Friday, March 01, 2013

Choose Overland for Savings

One way to cover a lot of territory at reasonable cost is to travel with an overland expedition company. These companies organize trips to remote areas for groups, and travel is often by specially-designed truck.
For example, Odyssey Overland ( is a British company that offers expeditions spanning several months in various parts of the world, including Africa, South America and Central Asia. Travel is by truck, and some of the lodging is camping in tents provided by the company. Rates are moderate, considering that they include transportation, meals, lodging and some sightseeing.
A trip from Kathmandu, Nepal to Istanbul, Turkey traverses China, some of the stans such as Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and others, as well as Azerbaidjan, Armenia and Georgia, but leaves out the more dangerous stans, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The tour lasts about three months and the cost is under $6,000, though you have to budget for about another $770 to cover the cost of visas.
This itinerary sounds fascinating, but the conditions also sound pretty rugged. If you are in very good shape and are the outdoorsy type, this could be a good opportunity to visit some interesting, little known parts of the world.
I have travelled only once with a British tour operator, Swan Hellenic ( and really enjoyed that trip, an East African safari. It was supposed to be a luxury trip and mostly was, except that for one or two nights we had to double up in rooms and some people had to sleep in tents, where they became bug fodder. There was no room at the inn because of a border war that had sent a large number of tourists fleeing into Kenya from Tanzania.
There was some grumbling in our group, but in general the attitude of the Brits was very positive, and I had a good experience of their grace under pressure.


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