There’s something therapeutic about a long drive and a beautiful sunrise. The clutter in my head slowly dissolves with each passing mile. There is nothing more relaxing to me than a long road trip.
Road trips are the most nostalgic form of travel. Everyone has at least that ONE epic road trip memory that makes them smile or laugh hysterically. What was your favorite road trip?
For me, it was the Great Ocean Road, a postcard worthy section of the coast of Southern Australia. (It’s the Australian version of the Pacific Coast Highway.) I was traveling with two guys from Buffalo, NY. We slept in our rental car by the beach every night, ate lots of peanut butter sandwiches, drink beer on the beach and snuck into RV parks to shower. It was literally the BEST.
I’ve driven across the U.S. roughly four times. I prefer driving to flying any day. Last summer was the summer of road trips for me. I drove out to New Mexico and Arizona to explore Chaco Canyon, White Sands National Monument and Antelope Canyon in May. In August, I drove the ring road around Iceland then flew back into Boston and hopped in a car to explore Cape Cod.
I am kicking off this summer with a long road trip from Austin to South Carolina to visit my family. It gives me an excuse to break up my trip to visit friends in Birmingham (my former home) and Atlanta. (Plus, it’s like a third of the price of flying. There’s also the fact that being stuck in my hometown without a car is a form of torture.)
Afterwards, I’m hoping on a plane to Vermont and NYC before taking the train to Washington DC. I’m also super excited to announce that I’ll be running photo trips for National Geographic Student Expeditions in Yellowstone this summer! Plus, there’s a few more exciting things in the works!
What if you can’t find the time to drive cross-country? Well, then pack mini-road trips into bigger trips. When I visited my friend Miles in San Francisco, we rented a car, borrowed a tent and headed out to see the Redwoods. My best friend James lived in Boston for years. We always took trips to Vermont, Maine, Cape Cod or Rhode Island. I explore all the cool small towns in Texas like Marfa, Round Top and Boerne.
A few months ago, I flew into Miami, met up with three friends and spent four days road tripping through the Florida Keys and stopping at all the dive bars and places that my travel hero Jimmy Buffett sings about. (Blog post coming soon!)
I pass the time by binge listening to NPR, attempting to do my Spanish audio lessons and long phone conversations with old friends. (Don’t worry, those phone calls are all hands free!)
Let’s be honest—the best thing about road trips are singing horribly loud in the car. Admit it – you know it’s your guilty pleasure as well. Most of my road trips are solo so I can sing and car dance without judgement from anyone besides the occasional trucker or RV in the other lane.
Here’s my favorite road trip playlist:
- Wherever You May Roam by Metallica
- Keep the Car Running by Arcade Fire
- Sleep on the Floor by The Lumineers
- Next Year by Foo Fighters
- Heads Carolina by Jo Dee Messina
- Changes in Latitudes by Jimmy Buffett
- American Girl by Tom Petty
- Mr. Columbus by Grace Potter
- Breakdown by Jack Johnson
- Leaving Town by Dexter Freebish
Any traveler can relate to the lyrics of each of these songs.
Pack your bags, download some new tunes and hit the road! I challenge you to make the most of your summer!
Cuba, Epic Road Trips & Interviews with NYTimes Frugal Traveler
I’ve got some exciting posts coming up this summer including an interview with the New York Times Frugal Traveler Lucas Peterson, my top eight road trip destinations and an interview with a Cuba expert! Sign up for the email list to have the posts delivered directly to your email inbox!