Your Favorite Road Trip

Travel Forums General Talk Your Favorite Road Trip

1. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1161 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

It seems like the World's Best Road-Trips has missed the mark in deciding what makes a good road trip. Should a road trip include more than one day in a place, or would it be OK to spend a couple of days in a place before moving on? Is the main point to be driving and looking at scenery? Or is it touring and visiting places along the road? Also how many days would a road trip need to be. I think at least two days, or else it is just a day-trip (out and back).

For me, the main thing is that it should be interesting and not stressful. So I would like to have things to see, and not too much traffic and either well marked roads or be in a place where it doesn't matter if I go the wrong way (like Barbados - it's an island and no matter where you are, you are still on the island). And places to eat and places to stay. We do not have an RV and Bob does not want to get one. So it is necessary for us to have places to stay. I think an RV road-trip is fundamentally different.

When we traveled by boat, our maximum day length was 50 miles. So for me, a really nice road trip would have segments short enough to be able to look around and visit things both at the beginning and end of the day. Minimum 100 miles and probably a maximum of 250 miles. Less for us because even though Bob likes to drive, I don't want him to have to spend too much time driving - he gets tired and doesn't want to admit it.

2. Posted by road to roam (Travel Guru 321 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

I always think of corny or quirky sights, among other things, making a great road trip - like the world's largest pistachio in (not California) Alamogordo, New Mexico. These make for silly, must-do photo ops rather than their Instagrammability factor, though.;)

Museums focusing on odd subjects, like the umbrella cover museum (which really exists), are another example, to me, of a great road trip.

Many old roadside institutions like big gift shops such as Bowlin Travel Centers out west or South of the Border (I never buy anything, but it's fun to look at some of the schlock they sell) and other circus-style (for lack of a better term) attractions from a bygone era still hang on here and there and are good harmless fun. If I can combine those with some good hikes, scenery and some good food, I've found a great road trip.

......and multiple days getting form point A to point B - sure, what's the rush?

[ Edit: Edited on 29-Jul-2019, 18:56 GMT by road to roam ]

3. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 739 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

I love kooky things sights too. In Australia we have a big almost everything (though the Big Potato was a terrible idea).

I love driving so for me it is all about the road. It does not always have to be a scenic road but a road that is winding and twisted and provides some sort of challenge as a driver are my favourite types of roads. I rarely drive on highways and with GPS I haven't really worried about the road being well marked (having recently driven recently in Poland you wouldn't get very far if you tried to rely on the signage). Also I don't mind sometimes a bit of traffic as it is a great way to see what the driving culture is like in the places I'm visiting like in Sweden I found speed limits are suggestions rather than rules but you if you disrespect the rules of the lanes the locals let you know, in Norway everyone was always in a hurry, whereas the Iberians like to take their time, Mexico looks chaotic, but there is an order to the chaos and in Qatar they are fluent in the language of horn honks.

As for the what qualifys as a road trip I think it comes down to a ratio of how much time is spent driving vs being out of the car. Like in Australia I have done many one day driving trips that were in excess of 400km (248miles) and most of the time is spent driving while stopping to check out some sights on the way. In Qatar I drove around the peninsula about 480km (298miles) from Doha to Doha in one day and I would classify this as a road trip as most of the time was spent driving with stops here and there.

4. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1161 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Since we are now in our 80s, I try to limit our driving per day. So if we go 300 miles a day (which in our younger days would have been a snip) it is going as fast as we can to get from A to B, and we don't stop to see interesting museums and we stick to the highways. We aren't doing a road trip.

Post 5 was removed by a moderator
6. Posted by Dymphna (Full Member 157 posts) 2w 1 Star this if you like it!

If you are on motorcycle, a mountain pass is the bomb!

Post 7 was removed by a moderator
8. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 991 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

I would define a road trip as one in which you spend a significant percentage of the time driving between places as opposed to staying in the same place. You don't have to drive every day but I would expect on average to be doing so at least every other day, staying a maximum of three nights in one place and often only one.

As to our own preferences, we mostly do road trips in the US, where you can cover longer distances in a day than in Europe, but we prefer not to be driving all the time - 100-150 miles a day is ideal, 200-220 on a few days when we want to cover more ground and have fast roads on which to do it ('fast' being a relative term in the US compared to our driving on UK motorways!).

As others have said, having quirky places for short stops to break up the drive is good. Interesting scenery for much of the route is a must, at least a few 'big draw' sights, plus relatively few large cities (maybe just at the start and end). We don't like RVs, preferring the flexibility of a smaller vehicle and also enjoying the variety of staying in different types of accommodation - chain motels now and then, 'mom and pop' places, B&Bs, maybe a lodge in a national park now and then (too expensive to do for the whole trip!) etc. And ideally we want to stay in places from where we can walk to a choice of restaurants - not always easy in the US but we have a more relaxing evening if neither of us has to worry about driving in the dark in a strange place and we enjoy maybe going to a local bar to meet people and get a sense of the community.

To date our favourite trips have been:
Southern California
Arizona and Utah
New Mexico
Washington State

There's an obvious leaning towards the west although we also enjoyed our trips in New England, Florida and North Carolina/Virginia - just not quite as much

[ Edit: Edited on 08-Aug-2019, 14:41 GMT by ToonSarah ]

9. Posted by Cottonwood (Budding Member 93 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Watch the movie "Vacation" with Chevy Chase, something you can talk about for years later. THAT's a road trip. Visiting relatives you really don't want to see, seeing the world's biggest "whatever" there, briefly enjoying a great view of the Grand Canyon in between, that's a road trip.

I have done 3 one way road trips across the USA between Idaho and the Pennsylvania or Connecticut area plus at least 7 or 8 trips out west and one in the Virginia/Maryland area. Love them. Will never stop doing them.

10. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1180 posts) 1w 1 Star this if you like it!

We tend to be "on the road" when we are going between places where we stay. We try to stay a minimum of 3 days in any one place but do take day trips from a base.

We have only taken two trips that I would call road trips, both camping trips with a tent. We did southern California to Alaska and back in our trusty tent and on a bet camped every single night despite a LOT of rain. The other earlier trip was with the kids and a much larger tent going from North Carolina across the southern USA, down to Mexico, back across the northern USA in the other direction, up to Canada and down the east coast to North Carolina. That was a road trip! There were five of us in a tiny Toyata Tercel hatchback with all our camping equipment. We did have a car-top carrier that was a huge help. There were a few kid disagreements at first but they worked it all out before we left Alabama so it was a fun trip. Although the kids now are all adults, they still talk about the road trip. Working together, we could pitch our 10 x 14 foot canvas tent in less than 10 minutes. We kept track and it was 10,624 miles.

I think the most important part is it has to be an adventure. Short trips and long trips can be adventures. A trip is what you make of it.