Dragoman has huge experience of running pioneering overland tours across the world since 1981, and they remain the world’s best operator of this exciting style of travel. We will genuinely get you off the beaten track and into the local communities with trips carefully designed to offer freedom, flexibility and the time to explore. Dragoman is still independently owned by the original founders and we have some of the best staff in the industry, from our expert sales and operations teams to our extensively-trained crew.
WHY ARE DRAGOMAN'S TRUCKS SO ICONIC?
Dragoman's fleet is truly unique and with their distinctive orange and white livery and their personalised names they have become really quite iconic. They are Mercedes-Benz trucks which are known for their durability and perfect for overlanding. They are fully equipped for self-sufficient wild camping, and have comfortable coach-style seating. All Dragoman trucks are owned and maintained by us, and our crew are trained mechanics and follow a strict maintenance schedule - this means we can manage the quality and safety of our fleet. Find out more about Dragoman's trucks here.
IS IT ALL CAMPING?
We use a wide variety of accommodation depending on the trip, from hotels, guesthouses and jungle lodges, to tents, houseboats and even yurts! We also offer upgrades on nearly all our trips and include many homestays where you can interact with the local communities. If you've never camped before, then coming on a Dragoman overlanding trip is a great introduction! All of our trucks are fully equipped with sturdy tents and all you need in terms of cooking and camping equipment. Your crew leaders will give you a full briefing about setting up on the first night's camping, so it couldn’t be easier and its great fun!
You can check the ratio of accommodation on each trip that you're interested in to see how many nights you'll spend under canvas. On some trips you'll be camping most nights (particularly in East and Southern Africa), while on others you’ll be staying in local guesthouses, hostels and hotels for the majority of the time. You can choose what suits you best!
HOW LONG ARE YOUR TRIPS?
Our trips start from 8 days, and many fit into 2 weeks to suit most people’s holiday period. Two of our most popular journeys are the 12-day Cuzco to La Paz and the 14-day Zanzibar to Nairobi tours. Our longer journeys are combinations of individual trips, so you can either head off on one of our epic routes or just pick a short section that appeals the most to you.
WILL YOUR TRIPS SUIT ME?
The majority of people will be more than suited to our overlanding trips. You just need the right attitude, an open mind, and a desire to participate fully in the trip. We do ask that you carefully read through the notes for the trip that you have selected and be realistic about your ability to complete the itinerary described. Each of our trips has a physical rating and a lifestyle challenge rating which describes what you can expect in order to help you make your choice.
ARE DRAGOMAN TRIPS GOOD VALUE FOR MONEY?
Dragoman have unrivalled experience in designing and creating trips that allow you to get the most out of your adventure. We include more, see more, and interact more than any other operator. Many similar looking trips reduce cost and time by rushing or excluding many of the highlights that we consider essential. When you carefully compare what we offer and include with trips from other operators, it's easy to see the great value for money that a Dragoman overland trip is.
No other company or operator covers the world with as much variety and depth as we do.
WHAT'S INCLUDED IN THE TRIP PRICE?
A place on one of our fantastic overlanding journeys, and the experience of a lifetime! The total price includes all the accommodation, transport, use of the truck and its camping equipment, library, etc., camping meals, and all activities that are listed as included. Prices in the brochure are correct at the time of printing, but may vary during the year. Up-to-date prices are on the website. All prices are listed on a per person basis, based on shared accommodation where applicable.
Most of our trips will involve two payments:
1. The Trip Price, which is payable to Dragoman or your travel agent before departure.
2. The Kitty Payment, a local group fund which is payable to your tour leader in cash when you join your trip, or in advance via bank transfer.
The Trip Price covers the cost of all our operations, including the running of our trucks, our staff, and the provision of local guides around the world where needed, plus local transport, if for some reason we can’t use our trucks.
WHAT IS A KITTY?
The kitty is a local group fund, paid separately from the trip price, which covers everything that the group does together on the ground. This includes hotel accommodation and campsite fees, meals whilst camping (but not while eating in restaurants), and included activities. The kitty system is unique to overlanding and provides maximum flexibility and best value on the road. You can see exactly what is being paid for, you get everything at cost price, it keeps costs competitive by leveraging group expenses and saves on administrative costs - it also ensures the money we spend goes directly back to the local communities. The fund is run by the Dragoman crew, and on Dragoman operated trips any excess left over at the end is returned equally to the group. Kitty prices are estimated in USD when we print the brochure, then reviewed monthly as local costs and exchange rates vary throughout the year. It's therefore important once you book your trip to check the website regularly and just before departure for any changes to the amount.
Your kitty can be paid to your tour leader in a mixture of US Dollars cash and local currency, or via a bank transfer to Dragoman 3-4 weeks before the trip (please see this document for more details). Please note that prepayment is not available for our trips to West Africa, Iran, Tajikistan, any trip in Africa north of Nairobi and Alaska only trips.
WHEN IS A TRIP GUARANTEED?
We generally look to guarantee departures as soon as we reach a minimum of 5 passengers. This ensures that our trips are most efficient operationally and environmentally. Once we have reached this number we would generally ‘guarantee’ the trip, so that you can be certain that it will run. If you were to be booked on a trip that needed to be cancelled for any reason, our reservations team would get in touch with you and try to find an alternative date/trip that suits you.
WHAT ISN'T INCLUDED?
Our trip price and kitty do not include optional activities, travel insurance, connecting flights, airport transfers, border taxes or charges, transportation while not on the trip or while exploring a city, passports, visas, vaccinations, first aid kits or medicines, extra accommodation, upgrades, contingency route expenses in case of emergency or natural disaster, meals at restaurants or cafes or whilst staying in hotels, drinks, tips, or personal spending money.
I've travelled with Dragoman before. Is there a loyalty discount?
If you've travelled with us before, then you are entitled to a 5% discount on any of our overland trips! Any customers that have been on a trip with us will be eligible for this loyalty discount upon receipt of a completed Post Trip Questionnaire for their trip received via email.
WHAT SORT OF AGE WILL THE OTHER TRAVELLERS BE?
There is a much wider cross section of ages than most people imagine. A recent survey showed that 33% of travellers with Dragoman were 25 - 44 and 42.5% were between 45 to 64 years old. (AITO 2018). If you wish, you can also check the ages of the other travellers on the departure that you're interested in with one of our sales consultants before you book.
HOW DO I GET MONEY WHILST ON THE TOUR?
Most travellers choose to bring a cash passport (www.cashpassport.com). This is very secure, and works just like a VISA card to allow you to draw out local currency from ATMs. Others simply bring their regular VISA credit or debit cards to withdraw cash – if you plan to do this, just inform your bank where you are travelling to so that they do not block your card. There are usually plenty of ATMs to withdraw money from throughout the world, with the exception of West Africa, Mongolia, and Ethiopia. Most cards are not currently compatible with ATMs in Sudan or Iran.
It is also a good idea to bring a reserve fund in US Dollars cash, as this is easily changed into local currency throughout the world. In emergencies, it is possible to send money to yourself via a money transfer service such as Western Union or Moneygram. Please note that we do not advise bringing Travellers Cheques, and we do not accept them for the kitty on our trips, because our passengers and leaders have found it increasingly difficult to find banks which change them.
CAN I BOOK ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES?
We indicate in our trip notes the additional, optional activities that you can book. All activities can be arranged whilst you are on your trip, and our crew may be able to assist you in arranging these. All payments for these activities are made whilst you are overseas, usually directly with the activity supplier locally.
HOW DO I ARRANGE FLIGHTS?
Flights are not included in our trip prices (with the exception of flights that necessarily make up part of the trip, such as to Roatan in Honduras or the linking flight between Panama and Cartagena). However, our sales team can help you with booking your flights and can search for the most competitive fares that fit around your travel plans, no matter where you are in the world! By booking your flight with Dragoman you will have support in the case of any problems and there is the added protection of our ATOL bonding.
If you choose to book your flights independently, please bear in mind that by its very nature adventure travel on occasions needs to be flexible. Should we have to change the itinerary or cancel a trip you may need to amend or cancel your flights, therefore we strongly recommend that you check your trip is guaranteed and the charges for making amendments to your flights. We regret that we cannot accept liability for your connecting travel arrangements in the event of changes or cancellation of your trip.
I'M TRAVELLING SOLO. WILL I BE OK?
At Dragoman you will be with other passengers from all backgrounds, nationalities and ages. Many people travel solo with Dragoman and find it a fantastic experience. Its a great way to meet other people and you will have the companionship and safety of travelling with a group but you can also be on your own as much or as little as you want.. A good way to see who else is on your trip is to join our community on our Facebook page Dragoland. If you call our sales team we can tell you the mix of sexes and ages currently booked on any trips you are interested in. Check out our blog about travelling solo.
CAN I TALK TO OTHER TRAVELLERS BEFORE I TRAVEL?
We have a Facebook community area called Dragoland where you can ask questions about trips, talk with potential passengers on your next Dragoman trip, or just share travel stories and information with other like-minded travellers!
WHOSE TRAVEL ADVICE DO YOU ACT ON?
The UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides invaluable travel advice. As a UK operator, Dragoman monitors and follows the advice from the FCO in all the regions we travel through. We also monitor advice of other governments’ travel advice and news from various travel security organisations. Our crew also constantly monitor and report any news from local sources on the road regarding any safety issues, and liaise with our operations team at the office if there any issues. Any decisions taken regarding a trip’s safety and security will use the vast experience of the company’s 30+ years of operations, in conjunction with the advice and information sources above.
We strongly recommend that you read the UK FCO information about the countries you are planning to visit – each country has a summary and general information as well as advice on safety and security, local laws and customs, entry requirements and health.
If you are not a UK national please make sure you have checked your own country’s travel advice for your destinations.
DO I NEED TO GET VACCINATIONS OR MALARIA TABLETS?
Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to region and recent bulletins issued by health authorities. It’s essential to get the latest advice on the regions you’re planning to travel to, and that you check with either your doctor or a travel clinic in good time before you leave.
As a tour operator we’re unable to give medical advice, so refer you instead to either the World Health Organisation or National Travel Health Network & Centre for further details or to contact a professional medical travel clinic.
We’ve been working with Nomad Travel in the UK for years, and Dragoman customers are entitled to 10% off all Nomad vaccinations at any Nomad Travel Clinic as well as 20% off kit and equipment purchased at Nomad online or in-store. Their website also has comprehensive, up-to-date vaccination and health information.
WHAT FIRST AID EQUIPMENT AND HELP IS THERE?
All of our trucks are equipped with an emergency first aid kit, which is stocked with many items that may be needed in a medical emergency on the road. Our crew have all completed a first aid course and will be able to help when necessary. We recommend that you bring your own personal first aid kit, especially if you expect to use any items in a non-emergency situation, and if you do need to use something from the group first aid kit, we do ask for it to be replaced. As a reminder, you should also bring any personal medication and medicines that you require for the whole duration of the trip.
Local health facilities vary greatly in their frequency and quality depending on the region you are travelling in, but if there is a medical emergency during your trip the crew will make it a priority for the affected person to be seen by a medical professional as soon as possible (this is one of the reasons we always have 2 crew on board our trucks). In this situation, the crew can also liaise with the operations team at the Dragoman head office and the affected person’s insurance company to find the best solution for the situation.
WHAT VISAS DO I NEED?
Many countries we visit on our travels will require visas, some must be obtained before you leave home, and some can be obtained en route. Whilst the ultimate responsibility for obtaining visas is yours, we will endeavour to assist you wherever possible. For trips that involve multiple visas, you may find it beneficial to use a specialist visa agency to assist you with your applications. While this does sometimes increase the cost, it usually makes the process much easier for you.
The exact requirements for each country are detailed on our regularly-updated notes for every trip that we offer. Please consult these notes for details about the visas needed for your trip, and contact us if you have any questions regarding visas.
DO I NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE?
It is a condition of booking that you have comprehensive medical travel insurance. Without evidence of valid travel insurance, you will not be allowed to start the trip.
We can arrange insurance for EU residents created specifically for our type of adventure travel - please contact us or visit our insurance page here for a quote! If you are not an EU resident, you will need to arrange your own insurance with other providers.
Whatever policy you choose, you must ensure that it is designed for adventure/overland travel, and that the 24-hour emergency assistance company is experienced in handling situations in developing countries (e.g. they have the ability to arrange repatriation from remote areas such as the Sahara or if you were trekking in the Andes).
WILL I HAVE 'FREE' TIME WHILST ON TOUR?
Yes, our trips are designed to give you the best of both worlds – with plenty of organised activities to do as a group and free time for people to explore places or to do their own optional activities! At times our trips can be intense, action-packed adventures, so we feel it is important to balance this with free time to wander the streets of a city, enjoy time at stunning remote beaches, take in the beautiful landscapes, etc., and this ethos is reflected in the design of our itineraries.
I ONLY HAVE A SUITCASE, DO I NEED A RUCKSACK?
Although you will not have to carry your main bag for long distances, you will need to help load and unload your luggage onto the truck. For this reason we recommend that you use a backpack or soft bag rather than a heavy suitcase. During your trip your main luggage will be kept in the back locker, which is inaccessible when the truck is in motion, so you will also need a small daypack which can be used to carry your camera, water bottle and other personal effects for daily use.
The size of baggage that can be brought on this tour is limited by the locker space on the truck. We recommend that your bag be approximately 66cm deep, 30cm wide, and 30cm high. The weight limit for luggage on all trucks is maximum 20kg. Backpacks should not have an external frame unless it can be easily removed and stored separately to avoid damaging other people's luggage.
WHAT SHOULD I PACK?
HOW DO YOU CATER FOR SPECIAL DIETARY REQUIREMENTS?
Just inform us of your dietary requirements and any allergies when you book (please add this in the medical conditions box on the booking page). There will generally be a vegetarian option available in local restaurants and this will always be the case when we have our own meals from the truck on the road or at campsites. Although most areas can cater for any dietary requirements, some are more challenging than others (e.g. travelling to West Africa if you have a severe peanut allergy, vegan options in Mongolia, etc.). Please contact us and/or research yourself whether your specific dietary requirements can be catered for in that region. If you have a specific allergy or intolerance and are concerned that suitable foodstuffs may not be available en-route, please bring these along with you.
Your group will be divided into smaller cook groups who will cook for everyone on a rota basis, catering for all dietary requirements. If you are vegetarian and do not wish to handle meat, you will need to be in a group where there are others that are happy to do this. In East and Southern Africa there is a camp master in charge of the cooking, and the group will help with preparation and shopping, etc.
WHAT CHARGING FACILITIES WILL BE AVAILABLE?
The charging facilities on our trucks vary - some will have charging facilities for the group to use, although this is not fitted as standard. In the worst case scenario, all of our trucks have a 12v ‘cigarette lighter’ socket which will be available to use if you bring the necessary adapter. Please be aware that this will need to be used by all of the group, so many of our passengers find ‘solar monkey’-type chargers helpful.
There will almost always be charging facilities at most campsites and hotels, but not at wild camps.
WILL I HAVE TO SHARE TENTS AND ROOMS?
Dragoman trips are run on a shared accommodation basis. We will obviously pair up people that are travelling together, and if you are a single traveller you will be paired with a person of the same sex. The rooming arrangements will remain flexible as the trip goes on, and the pairings can be changed around if necessary. In some locations, we will stay in multi-share dorm accommodation - this could involve sharing with 4-6 other travellers, including independent travellers on occasion.
We do not offer a single supplement during the booking stage, as this will be unavailable for camping with a full truck, and difficult to confirm in many hotels. However, if you would like to ‘upgrade’ to having your own room whilst on the road then this is possible if you pay the difference yourself, subject to availability. Your tour leader will assist with this as they make ongoing bookings on the road.
CAN I PRE-BOOK UPGRADED ACCOMMODATION?
On many of our trips it may be possible to upgrade from camping to a bed or from guesthouse to a hotel but this cannot be guaranteed before travel. Upgrades can only be booked on the road by crew and are subject to availability.
HOW COMFORTABLE WILL THE TRIP BE?
The trip overview page and your trip notes give you a breakdown of the amount of camping and hotel stays there are on each trip, a 'Lifestyle Challenge Rating' and a ‘Physical Rating’ give you an idea of how tough a trip will be physically and mentally. Your trip notes have details of the accommodation used day-by-day on your trip and give an indication of the standard of the hotels. Some trips will be more luxurious and some more challenging so do choose what suits you best.
CAN I TRAVEL ON MY OWN IF I'M UNDER 18?
Sorry, but to travel on your own you have to be 18 years old on the day you start to travel with us. However, youngsters can join one of our family trips in South America and Africa when travelling with a parent or guardian.
WHAT IF OVERLANDING ISN'T FOR ME?
As much as we are sure you will love overlanding it may not be for everyone. If you'd still like to have an adventure, our sister company Imaginative Traveller has hundreds of more imaginative trips all over the world. From walking tours in Italy to cycling in Cuba, there really is something for everyone and if you are looking for a customised bespoke itinerary that you can design youself, then we can you help you put together the perfect tailor made Imaginative Traveller trip.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
If you've never experienced an overland tour before, or even if you have and it has whet your appetite for more, you may have a few questions.
From what's it like travelling on our trucks, to food, accommodation and what's included, we have loads of blogs & videos for you to check out and if you don't find these answer your questions, just give us a call!