You and a bunch of your friends are sitting around, catching up over drinks and dinner. Someone, suitably drunk, suggests a Goa trip. Everyone else, also tipsy at this point, raucously agrees and wants in. Everyone is suggesting dates, hotels to stay, places to eat at. Then, one alarmingly enthusiastic person suggests a road trip. Without nary a thought, everyone thinks this is a great idea. Glasses are clinked, phones are pulled out and then as good sense prevails, everyone discusses how that weekend might be busy and and like many discarded Goa plans, this one also gently floats to the bottom of the ocean.
But what if you didn’t have to worry about the destination, because the journey- a road trip no less, is going to be amazing. Say hello to caravans, the new way to travel. Embark on epic road journeys that involve stops where you simply pull out stuff from your caravan and set up shop. You eat surrounded by lush greenery, sleep under the stars but still are safe and have a clean bathroom as your disposal. Sounds wonderful? It is.
Caravan tourism is the next big thing in India and understandably so. It offers greater flexibility- you can choose who to have as your travel companions, instead of say, a loud snorer on a flight. You can be in smaller groups, you can make stops of your choosing and you can even cook in the kitchenettes provided. Caravan tourism is also being actively encouraged by by various state governments in India. As of April 2022, the Kerala Tourism department is gearing up to set up 120 caravan parks. Maharashtra and Goa are promoting caravan tourism as well.
Caravans are also becoming a favourite because of the pandemic, allowing you to choose to travel with a limited crowd, there’s also the comfort of travelling with people you know and love, so the comfort factor is pretty high. Many of the caravan homes are also solar powered, so you’re not negatively impacting the environment. Of course, there’s a long way to go before caravan tourism becomes the norm, road permits and the legalese still remains to be sorted but at this point, I just want to pack my bags and head for the mountains in my personal caravan. Okay, fine, since it is expensive maybe I will take 2 people along.
If you’re looking to explore caravan travel in India, here are some options.
Caravan Travel Companies In India
Wacation on Wheels
Launched in 2016, Wacation on Wheels came to be because Neha and Rahul Soman were bummed out by the lack of caravan options in India. 6 years on, this is the place your turn to when you want to hire a caravan and set out on an adventure across central, western or northern India. The basics are in place, all you have to do is book it and embark upon your road trip.
Motohom Hotel On Wheels
This term Motohom is an acronym of some sort of a moving hotel on wheels. Based out of Mumbai, this company is the official caravan vendor for Maharashtra state. With Motohom luxury caravans, you can choose a route, customise it or take up one of the trips they recommend. You could go into the jungles, escape to the cool environs of a hill station, go the near the sea or a damn. The options are endless.
4 friends got together and decided India needed more caravan options. Their website states, ‘With features like beds, modular kitchenette, washroom, AC, music system, our caravans make for the humblest aboard. With no fuss of spending days finding an affordable yet luxurious place to stay, waiting for the bus to stop near a dhaba, or a cafe that wins your taste buds over, we have curated for you an all-in-one solution for all your travel purposes. ‘
Well, count me in.
There were other companies- Trippy Wheels etc but their Instagram accounts have been quiet and their last post suggests they are out of business for the time being.
Ooh, one important thing. Unlike what is shown in movies, caravan travel in India rarely involves driving the vehicle by yourself, you will have a driver (and possibly a cleaner) who tag along and I imagine you become friends along the way, but yeah, you can’t drive these on your own.
I also wrote about the fact that it is impossible for fuller bust women to find swimwear in India you can read that here.