Planning, why bother?

Some people just jump in their car and go. There are a lot of positives for that, especially if you have plenty of time and no deadlines.  In reality, spare parts can be obtained anywhere in the world, with a few exceptions visas can be obtained as you go along, or you can fly back to get them and garages exist everywhere.  If I was on an open-ended overlanding trip with my wife that may be how we would do it.

However, on my trips so far I have been away from home so I do not want to be away too long from Lee and the family, I have to connect with various different passengers with some but not a lot of flexibility and often I have some sort of firmish end point, in this case a family Christmas and then my daughter Hollys wedding in July.  So while things can and will still change I try to plan to ensure my route is feasible and the probability of breakdowns or significant visa delay is reduced.

For these reasons, I do plan, but I know the plan is just an aspiration and will be flexed and even dropped if reality changes, planning is wise, sticking to a plan in the face of reality is foolish.

The planning phase of one of these expeditions is nearly as long as the trip itself, although considerably less intense and consuming.  This is a typical evening in my study.

Some of the key things we think about include:

  • Entry requirements for countries visited and critically visas for the Africa trip
  • The paperwork for the car, Carnet de Passage if needed, but also registration, MOT, insurance
  • Health, first aid kits, vaccines, health insurance
  • The preparation of the vehicle, replacing things that may break, assembling spares, checks and service
  • Route including climate, distances, border crossings, road conditions
  • Places to stay, sights to see as we go along
  • People to travel with as copilots or as other vehicles travelling together

For the Africa Trip here are the route plans and notes as they were just before I left for Africa

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1qrh8u1ySJr6G9NmH1VayljHXqmw3shQI/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=114140362273257409575&rtpof=true&sd=true

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xOEm3xqZ–lqtLK7KRcvB5tBn8jVK1zV/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=114140362273257409575&rtpof=true&sd=true

In the route sheets there are climatic conditions for each month and country, a couple of routes with each day distance and places to stay.  In the Word document is more specific country information, visas needed and where to get them, exchange rates, weather, sights to see, safety concerns etc

These documents evolve as I read the facebook pages or study iOverlander which is the bible of this type of travelling

So now the landy is packed and this is my last evening in front of the computer with a fast internet connection and a nice cold 0% beer

About Gerry Mulligan

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