Began in 2012 by Guinness World Document Holders Sanjay Madan & Tushar Agarwal, Adventures Overland has emerged as India’s main highway journey firm, which presents specifically curated driving expeditions all internationally. With the Covid-19 pandemic within the rearview mirror, the journey business is witnessing a giant growth, seemingly unaffected by the looming recession fears. This contains an enormous enhance in curiosity amongst journey lovers for overland, self-drive expeditions. We had the prospect to talk to Adventures Overland’s co-founder, Tushar Agarwal, the place we requested him in regards to the firm’s journey during the last decade, the flagship “Highway to London” self-drive expedition, the corporate’s enlargement plans, and much more . Here is what he needed to say:
The idea of overland expeditions crossing worldwide borders could be very new in India. Your organization being the primary and solely of its variety, are you able to share your expertise so far and the response acquired within the nation?
Adventures Overland has emerged as India’s largest highway journey firm. We’ve got prior to now efficiently organized over 100 expeditions in 80 international locations with over 1000 company touring with us on self-driven highway journeys throughout 5 continents. Our flagship journey, ‘Highway to London, ‘ just lately culminated its fourth season.
Over time, with repeat vacationers and a constant surge in queries, we began our upward climb. We’ve got just lately raised funding at a valuation of 10 million USD, and the funding will gasoline our enlargement as we goal 1000+ journeys globally over the following three years.
The annual progress charge on this phase, particularly inside the age group of 25 to 35, is consistently rising. Many Indians go for worldwide locations and are open to experimenting with self-drive journeys by renting a car on the vacation spot of alternative or by selecting an providing like ours that takes care of all journey nuances. In distinction to households making journeys to hill stations inside a spread of 500 km a decade in the past, now we have witnessed a steep enhance in cross-border journeys to far-off lands. Whereas traversing the size and breadth of India stays widespread, offbeat worldwide locations are getting extra curiosity from journey lovers.
There are a number of nationwide and worldwide data set by each of you. Did they’ve a job to play in inspiring you to start out India’s first driving expedition firm?
It’s undoubtedly our personal ardour to journey and discover the world that has led us to type Adventures Overland. We set off on a world highway journey in 2012, protecting 90,000 km throughout 50 international locations and 06 continents, setting 1 Guinness World Document and 15 within the Limca Ebook of Information. This journey was filmed and aired on the TLC channel as ‘The Nice Indian World Journey’ and is at present streaming on Discovery+.
Quickly after this journey, we determined to arrange Adventures Overland as a platform to supply discerning vacationers the choice of an all-encompassing luxurious tour bundle, which fulfilled their desires of exploring the world with out the concern of journey nuances akin to lodging, meals, language obstacles or breakdowns. Our maiden business journey to Ladakh within the Himalayas was successful, and we’re completely happy to share that as we speak Adventures Overland is a frontrunner within the luxurious journey journey phase, providing mounted and customised journey experiences, each nationwide and worldwide.
India shares borders with international locations which can be both closed to Indian residents or have been crippled by political turmoil. The pandemic dealt an enormous blow to the entire journey business, as nicely. How did Adventures Overland cope with these challenges?
Geopolitics influences how companies form and locations function; Visa restrictions are the largest hurdle, making it tough for inbound vacationers to enterprise from a selected vacation spot or area. Nonetheless, concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism is the one technique to encourage normalcy and financial well-being. Reopening points of interest can achieve nationwide and worldwide media consideration and stimulate demand through the restoration stage of a once-suffering nation.
Since we focus on cross-border journeys with closed borders, we needed to revisit our itineraries with out compromising the journey expertise. The permissions and visa approval processes took longer, with a number of layers of checks added. This 12 months the ‘Highway to London’ journey took a barely completely different route than the previous three journeys attributable to some border crossings being closed and began from Iran to achieve London by a brand new route for the primary time. The highway journey began from Bandar Abbas in Iran. It traversed Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and France, culminating in London. We’re delighted that the journey created so many memorable moments and the expertise of a lifetime for our vacationers.
What prompted you to recreate the legendary London to Calcutta bus service, and might you discuss somewhat in regards to the challenges met whereas planning and executing such a grand overland journey? Additionally, how completely different is the expertise when in comparison with a self-drive highway journey?
London to Calcutta bus service was a motivating journey again within the Nineteen Fifties when the world was restricted by expertise and web connectivity. We at Adventures Overland are all set to launch our very personal dream bus, ‘Bus to London,’ which can recreate that vibrant period passed by with the utmost consolation and luxurious. This would be the longest bus journey on the planet, spanning 02 continents and 18 international locations and protecting 20,000 km. After reaching London, the bus will embark on its maiden voyage again house, taking the identical route to achieve India.
Organizing highway journeys takes meticulous detailing to make sure vacationers take pleasure in their journey, and we hold our promise of providing carefree journey. One of many important journey challenges is managing reservations and bills in maintaining with itineraries and journey laws; Final-minute blows can have an effect on the complete group and trigger delays, including to panic and frustration. Luckily, now we have great expertise and are well-connected to care for the nuances of the highway; Every route is completely vetted, and contingency plans are at hand. For brand spanking new vacationers, physique clocks could take time to regulate to the varied zones they traverse; It’s a non permanent drawback typically accompanied by fatigue and irritability. We stock our medical and first-aid kits and have medical doctors on name out there in any respect stops; we even have a listing of medical emergency go-to, simply in case.
Bus journey and self-drive highway journeys are distinctive experiences; it’s only a matter of private alternative. Our drivers are professionally educated and often follow the designated lane as per the region-specific guidelines. Additionally, in a bus journey, the velocity tends to be slower since traveler consolation is paramount; Fewer buses than vehicles are wanted to move the identical variety of individuals on the deliberate routes. From a traveler’s perspective, it’s economical in comparison with self-drive excursions, and one can benefit from the journey in consolation with out tiring oneself.
Are you able to inform us somewhat about your upcoming expedition excursions, together with the self-drive expeditions in Brazil and Jordan? How are they completely different than the earlier overland drives supplied by your organization?
We’ve got fairly a couple of journeys deliberate, the forthcoming being one to the Kingdom of Time, Jordan, some of the iconic historical cities within the Center East; it shares borders with a number of Center Japanese international locations – neighbors being Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Southern Saudi Arabia, and Egypt’s Sinai, and is wealthy with archaeological, non secular and vacationer websites. Our guided, small-group self-drive journeys enable vacationers to expertise new locations whereas driving in convoys. We’re excited to carry a superlative journey vacation spot akin to Jordan to our vacationers. They will benefit from the Jordan expedition with out worrying about breakdowns, language obstacles and navigating rugged terrain. Our Boundless Brazil Drive to the fifth-largest nation on the planet, which occupies virtually half of South America, will take you thru Brazil’s cosmopolitan cities, glamorous seashores, and tropical rain forests. Brazil’s wildlife on the planet’s largest tropical rainforest, well-known for its biodiversity – The Amazon Rainforest – which is crisscrossed by 1000’s of rivers, shall be an expertise of a lifetime.
Yet one more thrilling expedition deliberate is to Laos, a rustic traversed by the Mekong River and recognized for its mountainous terrain, French colonial structure, hill tribe settlements and Buddhist monasteries. This shall be adopted by the expedition to Iceland, a pure surprise like none different; the magical and mysterious land of lava rocks, mesmerizing seashores, larger-than-life mountains, historical glaciers and rugged fjords – certainly a rustic of utmost contrasts and splendid for vacationers on the lookout for a vacation spot that gives a plate filled with variety.
We imagine in providing distinctive journey experiences to passionate vacationers. Every expedition is curated protecting in thoughts the pure bouquet of experiences the locations provide; Every journey is an expertise in itself and therefore, completely different in its personal manner. Whereas vacationers embark on this journey in a person capability, they typically find yourself befriending co-travellers, and by the top of the journey, the reminiscences made are unforgettable. Add to this, the joys of a self-driven convoy-style journey throughout assorted terrains in Land Rover Defenders or Ford Raptors makes it price whereas. Our perception in accountable journey takes care of all obligatory security checks and terrain vetting, making certain a carefree journey expertise.
How ought to one put together himself/herself each mentally and bodily for an overland expedition that often lasts no less than a couple of weeks, particularly if the idea could be very new to the individual?
It’s important to arrange your physique and thoughts when taking cross-border journeys so long as Adventures Overland presents; Lengthy durations behind the wheel require complete focus and may be tiring however being mentally ready may help with a protected journey. It’s simple to get distracted whereas traversing stunning terrains, however since every car has a bunch of 4 vacationers, the drivers can change driving wheels at any time when drained and hold one another alert. Consuming balanced meals and sleeping nicely is the important thing to protecting the physique and thoughts wholesome to benefit from the period of the journey; we guarantee luxurious lodging and scrumptious meals. When driving to an unknown territory, points akin to bathroom amenities, meals choices, hygiene requirements, parking areas, vary nervousness and security, to call a couple of, add to the stress of looking for the bottom. However we care for all of it and extra akin to documentation, paperwork, visas and permits to make sure that the complete focus of vacationers is on experiencing the journey. We share all particulars of the terrain, climate, and different vital components so that every traveler may be well-prepared. We’re enthusiastic about customer support, and our workforce is current to help vacationers at each step of the journey.
As an avid motorcyclist, I will personally wish to ask if Adventures Overland has any plans to provide you with one thing for these seeking to discover the world on two wheels
At present, we’re extra targeted on our enlargement plans of organising workplaces across the globe, participating with enthusiastic vacationers, and dealing in the direction of extra personalized choices in tandem with the demand of the hour. Charting out such prolonged routes by international locations which can be offbeat decisions for vacationers is unquestionably not simple. Getting visas for numerous international locations with out flight tickets is one more problem that usually arises. Insurance coverage, car visas, explaining the rationale behind occurring a bike, and the logistics and planning concerned in an expedition of this magnitude shall be a special area altogether. The planning and executing of every large expedition we undertake take a lot understanding of the laws of the international locations we traverse, and that is an space now we have but to think about.