Let’s set the scene. You finally get to plan out your calendar for the year. Your leave slots look enticing, but you don’t want a traditional vacation to fill up those days. Well, it’s time to gather your family members or call your group of friends; you can try going on a road trip instead!
Taking a road trip is a great way to switch things up; it pushes you out of your routine. Therefore, having a flexible travel itinerary can be very refreshing. Plus, you tend to save the time typically spent commuting between the hotel and tourist hotspots. Speaking of which, you won’t need to spend on accommodation; after all, falling asleep in the car looks like the more fun option. It is also helpful to note that being resourceful is a skill you’ll get to hone throughout the journey.
But above all else, a road trip is a great way to explore a country. You get up close and personal with the attractions, not to mention the stunning views and the fresh air you can take in along the way. At this point, you may be already thinking of the endless choices of attractions you can stop by. You’re in luck! We’ve narrowed it down to five countries that make an excellent course for a road trip.
United States of America
Just like in the movies, the land of the free, and freeways, is indeed a good place to start mapping out your road trip. The United States is ranked highly on the global road quality list. So, you probably wouldn’t frequently come across bumpy roads. Instead, you’ll be driving on a wide and open road set on a plethora of landscapes; mountains, deserts, glaciers, forests, you name it. The towns in America are full of life, and each region has an individuality like none other.
About specific routes, the prominent Route 66 is one you can’t miss. Sure, Radiator Springs isn’t really there, but you can find a replica of it along the way in Galena, Kansas. Pixar references aside, Route 66 can get you from Chicago, Illinois, to the Santa Monica Pier in California; taking this route means that you’ll drive across eight states and three time zones.
If you somehow manage to trace the decommissioned old route, you’ll come across half-buried cars at the Cadillac Ranch on the outskirts of Amarillo, Texas. Additionally, there are walking tours in Flagstaff, Arizona, that cover the iconic elements of the historic route. A Polaroid camera will be your best bet to capture the true essence of the vintage small towns.
Moving on to the neighbors up North, Canada has a lot to offer when it comes to the road trip scene. Spanning across the whole set of ten provinces, the Trans-Canadian Highway is the best way to get a taste of every slice of untouched natural beauty in the country. An abundance of national parks is scattered around the country, home to gorgeous lakes. And in true Canadian fashion, places like Banff National Park sustain diverse wildlife like elks, bears, and moose.
Apart from the second-longest highway in the country, Highway 99 is an alternative route to explore the snow-capped mountains of Canada. Also termed the Sea to Sky Highway, this route can be covered within a few days but is packed with fun activities to do along the way; skiing, hiking, and snowboarding are some of the sporting attractions you can try out. Most importantly, you must take out your Xiaomi phone for the lovely view of the mountainous landscape as you ride the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish.
If the picturesque natural landscape of Spain isn’t enough to give you a push, the rich culture and majestic architecture might just do the trick. Beginning in Madrid and ending in Salamanca, Lonely Planet suggests that the Castilla y Leon route is a window to medieval times in Spain. With the Sierra de Guadarrama Mountain range as the mise en scène, you will see cities deemed UNESCO World Heritage sites that house castle towers with Roman influences and grand Gothic cathedrals.
For a different take on the Spanish landscape, take a road trip to Ibiza instead. A mere ten minutes from the town, Ses Salines will give you a solid beach holiday experience. Away from the beach bars of Ses Salines, Sa Caleta, on the other hand, provides the coastal experience with a touch of history. You can hike through ancient Phoenician ruins on the secluded beach to relax. To top it all off, there’s a Mediterranean garden bar where you can feast on fresh local seafood.
Home to a plethora of diverse ecosystems, South Africa is the place to go if you want to explore the great outdoors. Additionally, your trip is guaranteed to be smooth sailing as South Africa maintains a reputation for its outstanding upkeep of road infrastructure, wide road networks, and convenient petrol station facilities. Plus, the helpful locals will make your road trip a stress-free one. Throw in a good pair of Bose speakers to the mix, and you got yourself a perfect holiday because what’s a road trip without singing at the top of your lungs with the wind in your hair?
The Garden Route is the most popular because of its fun-filled quests. For instance, you can set up camp at Knysna Forest to catch a glimpse of the forest elephants. To spice things up, the town holds an annual Oyster Festival that you can join. While there are serene spots like sandy beaches, crystal blue lagoons, and rich mountain forests, this trail also has adventurous activities like barrel-surfing at Plettenberg Bay and bungee jumping at Bloukrans Bridge. Overall, it’s safe to say that this route has something for everyone.
Whether you opt for the North Island or the South Island, you’re bound to be mesmerized by the scenic routes in New Zealand. If you’re one who enjoys sitting by the sea to watch the waves crashing on the rocks, there is always a nearby seaside waiting for you; this is just one of the incredible facts about New Zealand. For instance, in Cape Reinga, located on the Northern route, you can see a line where two seas meet. This is not figurative; you can actually observe the color difference between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea.
Alternatively, the Southern route will take you to Queenstown, a beautiful town with great lakes and a splendid view of the great Alps. But before that, you have to go stargazing with your loved ones at the UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve in Lake Tekapo. Apart from the scenic lakes and mountain ranges, you could also go on a wine trail journey through wineries and vineyards at Hawke’s Bay.
All in all, a road trip means that you get the opportunity to discover hidden gems. As you take the lesser-known roads along your drive, there is a chance you may happen to stumble upon some amazing. Go on and take the leap to have the adventure of your lifetime!