We will be talking about 2020 and everything it altered for years to come, but the one thing no one was prepared for was the sudden and swift way our borders shut down and the travel landscape changed overnight. Like caged birds, we spent the better part of a year, locked away in our homes with no clue when we could venture out again. And finally now, as we inch our way into 2021 and it’s clear that we need to adjust to the new normal, road trips within our own borders have become THE way to escape the trauma of this life-changing last year.
Now, this is not to say that road trips are a new phenomenon. No way, Jose! They’ve always been a favourite of the well-seasoned traveller. Why? Well, to quote an age-old adage, it’s about the journey, not the destination and it’s the recipe to make the best memories. Running through the mustard fields or enjoying a glass of ganna juice by the roadside are things you can only experience on the road especially in a country like India that offers so many hidden treasures to discover and explore.
And if you aren’t inspired already, let me put one last thing out there. Now thanks to Airbnb, your road trip rest stops are as comfortable and luxurious (if not more) than your own home! Here is the ultimate list of Airbnb-approved destinations from every corner of the country that will definitely make you want to hit the road:
One amazing thing about living in Delhi is the sheer array of options when it comes to road trips you can take out of the city. Kasauli is one such perfect choice because it takes roughly around 6 to 8 hours by road. This lovely mountain town was established as an Army cantonment in 1842, so you know it’s bound to be gorgeous, right? The town is lined with colonial bungalows, quaint cottages and windy roads.
Now, when it comes down to it, we know walking in the wilderness is the best way to explore, but for those who want to snuggle and stay in this luxurious three-bedroom Airbnb villa, tucked away between old oak and pine trees and cobbled pathways is also a great place from where you can simply enjoy the mountains.
How can we even write a travel list and not include Rajasthan? It is after all the OG road trip destination for Delhiites. The royal Rajput state has some of the best architectural and heritage sites along with some of the best road networks, sprawling, expansive views and kachoris to die for!
And if you want to get a taste of living life like royalty, then be sure to check into the Rani Vilas, a home with glorious Mughal and Rajputana architecture and history, panoramic landscapes as well as a private pool. Sign me up coz this is the life, amirite?
Famous for its natural beauty, pleasant weather and famous boarding school, Dehradun is one of the most popular hill stations in India. But popularity doesn’t mean that there’s nothing new to discover because gems like The Sylvan Retreat still remain completely tucked away. A hop, skip and a jump away from the main town, you will reach this beautiful home that is basically postcard-perfect Dehradun in one snapshot.
As if being surrounded by trees, sprawling lawns, and luxurious interiors, wasn’t enough, this house is also a meeting point for two mountain streams. I mean, you can’t make this stuff up.
About 6 hours from Bengaluru by road, built amidst coffee plantations and rainforests, Acacia Villa is an ideal getaway spot. Coorg is stunning, no doubt but the expanse of land surrounding Acacia Villa is so amazing that you don’t need to venture beyond it for recreation. From some swimming pool chill time to getting your competition on in the games room, or even having a perfect bonfire session, there is much to do! And while you’re there. don’t forget to sample Coorg’s famous fare from the pandi curry to the coffee and everything in between!
There are some destinations that are just made for a road trip and Ooty is one of the classics! There are not one or two, but three equally scenic routes to get there and you will be able to take it views of coffee and tea plantations, greenery beyond measure, mountains and lakes too, if you’re lucky.
We highly recommend checking into the lovely Wild Walker Airbnb villa and you can enjoy these lovely views from the comfort of your own balcony. Relax and unwind and take in the view!
Kochi has been listed time and again as one of the greatest places to visit at least once in a lifetime and a road trip to around Kerala starting with Kochi is the way to do it. Fort Kochi has wonderful sites and sounds and it’s amazing to walk around and explore. But the beautiful Kerala-style, Marigold Villa Homestay may just entice you to stay in the whole time. With its brick, wood, and glass influences and a beautiful pool that’s begging for you to jump right in, there are just as many reasons to stay in as to go out. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
We love Pawna Lake because it is picturesque without being too far away from Mumbai. And once there, all you need is a comfy place to park your bottoms and get on with making memories through the weekend.
This particular Airbnb home has a 180-degree view of the lake, 5 acres of unending views and multiple lawns, gazebos, and a lake water plunge pool too! Plus, it has 5 bedrooms, so it can house a lot of people!
You can reach this picturesque place in Maharashtra from Pune in less than 2 hours and from Mumbai, it takes just about 4 hours. So it’s a good destination for both of Maharashtra’s main cities. To enjoy it best, check into a lakeside home. Yarra on Airbnb has a beautiful garden, a table tennis table and a badminton area, and comfortable and spacious rooms. What’s not to love?
Just shy of 600 km from Mumbai, there is not much we can or need to say about Goa, except that it’s Goa! This is one trip that should be on every road-trip enthusiast’s itinerary. It is actually one of the nicest drives and takes you through the beautiful Western Ghats and tiny villages and beach towns to discover along the way! And when you finally get to Goa, skip the hotel for once and check in to one of the many grand Airbnb villas! We recommend The Hampton’s Twilight, a gorgeous Tuscan style home with an inviting pool, an outdoor jacuzzi, a terrace deck, and beautifully landscaped gardens. Stunning, with a capital S!
10. Mayurbhanj, Odisha
If we are talking about hidden gems, one state in India that doesn’t get its due for its untarnished beauty is Odisha. It is also a paradise for tourists who like to discover the history and culture of a place by road. One such site is the Belgadia Palace, an 18th-century palace, which used to be home to the erstwhile royal family of Mayurbhanj. Each room is designed like a painting, modern yet complementing the building’s Victorian architecture. This whole place is in fact reminiscent of a set from a Wes Anderson film.
It is definitely one of the most unique places to stay and will make you feel like you are royalty! The property has sprawling lawns, majestic upholstery, black and white checkered marble verandahs, the royal insignia embossed along with the glass windows, and a natural lake flowing by.
11. Taruchaya – Chakloknath, West Bengal
From Kolkata, you should drive down to Raichak, to get to Taruchaya, an extraordinary holiday villa, perfect for family getaways. The house is a short stroll away from the banks of the river Ganges and is just what the doctor ordered to get away from the bustling crowds of Kolkata. The lovely home also has nice spaces for outdoor sit-outs, with a bonfire, and a gazebo to enjoy a cup of chai on too!
12. La Red Mud Chalet, Sikkim
Sikkim is beyond what words can describe. Its beauty has left more than one traveller speechless and that goes for all those who have driven up here in the lap of the mountains as well.
If you choose this dreamy getaway then you can expect glacial lakes, infinite pastures, waterbodies at every turn, undiscovered monastery towns! It promises to be an adventure like no other. And Airbnb’s La Red Mud Chalet, a quaint home will just make the whole trip a little sweeter! There, you can enjoy a direct view of snow-clad peaks from the gazebo, indulge in a freshly made organic meal, or just spend some quiet time around a bonfire.
Start planning! Let the wanderlust take over because you’ve been sitting still for very long. It is time to hit the road.
This post is in partnership with Airbnb India.