Driving holidays have always been one for driving enthusiasts. Covid-19 has put a question mark on public transport and got all travellers back to the idea of a driving holiday. Idea is to enjoy the drive, the togetherness and freedom of exploring while on a holiday. Let me give you some thumb rules of how individuals and travel planners plan them.
First and Last day
No gain without pain. First and last day of a driving holiday is one to take some pain. Longer the circuit more you push on day 1 and day last. Travellers opt to do as much as 600-700 kms on day 1 and day last while easing up in between.
Look for a Circuit
A circuit is always more interesting then coming back the same route. A circuit keeps you interested in landscapes till the last day instead of driving becoming a race against time. A long straight highway at the end is also ok as long as it is not repeated.
No cities please
There is no pain worse than getting into a busy city on a driving holiday. So best to avoid them or choose stays on outskirts. If going into the city is a must (e.g. Mahalaxmi Temple at Kolhapur on Mumbai – Goa route) then its better to stay on outskirts and take a local cab, instead of attempting to drive in a city where you have no idea on parking situation, traffic and lane restrictions.
Diversity of destinations
If you happen to take Coastal Karnataka / Western Ghats driving route then you will have a wide range of diverse destination options that would cover Heritage sites, idyllic beaches, Bird watching, Waterfalls, prime Pilgrimages alongwith ethnic cuisine and homestays / experiential retreats. A driving itinerary is about packing as much diversity of experiences on a trip as possible and so popular driving circuits are ones that offer diverse experiences.
Driving distance and time
After first day, plan for 4-5 hours of max driving alongwith some explorations / experiences enroute. A stopover for some local snacks / tea or a ro-ro jetty boat transfer is also an experience (avoid plain hopping betweens hotels and destinations).
Leave room for exploration
Leave enough room for exploration and spontaneous detours. Surprise elements such as these are very heart of why someone chooses driving itinerary over an organised tour and so it is essential to leave room for exploration on all days.
Choice of Hotels
Pick hotels with a bit of character and charm. Here also diversity will help. A motel (Highwayside hotel) is good only for transit. A mix of homestays, plantation retreats, beach getaways and jungle lodges where possible will add the overall experience element to the trip.
Length of Stays
A guests on a driving itinerary have a feeling of being “on the move”, so unlike traditional itineraries 1 or 2 night stays at destinations is ok. Anything more may have the traveller feeling restless on day 3. 7-9 days is a popular and recommended duration for a driving holiday, preferably one that allows for long drives, diverse explorations and experiences.
Travel Planners perspective
From a travel planners perspective, one does not have to answer every “what if” that a traveller may have. Weather, traffic and local tourist rush at destinations is difficult to accurately predict. If you are looking at offbeat destinations then even drive times will not be accurate based on google maps. However as long as the traveller is flexible having an adventure spirit and explorer instinct, it will all end up well and any mini-disruption of plans enroute will also get counted as part of the overall experience.
Driving holiday for whom
Driving Holiday is recommended for those who live with uncertainty and thrive on surprise elements. Over cautious individuals may prefer comfort of a planned holiday. If these individuals have to go to a getaway to remote areas then they may prefer taking a driver instead of opting for a self-drive.
Driving itinerary is one that can be planned on a hunch, does not require a complex prior planning. We have been doing a driving holiday since year 2003 and planning for travellers eversince. For more ideas and insights you may email to firstname.lastname@example.org to interact with our sector experts and travel planners.