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High-end motorhomes make inroads in slow travel

Avid travellers looking for comfort and hygiene while taking long trips are hitting the road in luxury camper vans

The camper-van lifestyle is new to India but gaining popularity in a pandemic world.
The camper-van lifestyle is new to India but gaining popularity in a pandemic world. (iStock)

Air traffic may have picked up again but interest in road trips hasn’t slowed down. Motorhomes, RVs or camper vans are, in fact, set to make the road trip not just comfortable but luxurious.

Also Read: Would you go camping in a motor home?

Companies that rent out, sell or refurbish camper vans have been seeing a steady rise in enquiries and orders for customised vehicles to rent or buy, especially since the second covid-19 wave this year. States such as Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala have tweaked policy to encourage motorhome tourism and create camper-van parks.

For travellers, camper vans offer a new—and safe—experience. Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh-based Piyush Saboo, who bought one two years ago, says it has been a boon. “You can travel in a comfortable manner with your family for a weekend getaway. More importantly, you have a personal, hygienic bathroom to use instead of using a public one,” says Saboo, who shares the vehicle with his brother. Besides the usual amenities of good quality insulation, sofa lounge, kitchen, AC, bathroom, two beds, etc., he has added CCTV and a driver view camera for additional safety.

Of course, there is no limit to how much you can splurge on customising a camper van. Delhi-based Motorhome Adventures, which has been building motorhomes, food trucks and other customised vehicles for over two decades, customised one camper van for 1.5 crore. “The leather for a sofa was imported from Italy, bathroom hardware from Germany, customised AC from the US, and (there were) other custom top quality in-house fabrications,” says Vidushi Saini, senior business development manager, Motorhome Adventures.

The price of a good camper van can start from 40 lakh and cross 1 crore, depending on the size and features, says Sudhir Mehta, chairman of Pinnacle Industries. The Pune, Maharashtra-based commercial vehicle seating and interiors company has been making luxury camper vans, costing about 70 lakh each, for individuals and companies that provide rental services. 

The customised vehicles come with ambient accent and cabin lighting, a noise-cancelling cabin, a lounge and seating layout with sofa, recliners, a motorised sunroof, foldout tables, convertible beds, a smart entertainment system, a wardrobe, smart entertainment and TV in the bedroom, a washbasin, toilet and shower, a refrigerator, microwave oven and coffee machine, Wi-Fi and external power hook-up.

Also Read: Online schooling allows these parents to take a road trip

If you don’t want to buy one, rental camper vans too come with luxurious amenities. Bengaluru-based LuxeCamper offers luxury vans with a pre-set trail for convenience in parking. A two-day trip costs 50,000-60,000.

“Since motorhomes as a concept are still at a nascent stage, there are no camper-van parks or other basic infrastructure. With our itinerary, we have identified places that are safe to park and where charging points or other amenities are accessible,” says Saini.

LuxeCamper’s 2 crore camper vans, with an Ashok Leyland chassis, have been built by four German motorhome specialists. Each can accommodate four people, has two queen-size beds, a small shower and toilet, solar-panel enabled hot water, an air conditioner, a cooler, a heater, electric and gas burners, a fridge, a microwave, two TVs, Wi-Fi, a motorised window, an external barbecue, music points within and outside, and an awning on the side.

The vehicle comes with a driver and an assistant, who are separated by a wooden sliding panel to ensure privacy.

Since August, they have had bookings for at least 13 days in a month; “a good sign,” says founder and CEO Tiger Ramesh. Motorhome Adventures too has seen an increase in demand, with vans booked on average for 20-22 days in a month.

In September, it launched Willow, an expandable caravan with all-weather insulation, a 32-inch smart TV, two smart music systems, three Lagun tables, an AC, a motorised drop-down bed, a sofa-cum-bed, convection ovens, a fridge, an exhaust, a hatch window for ventilation, touch-control commode seat operation, a shower, an awning with adjustable height, a barbecue connection, four security cameras, a parking camera, solar panels and GPS. People tend to rent these for 8-10 days on average; the cost per day comes to 40,000. Some of the popular routes include Ladakh, Mukteshwar (Uttarakhand) and Char Dham (the pilgrimage sites of Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath).

Ready to pack your bags?

Also Read: How the pandemic got people into road trips


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