, or the classic Australia. Each of them will provide vast overlanding opportunities, ensuring that your trip is highly satisfying.

How to Prepare for Overlanding When You’re Traveling With Your Kids

You may think that overlanding is a “go with the flow” kind of activity – but part of the fun is actually planning the journey itself. Overlanding trips are generally longer in their duration compared to other trips – which is why you need to make sure that you prepare everything to the last detail.

  • Money: Sure, you won’t be staying at hotels – but you’ll still need enough money for food, fuel, campsites, park entries, and so on. Make sure to have enough money for your whole trip.

  • Vehicle: Overlanding involves going on a variety of off-roads – which might not be possible with your average 4×4 vehicle.

  • Destinations: While the idea of going in blind might sound tempting, you’ll need to think about some fun destinations along the way too. Add some museums, festivals – and maybe some easy trekking, theme parks, and other activities that your children might enjoy.

  • Space: Do you have enough space in your car? The last thing you want is to feel like every piece of gear in your car is taking up all of your space. Children, in particular, might feel uncomfortable with this, so make sure that you have all the space that you need.

  • Daily Drives: Sitting continuously in a car seat is not going to be comfortable for anyone – which is why you need to get out of the car every now and again. Plan shorter trips so that you may stretch your legs, and also so that your children will not get bored.

  • Gear: Make a list of all the gear that you might need, and ensure that everything is at hand. Try to travel light but never go off without the essentials (for your car, camping, etc.). Also, if you are traveling with your kids, you might want to take some toys, games or items of their interest as well.

  • Other: Consider other aspects that you may particularly need during this trip. Also, if you are going on a longer trip with your kids, you might want to consider homeschooling (or, well, road schooling) so that they do not fall behind on their grades.

Overlanding can be a very fun activity for anyone that might have an interest in it. Granted, it may be done alone – but it will be less boring if you have people coming with you. No matter if you go with your friends or your family, you might want to ensure that you are well-prepared.

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