Why You Need to Take a Road Trip

Every summer for as long as I can remember, my family would climb aboard our turquoise green mini van laden down with overstuffed suitcases, toys and enough food to feed a small army, and we would take a road trip. And as my dad snaked the van across the country visiting popular (and some not-so-popular) tourist destinations year after year, I began to realize just what was so great about road trips.

The beauty of a road trip lies in the journey. Instead of a static holiday focused on a single map dot, you can take off the blinders and break away from the ‘typical’ vacation. The holiday is no longer about the one-stop destination, but the enjoyment of the whole experience. Of course you can still have that one special place where you hope to end up, but you might just find that soon after arriving, you’ll hear the open road whispering tantalizingly in your ear like an old, dear friend - calling to you for another adventure.

I like road trips with a theme – a specific region, landmark or quality that you can trace and follow as it changes throughout the journey. If you’re a history buff, follow the expedition of explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark across the United States to the Pacific Coast, then imagine what the journey would have been like 200 years ago when they tried it. For postcard-perfect scenery, look to the Sea to Sky Highway in Canada. And for the truly dedicated – try all 1250 miles of the road trip from Bangkok to Singapore.

The road trip is an experience that can’t be rushed. Never confine yourself to an itemized, hour-by-hour itinerary or 10 printed pages of Map Quest directions. One of the greatest things about a road trip is the luxury to ease the car off the road and explore whenever the urge seizes you.

Stop at a local produce market or hole-in-the-wall restaurant where the prices are dirt cheap, the food is phenomenal and the local charm is undeniable. Or try the tacky tourist trap, great for when the road is getting too long or your passengers are just getting too annoying (my personal favourite is the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota – the outside is decorated completely with corn husks!). Unique discoveries like this are hardly ever in a guide book, but I always find that these travel diamonds-in-the-rough are some of my most treasured memories of the trip.

And whether you choose to ride alone, with family or friends, you’ll learn a lot about who you travel with. Bonding over experiences, sights, sounds and even the occasional wrong turn ensures that you have something more meaningful than plastic souvenirs and digital photos to remember the trip.

Great Highways of the World...

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