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Old 12 Aug 2013
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Do you bring a local guide in your car when travelling?

When you 4 wheelers go touring to unfamiliar places, do you often/ever hire a local guide, and bring him/her along in your car? Not a fixer, but a guide who knows the territory, safe routes, cultural dos n don'ts, road and weather conditions, etc.?

I ask this because every time I prep my car, I always prepare for a third member of the crew sitting in the back, with room to spare for stuff and supplies. Not a problem with the 80 series TLC, not so much a problem with the jeep CJ7 and the Series III SWB, but a major problem with the Suzuki LJ80.

Okay, so I guess not many people would consider driving an LJ80 for ANY length of travel anywhere. But I kinda like the LJ80. Its a brutally bare minimum 4x4 that's still amazingly capable with a good set of tires and a rear difflock. It easily travels 500+ Kms on a 40L tank of gasoline on good roads, it weighs less than 1000Kg fully loaded, and it's so small and narrow (3.2m length, 1.4m width) I could drive it up unpaved village paths. Travelling on an LJ80 feels like the 4 wheeled version of backpacking.

Passionate rant aside, so with very very limited space in the back, I still have to carry a tent, foam bedrolls, clothes, drinking water, some dried and instant emergency food, maybe a simple stove, extra oils, extra spare tire, tools, a 40L box of loose items, decent first aid kit, and a plastic 20L jerrycan, among other smaller things. All this means I will have to lose the back seats, so no space for a third member of the crew. Even sleeping in the car would mean sleeping on the non reclining front seats. Not too comfy for multi day travels (hence the tent).

I admit touring in my home country rarely present the need for a local guide. But there are still places where the situation and terrain can be so treacherous some local knowledge is a good idea. Some parts of Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and most definitely Papua, for example. The question is, do I stop and ask often, or hire a guide to accompany me in the car?
Explore! Just in case you DO live only once
1980 Suzuki LJ80, 1980 Land Rover SIII SWB, 1981 Jeep CJ7, 2000 Toyota Land Cruiser HDJ80
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Old 13 Aug 2013
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We have modified our 7 seater Land Cruiser to a 2 Seater.

Once during our Transafrica it had been nice to had the space for a 3rd Person for get us another or deeper experience inside of an nationalpark.

Much more often we was glad that we don`t had the space for someone, because at sample a drunken police guy or other "not wanted" people wants a free ride.

This way we was glad that we could show that there is no space - against to tell them that we dont want to carry a drunken guy.

You will find other ways to get in contact with locals, as when you pick them up at the road side.

If you travel extended by an 4x4 car - you will need any space wich is available. These who had a 3rd Seat had mostly an type of conservation who gives them more space elsewhere

I suggest that you go to some overlander - Events or Meetings - and have a look to the solutions from other people to find some ideas that fits your needs...

Trans-Africa with a Land Cruiser 200 http://transafrica2012.blogspot.de
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Old 13 Aug 2013
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We do have a 3rd seat, 3 across the front of our unimog, but have never brought a local guide yet. Maybe never will. We have picked up hitchhikers from time to time, but it's our choice.

We travel slow, so it's ok to ask loads of people for info, we have a good gps system, and try to get waypoints from other travelers. No huge need for a guide.

On previous trips, we have followed a guide in his own 4x4 as part of a 6 vehicle "convoy". That works quite well too.
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Old 13 Aug 2013
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If you travel in China I believe its obligatory to carry local Guide !
I have a third seat in my110CSW , but it folds and the fridge fits on it .
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Old 15 Aug 2013
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Originally Posted by Surfy View Post
I suggest that you go to some overlander - Events or Meetings - and have a look to the solutions from other people to find some ideas that fits your needs...

Thanks for the replies people. I decided to forgo the third seat for my stuff.

Surfy, overlanding isn't quite a widespread pastime here, unfortunately. Cars here are still either tools for getting from A to B, or status symbols. Most would balk at the idea of driving 1000Kms over Indonesian roads and traffic. No specialized shop here specifically prepares cars for multi day expeditions, so we're on our own. Actually one of the reasons I joined the HUBB was to get better info on the subject from more experienced people, not to mention talking with people who share the same hobby. It's a shame, really, that getting foreign cars for overlanding into Indonesia is notoriously difficult (not impossible, just tedious and full of regulatory minefields, even for Indonesian registered cars coming back from abroad). Otherwise, we'd have more people from other places coming over and sharing experiences.
Explore! Just in case you DO live only once
1980 Suzuki LJ80, 1980 Land Rover SIII SWB, 1981 Jeep CJ7, 2000 Toyota Land Cruiser HDJ80
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Old 15 Aug 2013
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We had to hire a local guide in Mali, we were trying to find a route through the low wetlands from Tenenkou up to Niafunke en route to Timbuktu in 2003. Local knowledge was the only way to find the route, GPS or maps could not show us the route the locals used for that particular season as it changes every year. We ended up having to drive through a fairly deep river/lake, our local guide helped us enormously, we drove him 100 + kms from home and all he wanted was 5 Euros and a bottle of cold Coka Cola, he hitched a ride home afterwards, luckily we were 2 vehicles travelling together, our D90 and a TLC that had a spare seat. Jumps seats do come in handy if room is available. As mentioned, if they can be covered up when drunk officials need a ride, then even better.

'09 Suzuki DR650
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Last edited by Gipper; 15 Aug 2013 at 11:05.
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Old 15 Aug 2013
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When we travel in our Defender 110 we only have the 2 front seats available.. When we decide our localised excursions we talk with the local people/game drivers and decide for ourselves which places are suitable for us and our vehicle. We have been known to join with others in a mini convoy (2/3 vehicles ) if the situation lends itself.
Forward planning and good maps are the key.

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Old 18 Aug 2013
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Someone posted a while ago about some problems with "sit in guides" in China - from memory they had a list of complaints, I only remember a couple;

Body odour and bad breath being number one.
Demand to park up each night so that a hotel could be used - which excluded all the remote places they had planned on visiting.

I think (not sure) that they also got stung for $extras.

Personally I like the adventure of travelling without a guide, if you must travel into known political hotspots its unlikely that a guide will protect you and/or maybe in cahoots with the troublemakers anyway if they see the opportunity of earning five years income by selling you. How often in recent years have tour buses been the target for kidnappings in Egypt and the Middle East.

But that said there are plenty of guided tours offered around the world for the faint hearted or just people who like the idea of having an escort and/or mechanic available. In Australia the motoring clubs run guided Outback tours during the Winter months, and plenty of adventure bike tour companies around doing the Canadian North, Cape York, Trans Siberian/Magadan, etc.
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Old 27 Aug 2013
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No, almost always a huge pain in the arse for some reason or other. Occasionally enhances things, but not worth it unless forced 99% of the time.
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