BootsnAll Travel Network

Self-drive: a new lifestyle in China

“self-drive tour” (自驾游) is a new type of travel mode that is getting very popular in China in the last decade. If you are from a country that takes owning a car for granted, then it will be a bit difficult for you to understand it.

According to statistics from Austria Auto Club (VCÖ) in mid 2007, there are around 9,000 million private owned sedans in the world. This number was 5,000 million in 1995. The distribution is very un-even. There are 2,310 million in EU, 2, 280 million in US, but there are only 29 million in China – a country of 1.3 billion population. Avery 1,000 people own 24 vehicles in China, but 775 vehicles in US.

So, owning a car, driving it out in weekends or holidays for a leisure trip with families and friends is a new lifstyle that doesn’t exit 10 years’ ago. I grow up with the concept that a driver is the master of a car, he/she decides where we go. We should never interrupt when he/she is driving. Today, everyone (not really) wants to master his/her own car – the spirit of “self-drive”. But when you read an advertising selling a “self-drive tour”, a travel agent is actually selling you a “hotel booking service” for maybe one major reason: online booking is still in its infancy stage in China. In a “self-drive“ trip, you are supposed to enjoy the freedom of driving, which I have to say it is not that enjoyable at present because the roads in remote area is much less developed than the fancy-looking sedans sold in big cities.

To enjoy the freedom of driving, Germany (Berlin Hotels) is a good destination for a road trip.

High-speed vehicular traffic has a long tradition in Germany given that the first motorway (Autobahn) in the world, the AVUS, and the world’s first automobile were developed and built in Germany. Germany possesses one of the most dense road systems of the world. German motorways have no blanket speed limit. However, posted limits are in place on many dangerous or congested stretches as well as where traffic noise or pollution poses a problem.

My husband took a business trip to Hildesheim – a small city about 330 km away from Frankfurt early this year. His impressions on the “freedom of driving” are : 1. he was constantly afraid of not driving far enough as he was driving a super small/eco car – SMart (a product of Swatch and Mecede-Benz), 2. the print on the road sign is too small to read and it is very easy to miss an intersaction. I guess that if you rent a good car and have good eyesight, you will have greater chance to enjoy the self-drive trip. How about a road trip from Munich to Köln?

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