What is overlanding and what are overland holidays?

Nov 16, 2013 BY Paul McWilliams

If you’ve ever asked yourself the question ‘what is overlanding?’ then we hope to answer it right here. The first thing you need to know is that great travel is as much about the journey as it is the destination. Once you’ve got that idea in your head, overlanding is a natural and logical extension of this.

what is overlanding flickr image by  David Holt London

If overlanding sounds like something you might find interesting, you might also be wondering if there are dedicated overland holidays or if it is something you need to arrange yourself. We’ve got that covered too, so read on to find out more.

What is overlanding?

Essentially, overlanding is the process of finding interesting and innovative ways of travelling between two destinations. Rather than just jumping on a plane, catching a few hours sleep and waking up in a new country, overlanding involves taking part in the journey itself.

The possibilities for this are endless. It could involve anything from horseback riding to hitchhiking, a camel train or an actual train. It involves immersing yourself in the culture and customs of your location, dealing with people and overcoming obstacles.

What is overlanding Wikimedia image by India - Ladakh - Trekking

What are overland holidays?

An overland holiday might involve taking a planned truck ride down the east coast of the African continent. It could be horseback riding across the desert or trekking through the Amazon. They’re the kind of bucket list holidays that people dream of doing – a much more involved way of experiencing a holiday.

Sitting by the pool with a cocktail they are not. They’re dirty, sweaty, often hard work and unconventional – but most of all, they’re exciting and rewarding. You will come away feeling you have learnt not just about the area you travelled through but a little about yourself.

What is overlanding Wikimedia image by Frank am Main

Luckily, although the nature of overlanding is not 100% definable, there are plenty of companies out there who can organise your adventure. From off the peg tours with pre-planned activities to more fluid and organic self-built trips, whatever your need for adventure, there will be someone who can help.

The benefits

One of the major plus points about overlanding is that not a second of your trip is wasted. Some people see a holiday as some time spent away, bookended by two periods of inconvenient travel. When you’re overlanding, the travel itself is just as much a part of the holiday as being at your destination.

One of the other key benefits of overlanding is the people you meet. Whether they’re in your truck group on an African adventure or people you meet along the way, overlanding is a sociable way to travel. You’ll learn to communicate in new ways, even if you don’t speak a word of the language. And by involving yourself with others, you’ll really learn more about yourself.

What is overlanding and what are overlanding holidays? flickr image by 300td.org

So, hopefully now you have a clearer answer to the question ‘what is overlanding?’. If it sounds like something you might like (and it’s certainly not for everyone) then why not look into overlanding companies as they offer a great way to try this adventurous form of travel without having to arrange everything yourself.

We think that once you’ve experienced overlanding holidays you might never again be content with sitting around by the pool drinking cocktails. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Amazon (Rainforest / River / Basin), South America
Horse Riding, Overlanding
Camel Trekking, Hitchiking, Independent Travel
Travel Articles

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