Looking for an adventure? Want to try overlanding but don’t have anyone to travel with? Then read these 17 reasons group overland tours are the best for solo adventure travel.
Overlanding is a type of adventure travel where the journey is as important as the destination. It usually involves travelling to out of the way adventurous destinations and moving from location to location taking in the highlights as you go.
It is trips such as driving from London to Cape Town, using public transport to navigate around South America or journeying across Asia. Often overlanding involves an element of off-road adventure, although any travel on land counts, including epic road trips.
Overlanding can be solo or as a group. It can also be experienced independently or as part of an organised tour. All options have their advantages and disadvantages, but if you don’t want to go it alone group overland tours are the best for solo adventure travel.
Oasis Overland are one of the leading providers of group overland tours, with over 21 years experience operating expeditions. They offer adventures in Africa, South America and Asia with tours lasting from five days to 40 weeks.
Their latest debut trip – the Ultimate Asia Expedition – is a 26 week adventure of a lifetime. It visits Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tibet, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Iran, Armenia and Turkey.
Below are 17 reasons that we recommend solo adventure travellers join a group overlanding trip.
One of the most difficult, and often frustrating, parts of overlanding is planning your route. Shall I go here or there? How will I get there? If driving what route should I take? What can I see along the way?
Overlanding companies like Oasis Overland have a planned itinerary and have done the journey many times before. This means you don’t need to plan routes, figure out local transport or deal with getting lost. All of this saves you time to experience more while you travel.
Of course at each destination there are things to see and do. Fortunately the crew (on an Oasis trip there is a tour leader and a driver/mechanic), will have been there many times before so can advise on what to see, restaurants to eat at, bars to watch sunset from, and activities to try.
They will know where makes good coffee, who offers well maintained bikes to hire and which operator provides the best value skydive. Of course, you are always free to make your own plans, so while the research and experience is there to help you can still be spontaneous and find your own adventure.
One of the toughest things when independently overlanding is to find somewhere to stay each night. You can plan, and pre-book but that takes time, effort and internet access. Plus delays occur and plans change, so at times you will arrive a destination and have to find a bed for the night.
Sometimes everywhere is booked up, or a campsite you were planning to stay at is closed. Then you have a stressful and time consuming struggle to find somewhere to stay.
During a group overland tour you don’t have this situation as all your accommodation is taken care of. So you don’t have to worry or spend valuable time finding a bed. Giving you more time to experience everything.
Travel is a time consuming hobby. If you want to travel from London to Cape Town it is going to take a long time. Solo adventure travel is an incredible experience, but it takes a lot longer to cover as much as you experience on a group overland tour.
Furthermore, if you are driving yourself, or taking local transport, you will fit less in. Time spent planning, looking for accommodation, cooking etc eats into your time to expereince destinations. And let’s face it, after driving all day you might not have the energy to hike a ridge to watch sunset.
Many people have no one to travel with. This isn’t because they don’t have friends but because their friends either can’t or don’t want to join them. But by joining a group overland tour they can meet many like minded people who want the same adventure.
OK, so you won’t become best friends with everyone in the group. However many lifelong friendships (and quite a few marriages) have begun on overland adventures. You experience so much together that you build very strong bonds.
Solo adventure travel becomes much easier when you already have friends in far off places. The beauty of group overlanding is the people you meet probably won’t be your neighbours, and it’s likely they’ll be from a completely different country.
So for future adventures you can visit these new friends. This goes both ways as they will probably want to visit you too – which is a great excuse to explore your own backyard.
In a group situation there will be people wanting to do different things. Some like to tick off the ‘must visits’ in their Lonely Planet, others like to find places not in the guide book, while some just want to relax.
The beauty is you can join in with whoever you want, or do your own thing. The likelihood is you will have company when you want it and people to experience everything with.
Many side trips and activities require a minimum number of people otherwise you will pay a premium. Fortunately, as part of a group there will be others wanting to do the same. So the cost of a guide, local transport, or equipment hire can all be split.
Not sure you want to eat a deep fried locust, or do a bungee jump? Well someone in the group probably will. You can see how they get on and decide whether you fancy it.
Along with not having to go first, the group situation will be encouraging. Wouldn’t consider mountain biking death road on your own? You probably will as part of a group!
The encouraging atmosphere will lead you to try new things, which is what travel is all about. You will get involved in more activities, try more food, and even read different books, purely because other people are doing it.
During solo adventure travel you need to be self sufficient. But as part of a group you can pool resources. You can borrow phone chargers, camera cables, batteries, a torch and even water if you need to.
It’s possible to share currency exchanges to avoid commission, or swap a few dollars for the local currency. Plus you’ll exchange books, pool photos and share each others social media posts.
When you travel on your own there are times you’ll wish you had someone with you. Whether it is to look after your bags, to hold your seat on a bus, or just a friendly face to chat to over a coffee in an out of the way destination.
When you travelling as a group there are other people there to support you. If you get ill they can nip to a pharmacy for you and bring you food and drink. You also take it in turns to do things such as cooking, going up to the bar, or fetching water.
While overland travel is nowhere near as dangerous as your parents worry it is, it’s not without risk. Traffic accidents, serious illnesses, muggings and worse do occur – just like they do at home.
However solo overlanding is more dangerous than group travel. Not only does being part of a group make it less likely some of the worst things will happen, but if things go wrong there are other travellers and the crew to support you.
Travelling as part of a group gives you more potential to learn. Meeting a mixed group of strangers from all over the world you will find about their country and culture. You’ll be exposed to different opinions and come away with a more rounded understanding of the world.
In addition to this, group overland tours have a knowledgeable crew, including a leader and driver/mechanic. They are not an expert on everywhere, however they know more than you or other solo travellers. Of course most people in the group will have a guide book and that information will be shared too.
All overlanding helps you to grow as a person. During solo adventure travel you build independence and self-reliance – both good qualities. But during group overland tours you learn how to work as part of a team, your communication improves and you develop better interpersonal skills.
Check out this quote from an Oasis Overland tour leader “I frequently meet travellers on my trips who are nervous and unsure about many things (cooking often being one!). But finish their tour more confident, with more friends and a long list of new travel destinations.”
Once you have paid to join a group overland tour, all your transport costs are covered. There are no additional fuel costs and expensive bus or train journeys. If you figure out the cost per mile, group overlanding costs much less than driving yourself or taking public transport.
In solo adventure travel you can end up paying a fortune for accommodation. Even if you take a tent there are still camping fees, and most people do not like camping in the wild on their own.
On group overlanding adventures, with the likes of Oasis Overland, all your accommodation is included. OK you might sometimes pay for an upgrade, but you don’t have to worry about forking out every night or paying a premium for single occupancy.
So if you want to explore the world but have no-one to travel with, then a group overland tour may be just the ticket. We will never knock solo independent travel, but there are so many great reasons for joining a group overlanding tour. So, what are you waiting for?
To find your perfect overland tour visit: www.oasisoverland.co.uk