Overland Travel Routes
There are many reasons to like overland travel, and many more not to like it. There are also many versions of these overland routes. Sufficed to say, taking no planes is one of the rules. Cars, bikes, buses, boats, trains and feet are all good. These days having the appropriate vaccination paperwork is also important!
List of Overland Travel Routes
- Trans-Siberian Railway
- The Silk Routes
- London to Australia
- Africa/Sahara Overland
- The Americas Route
- The Grand Circle of Australia
- Europe to Asia
- The "extreme" overland routes
- Rules of overland travel
Trans-SiberianA famous route to and from Europe/Asia. The common railway route links Moscow with Vladivostok and Beijing. Couple that it in with the Trans-Mongolian routes and Korean and you have many options. A one way ticket is likely to cost around $500 USD, but this is basically non stop. The way to do the route really, is to hop on and off en route. This will boost the price up to scary proportions, not to mention add to your Russian visa headache!
The Silk Road Map
The Silk RoadThis ancient trading route is possibly the most famous overland travel route. In actual fact there's more than one route. So you might have to make up your mind which one to take. Europe, Asia, the Middle East, SEA. They are all linked. Have a look to the map on the right to get an idea. Learning your routes history is going to make it more interesting. A classic route on the silk road is Marco Polo's route, or Alexander the Great.
London to AustraliaA modern day overlanders challenge. These days many people head off from either the UK or OZ for work or permanent moves. They make their way through SEA, up to Russia or through Pakistan and Iran into Europe. The hardest part is actually sticking to the overland part. SEA and Australia are not linked and boats are scarce. It is possible though. Likewise for some nationalities visas can be an issue.
London to Australia Map
Down/Up through Africa Map
Down/Up through AfricaA series of hardcore routes give you the option of starting at one end of Africa, and making it overland to the other end. There are plenty of overland companies out there offering to take you. Then again going independent is really going to be an adventure of a life time. Visas, wars, weather, language and unpredictability make the African option a place for boys to become men and girls to become women.
Sahara OverlandLike the above, this is not for the faint at heart. There are essentially three routes. Two coastal, and one through the middle. Here, visas, a surprisingly high cost and the odd closed border are the main issues. You know which route I would prefer don't you? Not to be taken lightly.
Sahara Overland Map
South East Asia Map
South East AsiaOverland Route? Yes, aside from South America it's probably the most overland crossed travelers region in the world. Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam etc are all linked with relatively easy borders to cross. Visa hassles are low and there are plenty doing it. More difficult routes involve The Philippines where Mindanao's terrorist activity makes it difficult along with hazardous ferry crossings similar to the longer distant ferry crossings in Indonesia.
South America to North AmericaA very long stretch of land. With a problem in the middle. Colombia to Panama overland is to be avoided at all costs. Bad bandit territory has resulted in regular kidnappings, and none that often end well. Apart from Karl Bushby that is. Aside from that hiccup, it's a long journey that can be done with relatively low hassles. Aside, perhaps, from U.S. immigration these days.
South America to North America Map
Grand Circle of Australia Map
Grand Circle of AustraliaAn overland route around Australia, possible by train, car & ferry, train, ferry& bus, or simply by car & ferry themselves. The northeastern underdeveloped route is the only challenge other than time. Tackling an overland journey like this is not about the route, but it will be about the journey along the way.
Extreme Overland JourneysThere are several overland journeys that can be recorded as "extreme". They usually involve specialized equipment, vast budgets for extraordinary time scales. Examples here would include going from the South Pole to the North Pole overland or circumnavigating the globe on foot. These examples of overland travel are not too common and usually reserved for record breading attempts.
Pole to Pole Map
Europe to Asia Overland Map
Rules of Overland Travel
- No flights
- No Multi-country tickets
- Boats are allowed
- Journey should have documentation
- Travel independently
The rules of true overland travel have always had no flights as the most important. However as times and technology have changed it's now easier to travel overland than ever before. One can literally book a train in Portugal all the way to Russia on a package tour. The later, along with many package tours, are now disregarded as holding any merit. One should travel overland independently without the need for a package tour.
Given the ever changing world there are exceptions to the "package tour" clause. For example in 2019 it is not legally possible to enter into Tibet without being part of package tour. In this case it is permitted. The true meaning of no package tours relates to taking a tour bus across Europe or a tour across Russia - for both you need independent transport.
The adage of a boat not being allow has long been dismissed. Boats traverse the sea or water mass on terra firma. They are permitted in overland travel to cross between two points. Or, in exceptional cases to bypass a country due to visa issues or safety issues. However, repeatedly taking a boat for said issues is not acceptable. If it's relatively safe and you can get a visa then you should take the land option.
Finally the overland journey should be documented. By this passport stamps, photographs, video are the best options. It's essentially a way of being to prove you made the journey. As an example some overlanders may well be on a hazardous border and have no passport stamp. In such a case photographs should back up the claim they made it across to countries or a land mass.
Do see more about overland travel in the following pages.