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Old 11th March 2016, 18:07   #1
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Default Planning a drive from Mumbai to London

Hi,

My wife and I (ages: 55 & 61 respectively) are in the process of planning, understanding & executing a journey which we had never ever envisioned till 2015. We are in-planning for a journey that will take us all the way to London from Mumbai and come back. The choice of transport is our own car - a 2008 BMW X5.

We stumbled upon the travails of the aptly named and wonderful "Little Indian Family of Explorers (L.I.F.E.) in 2015 and read all about their inspiring journey from Bangalore to Paris in a Fiat Linea. That was a turning point as we fell in love with the idea of travelling the world in our own car. We contacted them and took feedback from them and started with the research work for our own journey.
We have presently zeroed in on a route through Central Asia & Europe to lead us into UK with our estimated journey span being approximately 6 months covering 50,000+ kms and 40+ countries.

Through our research, we've tentatively fixed this itinerary with the chronology mentioned.

Planning a drive from Mumbai to London-2bxujd6x.png

Countries in chronology (tentatively fixed)
India – Myanmar – China – Krysgystan – Kazakhstan – Russia – Latvia – Lithuania - Estonia – Finland – Norway – Sweden - Denmark - Germany - Netherlands – Belgium – United Kingdom – France - Spain - Malta - Portugal - Switzerland - Austria - Slovenia - Czech Republic - Belarus - Poland - Slovakia – Hungary – Croatia – Italy – Greece - Bulgaria - Romania – Turkey - Georgia – Azerbaijan – Iran – Turkmenistan – Uzbekistan – Tajikistan – Tibet (China) – Nepal - India

Our car picture below.

Planning a drive from Mumbai to London-2bxpqz9e.jpg

We've already begun our work on visa applications, permissions and other requirements such as Carnet for our vehicle.

We know we would be on our own. It would not be a walk in the park, nor a country jaunt. It would definitely not be a jolly excursion, but a great adventure, challenging, could be dangerous. At the moment we do not have any hand-holding nor assistance from anyone, but look forward to. There would definitely be no back-up van escorting us, except in countries like Myanmar and China where by law we cannot move without a local escort. There would be no mechanics positioned in strategic places and hoping our car supports us in our journey, nor any translators awaiting us at border crossings. We would be fending for ourselves, dealing with irate foreign border guards, de-muddying the wheels of our vehicle when we get stuck in a ditch. We will have to be prepared to pull, push our vehicle, if required. Forget comfort, soft pillows, warm beds and temperate running water.

We would love to have other BHPians guide and advise us for these 3 facets - Routes, Visa Application & Requirements and modifications/add-ons required for our vehicle. We will be shortly commencing a travelogue on the travelogue section (pending Moderator approval, of-course) to describe how we are planning for the journey, equipments we are considering and any advice or guidance in this regard would be most welcome.


Preparing for our journey,
Louis

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 12th March 2016 at 08:35. Reason: Please upload the attachments to the forum's server directly. Thanks!
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Old 11th March 2016, 19:23   #2
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Default re: Planning a drive from Mumbai to London

Malayalam director Lal Jose along with 2 others did a drive to London some months ago - in a Ford Endeavour IIRC. Details of that trip should be available via google & could help plan your journey.

There's someone in our neighborhood in Kerala who drove from Kuwait to Kerala in his Benz during the 1992 Gulf war.
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Old 11th March 2016, 21:46   #3
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You probably have already read it, a couple, Akhil and Aarti, drove down from london to India in a range rover. Their blog is on humdono.us
Akhil (IIRC) is also a bhpian. Do get in touch with them.
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Old 12th March 2016, 08:18   #4
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Default re: Planning a drive from Mumbai to London

Louis, very grand plan it is I must say. I've deliberated with this thought several times but a 1 way trip - getting back home via road. I currently reside in Finland. But then, when I looked at the Risk map of the world, the entire Middle east passages seemed like a big no-go zone. how do you see this? your plan suggests a drive through Turkey & Iran - Both in troubled zone. Curious to hear from you.

As for your travel, when you are passing by Finland and Sweden, I am willing to host you. Would be great to hear your experiences of driving through China and Russia which you would have by then.

About the car - the X5 is a great highway cruiser but then, spares, if required, could become your achilles heel. No?

Wishing you all the very best.
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Old 12th March 2016, 08:56   #5
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Default re: Planning a drive from Mumbai to London

Wonderful plan, Louis. I intend to do this some day myself, so will be keenly watching your experiences.

Choice of a car is key, as you need a car manufacturer / model who has services in majority of the countries you traverse through, so BMW is a good choice.

I would love to do this in my Tata Zest, but would be a challenge, unless sponsored / supported by TaMo themselves
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Old 12th March 2016, 11:29   #6
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I remember reading in our very own forum about 4 guys from Bangalore - who did a London-Mongolia trip as part of some Mongolian tourism related program. I can search for the related thread and post it here. I guess you would be able to get some info from them too.

All the best. Glued to this thread now..
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Old 12th March 2016, 14:56   #7
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Had read about the Malayalam director with 2 others who were planning the drive to London some months ago. Have not followed up on their trip after that. Shall definitely look up. Kuwait to Kerala must have been a drive to remember during the war, am sure.

Very kind of you Avinash to host us when we are passing by from Finland Sweden. We plan to do the Northern Lights also. We would definitely post our experiences in every country.
Our journey towards London is through Central Asia. On our return journey, we plan to cross over through Iran and Turkey, subject to having all the Visas in place.
Planning to carry a few essential spares & spare tyre with hopes that we should be able to cruise through without any problems. BMW Service Centre in Mumbai is checking out our car and may recondition it if required.

Last edited by noopster : 9th December 2016 at 12:38. Reason: Merging Back to back posts
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Old 13th March 2016, 07:43   #8
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Friends brother did a European trip from Dubai last year. I will check his contact details and post. Sounds like a great trip- all the best
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Old 14th March 2016, 11:39   #9
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Default Re: Planning a drive from Mumbai to London

Thanks guys for the valuable suggestions. Am definitely reading experiences of various people who have taken such kind of journeys.

Since we have this car with us for about 6 years, we thought of taking the Car. Relying on BMW to provide us support & services on our journey.

Schengen, UK, Kyrgystan, Myanmar Visas are done. This weekend we should have Kazakhstan Visa with us, which leaves us with Visas for Russia & China for our journey towards London. The return journey Visas seem to be a challenge at the moment. Some countries issue Visas valid for 1 to 3 months from date of issue, which would not be valid by the date we have to return back. Checking for possibilities to stamp them at some other countries.

Want a DashCam for the Car.

Last edited by noopster : 9th December 2016 at 12:41. Reason: Removed reference to wanting sponsorship- no commercial activity permitted on the forum. Thanks!
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Old 15th April 2016, 16:26   #10
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Default Mumbai to London and back in our BMW X5 - Our Lifetime Journey

Hi,
We, Louis & Janet – an Indian couple aged 61 and 55 respectively, have decided to give up the rat race and a world ruled by consumerism for a life on the road less travelled.
We are planning our Lifetime Journey to be flagged off from Mumbai on May 20th to London through Central Asia, Europe and back to Mumbai covering more than 50,000 kms and about 42 countries in approximately 7 months.
We know we would be on our own. It would not be a walk in the park, nor a country jaunt. It would definitely not be a jolly excursion, but a great adventure, challenging, could be dangerous. At the moment we do not have any hand-holding nor assistance from anyone, but look forward to. There would definitely be no back-up van escorting us, except in countries like Myanmar and China where by law we cannot move without a local escort. There would be no mechanics positioned in strategic places and hoping our Car supports us in our journey, nor any translators awaiting us at border crossings. We would be fending for ourselves, dealing with irate foreign border guards, de-muddying the wheels of our vehicle when we get stuck in a ditch. We will have to be prepared to pull, push our vehicle, if required. Forget comfort, soft pillows, warm beds and temperate running water.

We've penned down our final itinerary, finalised our visas + permissions and are all set to take the road on May. A very important criterion of preparation is to get our car - a new BMW X5 prepared for this journey. After understanding the sheer variety of roads and conditions we will be experiencing on our journey, we have been advised to buy the following accessories:

1. GPS Satellite Tracker
2. BMW Advance Car Eye (Car Dashboard Camera)
3. Go Pro Camera Holder (we are still deliberating whether we should buy a Go Pro or a Garmin camera)
4. Cool Bag
5. Fuel Additives (If you have taken a similar journey through some of these countries, let us know where we can face some trouble with fuel quality)
Note: List of countries mentioned below

6. BMW Roof Box for X5


Do we really require all of these accessories? Fellow BHPians, would appreciate your feedback – let us know your opinions on whether we need these accessories or if additional accessories are required?

Some pictures of our car



List of countries we are visiting (in chronology)
Myamnar - China - Kyrgystan - Kazakhstan - Russia - Lithuania - Belarus - Latvia - Estonia - Finland - Norway - Denmark - Germany - The Netherlands - Belgium - UK - France - Spain - Portugal - France - Switzerland - Innsbruck - Slovenia - Czech Republic - Poland - Slovakia - Hungary - Crotia - Italy - Malta - Greece - Bulgaria - Turkey - Georgia - Azerbaijan - Iran - Turkmenistan - Uzbekistan - Kyrsgystan - China - Myanmar - back to India.


Do we really require all of these accessories? Fellow BHPians, would appreciate your feedback – let us know your opinions on whether we need these accessories or if additional accessories are required?
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Old 15th April 2016, 19:09   #11
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Default Re: Mumbai to London and back in our BMW X5 - Our Lifetime Journey

Wow. What an adventure.
I take my hat off to your spirit and wish you all the best.

I would only request that you carry adequate power backups for your phones and cameras and computers and please check in regularly as much as possible at the local Indian Embassies so that the authorities know where you are roughly. Please also keep updating this thread as you progress, so that all of us know where you are roughly at any given point in time.

If possible, can you buy a Satellite Phone or even better, get some company to sponsor you with one - maybe even BMW because in some sense this is like an endurance test for their X5 and run by normal regular people, which in itself is a fantastic thing!

Just turn the pages of history and read about a similar trip done in the 1940's by some students at Oxford, England, in a Land Rover Series 1.

I would only want you both to be safe and hence this suggestion of Sat Phone because in not all of the places you are passing through, will you have access to mobile networks.

Please see link: http://www.telestial.com/view_produc...T_ID=SPHN-ISAT

Also, think of a Satellite Gadget available which helps pin point where your car is exactly. Like a car Satellite pin point locator.

Please see link: http://www.trackyourtruck.com/gps-tr...lite-tracking/

I know there is a Breitling Watch which has this feature - meant for Air - Sea Rescue type operations but Im sure it works equally well on land. Maybe Breitling themselves may sponsor such a product for your use on this trip!

Please see links below:

http://www.breitling.com/en/emergency/presentation/

http://www.gizmag.com/breitling-emergency-2/27364/

No harm asking the powers that be for sponsorships!!

Also, please carry all requisite medication as you might be using regularly and what you might need in terms of first aid etc. Plenty of water bottles too! Things like a camping tent and camping essentials including but not limited to multi purpose tools like those made by Victorinox, Leatherman etc.
Im not sure if the X5 has a full size spare tyre but you might want to consider carrying one of those and some spare tubes too along with a plug in tyre inflator pump. A roof box might come in handy and some length of strong steel cored mountaineering rope with strong hooks as well.

Wishing you all the best and please be safe!

PS. I note you're a Hidesign customer. I've been a customer for years and years and I love that brand. And indeed, because of my affection for that brand, i even worked for them around 14 years ago as their Head of Marketing....and best part is, today, they are my customer in my new avatar!

Last edited by shankar.balan : 15th April 2016 at 19:27.
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Old 15th April 2016, 19:27   #12
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Default Re: Mumbai to London and back in our BMW X5 - Our Lifetime Journey

Congrats on your brave journey, I hope to do this some day too. I am sure you have prepared your emergency kit to carry along in the car consisting of, but not limited to:
  • Sleeping bags, blankets
  • Rescue (tug) chain of adequate capacity
  • Tyre repair kit
  • Incline stop wedges for the tyres
  • Rain ponchos, umbrellas, waterproof torch
  • Typical car spares - BMW service team can advice what to carry
  • List of BMW service agency in each country you are transiting
  • Tyre inflator with gauge
  • Portable fire extinguisher
  • Good quality auto Medical kit
  • Basic tools - again BMC service agency can advise

Yes, a Dashcam is a must. You might also consider fitting the car with a GPS tracker.
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Old 15th April 2016, 20:00   #13
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Default Re: Mumbai to London and back in our BMW X5 - Our Lifetime Journey

Quote:
We are planning our Lifetime Journey to be flagged off from Mumbai on May 20th to London through Central Asia, Europe and back to Mumbai covering more than 50,000 km and about 42 countries in approximately 7 months.
Have you made the exact route ? I believe some time back HVK was also keen to try something like this do connect with him. Did you checked options via Pakistan ?

Here are some of the threads that may be interesting , there were some buses doing London - Delhi / Kathmandu from early 60s to late 70s

http://www.indiamike.com/india/cross...vice-t22994/5/

http://www.indiaoverland.biz/overlan...greyhound.html

Last edited by Turbanator : 15th April 2016 at 20:03.
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Old 15th April 2016, 21:55   #14
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Default Re: Mumbai to London and back in our BMW X5 - Our Lifetime Journey

Loius and Janet, I cannot offer much advice beyond what has already been offered up in the earlier posts. I assume you have done/ are doing your home work on the customs and immigration rules and practices of the countries you will pass through.
Your spirit and courage is setting an example for me. I am but a few moons behind you on the maturity curve. I showed this thread to my (much!) better half and she has decided this is what we will do in a few years time once junior number two starts her career in a couple of years.

Look forward to your posts as you wind your way through 42 countries. May God's Grace be with you.

Best regards
Narayan
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Old 16th April 2016, 12:17   #15
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@lifetimejourney - much admiration for the two of you for undertaking this adventure and best wishes. More power to you.

Just one question - pardon my ignorance of geography; but why Myanmar? Is it even on the way?

Cheers
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