Overlanding is still a fairly niche style of travel for discovering a new country, with many people preferring to fly to save time; but as attitudes towards air travel continue to shift, overland travel is really coming into its own. Trying something new can be daunting but there really is nothing to worry about when travelling with Dragoman. Our graphic designer Nathan discovered just this on his first overlanding trip in Africa with us. Here are his top tips for the first time overlander…
Embrace the unknown
Travelling overland should be approached with an open mind and the ability to adapt. You’ll have your set itinerary, but sometimes unexpected things will happen which means you might get delayed. That might be a flat tyre, a busy border crossing, or your group discovering a hidden gem that you want to explore for a bit longer! Have trust in your crew; they’ll get you where you need to be.
Camping is easy!
Dragoman supply the tents, so all you need to do is put them up! They are simple to set up and take down and once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll be set up in less than 10 minutes. If you want extra comfort, then you can splash out on a slightly more expensive sleeping mat; also make sure you buy the correct ‘season’ sleeping bag and always remember to bring a pillow! Or, as some did on my trip, an empty pillow case, which you can fill with clothes.
Home away from home
The trucks have everything on them that you’ll need for a few weeks away, including specially-designed lockers for all of the kitchen equipment, washing up bowls, hand sanitizer, a fridge and even a spade for those wild toilet stops!
Stretch your legs
If you think you’ll be on the road all of the time then you’ll be pleasantly surprised that any long drive days will be interspersed throughout your itinerary and even on those long days you’ll have comfort breaks and lunch stops
Make new friends
You’ll be travelling with like-minded people so it’s easy to make new friends. You’ll be spending a lot of time together, so play games, exchange stories and go for a beer. When you book your Dragoman trip you'll also be invited to join our Facebook group Dragoland, it's a great opportunity to meet your fellow passengers before you travel. I even managed to arrange to meet a member of my group at the airport (as our flights arrived at similar times) in Zanzibar and shared a cab to our joining point hotel, so saving us some pennies and providing the chance to chat in the cab.
Who doesn’t love a snack? If you’ve got your favourite snack from home that you can’t go without, then bring a few along with you. They come in handy if you were snoozing during the last shopping trip or if you need an emergency pick-me-up with a hot brew!
You’ll be sharing your tent or room and if you’ve just met then there’s no way of knowing if you’ve got a snorer on your hands or not. Take some earplugs with you just in case! I always carry a sleep mask too to totally switch off from any distractions.
Keep fully charged
No one wants to lose charge on their camera or phone, so be sure to bring plug adaptors and a power bank to charge on the road. The trucks are equipped with USB ports to keep your gadgets running.
Play the right note
Take a spare pair of headphones with you - sometimes you just want to chill and listen to some tunes as you drive along daydreaming out of the window. If you have a spare set then a misfiring headphone won’t cause an issue
Get your hands dirty
Get prepared to muck in with the rest of the group. Overlanding with Dragoman is an active holiday and everyone will be given duties on the road, whether it be giving the truck a quick clean, shopping and cooking for the group, or lifting the bags in and out of the back locker. Look at it as doing your bit for the group – remember, the more you put in the more you’ll get out of the experience.
If you have any further questions then contact the Dragoman sales team or consult your trip notes.