For cooking I'm using a MSR Base 2-pot set. Its light and packs up small. From $59.95 on Amazon
I have a Wifi OBDII Scan Tool To diagnose any problems with the Jeep computers. From $click on Amazon

Trip Statistics

NEW! Click any photo to buy a custom print - gloss, matt, framed or even a postcard!

Trip Statistics

Item Count Notes
Total kilometers: 64,517 (Approx. 40000 mi.)
Number of days: 667
Kilometers per day: 97 (Approx. 60 mi. / day)
Number of countries 17 *I didn’t drive the Jeep to Uruguay
Number of ferries: 10 Estimated
Number of attempted bribes: More than 40 Estimated
Number of bribes paid 1 I paid $5 USD in Nicaragua
Number of bandits encountered 0
Number of robberies 2 My guitar was stolen in Mexico, and the Jeep was broken into in Argentina (which I have not written about yet…)

Jeep Statistics

Item Count Notes
Gas Used 8000 Liters (2100 Gal.) Estimated from calculated usage of 12.32 L/100km
Kilometers on tires 77,700km (49000 mi.) Dunlop Radial Rover Rv XT’s bought months before leaving
Number of flat tires 14 Estimated because I lost count somewhere in Peru.They were all nails/steel/something stuck in the tires
Number of breakdowns 0 (yep! ZERO)
Highest Elevation 4900 meters (Approx. 16000 ft.) Rob had a GPS that day in Bolivia

Dan Statistics

Item Count Notes
Weight loss: about 12kg (Approx. 27lbs.)
Nights slept in tent: about 75% of the time or 500 nights

Feel free to ask for clarifications or more stuff.

(Costs are coming in another post)

-Dan

62 Responses

  1. b4x4.no says:

    How many nights did you wake and have to check someting?
    and
    How many nights did you wake and have to move your car?

    • Dan says:

      1. You mean, check that nothing was touched or moved or stolen over night? Absolutely zero.
      2. Move the Jeep because it was in the way? or someone came along and told me to move on? Absolutely zero.

      -Dan

  2. Toby Getsch says:

    Cool. That adds a lot of perspective.

    I’m curious about the miles and gas. 4,000 miles and 2,100 gallons comes out to 1.9 miles per gallon. Does that sound right?

    And, zero breakdowns is pretty awesome!

  3. scott says:

    You forgot one item under Dan Statistics.

    • Dan says:

      Quite a few people have been asking that question. I don’t get it. Why is it important?

      • Andy says:

        I think he was referring to how many haircuts you had. 😉

        Seriously though, what was your weight at the end of the trip?

        Also, what was the number of times you got sick? (Note I wouldn’t count an upset stomach as being sick, unless it kept you in bed.. or the toilet.. for the day).

        • Dan says:

          Well in that case, just the one. 😀 Very recently.

          I weigh about 73kg now (165lbs), looking forward to getting back into the gym immensely.
          In Central America I would say every 2-3 weeks I was pretty damn sick, although very few of those kept me “indisposed” for the day.
          Once in Ecuador, then again in Peru I was totally down for about 3 days, unable to move more than 10 meters from my bed to the toilet and back.

  4. DinoEvo says:

    Interesting stats Dan. Thanks for sharing.
    How did you fix your flat tires?
    Would you do this trip again with a tent or rather with a big enough car to sleep in?
    Did you get sick along the way?

    • Dan says:

      1. I had all the flat tires fixed at repair shops (mechanics more or less)
      2. I love sleeping in a tent, but I think the versatility of a big enough vehicle to sleep in would be very nice.
      3. In Central America and Northern South America I think I got seriously sick every 2-3 weeks. Nasty stomach bugs. Down in Chile and Argentina, never.

  5. Jim K in PA says:

    Thanks for sharing the data. You put to rest much of the over-magnified fears that may prevent some people from taking on a trip of this magnitude. And although you took a prudent approach to your travels with respect to going too far off the beaten path, you certainly had the opportunity to do such off-road exploring. No need for multi-thousand dollar lift kits or rediculous tires. A good base vehicle, with prudent preparation and prudent operation, makes for a successful trip. Good job mate!

    • Dan says:

      Yep, I agree 100%. Start with a good base and keep it simple.
      The more I think about it, the more I think my lack of weight was the key to my huge success. So many overlanders are packed to overflowing, and wind up with countless suspension and engine troubles. My Jeep was almost empty, I drove it gently, and it was bulletproof.

  6. victor says:

    hey dan.good to know you are safe after a long trip.we everybody follow you in your site.
    im glad you didnt get sick at tehuantepec after eating so much of different kind of food. and drinking some beers.
    cheers!

  7. Chad says:

    Hey Dan,

    I’ve often wondered if you took any advanced safety items with you, like a satellite phone or spot communicator? Did you always run with reserve gas and water or just what you could fit in the main tank/water bottles?

    My first thought would be to pack a firearm for personal protection but I don’t imagine that would go over too well with all the inspections you went through.

    How did you constantly update this blog? Where you really able to get online in all those remote places?

    • Dan says:

      Hey Chad,
      Nope, I had nothing like a sat phone, cell phone or spot communicator. No safety net really.
      I also didn’t have a jerry can for gas, as the Jeep made 600km on a tank which was more than enough. My water container was 20L and I was careful to keep it nice and full.
      Firearm is an huge no-no for crossing the borders, getting caught with one would be a serious problem.
      Internet is actually very common, everywhere I went always had connectivity and internet cafes are always packed with teenagers checking facebook !
      -Dan

  8. Brenton says:

    Have you started adding up receipts to see how much you spent on everything?…I understand that would take quite a while, but I’m just curious if you were going to

    • Dan says:

      Absolutely, I’m working on it.

      • DinoEvo says:

        Any updates regarding you financial post? I’m really curious how much money you spend on a trip like that…

        • Dan says:

          Hey Dino,
          I’m having some trouble because my bank doesn’t want to give me statements more than a year old.
          I am working on it, I promise. (For now, you an think something in the range of $22,000 for the ENTIRE trip, everything included)
          That really is just a guess though because I used 4 accounts across two different banks.
          -Dan

  9. luke says:

    Hey, having read every blog post so far, I don’t remember 2 robberies. What’s the go?

    • Dan says:

      My first guitar was stolen from the Jeep in Mexico, and I still have not written about a bunch of things getting stolen in Argentina right in the last weeks.
      I still plan on writing about it.

  10. Francisco says:

    Hi Dan,

    Just finished a similar (albeit not as extensive!) trip myself.

    Wanted to say thanks for posting this info – before planning out trip, we used this and similar data you posted as rough estimates for ourselves, and that helped us in planning our trip immensely, as you can imagine.

    We got kinda screwed coming into Argentina (we got 3 months instead of 6, that’s what happens when you enter with ARGENTINE papers…corrupcion indeed!). Since I am planning on living here for a bit, I’m not totally in a rush to sell the car…then again, I came in a month ago (so 2 left) and don’t really have the funds to drive the car every day, so to go on a trip to Chile etc. and then re-enter, just to extend the visa isn’t financially viable!

    What did you end up doing with the car? Did you go with the border crossing guy, despite your failed attempt (http://theroadchoseme.com/papers-police-customs?)?

    ¡¡Any words of advice in this situation would be greatly appreciated!! (thats my trying to use the keyboards here…)

    Thanks,

    -Francisco

    • Dan says:

      Hi Francisco,

      You can absolutely leave Argentina and come right back in the same day to extend the paperwork. I did it many times.
      You can be issued 3 or 6 months at the discretion of the border guard. I had a mix of the two.
      Depending on where you are in Argentina, the easiest thing to do for now might be leave the country and come back every 3 – 6 months.

      I sold the Jeep to a foreigner living in BA. He has to leave and come back every 3 months which he is OK with, or he can drive it around any other country he wants (I made a poder or power of attorney for that.)
      You will hit many hurdles selling the car to an Argentinian person, and I didn’t have the time or patients to pursue it further.
      Since then I have met / herd of a few people that have sold their foreign plated car to someone living on a farm (who will be in trouble if caught with it) and the person simply flew out of the country with no problems. This is not legal, and I don’t know if it will have an impact down the line if the person tries to re-enter Argentina.
      Depending on the vehicle and it’s cost, you can also have it declared scrap, and sell it as that.
      You might also look into selling it in Uruguay or Paraguay, where it’s again illegal, but doesn’t seem to be as strictly controlled.
      Good luck!
      -Dan

  11. Chucho says:

    You’re the man, I just found your site and started reading, I decided 2 months ago that spring 2012 I’m making the trip from nyc to tierra del fuego and back again by truck (I already sold my car, and bought a 4runner), and you are just more inspiration, thank you!!!!

    • Dan says:

      Hey Chucho,
      Great choice in the 4runner – those Toyotas are amazing. You are going to have an absolute blast.
      I just finished a new site that will interest you, WikiOverland. It’s a community encyclopedia for people doing exactly what you are about to do!
      Checkout the page for the Pan American Highway to get an overview of the entire journey, then click through each individual country to see things like paperwork requirements, border crossings, customs fees, gas prices, camping, maps, etc, etc.
      If you find the information handy, it would be fantastic if you could take 5 minutes and update each country as you pass through – things like gas prices and the process at the border will change and you’ll have the best knowledge while you have your feet on the ground.
      Thanks Chucho, have a great trip!

  12. Tot says:

    Dan,
    Sounds like you had a blast. Do you think you will do this again some time? Do you have pictures of you and the Jeep before, during and after the trip. And do you have pictures posted some where?

    • Dan says:

      Het Tot,
      It was the most amazing experience of my life, no doubt about it.
      As for going again, I have dreams, but they are a long way in the future. I’m happily re-charging my batteries and bank account right now. It’s great to have a place to live, eat well, have friends and go to the gym.
      If you have a look around The Road Chose Me, you’ll find plenty of pics of the Jeep and I before, during and after.
      This site has all the pics!
      Start with An Adventure Begins, and follow all the way through to An Adventure Ends

  13. Diego Parma says:

    Hey DAN, your stats are amazing. You’re doing me a huge favor! I must to say thanks. I’ll follow your path in two month, flying from Argentina to US buying a car there, and then go Dan or down hehehe. Probably I’ll be asking you something soon. Thanks again!!

  14. Great read, great trip. Thanks for sharing these adventures.
    Two questions:
    1-How do you “re-charge” your bank account. What do you do for a living that both makes enough to travel and then allows for you to go away and pick up where you left off?
    Because I’d like that kind of flexibility too.

    2-Did you get sponsorship or advertisers for your blog?

    Best,
    Michael Sean Comerford

    • Dan says:

      Hey Michael,

      Thanks for the kind words, I’m glad you enjoyed my story!

      1. I’m a Computer Software Engineer, so my career is portable. Before I left I just quit my job with one company, and now I’m working for a different one. People always think a “gap” on your resume will look bad, which I don’t think is true. I highlighted my trip, saying I learned Spanish, self-reliance and determination. I got the first job I applied for.

      2. No sponsorship, but I did run Google ads and a few other similar things on my blog for most of the trip.. I estimate I made $50-$75/month, which barely covers the cost of running the site. I would love to find a way to make enough money to make a trip like this self-sustaining. Maybe one day I’ll figure it out.

      Good luck!
      -Dan

  15. Danielle Davis says:

    Dan,
    My best friend Caleb and I are planning on taking this trip down the Pan American highway. We’ve decided that we’re sick of talking about throwing everything to the wind and taking off on an adventure that could quite possibly change our lives, and to finally sit down and plan this out. We’ve both been doing as much research as we can, but I would love to hear from you some tips that would help us out along the way!
    Thanks a ton!
    Danielle

    • Dan says:

      Hey Danielle,

      Awesome choice! Go for it.
      What kinds of tips/advice are you looking for? there is not really too much to know, the most important thing is hitting the road.
      You will find extremely useful for the logistical stuff.
      I also did an AMA on Reddit a while back, where I answered lots of typical questions people have.

      Fire away with any specific questions you have!

      -Dan

  16. Danielle Davis says:

    Specifically, I was wondering about how you protected your camera equipment. Did you use Pelican type road cases, and if so, did they inspect them at border crossings? We are bringing some heavy equipment and don’t want to have problems. Also, what is your best advice for vehicle shipping from Panama? I read that you said it’s best to have everything filled out completely and done ahead of time, but I was wondering if there was anything else you’d suggest?

    • Dan says:

      Hey Danielle,
      I only had a cheap non-SLR Camera, so I didn’t do anything special. It was actually just sitting on the front seat, or locked in the back in a dry bag for the entire drive.
      Pelican cases sound like a good idea for protecting your good lenses, etc.
      During inspections (border, or random) they will inspect anything that catches their eye. I suspect a Pelican case will do just that. I wouldn’t worry though, once they see it’s a camera, they’ll move on quickly.

      Let me know if there is anything else I can help with,
      -Dan

  17. Rachel Cheng says:

    Hi Dan,

    Thank you so much for your info. I want to do a long road trip in America and surprisingly find your route is exactly what I want to do! : )
    I am thinking about a more fuel efficient car than Jeep like the VW Golf. Do you think the road condition is too harsh for that? thank you~

    • Dan says:

      Hi Rachel,
      I met many people doing the trip in 2wd cars like a Honda Civic or VW car. I think it’s very possible, you will just have to slow down when the roads are under construction, and it will limit which roads you can take, and where you can go. For example, I would not recommend driving the Salt Flats of Bolivia in that car. Obviously, you’ll save a ton of money in gas mileage, but of course you can’t sleep in the little VW. Always tradeoffs. Checkout WikiOverland, the encyclopedia of Overland Travel for all the logistical stuff you need to know.
      Have fun and good luck!
      -Dan

      • Rachel says:

        But I really want to go to Salt Flat! Recently I’m looking into the Subaru Outback, scarifying some gas mileage but can have higher clearance, AWD and a truck big enough for me to sleep in.

        Anyway, thanks for your reply.

        • Dan says:

          Right on Rachel.
          Obviously vehicle choice is a big one in terms of what you can and can’t do.
          Remember, newer Subaru’s don’t get amazing mileage (depending on the year and engine) and it’s going to have a computer… if that computer or any of the sensors have problems on the drive, you may or may not have trouble getting spares. Most overlanders prefer something very simple.
          Also, AWD is no substitute for genuine 4×4 with a low range transfer case.
          I would take a Subaru on the salt flat, but I personally would not take one through the Atacama Desert south of there, I think the roads are just too demanding.
          Good luck!
          -Dan

  18. Michelle says:

    Hi Dan,

    We too are making plans for our trip from Alaska to Argentina. I’m a huge Subaru fan but didn’t think there were many of them in Central & South America. My concern would be getting parts for it, if it were to have troubles.

    We are also considering driving to Panama, donating the car and backpacking the rest of the way thru South American (buses, planes, whatever). The Darien Gap logistics just seems like such a hassle and HUGE expense. We are trying to figure out if is worth spending $1500 to ship a $3000 car. What are your thoughts on that? :)

    • Dan says:

      Hey Michelle,

      I thought about a Subaru too. I don’t know how common they are in Central and South America – I don’t remember seeing many. Maybe see if you can find official dealers in each of those countries and that might give you a good clue.
      As for crossing the Darien – it’s really not that bad, and in my opinion, it’s totally worth it. South America is HUGE, and you’ll really enjoy having a vehicle to go where you want when you want. I personally will never go back to backpacking now that I’ve experienced life traveling with a vehicle. It was only $770 to ship my Jeep across the Darien, not $1500.
      Checkout Pan American Highway Overland Travel on WikiOverland for everything you need to know. Click through to each country to get the details.
      Good luck, and have fun!
      -Dan

  19. Deborah says:

    Hi Dan,

    You are a breath of fresh air. I have been researching for months and going nuts with conflicting data. I am interested in security issues travelling from US to Columbia in a month or so. Also, would be driving a mini wini or mnm. We know the gas will be higher, but we are working on a workaround to keep it where we are going. Will be travelling with pets- one is 150lbs! Also, where were the majority of your flats? Did you see a valid working ferry in PA? I have a phone # that we have been trying to get through to for the ferry in PA. I am going over to visit the Wiki data next… Been reading “Drive Nacho Drive”, but the conflicting data on security has me either believing there is a media blitz on very real and frequent security issues in 2013 in several countries or it is a sham. I really would like your take on it.

    Thank you kindly in advance,

    Deborah

    • Dan says:

      Hi Deborah,

      As for security, It’s 100% a media blitz. The murder rate is higher in NYC and Chicago than Mexico City.. I bet the media never told you that.
      Flats were all over the place, almost always pieces of steel or nails etc.
      What do you mean by ferry in PA? From Panama to Colombia? One just started up two weeks ago, I’ve been reading a report from people that were on it.. lots of kinks right now but they’re working on it. It’s much more expensive than shipping in a container. When there are real details I’ll put them in WikiOverland.

      Good luck, have fun!
      -Dan

  20. Danny says:

    Hi Dan!

    I’m from Costa Rica and I updated some information on WikiOverland. Hopefully I will be on my journey very soon and will contribute on my adventures as far as costs, places to stay, etc.

    Thank you for the great website and I wish you luck on getting on the road again!

    Regards,

    Danny

    • Dan says:

      Thanks Danny!

      Which way are you heading, North or South?
      Have fun!

      -Dan

      • Danny says:

        Dan, I will be heading north first and head down towards Costa Rica. I was very skeptical about driving thru Mexico and Central America, but after reading about your trips I have to say I feel safer.

        It seems like the media puts a lot of fear into people. I have read that certain routes should be avoided. Perhaps you can give me some input when you have a chance on what you recommend.

        Great idea on WikiOverland btw.

        Regards,

        Danny

        • Dan says:

          Danny,
          You are absolutely right, the media does put a spin on things. Keep your wits about you and you’ll be fine.
          As for specific places, talk to other travelers (even backpackers) and locals when you are in an area. Listen to what they say, and take their advice.
          Also, if you have Facebook, join the group https://www.facebook.com/groups/panamtravelers/ – it’s full of people driving the PanAm right now, you can ask questions there and people will quickly help.

          All the best, have an awesome adventure!
          -Dan

  21. Paz says:

    Very inspiring!! Congratulations for following your dreams.
    I’m planning to do it from México to Patagonia, maybe in a small motorhome. My question is I’m a Mexican senior woman, everyone says it’s unwise to do it by myself. What would be your perception about this?
    Best wishes,
    Paz

    • Dan says:

      Hi Paz,
      Thanks for the kind words. My advice for you is the same as yours to me – Go for it!
      The fact you speak Spanish is a huge plus, and being from Mexico you’re already “street smart” so you know how to look after yourself.
      I met tons of ladies traveling alone, and they were all having a fantastic experience.
      Checkout http://wikioverland.org for everything you need to know to make it happen.

      Good luck & have fun!
      -Dan

  22. Rich says:

    Hey Dan, I met a friend of yours in Guelph, Ontario, Canada and we started talking about my planned drive to Nicaragua where I am building a house near San Juan del Sur. He said maybe we could go for a beer and you can give me some advice?! I have lots of questions! Let me know if you are around. Great to read about your adventure. Rich.

    • Dan says:

      Hey Rich,

      Awesome, I’m guessing you were talking to either Brendan or Shawn. I hope those guys are doing great!
      Sounds like you have an awesome trip coming up. I’m more than happy to help in any way I can.
      I’m up in the Yukon these days, so grabbing a beer might be hard unless you drive North first :)

      Checkout http://wikioverland.org for all the logisitics information you’re going to need to cross the borders, etc.
      What car are you driving?

      Feel free to reply here, or email me.

      Have fun!
      -Dan

  23. James says:

    Hey Dan, just a quick question, where did you buy your car and how much was it (apologies if this was already on this website but I couldn’t find it)? Also is this included in your total cost of $27k?

    Just curious as I’m from the UK and was wondering where it’s best to start my journey from, was thinking the north of the Americas so Canada, Alaska or maybe the USA…. Any advice on the best place to buy it in terms of cost and the number plates to get the least hassle on boarder crossings etc would be greatly appreciated.

    James

    • Dan says:

      Hey James,

      I bought my Jeep in Calgary for $6250 (in 2008). I was living there at the time, and I didn’t include it in the $27k because I sold it for $5000 at the end of the trip.

      As for buying, the US will be cheaper than Canada, but you’ll need to have a 6 month visa for either the US or Canada before they’ll let you buy and register a vehicle. You’ll probably have to get a drivers license too, but that won’t be a problem with a six month visa. Think about how you’ll renew the registration when you’re on your drive, and what you’re going to do with it at the end.

      Good luck! Ask any other questions you think of.
      -Dan

  24. ian says:

    Dan, I have a possible opportunity to spend some time working in Peru near Arequipa later this year and thought it would be an amazing experience to possible buy a vehicle there, something along the lines of a Toyota Hilux, and drive it home to southern Arizona at the end of my stay. it wouldn’t be nearly as long of thorough of a trip as yours, a week or two at the most (if possible). anyway I was wondering if there was any big precautions or preparations you would suggest in your experience before setting out on this type of journey? thanks in advance.

    • Dan says:

      Hi Ian, You can for sure buy a vehicle in Peru and drive it up. It’s been done before, good friends of mine did it actually. See here for how to buy it http://wikioverland.org/Peru#Buy_or_sell_a_car_or_motorbike_in_Peru

      As for driving it back, you’ll have an absolute blast, but I don’t think you’ll be able to get it done in 2 weeks – the world record from bottom to top is 11 days… I suspect even a month would be pushing it. You don’t want to drive at night, so that limits how much ground you can cover in a day.
      The roads are bad, you’ll only average 30mp/h or so. Also you’ll have to organize container shipping from Colombia to Panama, there is no road there, and that will take you a week or two to sort out.

      Lastly, even when you get to the US, you might not be able to register your Toyota Hilux there. If it’s not 25 years old, likely you can’t. I’d spent a lot of time looking into that before doing the trip, unless you just want to abandon the truck when you get back to the US, or pull the engine and stick it in something else.

      Good luck, let me know how it turns out!
      -Dan

  25. Bob says:

    Just “found” your site; I’ve been reading thru the Pan-Am Hwy thread (currently you’re in Baja). I have a thru hike of the A.T. that I would like to get out of the way first. Maybe the Triple Crown but we’ll see but the Pan-Am is definitely high on the bucket list .

    To the point now. If you were to do this trip again knowing what you know now, would you go with a gasoline vehicle or a diesel vehicle? Currently I have Jetta Sportwagon TDI which comfortably holds a twin air mattress for when the wind/rain/weather is too much for a 3 season tent.

    Your tent, if I’m looking at the right one (blue), appears to be a 4 season tent. Was this your only tent or did you have a different one for backpacking?

    My current cooking system (Jetboil) is propane and of course uses the tiny bottles. If your click-thru ads are to be believed, you used a duel fuel Coleman. That would make life easy instead of trying to hunt down propane.

    I understand it’s been a long time since your overland trip but any help is better than no help. Now back to the regularly scheduled reading.

    • Dan Grec says:

      Hi Bob,

      Thanks for stopping by.
      For the Pan-Am, you’ll be perfectly fine either way with gas or diesel. Diesel is a little cheaper, and you’ll get better mileage, so that’s a plus.
      Every single gas station on the entire trip had both, no worries, and they were never* more than 200miles apart.
      The vehicle you have now is perfect.

      * I say never, but there were one or maybe two times I was trying to get remote like the salt flats in Bolivia where it was further than that.

      I had the blue three/four season tent for the whole trip and it was awesome. It wore out towards the end and I did have a tiny one man tent for hiking trips (the orange one). A three season will be perfect, and being able to sleep in the vehicle is a very nice plus.

      You’ll struggle to find propane, and worse, the adapters needed to fill anything. Every country has their own way of doing it and it’s a pain in the neck, so I stay away from it.
      On that trip I had an alcohol stove, which was great. Easy to buy at any pharmacy. Now I have the Coleman dual-fuel and it’s working great. Gasoline is obviously easy to buy and it puts out serious heat. I recommend it for sure.

      All the best, let me know if I can help with anything else,
      -Dan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Using a 7 circuit fuse block from Painless Wiring made adding fused circuits to my Jeep easy. From $95.99 on Amazon
I never hit the trail without my High Lift Jack. From $104.99 on Amazon