Cruising into 2023 – Top road trip travel trends to watch out for

With the new year comes a unique opportunity to plan adventures, whether it’s a solo trip or a family vacation. There is no denying that the pandemic changed our attitude toward travel. The journey of a lifetime is no longer a utopian dream. People began to vent their pent-up enthusiasm for travel in 2022 after dreaming of freedom for the last two years. This led to significant rises in searches for vacations to once-in-a-lifetime Indian destinations. Road trip travel trends frequently define how a country’s populace shapes its travel plans. The year 2001 witnessed a stunning increase in the number of road trips taken to Goa. This was inspired by the Bollywood movie ‘Dil Chahta Hai‘. There were and still are numerous photographs taken in the Chapora Fort, where people gaze into the seemingly endless Arabian Sea, reenacting the actors in the movie.

The emergence of the insidious novel COVID-19 virus also resulted in the birth of digital nomadism and staycations. It allowed people to be close to nature, a luxury that those living in concrete cages do not have while working remotely. This led to the trend of people living their best lives by working the way they wanted from wherever they desired. All they had to do was simply drive to a peaceful property with a high-speed Wi-Fi connection.

Why do road trip travel trends matter?

Road trip travel trends

Staying on top of travel trends is vital for any business in the travel industry, whether in the hospitality sector, transport or entertainment. Customers expect the businesses they patronize to offer the latest innovations. While fads may come and go, some travel trends indicate the direction of the industry as a whole, identifying and embracing these travel trends is vital to remaining relevant in the future.

This year has paved the way for a road trip renaissance unlike any other in recent memory, as never-before-seen work flexibility, travel restrictions, and a desire to avoid the crowded spaces of airlines and public transportation have combined to spawn a burgeoning movement of chauffeur-driven cabs. The travel industry has passed through a deep transformation in 2022. We could see a clear change in travelers’ behavior, which led companies & destinations to adapt to meet their high expectations. 

Yet, according to a 2023 report by Expedia, travelers want to revel in restorative sights, journey to nature-centric places, and experience more culture. In 2023, travellers will go a step further to deepen experiences by having a lasting positive impact on the places and people. We’ll immerse ourselves in new, mind-bending wellness practices with benefits that continue far beyond checkout and make meaningful changes to the way we travel. 

Still determining where 2023 will take you and your loved ones? Look at the latest road trip travel trends—they might encourage you to map out your most meaningful vacation.

1. Expressways to the future – Road trips to become faster than flying

The catalyst of the trend: Infrastructure projects in India worth more than Rs. 57,020 crore were launched in 2022. The government boosted spending for highways in the Union Budget 2023. The allocation to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has been enhanced to Rs. 1.62 lakh crore for 2023-24. While 27 new motorways are being constructed around the country, 2023 will also see a concentration on ropeway projects under Parvatmala. In addition to this, we also anticipate a substantial push toward logistics growth through the National Logistics Policy. 

Expressways are high speed roadways with limited-access that connect important cities and regions. They are great for long-distance travel since they frequently contain many lanes and few or no intersections. Under the Parvatmala plan, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has undertaken development of multiple expressways & alternate mobility solutions. 

Road trip travel trends

Against this backdrop, the Centre is giving a major push to expressway development in the country. Delhi-Amritsar-Katra expressway, Mumbai-Delhi expressway, Delhi-Amritsar-Katra expressway, Amritsar-Jamnagar expressway, Ahmedabad-Dholera expressway, Mumbai-Delhi expressway are expressways which are proposed to be completed in 2023.

Why do we think it will happen?  India is a fast-modernizing country with a growing infrastructure market. Expressway construction is one industry that has seen tremendous increases in recent years. The expansion of these motorways will allow us to safely take long road trips. It also makes picturesque and twisting state routes less congested. When they are finished, road travel from all parts of the country will be substantially easier and faster. They will connect numerous major urban areas to major metropolitan cities throughout the country. 

Savaari’s bold prediction: We can now expect Nitin Gadkari to do what Stephen Hawking couldn’t do – time travel from Bangalore to Chennai in under 4 hours.

expressways india meme

2. The golden age of OTT platforms’ impact on how we travel

 OTT platforms

The catalyst of the trend: Since the early 60s, TV shows have brought consumers closer to unknown realities. With the rise of streaming and vlogging, TV became a primary source of inspiration for travellers worldwide. People spent most of the pandemic years glued to their screens. As the world opened back up after two years, the shows that people binge-watched, old and new, and its characters also worked their way into their travel plans. According to recent Netflix data, 70 per cent of the programs watched by a typical viewer were filmed in an exotic setting, often making the location’s favourite holiday destination for many. To experience the scenery seen on TV is one thing, but for many screen tourists, road trips mean more. 

Road trip travel trends
Bootha Kola

Why do we think it will happen? Sensing a new desire among guests to tap into the scripted universe, it has opened a new realm of travel. A recent study found that up to 96% of travel decisions are driven by favourite TV shows and films, proving just how much we are influenced by what we see on screen. In the year 2023, the popularity of the Kannada movie Kantara led to travellers taking trips to South Karnataka to experience Bootha Kola in reality. Immersive, TV and movie themed road trips itineraries that allow travellers to live out their favourite shows’ storylines. 

Savaari’s bold prediction: We appreciate how many people will take road journeys influenced by movies, as long as they aren’t inspired by Jeffrey Dahmer’s trial.


3. The growing popularity of Vanity Itineraries

Vanity itineraries

The catalyst of the trend: Opulent hotels and first-class travel are becoming less of a priority than experiences that are distinct and highly personalised. Road trips give travellers more options when it comes to experiencing various locations along the road rather than just getting to the destination. This shift has meant bespoke travel companies have never been in greater demand — specialists in creating one-of-a-kind dream road trips catering to the traveller’s every want and wish: transport, detours and pace of the trip. 

According to a research conducted by Forbes, 63 % of travellers would refrain from travelling to a particular destination if the destination is marketed poorly. The report also entails that about 80% of travellers are willing to pay more to get a more personalized travel experience. Whether it’s swimming with dolphins, delving deep into forests and jungles, living with local communities or climbing mountains; personalized itineraries create the perfect experience for you while also enjoying everything that falls on the way.

It is the perfect option for intrepid adventurers who are eager to wander beyond their comfort zone with the perfect guide in their pocket. Itinerary creators utilize their first-hand knowledge of destinations to craft tailor-made itineraries with the utmost care and attention to detail. 

Why do we think it will happen? Every traveller has their preferences and wishes. Personalization is key to success and allows travellers to design their dream travel experience. A vacation that once meant following a fixed travel itinerary and checking off places from the list now has an altogether new definition today. We look for experiences that are as tailor-made as possible and based on feedback and reports from a varied and increasingly interconnected community. Terms like bleisure, micro trips, customized travel, mono destinations have become the current travel lingo, directing the future of extremely accommodative road trip itineraries. If you’re thinking about personalizing your road trip, keep reading for our tips on how to do it right.

Savaari’s bold prediction:  We can expect more foreign passengers to tell us that they want us to take them to a beach closest to the ocean.


4. Indigenous tourism: The quest for inquisition

 Indigenous tourism

The catalyst of the trend: Going on a trip is sometimes about having an authentic experience that serves to widen your horizons and connect with people, places, and cultures rather than merely sightseeing or ticking off a list of sites. Indigenous tourism, which focuses on educating guests about native cultures’ practices and traditions, is one of the fastest-growing road trip travel trends. Visitors to indigenous communities in India, like the rural parts of Chattisgarh, Odisha and Karnataka, obtain a better knowledge of the people and their way of life while also contributing to the local economy.

Indigenous tourism can range from learning about indigenous crafts to taking part in cultural ceremonies. Tours of ancient sites treks through the local scenery, and visits to historical monuments are all possibilities.

Rural tourism

Why do we think it will happen? Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s Finance Minister, stated in her budget address for 2023-2024 that indigenous tourism marketing will be “taken up on mission mode,” with active participation from Indian states as well as public-private partnerships. This includes the creation of 50 tourism hotspots with a focus on physical connectivity, professional tourist guides, improved food streets, and visitor security. An internet application will also be developed to deliver useful information to visitors to these destinations.

Another initiative, the Vibrant Villages Programme, will promote tourism infrastructure and services in border villages as the government seeks to build theme-based tourist circuits in the country. Many indigenous communities will also now offer educational programs and workshops, so travellers can learn more about the history and culture of the area. This article aims to make a compelling case for rural tourism in India and how accessing the most remote parts of the country has become easier in this day and age.

Savaari’s bold prediction: Mark our words, Kim Kardashian will rock Indian indigenous fashion at the 2023 Met Gala in the name of “cultural appreciation, not appropriation.”


5. A love affair with road trips fueled by intrigue

Intrigue road trips

The catalyst of the trend: The phrase ‘the journey is the destination’ was made for India. When exploring the subcontinent, every step of every journey is filled with sights, sounds and sensations that will consume your senses and shake up everything you thought you knew about travel. From deserts, idyllic beaches, rugged mountains, wildlife exploration, and lush green plains backwaters to colourful and vibrant cities. India has a combination of everything and has something for all types of travellers and their interests. Various developing road trip travel trends appeal to these interests, making vacations an ideal illustration of interests converging. With all of this in mind, here are some highly fascinating road trip travel trends for the year 2023 that are currently appealing to all types of travellers.

  • Food trails – Food and dining are becoming a central part of many travellers’ vacation experiences. There is no better way to learn about a destination and immerse yourself in the local culture than by experiencing its unique food and dining customs. Be it a food trail sampling street food in Mathura, relishing delectable seafood by the shores of Varkala, or trying out ant chutney in Chhattisgarh, food is the driving factor behind most of the road trips in India. 
India Travel trends
  • Nostalgic getaways – Technology may be advancing at a breathtaking speed, but more people are pining for simpler times in the pre-digital era. One of the surprising road trip travel trends to make a comeback in 2023 is nostalgic trips that romanticise a bygone era. The study found that 88% are interested in nostalgic getaways. More than 60% of travellers also want to relive or evoke the memories of their childhoods by returning to where they had family holidays. 
  • Wellness holidays – 2022 has seen the rise of wellness getaways. More people want to go on holiday to do nothing at all! Restoring the mind, body, and spirit is a big theme in 2023, and we’re all for it. If you need another holiday to recover from your trip, a wellness trip might be for you. It makes sense to take a holiday that helps you come home refreshed and rejuvenated. 
  • Psychedelic trips – One of the most unusual vacation trends is the growing popularity of psychedelic travel experiences. For many years, mushroom retreats have steadily increased underground popularity. Increasing awareness of the benefits of various psychedelics, fueled by Michael Pollan and his How to Change Your Mind Netflix series. It pushed more people to seek them out. This includes everything from a trip to Kodaikanal to tripping in Shiva Valley in Goa to visiting Malana for hashish.

Why do we think it will happen? With a wide range of locations ready to be explored, people are now travelling depending on their interests. They want as bespoke an experience as possible based on their interests and comfort. According to a July 2022 poll, around 55% of global surveyors were thrilled about the idea of new technical breakthroughs. It also includes government initiatives to promote lesser-known destinations that meet their interests to further tailor their travel experience. The growing popularity of recreational tourism among consumers, combined with the convenience provided by online booking platforms, will drive demand in this area in 2023.

Savaari’s bold prediction: We can expect Sima Aunty from Great Indian Matchmaking to embark on a road trip to find the perfect match for once. 


6. Tech meets travel – Mindful technology revolutionizing road trips

Tech meets travel

The catalyst of the trend:  Travel and technology are all about going beyond and seeing the yet unseen. Technology has revolutionized the way we travel in countless ways. Paper maps and GPS navigation systems have been replaced by Google Maps, old-school CDs by music streaming services, and guidebooks by apps that can notify road-trippers of roadside attractions in real time. One thing is certain: The smartphone has made road trips infinitely easier and, arguably, cheaper. The expanse of self-service technologies has limitless potential. Technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) have already started reshaping how we look at travel. 

technology travel

Why do we think it will happen? The government is making sure to provide all amenities along the upcoming highways and expressways such as SOS booths, CCTV surveillance, speed measurement, and police and ambulance services. India might soon use IoT (Internet of Things) technology to make road travel more convenient and safe. Using technology like AI and big data will make driving safer and more efficient, which will lead to safer and better road trips in 2023. 

Savaari’s bold prediction: We can now expect start-ups to put an end to their employees’ workation requests by taking them on a VR road trip.


Regardless of how many road trip travel trends are expected to define 2023, there is one drawback to road trips. Driving long distances may be stressful, regardless of how enjoyable the trip is. As a result, hiring a dependable outstation cab service with a local, experienced driver – Savaari is a wise choice for a stress-free ride. Because you won’t have to worry about driving, you can spend your time relaxing and sightseeing. These evolving travel patterns might motivate people to make the most of their lives by instilling a fresh appreciation for experiencing new things and sharing them with friends and loved ones. These shifting travel patterns will characterise 2023 by satisfying the niggling travel bug and providing a good dose of fresh travel experiences.

Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Swati Deol

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Cruising into 2023: Top road trip travel trends to watch out for
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Cruising into 2023: Top road trip travel trends to watch out for
Explore the latest road trip travel trends for 2023 and get ready for an unforgettable adventure on the road. Find out what's new in the world of road trips and plan your next getaway now.
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About the author

Shabari, a modern-day wanderer, seeks out the hidden stories within the world's serene landscapes and vibrant cultures. She views each person as a living, breathing tale, a unique signature in the grand narrative of existence. With an insatiable curiosity for local customs and traditions, Shabari explores the rich drapery of humanity wherever her journey leads. Her passion is to unravel the secrets of tranquil temples, scale majestic mountains, and share the ancient wisdom they hold. Join Shabari on her quest for solace amidst the world's quiet corners and let her writing transport you to the heart of these captivating adventures.

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