The Ultimate Road Trip Guide For 2017
Posted: 24th March 2017
Every year, millions of us go on the holiday of our dreams. We travel the World to visit new and exciting places and bathe in the hot sun that always seems to be missing in the UK. We feast at restaurants serving the best foreign food imaginable which we wish we could cook in our own kitchens. We meet wonderful people, either on holiday themselves or the locals who are always willing to talk and welcome us to their country.
There are so many ways to travel on holiday. You can take a plane to the furthest ends of the earth, you can travel the seas by ferry or cruise ship or flit through the countryside on the train. These are all great and efficient ways to travel and in most cases, are rather relaxing. However, the most adventurous and fun filled way to travel is in a car.
You can either go solo and spend your adventure meeting new people. Or you can take a friend or partner and set off on a journey of self-discovery and pure chaos. The ultimate road trip adventure is when you set off with a group of friends, spending the summer together on the open road.
With any road trip, there is a lot to think about and spontaneity isn’t advisable. You need to choose the location, the car and the essentials you need to take. Also, don’t forget the games you can play on these trips (truly missing out if you don’t play the games).
If you want the most perfect and inspirational road trip of your life, then the location is key. We have some of the most beautiful suggestions for you, ranging from the south coast of England to the northern islands in Scotland to South Africa, New Zealand, the cross-country highway in South America and the road trip nation also known as the United States of America.
You may have a destination of your dreams in mind (I know I do) and therefore you don’t need our help on this. But if you don’t have a destination and dream of a road trip this year, let us help you.
England’s A39 – The Atlantic Highway
Down on the south coast of England, leading from Devon into Cornwall, you will find the A39, also known as The Atlantic Highway. It starts in Devon and heads south, through the Exmoor National Park and Barnstaple, passing the Cornish border at Bude.
From there you head down along the coast, seeing the beautiful sights of Widemouth Bay and exploring the historical sights of Tintagel castle and the village of Boscastle. There are so many little places to explore, from wide, sandy beaches, hidden coves and a collection of pretty villages.
It is well worth a long weekend or a week’s holiday travelling up and down this coastal road, exploring the beauty of northern Cornwall.
Scotland’s Outer Hebrides
At the opposite end of the British Isles, there is a gorgeous road trip available in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. These isles, also known as the Western Isles, are an island chain just off the coast of north-west Scotland. They are connected by a single-track road that runs down the length of the chain.
This trip is one of Britain’s greatest driving experiences. You drive through rugged and wind-swept scenery that will make your jaw drop. You can enjoy beautiful beaches such as Luskentyre and don’t forget to visit the ancient standing stones on the island.
Norway’s Atlantic Ocean Road - Atlanterhavsveien
Norway’s Atlantic Ocean Road was constructed in 1989 and is just 8.3 km long. That may not seem like a long trip, but it is well worth the road trip to get to it. This road is spectacular. It is after all known as the World’s most beautiful drive and for good reason.
The road connects the municipality of Averoy to the Norwegian mainland taking you through a series of islands and islets. The road is made up of eight bridges crossing from island to island. There are designated stopping places for you to park up and experience the genuinely glorious scenes around you. No matter if it is in the midst of a storm or a beautifully clear day, the natural scenery will take your breath away.
America’s Highway 61 – Blues Highway
This road trip is for all you music lovers out there. The Blues were born on this road and has since been dubbed the “Blues Highway”. It is 815 miles long and crosses several states, starting in Nashville, Tennessee and ends in Biloxi, Mississippi. This road trip is filled with so many incredible places to visit, including several museums, hotels and bars.
In the beginning, visit the B.B. Kings Blues Club in Nashville with its delicious BBQ and great music. From there, head to Memphis in Tennessee and visit the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum for all your Blue history and if you are an Elvis Presley fan, take the time to also visit Lauderdale Courts, where Elvis and family lived from 1949-1953. Your Memphis exploring hasn’t ended yet. There is still the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel to visit.
When you do eventually leave Memphis, head two hours south and visit the town of Clarksdale, Mississippi and check out the Ground Zero Blues Club. Clarksdale claims to be the home place of the Blues is definitely the place to stop off on the Blues Highway. Following that, you must visit the Highway 61 Blues Museum. After that, there are still so many more amazing places for you to visit as you make your way down the Blues Highway and none of them are worth missing. You will eventually end up at the Mary Mahoney’s Old French House in Biloxi, Mississippi, where you can feast at this historic restaurant.
The Pan-American Highway
There are many famous road trips you could travel along. In addition to the Highway 61, America also has the most famous road in the World: Route 66 travelling from Chicago to Los Angeles. South Africa has The Garden Route. Canada has the Cabot Trail. New Zealand has the South Island Circuit and Australia has the Great Ocean Road. You need to do each of these at least once, but there is one road trip that you must take in your lifetime and that is the Pan-American Highway.
In fact, the Pan-American Highway is the longest motorable road in the World, stretching to 19,000 miles (officially. Unofficially, this road is closer to 30,000 miles long). It travels through twenty-one different countries in North and South America.
- El Salvador
- Costa Rica
This road is so vast, that you will unlikely do it in one journey unless you have plenty of time to spare in your year and huge amounts of patience. Take the opportunity to break it down by country or region rather than attempting the whole thing. If you are looking for both spectacular views and a memorable, challenging adventure, take the South America route.
We suggest starting in Mexico and heading all the way down south to Buenos Aires in Argentina. You will experience tropical forests beside the beaches in Central America, Chile’s Atacama desert and the Penguin colonies in Argentina. This is the greatest escapist’s adventure in the World.
This is the most expensive and challenging road trip you could possibly take and it is a once in a lifetime adventure you should consider doing multiple times.
The right car?
Choosing the right car for your road trip depends entirely on who you wish to go with and where you are going to travel to. You can choose a two-seater sports car for a pair of you. You can choose an executive saloon or hatchback for a group of you travelling on well-laid roads. For those rougher, tougher roads or for those of you with larger groups, consider travelling along these roads in a large 4X4 vehicle rather than a standard vehicle.
The truth is that you don’t need to get a car specifically for your road trip, however, it may be worth considering getting a car that suits your day-to-day, that will also be great on a road trip. It is easy to get a variety of different cars on car leasing these days and many would be perfect to take on an adventurous road trip.
For those of you who are looking for a two-seater sports car for your road trip, there are two great suggestions for you to consider. There is the famous and respected Mazda MX-5 and its newest rival, the Fiat 124 Spider. These cars are reliable and brilliantly fun to drive. You can drop those roofs when the sun comes out as you cross the likes of the Atlantic Ocean Road and if a storm sweeps in, you can put it back up. Best of both worlds with these cars.
These cars would be perfect for a romantic road trip in Europe or Britain as they can handle the twisty roads and long motorways without worry or concern. They are incredibly comfortable and spacious allowing you to drive for long distances without needing huge amounts of breaks to stretch those legs.
Whether you are going as a couple or as a pair of friends, you should consider getting a Mazda MX-5 or its excellent rival, the Fiat 124 Spider and not just for the road trip, but for life.
Cars for everyone
If you need a car that fits more than two but would like to avoid the cost of a 4X4 vehicle, consider great executive saloons and hatchbacks. We have two more suggestions for you. The excellent Skoda Octavia that is both reliable, spacious and practical. The second is the Mercedes C-Class, the executive saloon that looks great on the road, comfortable on the ride and fun to drive.
The Skoda Octavia is an all round excellent car for anyone because of space it offers, the performance it delivers and its splendid good looks. It is excellent for those of you looking for a great ride at a low price. You can fit four adults in it making it great for you to travel comfortably on the trip. The boot is spaciously allowing you to pack plenty of luggage required for a proper road trip. Thanks to the engine and set up, the Skoda Octavia is also a fun car to drive with great handling.
The Mercedes C-Class is a luxury mid-sized saloon that is great for business use, families and those just looking for an efficient, reliable car that handles well and can drive fast. It also looks great on the road and stands out so people will notice you as you head out on your adventure. Similarly, to the Octavia, this car fits four six-foot adults in it comfortably, making it perfect for road trips. But add a fifth adult in and it becomes a squeeze, that will not be comfortable for long distance trips.
Again, these cars aren’t just great for road trips, but everyday use. Either of these cars is worth leasing and using for the school run, the business trip or just a casual drive on the weekends as well as your road trip adventure.
For the true experience
When it comes to a road trip, you may need to go off-road or require seven seats for your large group of friends of the family. You can’t usually get these things in two-seater sports cars or executive saloons. You need a proper SUV and 4X4. 4X4 can be expensive cars, so if you don’t have the money to splash out, we have three excellent suggestions for you to think about. These cars are excellent for day-to-day use and will also be perfect for any sort of road trip, especially the likes of the Pan-American Highway.
If you are going to mention off-road 4X4 with regards to any road trip, you cannot avoid discussing a Land Rover. They do make some of the greatest off-roaders in existence. The Land Rover Discovery Sport is an affordable Discovery and is all-roundly excellent. It works on any sort of road and off-road without difficulty. It easily fits seven adults comfortably inside and is a relaxing and smooth ride. You would have a lot of fun driving through the Outer Hebrides in this car.
For a slightly cheaper 4X4, you have the Kia Sorento on offer. This also fits seven adults comfortably and would be a great companion for any type of road trip and everyday use. On the road, it is smooth and it looks smart and challenges the Discovery Sport for the top spot. It isn’t quite as good as the Discovery Sport when it comes to off-road, but it really does give as good as it gets. Considering the price difference between then, this car should be on your list of considerations.
For a truly family friendly and affordable SUV, go for the Sorento’s baby brother, the Kia Sportage. This car does only seat five people so you can’t use it for large groups, but it is perfect for the family road trip to Cornwall or abroad if you choose. It is as good as the Sorento, with just less space. Again, if you want an SUV for both every day and for your road trip, check out a Kia Sportage.
There is a joke in America that you can spot a (British) tourist because they always lease Ford Mustangs for their trips. This is because in Britain and in Europe, the Mustang is an American legend and it is the car we all associate closest with America. So, when we head over there, we want to drive a Mustang on the wide roads that make up America.
Choose a V8 model that produces 415 bhp and a roar that turns heads instantly. It accelerates from 0-62 mph in 4.8 seconds and can hit an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph. It is comfortable, fast and crazy in the corners. Seriously if you are going on a road trip in the United States, a Ford Mustang should be high on your list of choice.
For every road trip, no matter how long, there are essentials that you will require. We have compiled a list of the bare basics required and even then, this list is not short. Enjoy.
- Phone car charger to ensure you have both music, internet and communication available at all times on the journey.
- iPod or phone to connect to your car to play your music playlists. You may also be interested in audiobooks and podcasts.
- iPads for the children or bored passengers to watch films and TV shows on.
- Sat-Nav so you don’t get lost (even adventurous have maps)
- Go Pro or any other dash cam to capture the excitement of your journey.
- Camera to take photos of the beauty of your adventure.
Health & Safety essentials
- First-Aid kit for any of those injuries that could occur.
- Spare wheel.
- Ice scrapers so you can see.
- Wet wipes so you can see.
- Umbrella so you can stay dry.
- Blankets so you can stay warm.
Food & additional essentials
- Food to feast on including sweets, crisps, snacks, sandwiches, and so on.
- Drinks including water, cordial, fizzy drinks and energy drinks.
- Atlas! Just in case your Sat-Nav fails.
- Toilet roll (you never know).
- Air freshener.
- Cool box or bag to ensure your food stays cool and fresh.
- A travel journal to ensure you don’t forget a thing.
The main essentials
- A sense of humour.
- Tonnes of patience.
- Loads of road trip games.
There are plenty of other things you will wish to take on your road trip and you can add them to the list that you make. These are our essential suggestions for you. In fact, what are you waiting for?
You have our destination suggestions, our car suggestions and our essential commandments. Get planning your road trip for this year now.
And if you fancy getting any of the suggested cars, you can get great lease deals on all of them. Cheap car leasing makes the likes of the Skoda Octavia, Mercedes C-Class and Kia Sportage simply and easy to drive away with.