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Old 5 Mar 2014
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First Time Trip Advice

Hi all

For some time been dreaming of overland adventures but always seemed impossible what with everyday life getting in the way and all that. In recent times my wife and I have made the positive decision to live differently and do something big, so I guess we are 50% there already!

Anyway, reading this site for last few months and read Chris Scott's book so I'm starting to build up a little knowledge having started with zero, but gaining bucket loads of inspiration at the same time.
We basically want to do the Americas, Africa, Europe to the far East, Australasia on 4 wheels.

What I can’t decide is (a) what order to do everything in and (b) is it better to buy one vehicle in the UK, invest time and money on bringing it up to a good spec and then shipping from place to place etc, carnets, or buy & sell vehicles as we go.

As a bit of background I have little or no mechanical knowledge. I intend to go on a basic mechanical course before we leave but I’m a realist and know that unless any faults that develop are easy to diagnose and fix I’m dependent on access to proper mechanics. Budget wise, we aren’t rich but both have good jobs and no dependents so if we need to save more to buy a better vehicle, we just have to work a bit longer to save a bit more dough before we go.

I am swaying towards the following – do Oz and NZ first, buying and selling vehicles in their native countries thus avoiding carnet issues and shipping. Then going to the states or Canada, buying a vehicle there that will get us round a nice big loop down to the bottom of south America and back up, to sell the vehicle back in its native country. Then get to South Africa, buy a Troopy or similar to head north up to Europe and if we have enough left in the coffers, head east. Only problem is then disposing of the vehicle – I doubt I could import it back to UK? Might have to ship back to SA and sell there. The reasoning behind the order of the countries here is to start off where driving conditions and security are relatively good, to get experience, before moving on to the trickier challenges of South America and Africa.

Apologies for the rambling post! Every time I think about these issues I come up with a different conclusion. Any thoughts from those of you with real and practical experience would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 5 Mar 2014
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How about a first, short trip around Europe to get the hang of it and to test out a UK-bought vehicle?

Next, take that same vehicle further east to Russia and Central Asia - more adventurous than western Europe but no carnets required.

You could then decide whether you wanted to take the same vehicle down into Africa and back - or whether to potentially rent a fully kitted out overlander and do the southern part of Africa (avoiding the challenging bits further north).

It's not as easy as it was for a non-resident to buy and register/insure a vehicle in the States. Do your research - I think it is easier in some states than others.

There's a thread on here about vehicle choices for over landing with several suggestions for doing it with inexpensive vehicles. You don't have to spend years saving up for the perfect vehicle for many of the overland journeys that you could take.

Good luck.
2014 overland adventure to Russia and Central Asia in Land Rover Defender www.bermudarover.com
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Old 6 Mar 2014
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I think of it this way

We spend lots of time (and some money) of getting and preparing the vehicle before the big trip.

Once on the trip .. the vehicle plays little actual part.

So the time & money is wasted before the trip on the vehicle? Well ..no .. I think of it as metal preparation for me.

Do your sums on carnets & transport vs buying & selling & the accommodation while you do that.

If you decide on buy & sell .. try to by in a large market place (for OZ - Sydney or Melbourne) where things are more numerous and possibly cheaper and sell in a market with a fair demand (Darwin?, Perth?) as you are then able to sell quickly. Don't obsess on the 'right' vehicle - just one with enough space to put things in - food, water, camping stuff. Remember that bicycle riders ride around the world with very little at all so you won't need as much as you think.

If you own your own place.. down size.. get rid of stuff as much as possible before you leave it .. then you can rent it out .. and move into a much smaller cheaper place ... rented flat? remember you are going to move out into a small vehicle .. so no large fridge, washing machine! The fridge would be an ice chest, the washing machine is a plastic bucket with a lid - say 2 gallons - fill with cloths, 3/4 fill with soapy water and then put it in the vehicle and drive - they shaking will wash your cloths .. half way through the day empty out the water and fill with clean water. Rinse again at nigh and hang up to dry. The cloths should be the kind that dry over night - about the only time your stopped if your traveling...

You'll find all this stuff and more on this site.. keep thinking it out for yourself. The idea of doing a loop of Russia/stans is a good one. You can learn and check things work for you.. You'll be faced with a carnet in Africa unless you buy and sell on the boarders of about half the countries there.
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Old 6 Mar 2014
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Lots of sound advice above

personally I wouldn't go with the fly/buy/drive option. It limits your preparation and what you can take.

It can be a lot more complicated than you probably think to buy and insure a vehicle in a country you don't live in.

One of the keys to vehicle reliability is history and familiarity with your vehicle. Everytime you buy a different vehicle your buying an unknown and taking a massive gamble, Instead I would buy or import a suitable vehicle in the UK and then spend some time getting to know it. Find a good reliable garage to work on it and cultivate a relationship, they may teach you a lot. I helped (hindered!)the garage I use prep my vehicles.I would say own the vehicle for a minimum of 12 months prior to leaving, preferably longer, even if it's a new one. Plenty of new cars have inbuilt faults! Even Toyotas! My Hilux had to have a new steering rack under warranty.

One thing to consider is most disastrous vehicle stopping mechanical problems take a while to develop, electronic ones can be sudden and unexpected

When considering the age and value of a vehicle, consider the carnet implications, you can save a lot on your carnet by buying an older vehicle and doing it up because the standard market value for carnet purposes will be lower. In places where you need a carnet I think you may find it tricky if the vehicle is from a different country to you, but I have no experience of this so others may know better.

There are extensive posts on here about the pro's and cons of new vs old vehicles so I won't go over them again. Read them, there are valid arguments for both sides.

Start with little trips, maybe as suggested eastern Europe, or morocco is a great place to explore. you may find this travelling lark isn't for you. A guy I know put everything into a RTW motorbike trip, and turned back at Italy!! If thats you, then fine, it's better to find out than not to even try and spend your life dreaming of what could have been. On that vein, don't let the dream and the planning become the event in itself, some people reach the ultimate extension of this and have a vehicle, and an elaborate plan, but never actually travel, you'll often see the vehicles on ebay!

with that in mind, don't burn your bridges. put your stuff into storage and rent the house out! apart from anything else if you decide you really like this travelling lark the rent may provide you with an income to carry on doing it!
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Old 6 Mar 2014
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Thanks everyone, very helpful indeed. The plan is to rent out the house and maybe move somewhere smaller to speed up the saving process.

Bought a cheap second hand motorhome this winter for holidays this year, so we can get used to the travelling/living in close quarters, before downsizing further to a 4x4.

I've read countless arguments about best vehicle so I purposely didn't want to open that bag of worms!

I will do more research on the buy/sell as you go option, legal requirements and carnets. However, I think you are all talking good sense about spending more time with the vehicle up front, in the UK, get to know it, trust it.

Would you advocate importing a LHD vehicle, from say, Germany? I see there are plenty of Troopies advertised on there from fairly low prices up to eye watering wedges of cash.

Short trips first is very sensible advice. Only problem is that 2 weeks is the max time I could get off work to do one. With that in mind where do you think would be the best destinations to give a vehicle a good trial run?
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Old 6 Mar 2014
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You don't say where you are, we live in North East Scotland, and it takes us 2 days to Dover and 2 back, only leaves 10, you need to see how the motor does on hills motorways and A & B roads, for ease of driving also mpg.
So may be Wales lake district or Scotland.
Camp sites and wild camping, see how you get on with wind and rain, and of course the sun.
Then their is tent, roof tent or inside your vehicle, how you are going to cook, their are a lot of ways and a lot of different cookers, gas, petrol, electric. Their is quite a lot to take in, I would suggest one forum to look on is
Free forum : 4x4's, Overland Travel, Off Road, Touring and Camping
I am biased, their are others.
Then do you plan to stay in one place for a day or two, or longer, above about the two weeks, if you are near the port of Dover, we once did what was called a Landy Rally, started in Holland then did 11 countries in 9 days.
see here Home - Teddys
My opinion would be to do some trips in the UK first.

Best of luck on your travels, all you need is a sense of Adventure, and have fun.
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Old 6 Mar 2014
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there do seem to be issues with using RHDs in some countries, as highlighted on another post, so importing may be an answer. You could speak to LL landcruisers in Holland.

there is also a guy on


who sources landcruisers to order

LHD 80s and 70s do show up every so often in the UK, but it's just luck finding a good one.
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