A Top Gear style road trip sounds incredibly exciting! A great way to travel through India or the Middle East, you’ll get to experience these countries in an exciting and unusual way. However, before you embark on such an epic journey you’ll need to consider various aspects of travelling without the aid of a tour operator.
The flexibility of arranging your own travel itinerary needs to be carefully explored to ensure that you have, at the bear minimum, the basic essentials arranged before you set off. There’s visas and travel permits, hiring of vehicles, flights, food, places to sleep etc. along with all the associated expenses.
Breaking these essentials down into bite-size pieces will help you weigh-up all actual and potential costs involved; it will be difficult to get from A to B without cash and plenty of organisation on your part! Be motivated, follow the paths of the Top Gear team to experience life in a completely new and challenging way!
Pre-travel costs for buying vehicles and flights to your starting point will make quite a dent in your budget. Economy flights, hotels and choice of vehicles can vary considerably, so it’s worth taking time to investigate all options without compromising on safety – a cheap car, for example, may save you money, but will be suitable and able to sustain the arduous journey on roads without tarmac and are you sure you want to travel without air-con during the searing heat of India or the scorching sun of the Middle East?
Likewise, you can opt for budget hotels to help save money, but if you want to follow in the footsteps of the Top Gear team you’ll want to stay in similar types of hotels. Travelling in foreign lands is exhausting, having a good night’s sleep could be the difference between success and failure.
Eking out your budget too thinly on decent food may not be as much fun as splashing out to taste the local cuisine; it’s also a wise move not to opt for roadside food or you may find you spend your entire journey visiting the local public conveniences! – That’s if you can actually find any! Becoming ill will not only spoil your adventure, it can potentially have long lasting effects on your future health. On the up-side savouring the delights of sheep brains, the local curry or lamb’s heads will be etched in your memory for many years!
Setting up your own Beatles tribute band, camping out and hosting a garden party at the embassy will add to the fun of your adventure across India. They may be optional, but the enjoyment is definitely worth consideration.
In the Middle East rallying across sand dunes, Roman rallying and frying eggs on the bonnet of your car are not to be missed. These once in a life time experiences are hard to repeat unless you decide to do the entire journey again!
Modifying the cars is recommended if you want to successfully tackle the challenging terrain of the countryside and dessert you’ll be crossing. Additional security for your cars shouldn’t be waived in lieu of trying to make savings; you can never be sure of the reception you’ll meet – hostile natives can easily put a damper, or worse, on your trip with threats of assault on you or your vehicles.
A cautionary note: The Middle East trip isn’t advised all the while IS are in the area.
These are the basics, add-in additional expenditure for fuel, insurances, extra spending money and a contingency fund and you’re looking at not far short of £30,000 for either a trip across India or the Middle East. Money well spent if you love adventure and the freedom to make your epic journey from Mumbai to Delhi or Georgia to Iraq in the style of the Top Gear guys!
Either of the Top Gear journeys will be an adventure of a lifetime. Do lots of research, let your hair down, so to speak, splash the cash, revel in the challenges facing you and you’ll have an experience that will be etched in your mind forever!