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As the weather is getting warmer, most of us want a change from our boring indoors. And what better route should we take than the adventurous outdoors? Overlanding with family is becoming more and more popular nowadays, but a proper experience will only be enjoyed if you plan properly. Here is a guide to overlanding if you are going on the road with your family.
If you want your family overlanding trip to be successful, you first need to get everyone on board with your plans. Make sure they are all excited about the trip. Otherwise, you will end up with a whiny kid on the backseat, asking when you are going to get back home. If you want them to agree to spend some quality time with their family in favor of their friends or their computers, you might want to get them to look forward to the big adventure.
When you are overlanding, you probably won’t go off-road in the muddy woods. But you can expect to go off the cemented roads. You will need a 4-wheel drive, particularly since most camping sites require you to have 4×4 vehicles. Make sure that they are spacious and that they have enough room for you to pack the luggage and supplies. You don’t want to stash everything in the backseat, especially if you’ll have kids or other people sitting there.
The beauty with overlanding is that you choose your spots on the way and basically “drive into the sunset.” However, while the element of surprise and spontaneity makes a big part of the trip, it is still a good idea to paint a picture. Pick a route that you believe has the things that you want to see, and think about at least a destination. This way, you’ll get a good idea of how to organize your time.
As you are overlanding with your family, you need to expect the fact that some passengers might be excited – but only because they do not know what is waiting for them. To be sure there aren’t any issues on a longer overlanding trip (as these trips tend to get), you might want to start small. Pick a route that will have you away just for the weekend, camping out for a night or two. This will also act as a drill for the real thing, telling you exactly what more you need to improve their comfort.
As you are overlanding, you probably won’t have many opportunities to stay at hotels and other types of accommodation. After all, you’re camping on wheels. It’s expected that you will be sleeping quite a lot in a tent. This is why you should consider getting a good family-size tent – preferably a rooftop model, as it will be much easier to set up. Plus, it will give you the element of safety, as you will be above ground. Also, don’t forget to get a good inflatable mattress and some quality sleeping tents to keep you warm.
Overlanding will occasionally take you through cities, but most of the time, you will be driving in the middle of nowhere. Pack with all the necessary recovery gear, such as a winch or some traction mats. If possible, you should travel in two cars, as it’s unlikely anything will happen to them at the same time. Not only will it be more comfortable, but you can also use one car to pull the other in case it’s stuck or stops working.
We’re not necessarily talking about your kid’s dolls or toy cars, although you may bring some if they want it. We’re talking about outdoor entertainment pieces such as balls, rackets, slingshots, inflatable paddle boards – even your skiing set if you expect to get in a snowy area. Overlanding is not just about driving; it’s also about enjoying the outdoors while reaching the destinations in the comfort of your car.
Overlanding with your family can be very fun, especially if you prepare thoroughly. Get all the supplies that you need, adjust an approximate itinerary, stay safe – and most importantly, have fun!
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Ferenc Elekes has been a devout Overlanding enthusiast for many years. During that time, Ferenc has explored 75 countries on six continents, with overland travel involved in 40 countries on three continents.