Nivalink has been planning self drive holidays for travellers over over 2 decades. We are privy to some insights that tell us that a lot of water has flown under Self drive holidays bridge since we first did a self drive trip (Coastal Maharashtra with Goa) way back in end May – early June 2003.
5 Things that completely changed over last decade and made self drive holidays more sought after than ever before are :
Shorter Travel / More trips – Short holidays came of age. Taking one family holiday per year is passé. Now its a mix of getaways, short breaks, holidays, special interest travel (Wildlife etc.),. Not every holiday is planned and not every holiday is booked in advance.
Better Cars / GPS – Cars have gotten bigger and more reliable. Gone are the days when one had to stop after every Ghat section for radiator to cool off. GPS is now integrated with all smartphones, so gone is the need to have an expensive GPS device. Mapping services are more reliable. To start with anything more than 300 kms a day was considered “Too much”. Now We have guests driving regularly 600 kms a day and some even doing single stretch of upto 1000 kms (Recently a driving buff did Mumbai – Mysore – 1000 kms – 14 hours in his Honda CRV !!!).
Better Roads / More stopovers – More expressways have opened, more highways have been fully done from scratch and State governments all over realised that good roads equates to good votes. This opened up possibilities for self drive holidays like never before. Better roads are seeing more traffic and so more road side dhabas have opened up. Even big chains like KFC, Mcdonalds, Subway have gone big on highways. So you have lot more stopover options now than ever before.
Availability of Self Drive Vehicle – Self drive vehicle took a while coming into India. However now its arrived for good. A lot of funding is happening into this area and a lot of traditional vehicle hire is poised to become self drive (as customers find having a driver along cumbersome and invasion of privacy). Nivalink now offers self drive Ex-22 cities and more getting plugged in as we speak.
Preferences – More offbeat less touristy – Holidays now do not necessarily equate to sightseeing and touristy pursuits. Travellers are looking for experiences, activities and more. Some good views, good drives, some activities, some lesser known temple visits and some ethnic cuisine, all get packed into an experience with hotel being just part of the whole holiday experience.
Driving holidays have bonded families and friends together and it seem to consistently offer more fizz than a regular touristy holiday. To add to that there is no burden of having to plan way in advance (120 days for train bookings and 3-6 months for getting cheaper flight fares). 2-3 weeks of advance planning is always enough. You have an option to decide on a trip overnight as well !!
So plan a driving holiday now. email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your base location and time you have and we will be happy to come back with ideas on routes, circuits, experiences and sightseeing enroute.