Roadtripping across the country through the undulating plains, the rocky mountains, alongside the blue seas or by calm lakeside with the view of a majestic sunset are what dreams are really made of.
The pandemic, however, has definitely played a damper on bucket lists that involve traveling. Concerns about safety and the fear of catching the virus loom large even amongst the well-traveled.
Airplanes, buses and trains have never seemed scarier. So, is there really a way to travel and gain new experiences in the times of the coronavirus?
No need to worry folks, caravans are here to rescue you from the shackles of the mundane. A camper van or caravan is basically a vehicle that has a place to sleep for those who make a journey. At a time when one is feeling particularly wary of living in hotels or homestays, caravans are the perfect option as it allows one to travel without having to come in contact with many people.
To satisfy the wanderer in you, there are several people who are offering caravans on rent for travel. These caravans follow protocols where they are sanitising the premises ensuring the safety of the travelers.
“I think for us post-COVID-19, the challenge has been ensuring traveler’s safety while also allaying their apprehensions. We never push someone who is hesitant to travel but we have taken the best possible measures to make travel convenient,’ says Sanjna Hangal, co-founder of Trippy Wheels based out of Bengaluru.
Check out these amazing companies that offer the option of caravan travel:
Green Dot Expeditions
Run by Capt Suresh Sharma, this campervan company offers ‘Taurus’, a luxury Overland truck for travel. The campervan can accommodate a maximum of eight people (although smaller groups are preferred to comply with social distancing norms.
Bookings are available from October and some unique amenities include an onboard toilet (plus a portable one), a kitchenette with utensils, solar panels for charging gadgets, camping gear with tents, hammocks, tables, and even a barbeque set up. The self-driving option for this luxury truck isn’t available and it comes with a crew of two to three people who prepare meals, drive, clean, etc.
Cost: Rs. 7000-10,000 per person per night.
Where you can travel: This company offers tours because of which the travelers need not worry about permissions. But still, it is best advised to confirm with the company once before going ahead with the bookings. For the months of October and November, you can book the luxury truck for travels around scenic spots in Himachal Pradesh. While from December to February, one can travel to Rajasthan and Kutch.
COVID-19 precautions taken: Since there are a few crew members on board, a long list of safety measures are taken. Upon arrival, the temperatures of the travelers are checked and their baggage sanitised. Once the guests have left, the luxury truck is fumigated. The sleeping bags are cleaned and sanitised using disinfectants. To learn more about their protocol and to book, click here. You can also contact them on +91-9888 380 386 (Call and WhatsApp).
Operating out of Bengaluru, their campervans have been available for rent since April. These campervans have a kitchenette with utensils in place, along with lights, a fan, a music system, and charging points for gadgets.
There is also the facility to camp out as tents are available along with a barbeque option. Since meals are not served here, you can take your own ingredients and cook. Toilets are not available but the company has partnered with hotels and campsites that one can use while traveling. A self-drive option is not available and a driver is provided for the journey.
Cost: Rs. 5000 for four-seater, Rs. 8,000 for six-seater, and Rs. 9,000 for eight-seater (per day)
Where you can travel: Karnataka government has declared that traveling around the state (across districts) does not require one to book any kind of e-permits. So, you can travel to places like Hampi, BR Hills among other offbeat locations around Bangalore.
COVID-19 precautions taken: Co-founder Sanjna mentions that there is a COVID-19 prevention kit in space that comprises a disinfectant spray for when one visits public spaces (like toilets), sanitiser, handwash, mask, gloves and disinfectant tissues. Moreover, the bed linen and all the items inside are properly washed and then sanitised with disinfectants before each journey.
Sanjna also informs that they call and check-in with each of their passengers about their well-being 14 days after the journey. To book, click here or call on +91 7619372223
Based out of Guwahati, this campervan is available for travel in and around North-east and Bhutan. The campervans that are available can accommodate anywhere between two to six guests. They also provide camping gears, rooftop and ground tents if you want to camp anywhere. The vehicle can be parked at partner properties where one can use the kitchen, bathroom, charging points as these facilities are not built-in. The option for self-driving is available for these campervans. They do have one caravan though which comes with a driver and can accommodate up to six people.
Cost: Starting at Rs. 2,999- 11,760 (depending on the type of caravan)
Where you can travel: For traveling, if you plan on visiting any other state (which isn’t Assam), please apply for the transit pass online. Also, carefully read the travel restrictions and guidelines of that particular state that you are traveling to. Other than that, you can also travel around Assam to several scenic spots like Chandubi lake, Dipor Bil, Kulsi River and Sivakunda to name a few, all less than 80 km away from Guwahati.
COVID-19 precautions taken: Every surface down to the doorknob is carefully sanitised using cleaners with 70 per cent alcohol or higher. The linen is washed at high heat settings and those who are in charge of cleaning wear masks and gloves to avoid cross-contamination. To learn more and book this for your travels, click here.
Campervan Camps and Holidays
This Bengaluru startup offers a premium campervan for offbeat travel across different sites across Karnataka. There are two bedrooms in this exquisite campervan and the seating area also has sofas. There is a kitchenette making it easy for one to cook their meals, a refrigerator, toaster, kettle and freezer. There’s a toilet with a hot water supply powered by solar panels. Meal kits are available on board and one can also get cooked meals on the campsite. This campervan is for people who want to travel luxuriously.
Cost: They charge anywhere between Rs 25,000 – 69,000 for two adults per day depending on where a trip is made.
Where you can travel: They offer trip options within Karnataka because of which there is no need for an e-pass. One can travel to Gokarna, Bandipur, Kabini, Sakrebailu Elephant camp, Bheemeshwari among others.
COVID-19 precautions taken: The upholstery and linen are treated with 100 deg C steam to kill any unwanted organism. The interior surfaces are wiped with approved sanitizers that contain 75 per cent alcohol. The kitchen utensils are also washed in hot water and sanitized. The drivers undergo body temperature checks. To book your travels in the Luxe camper, click here.
Based out of Delhi, this company offers rental services for their campervans from Delhi, Bengaluru, Bhopal around Pune. The campervan has a kitchenette with pans and burners in place for cooking and there is also a microwave and refrigerator on board. There is an inbuilt bathroom as well with a shower. The company has been providing these services since 1995, informs Vidushi Saini who is the Senior business development manager and also the daughter of the owners.
Cost: Starting at Rs. 15,000 per night for the entire caravan (includes fuel prices)
Where to travel: One can travel to destinations around Delhi, Bangalore, Bhopal, and near Pune. Those who are interested can also customize their itineraries as per their requirement. Tour packages are also available for travel around Ladakh and states like Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh. In case you need to apply for any kind of e-pass, consult with the company.
COVID-19 Precautions: Vidushi informs that since before the onset of pandemic, they have always been very thorough with sanitizing the interiors. “We use disinfectants which are sprayed inside the campervan living spaces while, in the bathroom and kitchen area, we use a deep cleaning. Articles and linen are washed and sanitized. There’s a partition between the driver cabin and for the traveler’s space too to maintain further safety and social distancing,” she informs. To get in touch with them click here and call on +91-9871063984
While most of us would prefer renting a caravan, companies like Trippy wheels and Motorhome adventures also covert vehicles into campervans. So, those who want to embrace the van-life, this option is also available.
So, what are you waiting for? Book their caravan and go on that adventure (safely!).
Featured Image Credits: Trippy Wheels
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)