A detailed pre-trip information pack will be sent out to you when you book onto the trip, but here are the main things that you need to know.
This trip goes above 2,800m / 9,200ft where it is possible for travellers to experience some adverse effects on their health due to the altitude. Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatising to high altitude; please discuss these options with your doctor. As your trip travels to areas of high altitude, the tour leader will issue you with a self-assessment altitude questionnaire which allows you to monitor how you are coping with the altitude and informs you of danger signals so that you can reports these as soon as possible, either to the tour leader or a medical professional.
Recommended vaccinations and other health protection vary according to different regions and recent bulletins issued by health authorities. It is essential to get the latest advice on the region(s) you are planning to travel in so please check with either your doctor or travel clinic in good time before you travel.
A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It’s also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home. It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you’ll be visiting.
It is a condition of booking that you have comprehensive travel insurance. Without evidence of valid travel insurance you will not be allowed to start the trip.
The Operator recommends that any policy has a minimum medical (including repatriation) cover of £5,000,000. We recommend that any policy also has a minimum level of cover for Personal Liability of £5,000,000 and for Cancellation and Curtailment of £5,000. Cover for loss of baggage, personal effects, money and other inclusions are down to personal choice although please bear in mind that personal effects are more likely to go missing whilst travelling and you should ensure that your policy is adequate to cover the value of your personal effects e.g. cameras, iPads, phones etc. Please note that the operator is not responsible for your personal effects and is not insured for their loss.
Whatever policy you choose, you must ensure that it is designed for adventure/overland travel and make sure it covers any activity you intend to undertake. As such it must cover you for adventure activities such as white water rafting, trekking, horse-riding and that the 24 Hour Emergency Assistance Company must be experienced in handling situations in developing countries – for example, that they have the ability to arrange repatriation from remote areas such as Sudan. On activities or side trips that are not recommended by the operator please ensure you are happy with the safety of the activity before participating.
Please double check if you have annual travel and/or credit card policies to ensure they have the cover you require, as many of these policies are not able to cope with adventure travel to remote areas.
Visas & Passport
Your passport will need to be valid for at least 6 months after the conclusion of the expedition.
Many countries that you will visit on this overland tour will require visas to enter. Some are best obtained before you leave home, and others can be obtained en-route. Whilst the ultimate responsibility for obtaining visas is yours, the operator will endeavour to assist you wherever possible.
For visas that are needed in advance you can either make the applications yourself directly to the relevant embassy or consulate, or for trips that require multiple visas, you may prefer to use the services of a visa agency to assist with your applications. While this does increase the cost, it will make the process much easier for you. Note for visa applications made before the trip you will often need to submit your passport together with your applications so we recommend you avoid making any travel plans in the weeks leading up to your departure.
- Panama – citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, NZ, USA, Canada & all EU countries will not need a visa to visit Panama as a tourist for up to 180 days. Certain nationalities will need to buy a tourist card on arrival at the border for USD 5.
- Costa Rica – citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, NZ, USA, Canada & all EU countries will not need a visa to visit Costa Rica as a tourist for up to 90 days.
- Nicaragua – citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, NZ, USA, Canada & all EU countries will not need a visa to visit Nicaragua as a tourist for up to 90 days. All visitors will need to buy a tourist card on arrival at the border for USD 10.
- Honduras citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, NZ, USA, Canada & all EU countries will not need a visa to visit Honduras as a tourist for up to 90 days.
- El Salvador – citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, NZ, USA, Canada & all EU countries will not need a visa to visit El Salvador as a tourist for up to 90 days. Certain nationalities will need to buy a tourist card on arrival at the border for USD 10.
- Guatemala – citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, NZ, USA, Canada & all EU countries will not need a visa to visit Guatemala as a tourist for up to 90 days.
- Belize – citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, NZ, USA, Canada & all EU countries will not need a visa to visit Belize as a tourist for up to 30 days.
- Mexico – citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, NZ, USA, Canada & all EU countries will not need a visa to visit Mexico as a tourist for up to 180 days.
- USA – Citizens of Canada will not need a visa to visit the USA as a tourist for up to 90 days. Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, NZ, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and most EU countries are part of the USA’s Visa Waiver Scheme which means you will not need a visa to visit the USA as a tourist for up to 90 days, but you will need an ESTA Electronic Authorisation if arriving into the USA via air which must be arranged online and in advance. Note the Visa Waiver program does not apply in some circumstances, for example if you have travelled to Iran or Sudan since 2011, please check with your nearest consulate as to your visa requirements
- Northbound trips (starting in Panama) – you will not need an ESTA as you will be entering the USA via land from Mexico & Canada EXCEPT if you are flying to Panama via the USA in which case you will need an ESTA even if you are just transiting in the USA
- Southbound trips (starting in Anchorage) – you will need an ESTA if you are arriving into the USA (for example Anchorage) by air
- Canada – citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, NZ, USA, Canada & all EU countries will not need a visa to visit Canada as a tourist for up to 180 days.
What to pack?
You can bring with you:
- 1 backpack or soft luggage (max 20kg and dimensions 66cm deep x 30cm wide x 30cm high)
- Sleeping bag & sleeping bag liner
- Ground mat or compressed foam
- 2 sets of comfortable travelling clothes (light, easily washable cotton clothes are best)
- 1 set of casual but smart clothes for evenings out. Women should bring a skirt that covers their knees and a scarf for visiting places of worship
- 2 pairs of shorts
- Sun hat or warm hat if trekking
- 1 pair of sunglasses
- Warm sweater/fleeces
- 1 waterproof jacket with hood
- 1 pair of comfortable walking shoes/boots (or ankle height canvas jungle boots)
- 1 pair of sandals or flip-flops
- Underwear and socks (thermals are also a good idea if you are travelling to altitude or to the desert as it can get very cold at night)
- 2 small towels
Note throughout the overland tour there are plenty of opportunities to do laundry. It is worth bringing with you detergent, small scrubbing brush and a washing line (just a length of cord).
Other things to pack
- Washing kit, including a small mirror
- Head torch/flashlight with spare batteries & bulbs (only the 3 standard sizes of round 1.5v batteries are widely available en route)
- Passport photos (average of 2 per country for which visas will be applied for en route)
- Good water bottle at least 1 litre
- A pouch or money belt worn inside your clothing, or unobtrusive pocket sewn into the inside of a pair of loose fitting trousers, is a must.
- Alarm clock
- Pocket calculator (useful when exchanging money)
- Writing materials & notebook/diary
- Multi purpose knife.
- Mosquito net – The tents supplied by us have mosquito netting and you will only need a net if you think you will sleep out under the stars a lot of the time.
- “Wet Ones” (moistened tissues) and hand gel
- Toilet paper – this can be purchased almost everywhere en-route but one roll is worth packing
- Assorted sized plastic bags – protects clothing and equipment from dust and damp
- Extra batteries for your camera / phone etc as there are only limited opportunities to recharge
- Personal medical / first aid kit