Sources of Information
For every trip you have to collect at least some basic information about your travel destination and the required papers etc.
Even when you just leave for two weeks on the beach we recommend to learn some words in the local language. Don’t be afraid the people will answer your broken “Hi! How are you?” with a long monologue – and if they do just smile, they will recognize pretty soon you are not a fluent speaker. Nevertheless, we always met people happy to hear us try to talk some words in their language.
But the longer the trip the longer the time you need for preparation and planning.
As mentioned in some other posts we are not the best planner. Our goal is to plan as less as possible and let the current mood decide. But of course we do have to get prepared and get information. Otherwise we certainly will come to a point when we say “We should have known this before!” (for sure we will get there at least once during our trip but it would be nice if it’s not in the first week). And at least Anna also likes to read different guide books and travel blogs to get inspired and feel the great thrill of anticipation.
Paper or display?
There are different ways to get to the relevant information. It depends on what you prefer, where you are (still at home or already on the road) and what’s your intention.
The most common and best known way for sure are guide books. You can sit on your couch and plunge into dreams of your next travel. Plus your bookshelf looks pretty cool with many different ones from all over the world. Of course for preparation or a shorter trip you can borrow a guide book from your library, like my sister likes to do. On the other side to carry more or less heavy books with you may not be the best solution while beeing on a trip.
But thankfully 21st century is here with the possibility to buy ebooks. We are really happy about this invention as it allows us to carry many many books and of course as well guide books without overloading our Landcruiser. It may not be as neat as a paper guide book but you might have the possibility, depending on your device, to highlight important parts.
By now many well known guide book publisher offer their books in electronical version.
Nevertheless for the time at home a paper book offers a nice break from daily routine. We bought two guide books that helped a lot for getting a feeling for a longer and overland travel. Besides that the previous owner of our Landcruiser gave us their used guide books. Plus we got some novels about traveling and overlanding.
So here is the actual list of our (paper) books we have for getting prepared:
- VDEG: The ultimate overlanding travel guide; it offers almost everything what you have to know for an overland trip with many personal stories and advices. There are tips about
- The Rough Guide to First-Time Around the World
- Lonely Planet: Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Mongolia
- Left Beyond the Horizon. A Land Rover Odyssey – Christopher Many
- #10 Tage. In zehn Tagen um die Welt – Christoph Karrasch
- Wild – Cheryl Strayed (in German: Der große Trip)
There are many different magazines on the market about different styles of traveling. We bought some overlanding magazines for inspiration. They may offer more than you need and sometimes you can discover information about places you first haven’t thought about to visit.
Websites, Blogs and Forums
Of course, the main source of information always is the internet these days. There are so many websites, blogs and forums out there that it is almost impossible to not find the answer to your question.
We read through a lot of different blogs. Some we like a lot, some are really helpful with a lot of information, others just fun to read.
Although, we are both not the big Facebook guys (besides our FB page, of course), there are some very helpful groups. We get and give information mainly through all the Overland Sphere groups, wherever we are traveling at that moment. For example, traveling in Asia – ask here: Overlanding Asia
There are other groups for Australia, Africa, America and Europe.
A very good website for overlanding (not only by motorbike) is Horizons Unlimited
For helpful apps for planning and traveling, read our post about Overlanding Apps.
In most cases a mixture of all the sources mentioned above should be the best way for preparation. Of course it’s a matter of taste but all the ways offer different helpful aspects for the different situations you will be in. And keep in mind to leave some space for spontaneous and unprepared adventures. It will never be possible to plan and stay 100% safe. The best and deepest experiences you will get in the most unplanned situations!
Feel free to add more to our list! We are more than happy about every tip for insider information or helpful tips! Just leave a comment.