My name is Bjoern, and I am an overlander and adventurer since birth, grew up camping and traveling with my parents. Later journeys became longer, to more remote places on this beautiful planet earth and more challenging. After working successfully in the risk and incident management area for several years it was time to give life a change and I now focus even more on my true passions for vehicle supported overlandtravel, outdoor exploration and outdoor adventures and do what drives me the most. Intensive travelling in Europe, Asia, North America and Asia by motorcycle and 4x4 brought me many great experiences and I learned a lot about long-distance travels. This combination of a vast experience in overlanding with a solid work experience in risk management helps me to go prepared on my overlanding trips. I am happy to share this knowledge with you. This is why I put together the following information about preparing important documents for an overlanding journey. Maybe this helps you and I look forward to your feedback, suggestions for improvements and additions.
Overlanding is fun and one of our greatest passions. Many overlanders are currently or were affected by the covid-19 crisis in different ways: borders cannot be crossed, routes have to be changed, safe storage or parking spaces for the rig where searched. Especially those overlanders who travel "full-time" need “safe-heavens” to stay while others simply want to go home and are looking for transport options.
In these times it is nice to see how the overlanding community sticks together with a wide variety of help! Overland Bound has also done a lot here.
At the moment, one or the other of you may be thinking about how we as overlanders can prepare ourselves in advance for the case when we need help on the road or if an emergency arises. We may not think of this topic first when going on a trip, but it is certainly better to be prepared for it. There are various topics related to safety while overlanding. This article is not about topics like first aid or emergency equipment, no, it's about paperwork. Paperwork?
Yes, paperwork. It has many advantages and is of great help when documents and especially important documents are well sorted. We all know that. While preparing overlanding trips and even more long-distance trips I have good experiences with a so-called overlanding document folder.
I put all the important documents and copies of the documents in this folder and I always have them with me on the go. A similar version to this folder I give to a trustworthy person at home. With regard to this it can be a good idea to give it to someone who is familiar with the type of travel and at the same time may not be so close to the traveler that, in the event of a real emergency, he is not emotionally bound and able to provide rational help.
If you have compiled such a complete folder, no one has to search for documents and data in the event of an emergency. This starts with the telephone number for blocking lost credit cards to important documents and contact details in the event of medical emergencies or even worse.
What should be in an overlanding document folder from my point of view and based on my overlanding experiences?
- Contact details (travelers, contacts or postal recipients at home)
- Emergency contact data (who should be informed in an emergency and how to contact them (such a small note also fits in the wallet or a passport sleeve, not only when overlanding)
- Vehicle data (make, type, number plate, chassis number, color, special features)
- Route plan - approximate route with dates as far as possible (it can also be agreed here that the contact person is regularly informed about the route to enable a better search in the event of missing persons)
- Important addresses and telephone numbers (e.g. embassy, consulate, Federal Foreign Office, visa service, card and account blocks, breakdown service, employers if applicable)
- Contact details for general practitioner (and possibly other doctors) and, if applicable, a list with the medication and illnesses that are required on a regular basis
- Information on the existing insurance (contact details, in particular the travel insurance abroad, letter of protection abroad, health insurance, pension insurance, etc.)
- Power of attorney (e.g. personal power of attorney, bank power of attorney, vehicle power of attorney - power of attorney can make things a lot easier in an emergency, but wespecially with regard to this everyone has to made their own decision how far they go and who they trust and to what extent!)
- Copies of important documents and contracts (passport, visa, vehicle documents, vaccination certificate, tickets, transport documents, bank, insurance, rent, etc.)
- You could also add a few copies of important documents typically to be presented at borders. At some borders you will be asked for copies and it could be easier to have them on hand already.
- Also, some passport photos might be useful for additional permits and visa.
You could also think about digitalization of all these important documents and store them in a secure way. There are a lot of possibilities.
These lines make no claim that the points mentioned fit in every situation and that this is the only right way to prepare well. Rather, this article is simply intended to present ideas so as not to go unprepared on an overlanding trip. The most important thing is to be well prepared in the event that hopefully does not occur!
Have a safe trip!
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