Rashmi Chadha, founder of WOVoyage—a startup for women-centric travels—has journeyed across the globe, both solo as well as part of her tour packages. This empowering lady in tourism loves hitting the highways—an interest fostered in her by her mother during her early days. We get in touch with this TedX speaker to know more about her road trip plans in the post-pandemic era. By Bayar Jain

1. When did you first start taking road trips and what motivated you to do so?

 

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I started travelling for sports when I was just 13. Moreover, my mom encouraged road trips by taking my sisters and me to the mountains of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. She asserted that women should be independent, and travelling more could help accentuate this feeling.

2. Which has been your most memorable road journey so far and why?

 

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It’s hard to choose just one, but I guess one of my most memorable ones was to Nainital with my mother. She planned the entire trip. We stayed at an offbeat farmhouse, and even watched the India-Australia cricket world cup finals!

3. Where were you when the lockdown was announced and how did you cope with it?

 

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I have been staying safe in New Delhi since the lockdown was announced. This pandemic has changed the whole world, and it’s important for us to stay together and stay positive. I used this time to focus on my social media channels and I have started posting old vlogs. I have even started mentoring startups on creating an impactful digital presence.

4. How did you keep your travel bug satiated during the lockdown?

 

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I spend the first three months indoors, but luckily now I can go to the park early morning. I’ve been creating a lot of content focussing on virtual travel with my old travel photos and videos. It’s been very interesting and enriching. But, once things are normalised again, I will go on a two-month-long road trip for sure!

5. When choosing your next destination, what are the various factors you keep in mind?

 

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There is a lot of research involved in planning leisure trips, but for business trips, I am quite spontaneous. If I get free early, I explore the country in the evenings. For leisure trips, I first finalise on whether I want to go to the beach, mountains, or both. I prefer to book flight tickets in advance as they are cheaper and stay in hostels if I’m travelling solo. I also like walking tours as they are a great way to meet new people. With respect to food, I’m not very picky. I try everything—from McDonald’s to Michelin-starred restaurants. My advice would be to travel in local transportations, and buy a city pass from tourist centres—they save a lot of money!

6. Once travel restrictions ease, where is the first place you’ll go to for your next Indian road trip?

 

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I want to take a road trip from New Delhi to Goa, and maybe even further. I’ve been planning this trip for long now but never managed to go for it. After this lockdown, I realised that travelling is the best part of my life; and this sense of joy has fuelled me to finally take up this trip. On this journey, I will be making stopovers too and exploring cities along the way.

7. When on-the-road, how do you cope with unforeseen hurdles such as flat tyres on the highway, or losing your way?

 

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I have been in many such incidents! Luckily, I had learned how to change a tyre when I learned how to drive at the age of 16. There have been many moments when Google maps weren’t working. At those times, asking locals was fun. Plus, losing my way has usually led me to new places and experiences.

8. How do you think the world of travel will change post-COVID-19?

 

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A ‘travel reset’ is taking place around the world. From a traveller’s perspective, I feel people will prefer using their own transportation and going to offbeat locations. Slow travelling will be the next big trend.

9. What are the top five must-haves for a road trip?

 

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Sunglasses, a travel pillow, sanitiser, reusable water bottle, and a renewable energy battery backup.

10. What kind of music can we find on your travel playlist?

 

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I keep exploring new music and enjoy listening to individual artists as well. Talking about my favourite travel playlist will take up a lot of pages!

11. As a travel-enthusiast, how do you plan to advocate the tenets of conscious travelling in the post-Corona world?

 

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This is the right time to talk more about conscious travelling, and how our travels impact the environment, countries and cultures. I like to promote destinations that are well-preserved and unspoilt by tourists.

12. Any tips for road trip enthusiasts for their rebound travel post the pandemic?

 

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Take a road trip to a national park or other attractions in your neighbouring states, and opt for week-long stays at sanitised vacation rental properties. Consider driving a battery-operated car to save the future of our environment.

Related: Travel Entrepreneur Archana Singh Gives Tips On Post-COVID-19 Road Trips