My name is Laurent, I've traveled for about three years across dozens of countries over the world on my motorbike, in addition to backpacking in many other countries. My goal is to put in one place all kind of informations that are hard to find elsewhere and important to start planning an overland trip. I've also written a book on the subject (in French only). My avatar on advrider is "asianrider".

The general country data and maps come from publicly available information such as natural earth. The more overlanding-focused data come from my own extensive experience as an overlander, many discussions I've had with fellow travelers and various research. Don't forget though that the political and security situation changes rapidly, notably in Africa and the Middle-East. The rules and laws that were true yesterday may have changed by the time you read this, despite my best efforts to keep the site up to date. The state of the road can also change drastically from one season to another, often because the rain season wreaks havoc and no maintenance is done, or on the opposite because hundreds of gravel roads are being surfaced with tar every year. At home, the best source of information is probably Horizons Unlimited but the best tips come from overlanders that you meet in some of the famous guesthouses and camp sites around the world.

Disclaimer: the data, maps and all information contained in this site are purley informational and the authour doesn't accept any liability for any error or misinformation contained here. In plain words, if you take the decision to travel ina dangerous country you accept all the risks associated with that decision; this site is is no way pushing you to travel in a country that your gevernment explicitly advices against, it merely provides you with some of the information needed to make an educated decision.

All governments are required to inform their citizens on the dangers that they can face when they travel in a foreign country. At the same time, everybody has a different of notion of danger and safety, therefore they often take the easiest and safest path and advise against traveling to many countries that are actually pretty safe to travel to. There are also some political and economic aspects that force the official bodies to blacklist some countries (Iran comes to mind).

The final decision is always yours. Get all information that you can, first-hand if possible, and once on the road be sensible and try and stay on the beaten path if the situation is tense.

The short answer is, if you intend to travel in North or South America, in Europe or in North Asia you don't care. In a few other countries, this document allows you to temporarily import a vehicle without having to pay duties, which are often very high (up to several times the price of the vehicle). The carnet is stamped in when you enter the country, and stamped out when you leave. If the both stamps match they cancel each other. If the exit stamp is missing, the vehicle is considered to have been illegally imported in the country and the goverment can reclaim the duties. To ensure this, you need to provide a deposit to the issuing company (often an automobile club of your home country) when you request the carnet, and this deposit will be refunded to you after you return your carnet, and if there is no claim by ayn country. The deposit is matched to the highest duty of all countries that you will cross, which can be up to 800% of the new price of your vehicle.

See here for the a map of the countries that require a carnet to enter it with a foreign vehicle. Note that with regard to customs, a bicycle is not considered a vehicle and not subject to import duties, therefore a carnet is only needed for a motor vehicle such as a car, a truck or a motorbike.

It's very difficult to answer precisely the kind of question, as rules depend on the nationality of the traveler and also laws change any time. The situation is pretty clear and stable in South America : for a European national, only Suriname asks for a visa but US nationals need to purchase visas for many other countries. It's in Africa that the situation is the most complicated. Refer to a recent guidebook or call the consulate department of an embassy. You can also refer to airlines websites or websites offering visa services. Note that:

  1. Not only do the official rules change, but the consulates sometimes bend the rules in one way or another (that happens often in Africa).
  2. The rules depnd on your nationality.
  3. The prices depend sometimes on your nationality and sometimes also on the embassy you apply in.
  4. Many countries have specific requirements and need different documents. For example some need a LOI (letter of invitation) from an official travel agency, some require you to apply in your home country, ask for a return ticket, a hotel reservation, etc..
  5. Sometimes you can get a visa on arrival at the airport, but not at land borders.

It's not necessary and probably impossible. Most visas have a specific expiry date, so if your trip last more than a couple months you'll probably need to buy some on the road. It's almost always possible to go the embassy of the next country whne you're in a capital city, and apply there, with a few known exceptions: Countries like Paksitan, Ethiopia, etc.. require you to apply beforehand in your home country. In that case, you'd have to send your passport back home and have a relative or firend apply for you.

This is one of the most hotly debated subject on the internet. Discussion about the pros and cons of BMW vs. KTM are fun to read (and to participate in) but rarely useful to make a decision. The best advice that one can give, is if you're satisfied with your current bike and you know it well, then it's a good candidate. Some more thoughts on the subject:

  • If you're on a showstring then your everyday's bike is your best bet.
  • The ideal bike depends on the specific countries and roads you'll be driving to, and on your skills. So there's no clear-cut answer.
  • Don't forget that outside of the western countries finding spare parts will be next to impossible. So it's a good idea to keep the bike simple and robust (the warranty for your new bike will be useless if you break down in the middle of Bolivia).
  • The golden rule of motorbike travel is: keep the weight down.

There is no clear-cut answer to this question. One could argue about the quickest road, the road in best shape or the most scenic road. These are often three different roads and depending on what you're looking for, one may be the best for you. Maybe you prefer the fast and relaxing motorways, or on the other hand you're looking for technical and challenging tracks. You are sometimes on a time budget or your vehicle is more suitable to some type of roads.

In a few places though there's an obvious itinerary : either because the other ones are in a very bad shape, because it is the safest or just because it's the only one! For example there is only one road between Iran and Pakistan, and between Yakutsk and Magadan.

The roads listed on the interactive map are the main overland routes taken by most overlanders. They're not always the most beautiful or the most interesting, but they will get you (relatively) easily from point A to point B. In addition, you will also find some of the most beautiful itineraries that I (and other fellow overlanders) have enjoyed in the past.

My idea of traveling overland is not compatible with the system of roadbook that gives you turn-by-turn indications for the whole length of the trip. One of the main advantage of traveling with their own vehicle is being able to choose their own itinerary, take a detour or change his or her mind once into the country. Improvisation and suprise are key to the success of an overland trip.

My recorded tracks for example are very convoluted and do not make much sense. It wouldn't help you much to follow them blindly, or I would have a lot of work to straighten them out. The roads that are mapped here are very high-level and serve mainly to plan your trip and for you to get an idea of what can be done or not : difficulty, length, suitability for your particular vehicle (and skills).

If you still want a precise track to follow, there are several web sites where people share their GPS tracks.

You are welcome to drop me an email about this and I'll do my best to update the site, but there's also a comment field at the bootom of each page. You can insert your comment there and I'll be watching for it.

"Aventure" is French for "Adventure" and "overland" has no translation in French.

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