Perfecting road trips: caravans are the new companions for travellers

With the pandemic making travel a difficult prospect, people are turning to caravans as a safe options for vacationaing PHOTO: Instagram

Travelling amidst the pandemic has been a big no for many, for others caravanning is the ‘new normal’ for carefree and safe travel   

Back in 2019, four friends were returning to Delhi from their road trip to Uttarakhand, they were looking to buy a car together for their future road trips. In this pursuit, they chanced upon caravans. Thinking they would try caravanning across India once, they learned that there are very few caravan service providers in India and those that do provide the service were charging exorbitant rentals.

This led to the birth of Carvaa Travelers Private Limited, a caravan rental start-up based out of Delhi. The brand child of four friends- Jigyasu Joshi, Himanshu Jangid, Yogesh Kumar and Pranav Sharma, who enjoy a mutual love of wanderlust and exploration of new cultures, this venture was launched in October 2020 with the aim to upgrade comfortable travel experience within the country at an affordable price. 

They started off by researching the costs that go into making a caravan and how they can make it an affordable option for everyone. After months of research, they found out that building a caravan is not so costly and it doesn’t have to be in the luxury segment. 

“Travelling in a caravan is the most sustainable way of travelling. Anyway, while we were all hesitant as to how people will receive it, to our surprise, there was an overwhelming response to caravans and the caravanning culture in general,” shares co-founder, Jigyasu Joshi.

While they had planned to introduce caravans in March of 2020, the pandemic had put their plans on hold. It must be however be noted that the pandemic has increased the demand for caravans. As per their analysis, in terms of market demand for caravans before the pandemic and after the lockdown was lifted, there was a good increase in the number of people wanting to rent a caravan for their next trip. 

Despite not having caravanning culture similar to that prevalent in western countries, Indians are now exploring the pleasures of caravan travel

With the rapidly changing Indian travel industry dynamics and amidst the new normal, caravans are fast-becoming a convenient and preferred choice of commute to avoid the shackles of mundane travelling while safety being the key priority. With people looking to avoid public transport in the pandemic, the interest in caravans has seen a rise. 

Carvaa’s caravans are fully equipped with essentials such as a well-stocked Kitchenette, utensils, drinking water and water for other purposes, washroom, camping tents, a portable music speaker, pillows and quilts, among other things. Currently, they have two caravans operating namely, ‘Fine’ and ‘Rare’ that can accommodate between 5 and 3 people respectively.

Knowing the lack of popularity of caravans in India, one might think that the interest will only be restricted to the metro cities. Initially, they thought that the bookings will majorly come from Delhi or maybe Mumbai but it was a pleasant surprise for them that the bookings and the queries came from all parts of India. 

“This made us realise that people, regardless of where they belong, want to travel and explore places beyond their city. Social media reach has also been one of the reasons that bookings and queries from various parts of India have been coming to us,” says Joshi.

The caravans are sent outside Delhi-NCR anywhere in India at a nominal additional charge. The charges include 50% of the van’s per day rental till it reaches the location along with fuel charges and state/toll taxes.

It’s not just the younger crowd who is opting for caravans. Anyone looking for comfortable travelling, who at the same time wants to experience something different is opting for caravans. The ratio of youngsters and families booking their caravans have almost been the same so far.

Refuting normal perception, a large number of people, not just those living in metro cities, are opting to use caravans

In the past six months, they have had 21 bookings. While a few of these trips were almost a month-long, others were weekend trips. Apart from this, they have four advance bookings for the upcoming months.

However, the caravan craze is yet to take off in the country as compared to other European countries due to the lack of basic infrastructure like parking facilities with amenities. 

“Right now, our idea is to make people aware of what caravanning is and how we can build a proper ecosystem around it. Moreover, it is a long road from here. There are several reasons behind caravans being a popular mode of transport in European nations and other countries. Some of them being resources related to caravanning, good infrastructure, proper implementation of laws related to caravans, and many others. However, things are not all bad in India. There are some state governments that have recognised caravan travelling but we still have miles to go,” shares Joshi. 

 

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