Driving Holidays - and their growing popularity due to Covid 19
Now that the deadly second wave of this cursed pandemic appears to be gradually receding, many have begun travelling or are busy planning a getaway.
Driving holidays allow travel with social distancing and have become more popular after the pandemic.
In the last 15 to 20 years, the trend of going on driving holidays or road trips has been gradually growing in our country. But with the unwelcome appearance of Covid, the popularity of driving holidays has grown countless times. This is because driving out for a holiday in your own vehicle helps one avoid public transport like buses, trains and planes, where you come into contact with many people, which is the last thing you want in these pandemic times.
Motoring holidays also give you the flexibility to travel when you want and free you from the hassle of booking tickets.
Along with Covid appropriate behaviour like social distancing, on a road trip you get the freedom to travel as and when you wish, in the privacy of your own vehicle. You don't have to go through the tedious exercise of making reservations and booking tickets. A "Driving Holiday" actually allows you to say goodbye to schedules and you have the freedom to stop when you want and where you want.
Romance of road travel.
Given the prevailing circumstances, I think it's quite unlikely that international travel will happen anytime soon, so when the situation gets better there is bound to be a manifold increase in driving holidays and domestic tourism. This is very welcome because many of us have undergone tremendous stress and pain and need to start doing things that get us to smile again. Our tourism industry, particularly the hotels have also taken a big hit, and they desperately need guests and business.
A driving holiday permits you to see things seldom seen by ordinary tourists.
While Covid 19 may have increased the popularity and practicality of road trips, it's always been my belief, that a "Driving Holiday" is the best way to see our incredible country. A road trip holds a promise of adventure. Just around the next bend, over the next hill, past the next town is another discovery. Every path leads you to something different and just as you start thinking that you know India intimately, it springs a new surprise.
Preparing properly for a road trip is very essential.
A "Driving Holiday" not only allows you to see things seldom seen by ordinary tourists, but when the scenery is too spectacular to drive by, or when the desire to lie back and relax overcomes you, all you need to do is turn off the ignition.
Magic of starry nights and good friends sitting around a campfire.
While there may be nothing like getting into a car and going on a "Driving Holiday", especially in the current conditions, I strongly believe every road trip needs some pre-planning. The first and most important rule is to always drive safely. Not just within the limits of the law, but also within the capacities of the vehicle and the confines of your driving experience.
A road trip holds a promise of adventure.
Driving on Indian roads requires special talents and skills. One should "Expect anything, and depend on nothing". You will find cars, trucks, tractors, two wheelers, people, animals and everything you can imagine and many that you can't, coming at you from every possible direction. Some will come straight at you on a one way road or on the wrong side of a divided highway. Others will overtake you from the left or suddenly pull out in front of you without any warning just as you are about to overtake.
A driving holiday is the best way to see our incredible country.
You will see familiar road signs and road markings, some in the right place, some in the wrong. Some accurate and others misleading. Some being obeyed and most disregarded. The key to motoring happily through all this is 'patience'. Patience with the character, that appears on the wrong side of the road on a blind bend. Patience with the 'lane cutter', driving a vehicle covered with battle scars. Patience with the driver who indicates left and turns right. Patience with the fellow who stops in the middle of the road without any warning, to chat with a friend, or simply because he feels like it. The examples are endless, but the solution is only one, 'patience'. And of course lots of care and caution.
Just around the next bend or over the next hill, is another discovery.
It is also extremely important, to always be alert. Drive at a speed that will safely allow you to make sudden lane changes and brake to a halt in the shortest distance possible. Stop every few hours to take a break and if you are getting tired or distracted, find a place to rest. It is best to start early and do most of the driving in the day. Driving after dark is not at all advisable in our country, and is something you should try and avoid.
This writer believes, the best way to see a country is through the windscreen of an automobile.
Please also bear in mind that the pandemic has resulted in huge unemployment and a drastic reduction in income for many. In several parts of our country, especially the backward or tribal areas, people are desperate for money and could take the law into their own hands and get drawn to looting. From what I am hearing, there has been a marked rise in highway dacoities and given this, one has to be extra careful and vigilant while going on a driving holiday.
When the scenery is too spectacular to just drive past, you can stop and enjoy the sights, or even smell the soil or flowers.
Flashing of money or expensive phones, watches, jewellery, and so on, is obviously a big no-no, as is stopping in lonely or dimly lit places. Let's break free and drive out, but also let's be sensible and safe about it. Enjoy your driving holiday. And stay safe.