Is it safe to drive in India and the sub-continent?
Driving in the Indian subcontinent is a challenging and risky undertaking. Local driving standards are poor because many drivers are not trained and do not adhere to normal road rules. Local vehicles are not well maintained, may have bald tyres and many would not be roadworthy by the standards of your own country. Roads often are potholed, broken up or are only gravel and dirt. Due to its very nature, the risk of accident and personal injury to you is significantly higher than normal.
You will also have to contend with lifestyles and cultures that are very different from your own. You must come prepared to cope with unpredictable situations, local inadequacies and unforeseeable events. Even with our detailed organisation, things can go wrong. Many places where we travel are off the beaten track, may be economically and politically unstable and do not have the same infrastructure or health & safety standards as those in Western Europe or North America. It is your responsibility to read your own country’s government advice and warnings for each area that we visit and be satisfied that you are prepared to travel there.
The enjoyment and excitement of adventure travel is derived in the part from the inherent risks incurred by driving through the less well developed countries/regions listed on the itineraries and undertaking activities beyond the levels of safety normal at home or at work. Therefore, our expeditions are not suitable for people who expect to be indulged or demand for everything to go exactly as planned. For your own interest, and that of your fellow participants, please do not book an expedition if the above is not acceptable to you.
What type of expeditions do you organise?
Adventures Overland can offer two types of Expeditions – Group Expeditions and Tailor Made Holidays. Group Expeditions are fixed departures where we take a convoy of vehicles that is always led by at least one support vehicle and 2 crew members. For a bigger convoy, we provide a lead and a sweep vehicle. Tailor Made Holidays are those where you travel on your own. For such journeys, we make all necessary travel arrangements including hotel bookings, excursions and also provide satellite support in case you get stuck on route.
How much driving experience do I need to join an expedition?
Drivers must be a minimum of 21 years of age. We expect you to be a confident and competent driver, with plenty of driving experience. You should normally have held your driver’s license for a minimum of two years. Please also note that all of our expeditions include sections of gravel or dirt roads, as stated in the Expedition Summary. We never travel off road; it is simply that there are sections where the road is not paved.
Our expeditions call for all participants to be good team players, who are flexible and adaptable when things do not go as planned and will muck in as requested by the Expedition Leader. Self sufficiency is important and being able to manage yourself – your well being, hygiene & health – is vital, together with having a good sense of humour. Overland travel can be challenging and bring up the most unexpected of situations. This means that you will all be expected to work together as a team to resolve any problems we may encounter, but always subject to the authority of the Expedition Leader.
Can I bring my own vehicle?
Yes you can! However, if you are bringing your own vehicle, it must be pre-approved by us to ensure that is suitable for your chosen Expedition. Also, you must be the legal owner of the vehicle or have written authority from the vehicle owner, with the requisite paperwork showing ownership. You must also ensure that your vehicle has appropriate luggage space that is capable of carrying your personal belongings for the whole journey.
Whilst there is no restriction on what brand of vehicle you can bring, your vehicle must be capable of riding on and off road and be in a good working order to prevent any unnecessary hold-ups on the road.
Can you provide me with a vehicle?
Of course, we would love to! Adventures Overland can hire you a vehicle for your chosen expedition. Our rates are per day from the official start date to the official end date of the expedition. All our vehicles are shipped out to the start of an expedition (if applicable) and freighted back at the end. The freight is included in the price you pay for the expedition.
To hire a vehicle you must be a minimum of 25 years old, hold a full valid driver’s license and not be excluded from being able to obtain third party insurance for all countries where it is a legal requirement to have it in place. Hirers must also be able to demonstrate previous driving experience on vehicles of a similar size. All hire vehicles are subject to separate terms and conditions and an additional hire agreement must be signed by the driver. Please refer to our Vehicle Hire Page for further details.
What is included in your expedition price?
• GPS and Radio Set the duration of the Expedition
• Hotel, camping or home stay accommodation with breakfast and dinner from the official start date to official end date
• Group freight of your vehicle from our India freight agent’s premises to the official start point (if applicable) and from the official finish point back to our India freight agents premises, as given in the Expedition Summary.
• In transit vehicle insurance, during freight.
• Assistance with all documentation relating to taking the vehicle abroad (insurance, airway bills or bills of lading, dangerous goods, carnet de passage, International Driving Permit “IDP”).
• Any local guides travelling with our group, acting as translators and facilitating our route through some (not all) countries, but not local guides relating to other optional activities or sight-seeing that you may decide to do whilst on the expedition.
• A support vehicle to lead the group and assist in case of breakdown or other emergency, equipped with satellite phone, spare fuel, water, tools, selected spare parts and emergency first aid kit. (only for Organised group Expeditions)
• Some group evening meals.
• All en route ferry crossings.
• Pre Expedition Meetings as stated in your chosen Expedition Summary.
• Daily route notes, with GPS information (where available)
• Discounts from approved companies who supply equipment relevant for an expedition.
• Adventures Overland souvenirs and stickers.
• The Participants private area on Adventures Overland website, which provides access to blogging, documentation, notes and forum to chat with other participants.
Not included in your expedition price
• Your own international or domestic passenger flights.
• Insurance and documentation costs, such as travel insurance, motorcycle insurance, visa applications, Letters of Invitation, International Driving Permit, carnet de passage, border crossing fees etc.
• Vehicle servicing, repairs, fuel and other bike sundries, toll roads, traffic fines
• Freight costs of your vehicle should you leave the expedition early (for whatever reason) and we have to organize a one-off shipment of your vehicle from a destination that is not the official end point of the trip.
• Personal spending money, meals (except where stated), tips, snacks, drinks, alcohol and additional excursions you may wish to take.
• Any hotel, subsistence or other costs incurred prior to the official start date of an expedition and after the official end date of an expedition.
• Any costs relating to having to change your airline ticket due to late arrival of an expedition.
Where do we stay during the expedition?
Where we show an expedition as hotel based, our prices are for breakfast and dinner accommodation on a shared basis (normally double occupancy, but on some occasions, greater numbers may need to share). Single supplements are available but there are certain occasions where sharing will still be necessary. You must request a single supplement as early as possible as it is subject to local availability.
The hotels that we use vary in their facilities depending on their location, but for the majority of occasions (although not all) are good mid range hotels that include en suite bathroom facilities and often satellite television. The key ingredients are security for the vehicle, cleanliness, safety, comfort and location. Sometimes we may stay in an isolated area, a bunkhouse on the edge of a remote border crossing, or in a small family run hostel; other times in a modern 4-star hotel. However, you need to understand that hotel standards in most of the countries that we travel through are not the equivalent to those of Western Europe and North America.
We are able to book rooms in the group hotel for you before the official start date and after the official end date of your expedition, subject to local availability. Please request accommodation at least two (2) months prior to arrival. Some expeditions will involve camping, either at campsites or as a wild camp, or spending the night in home-stays. Adventures Overland provides individual tents for participants. You must provide your own sleeping bag and mat, with other personal camping equipment. For camping or homestays, you should note that there are rarely any showers and toilet facilities are very primitive.
Is food included?
Included within your price are all breakfasts and some group evening meals.
What documents do I need?
You must hold a full passport that is valid for at least six months after the end of your chosen expedition and has sufficient pages for visas (if applicable) and all country entry and exit stamps. We will guide you through the process of obtaining documentation for your vehicle. You must have the registration document for your vehicle, which is in your name and shows your current address.
You must also have a valid driving license and International Driving Permit (if applicable) and the name shown must be the same as your passport details.
Thereafter, we will advise you on how to obtain the additional documentation required for driving your vehicle overseas (for example international driving license, carnet de passage, local motorcycle insurance, where available). You are personally responsible for your documentation at all times. Any loss of documents whilst on the expedition can cause significant disruption to you. All direct and indirect costs of replacing documents are your responsibility. In extreme circumstances, you may need to temporarily leave the expedition to organize replacements. Whilst we will use all reasonable efforts to assist you, we cannot delay the expedition schedule, nor can we allocate a dedicated team member simply to accompany you whilst you organize replacements.
Do I need any special vaccinations?Vaccination requirements do change regularly. We strongly advise you to consult your doctor or specialist travel vaccination clinic and obtain the recommended vaccinations. Whilst we carry an expedition first aid kit with us, you must bring your own personal travel medical kit. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you must inform us of this and also have written confirmation from you travel insurers that the condition is covered. If you take any prescription drugs then you must ensure that you have a sufficient supply with you (including contingency supply in case of loss), kept in their original bottles/container, together with a signed letter from your doctor.
Do I need Travel Insurance?
It is a pre-condition for booking that you have comprehensive travel insurance, including coverage for driving a vehicle of the appropriate engine size. If you cannot prove that you have insurance, you will not be allowed on an expedition. You must ensure that you have a policy designed for adventure travel that will cover you for personal accident, medical and repatriation costs, loss, damage and theft of personal belongings and for cancellation or curtailment.
We advise you to take out travel insurance immediately on booking an expedition to cover you in the event that you cancel your trip before travel. Please remember that your deposit and other payments are non-refundable and Adventures Overland will not provide any refunds for cancellation where you failed to take out travel insurance or if you cancel due to an incident that is not covered by your insurance. You should also make sure that you are happy with the amount of cover provided for cancellation or curtailment, as many cheaper policies will only provide cover at an amount substantially less than the cost of your trip. In such cases, you should seriously consider increasing the limit of the cancellation cover by paying an additional premium.
You should also note that if you do have to curtail your trip for whatever reason, travel insurance will not pay out for additional costs incurred in shipping your vehicle back home and this additional cost is down to you.
Finally, as many policies only cover overseas medical expenses, you should also consider taking out a policy to cover future consequential loss that you may incur if you have a serious accident or illness (for example loss of earnings, disability, medical care etc).
Do I need Third Party Motor Insurance Cover?Where available, we require that you hold minimum third party insurance to drive your vehicle in the countries that we travel through.
Some countries will also require you to buy compulsory local third party insurance at the border. It may not be possible to insure your vehicle in certain countries and you must accept the associated risk of this.
If you cannot get third party insurance cover where it is available and is a legal requirement for the country, you would not be able to participate in an expedition
Can you book Air tickets?We can assist you with your passenger flight reservations. Please remember to take into account the potential for the late arrival of the itinerary and ensure that your return flight makes contingency for this. We strongly recommend that you book a ticket that allows you to change your return date if necessary.
For expeditions where passengers have a domestic or international flight as part of the expedition route, we facilitate this locally for you through a block booking.
What is the role of the support team?
The support team will comprise of at least 2 members responsible for the support vehicle and providing mechanical assistance. Whilst on the expedition, your Expedition Leader will have to make many decisions regarding the day to day operation of the expedition and also when unforeseen matters occur. When decisions are being taken, this will be done on the basis of what is judged to be best for the group given all the known circumstances at the time and not to suit any particular individual. All participants must respect the decisions taken by the leader and acknowledge that on an expedition such as this, an element of compromise is necessary to ensure that the trip runs smoothly.
What is the role of the support vehicle?
For all our expeditions, we will have a dedicated Adventures Overland support vehicle. The main purpose of the support vehicle will be to provide assistance to the group in the event of a breakdown or other emergency. From time to time, the support vehicle may not be with the main group if there has been an emergency incident or other unforeseen event and it is being used to assist the vehicle involved.
The support vehicle will carry some emergency equipment including some tyres, fuel, spare parts, an emergency medical kit and water. Participants must be able to carry all their own personal belongings in their own vehicles. The support vehicle follows the official expedition route and cannot provide support to individual participants who decide to take any alternative routes.
Are the expeditions dates final?
The routes and timings given on the website and in the brochure are a fair indication of the schedule. However, they are not intended to be absolute statements of fact. Overland travel is subject to delays and itinerary alterations for many reasons, including politics, climate, bureaucracy, vehicle breakdowns and decisions of the group itself. The whole philosophy of this type of overland travel is one which allows alternatives and a substantial degree of on-tour flexibility. It is a fundamental condition of joining any expedition that you accept this flexibility, and acknowledge that delays and alterations, together with their consequences, are possible.
In particular, we cannot be responsible for the results of a late arrival of an expedition, howsoever caused. We therefore advise against making any firm commitments for 3 days after the scheduled arrival date for an expedition and to have a return flight ticket which allows a change of return date.
Do I have to attend the Pre Expedition meeting?
It is important that all participants are properly briefed about the expedition and have the opportunity to ask any questions. We strongly recommend that all participants attend the Pre Expedition Meetings if at all possible.
How do I prepare my vehicle for the Expedition?
Prior to starting any expedition in your own vehicle, it must have had a full service and new tyres fitted. For expeditions which are more than 5000 km, we will organize service points (official vehicle dealers will not always be available) and for your vehicle to fit in with the expedition schedule and the requirements of the group as a whole.
The cost of the actual service, repair, tyre change etc will be your responsibility. You should also note that obtaining official manufacturer parts can be difficult or very expensive to obtain in certain countries and it is advisable to have basic service parts with you.
For shorter expeditions, having had a full service at the start of the expedition, there is no need to schedule any formal vehicle servicing points en route.
What is the process of Vehicle Freight?
No later than three months prior to departure, you will be provided with the details regarding the process for freighting your vehicle to your outward destination (if applicable) and what you need to do to ensure all necessary documentation is completed. The period of time that we require your vehicle before the start of an expedition for the freight varies depending on the outward bound destination and whether vehicles are shipped (sea freight) or flown (air freight).
At your Pre-Expedition Meeting, you will be provided with details for dropping your vehicle off for outward freight and where to collect your vehicle when it returns after the Expedition.
Please note that at the freight destination, you to have to be personally present to complete Customs formalities for the temporary import and export of your vehicle, and to sign the necessary paperwork. Be prepared for a sometimes protracted and frustrating process.
If for whatever reason, you do not complete an expedition, then due to Customs formalities, normally your vehicle must be freighted home from the same country that you also depart from. Adventures Overland will facilitate this for you. However, you are responsible for all the additional costs of this one-off shipment and Adventures Overland cannot provide any rebate, based on portions of freight not used at the end of the expedition.
You should note that Adventures Overland uses reputable global freight forwarders to manage the bulk freight of our vehicles. However, the timing of freight can be subject to delays beyond our control, where transport companies change or cancel schedules or customs procedures change. You should also be aware that during freight there is a small risk that some minor damage may occur to your vehicle (such as scratches, scuffs) and that Adventures Overland accepts no responsibility for such damage. Your vehicles are insured in transit and any major loss or damage is covered by this insurance.
When should I arrive at the Official Start Point?
We recommend that you book a flight that will arrive at the official start point 2 – 3 days prior to the official commencement date of an expedition. Arriving early will give you time to recover from jet lag, complete the formalities with local Customs and check your vehicle. As each expedition is slightly different, please check with us on the recommended date that we advise you to arrive at the official start point.
Do you provide any optional Excursions?
We have included time to be able to take optional excursions, which are an additional local cost to you. Optional excursions are ones for which we need to involve a local operator to provide you with a specialist service or where we cannot take the vehicles. You should note that whilst we help to organize optional extras as a service to you, we are not necessarily recommending them.
As these excursions are operated locally, standards of safety are not always in keeping with those of Western Europe and North America. These types of activities are always subject to the local operator and you are always at liberty to organize the same excursion with a different local supplier.
What is the minimum number of people per group?For expeditions of two weeks or less, we require a minimum of 8 participants and 4 vehicles to go ahead. For all other expeditions, we require a minimum of 10 participants and 5 vehicles to go ahead.
What is the maximum number of people per group?
For all expeditions we try to run with no more than 16 participants and 8 vehicles and this may be lower for tougher expeditions.
How can I sign up for an Expedition?
In order to book an expedition, please complete the reservation form included in our brochure or on our website at www.adventuresoverland.com and forward to Adventures Overland with the required deposit. You will also be required to sign a release and waiver form. Adventures Overland reserves the right to contact you through telephone or meeting prior to accepting any bookings, as well as being satisfied with your driving experience and type of vehicle. Adventures Overland has total discretion as to whether your application is accepted, without any right of reply.
Your deposit is non-refundable, irrespective of personal circumstances, and so we strongly advise you to take out appropriate travel insurance immediately on booking in case you are unable to travel due to any accident, illness or bereavement to you or your family or travelling companions. We are only able to accept payments by cheque or electronic bank transfer; this keeps our costs down and therefore our prices because we do not have to factor in the merchant fee for credit card transactions.