Five Reasons to Go Overlanding on Your Next Vacation

Five Reasons to Go Overlanding on Your Next Vacation

You might not be familiar with the term overlanding, but this form of travel has exploded in popularity in recent years.  Overlanding is becoming an increasingly trendy choice for younger travelers who are choosing not to fly for environmental reasons, families who enjoy the spontaneity it offers, and digital nomads no longer bound by a 9 to 5 office job.

Overlanding focuses on the journey rather than the destination. It’s often a vehicle-based exploration that allows you to really immerse yourself in destinations, emphasizes self-reliance, and puts you more in control of your travel.

Overlanding has long been popular in places like Africa and Australia, the latter of which is where the concept likely originated with Aussie drovers driving cattle and sheep over long distances across the continent. Now, overlanding is taking off in America.

If you enjoy extended travel, camping, and personal freedom, then overlanding may be perfect for you. For some travelers, it offers a memorable holiday while for others it often becomes a full-time way of life. Here are 5 main reasons you may want to consider overlanding as a way to travel.  

Promotes Slow-Travel

One of the big advantages of overland travel is that it encourages you to slow down and connect with the environment. This equates to you living more in the present moment which allows you to really appreciate your experiences more.

Travel by air or train can be limiting but overlanding allows you to go at your own pace and soak up the world around you, taking in views that would otherwise pass by quickly without notice. Overlanding allows you to be more aware of where you are and what you’re doing, and because being in the here and now is a key feature of mindfulness you in turn enjoy much more relaxed travel.

Many travelers often tend to try and pack too much into a short itinerary while traveling, and therefore often feel rushed or that their vacation went by too quickly. Overlanding promotes longer duration travel which allows you to slow things down and begin to really appreciate and take in the sights and activities you engage in while traveling.

Discover New and Unique Places

Rather than simply getting from A to B, overlanding allows you to explore unique places that are often far off the tourist maps. Many smaller towns are overlooked as vacation destinations because there’s simply not enough time to include them or they are thought to be too isolated.

Overlanding allows you the time and opportunity to encounter hidden delights that haven’t yet been spoilt by tourists. Not knowing what you might discover next is part of overlanding’s appeal and you can spend as much or as little time as you like in each place.

When we visit popular cities around the world, we often rely on public transport such as rapid transit systems and buses which can severely limit how far we can venture. This forces us to see and do the very same things that countless other tourists are seeing and doing. Overlanding gives you the personal freedom to travel off the beaten path to seek out places you and countless other travelers never even knew existed.


Value for Money

Overlanding is not only a fantastic way to vacation, it can also be a much cheaper alternative to other holidays, especially for families or larger groups. Yes, you may need to invest a bit of money in equipment to get started but these investments will pay for themselves rather quickly the longer you overland.

Take time to research what you will need, keeping in mind that not every overlander will need the same equipment. Some travel lightly whereas others like to include more home comforts. A great place to start is by looking into getting yourself a quality 4WD, research a list of the best rooftop tents, and purchase some portable cooking gear to allow you to create your meals.

Both camping and cooking for yourself can help save you a lot of money while traveling since accommodation and eating out at restaurants are two of the biggest costs associated with traditional vacations.  

And while you may have to pay for gas with overland driving, you aren’t paying for individual flights for everyone or for expensive taxis to and from airports. You tend to also save on activity costs since many of the places and experiences you encounter while overlanding are free or inexpensive because they are far removed from the often overpriced tourist trail.  


Enjoy a More Authentic Travel Experience

When you travel off the well-worn tourist routes to discover little-known gems, you are almost certain to enjoy more authentic experiences. You will soon realize overlanding gives you the opportunity to try new activities, experience new flavors, and get to meet people from all walks of life.

This variety makes for a fun and educational experience which will broaden your mind and teach you about new cultures and diversity first-hand. You get to engage more with locals instead of simply with other foreign travelers such as in popular tourist destinations like Paris, London, or Sydney.

Overlanding equates to embracing the smaller little-known towns where authentic culture still exists. See how locals truly live and experience authentic traditions and cuisine, all without the mass crowds of overtourism.

Less Stress and More Personal Growth

The freedom overlanding offers means you get to enjoy the vacation of your dreams at a pace that suits you. Without the constraints of check-in times or the worry of missing flights, you can relax and actualy enjoy travel.

Travel is meant to be a break from our busy everyday life that is usually ruled by a strict schedule, but many travelers often find they create just as strict a schedule when it comes to their vacations. Overlanding allows you to break free from the trap of stringent schedules and really promotes freedom and relaxation due to the slower pace and greater flexibility.

The self-reliance aspect of overlanding helps teach you survival skills, resilience, and prove to yourself you can do almost anything. Overlanding may be less hectic and stressful than traditional travel, but at the same time it can be both mentally and physically challenging, albeit in a good way that allows you to enjoy healthy growth as a person.

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many of us to find ways to escape the crowds while traveling and overlanding is one of the best ways to do that. It’s also the only way to travel easily when flights are grounded due to labor shortages and flight disruptions/cancelations like we are currently seeing become more common.

If you have the ability to work remotely and make overlanding more of a way of life full-time, you can then also enjoy a healthier work-life balance. Overlanding with family or even a partner can help strengthen bonds, or allows you to get to know yourself better if overlanding solo.

Technology has made overlanding far easier than it once was. Vehicles are more reliable, gear is more durable and readily accessible, and gathering information for planning an overlanding adventure made easy with the internet.

There has never been a better time to explore the idea of overlanding, so consider it the next time you’re looking to plan a truly memorable holiday.

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Author: Michael Jerrard

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