Began in 2012 by Guinness World File Holders Sanjay Madan & Tushar Agarwal, Adventures Overland has emerged as India’s main street journey firm, which presents specifically curated driving expeditions all internationally. With the Covid-19 pandemic within the rearview mirror, the journey trade is witnessing a giant growth, seemingly unaffected by the looming recession fears. This contains an enormous improve in curiosity amongst journey lovers for overland, self-drive expeditions. We had the possibility to talk to Adventures Overland’s co-founder, Tushar Agarwal, the place we requested him in regards to the firm’s journey over the past decade, the flagship “Highway to London” self-drive expedition, the corporate’s enlargement plans, and much more. Right here’s what he needed to say:
The idea of overland expeditions crossing worldwide borders may be very new in India. Your organization being the primary and solely of its type, are you able to share your expertise to date and the response obtained within the nation?
Adventures Overland has emerged as India’s largest street journey firm. We now have previously efficiently organized over 100 expeditions in 80 international locations with over 1000 friends travelling with us on self-driven street journeys throughout 5 continents. Our flagship journey, ‘Highway to London, ’ just lately culminated its fourth season.
Over time, with repeat travellers and a constant surge in queries, we began our upward climb. We now have 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 development price on this section, particularly throughout 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 automobile on the vacation spot of selection 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, we’ve got witnessed a steep improve in cross-border journeys to far-off lands. Whereas traversing the size and breadth of India stays in style, offbeat worldwide locations are getting extra curiosity from journey lovers.
It’s undoubtedly our personal ardour to journey and discover the world that has led us to kind Adventures Overland. We set off on a world street journey in 2012, overlaying 90,000 km throughout 50 international locations and 06 continents, setting 1 Guinness World File and 15 within the Limca E-book of Information. This journey was filmed and aired on the TLC channel as ‘The Nice Indian World Journey’ and is at the moment streaming on Discovery+.
Quickly after this journey, we determined to arrange Adventures Overland as a platform to supply discerning travellers the choice of an all-encompassing luxurious tour package deal, which fulfilled their goals of exploring the world with out the concern of journey nuances akin to lodging, meals, language limitations or breakdowns. Our maiden business journey to Ladakh within the Himalayas was a hit, and we’re blissful to share that at the moment Adventures Overland is a frontrunner within the luxurious journey journey section, providing fastened 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 a large blow to the entire journey trade, as nicely. How did Adventures Overland take care of these challenges?
Geopolitics influences how companies form and locations function; visa restrictions are the largest hurdle, making it tough for inbound travellers to enterprise from a particular vacation spot or area. Nonetheless, concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism is the one solution 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 concentrate 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 yr the ‘Highway to London’ journey took a barely completely different route than the previous three journeys as a result of some border crossings being closed and commenced from Iran to achieve London by means of a brand new route for the primary time. The street 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 travellers.
What prompted you to recreate the legendary London to Calcutta bus service, and may you discuss a little bit 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 street 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 is able to recreate that vibrant period passed by with utmost consolation and luxurious. This would be the longest bus journey on this planet, spanning 02 continents and 18 international locations and overlaying 20,000 km. After reaching London, the bus will embark on its maiden voyage again dwelling, taking the identical route to achieve India.
Organising street journeys takes meticulous detailing to make sure travellers get pleasure from their journey, and we maintain our promise of providing carefree journey. One of many vital journey challenges is managing reservations and bills in maintaining with itineraries and journey rules; last-minute blows can have an effect on your entire group and trigger delays, including to panic and frustration. Happily, we’ve got great expertise and are well-connected to care for the nuances of the street; every route is completely vetted, and contingency plans are at hand. For brand spanking new travellers, physique clocks could take time to regulate to the varied zones they traverse; it’s a short-term downside usually accompanied by fatigue and irritability. We supply our medical and first-aid kits and have docs on name obtainable in any respect stops; we even have an inventory of medical emergency go-to, simply in case.
Bus journey and self-drive street journeys are distinctive experiences; it’s only a matter of non-public selection. 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 traveller consolation is paramount; fewer buses than vehicles are wanted to move the identical variety of folks on the deliberate routes. From a traveller’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 a little bit 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 provided by your organization?
We now have fairly just a few journeys deliberate, the forthcoming being one to the Kingdom of Time, Jordan, one of the iconic historic cities within the Center East; it shares borders with a number of Center Japanese international locations – neighbours being Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Southern Saudi Arabia, and Egypt’s Sinai, and is wealthy with archaeological, spiritual and vacationer websites. Our guided, small-group self-drive journeys enable travellers to expertise new locations whereas driving in convoys. We’re excited to deliver a superlative journey vacation spot akin to Jordan to our travellers. They will benefit from the Jordan expedition with out worrying about breakdowns, language limitations and navigating rugged terrain. Our Boundless Brazil Drive to the fifth-largest nation on this planet, which occupies nearly half of South America, will take you thru Brazil’s cosmopolitan cities, glamorous seashores, and tropical rain forests. Brazil’s wildlife on this planet’s largest tropical rainforest, famed 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, mesmerising seashores, larger-than-life mountains, historic glaciers and rugged fjords – certainly a rustic of utmost contrasts and superb for travellers in search of a vacation spot that provides a plate filled with range.
We consider in providing distinctive journey experiences to passionate travellers. Every expedition is curated protecting in thoughts the pure bouquet of experiences the locations supply; every journey is an expertise in itself and therefore, completely different in its personal method. Whereas travellers embark on this journey in a person capability, they usually find yourself befriending co-travellers, and by the top of the journey, the recollections made are unforgettable. Add to this, the fun of a self-driven convoy-style journey throughout diversified terrains in Land Rover Defenders or Ford Raptors makes it worthwhile. Our perception in accountable journey takes care of all vital 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 a minimum of just a few weeks, particularly if the idea may 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 will be tiring however being mentally ready can assist with a secure journey. It’s simple to get distracted whereas traversing stunning terrains, however since every automobile has a bunch of 4 travellers, the drivers can swap driving wheels every time drained and maintain one another alert. Consuming balanced meals and sleeping nicely is the important thing to protecting the physique and thoughts wholesome to benefit from the length of the journey; we guarantee luxurious lodging and scrumptious meals. When driving to an unknown territory, features akin to bathroom amenities, meals choices, hygiene requirements, parking areas, vary nervousness and security, to call just a few, 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 your entire focus of travellers is on experiencing the journey. We share all particulars of the terrain, climate, and different vital components so that every traveller will be well-prepared. We’re captivated with customer support, and our staff is current to assist the travellers at each step of the journey.
As an avid motorcyclist, I’ll 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
Presently, we’re extra focussed on our enlargement plans of organising workplaces across the globe, partaking with enthusiastic travellers, and dealing in the direction of extra customised choices in tandem with the demand of the hour. Charting out such prolonged routes by means of international locations which can be offbeat selections for vacationers is unquestionably not simple. Getting visas for numerous international locations with out flight tickets is one more problem that always arises. Insurance coverage, automobile visas, explaining the rationale behind occurring a motorbike, and the logistics and planning concerned in an expedition of this magnitude shall be a distinct area altogether. The planning and executing of every large expedition we undertake take a lot understanding of the rules of the international locations we traverse, and that is an space we’ve got but to consider.