The old-fashioned epic road trip was made popular in the American 1950s, when beatnik authors and poets like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg began to publish now-famous tomes of their adventures across the US. The stories detailed in these books exemplified the low-budget, low-maintenance method of travel, and opening the mind to new experiences. From then on, road trips became a romanticized rite of passage for American youths; with the same effect in Europe and Australia.
Around the 1970s and early 2000s, though, the rise of cheap packaged vacations and all-inclusive hotels took over the holiday market. Travel agents and tour operators made it easy for low-income families and individuals to get good deals on accommodation, attractions and experiences in tourist hotspots across the globe.
Fast-forward to present day, and package deals have fallen out of favor. People have had their fill of artificial beaches, set meal times, and confined ‘pool days’. With long and rigid working weeks, tight budgets, sky-high public transport costs and limited time off from work, people are now searching for authentic human experiences from their vacations.
Welcome back, the humble road trip.
Allow us to introduce the bountiful benefits and life-affirming pros of taking a holiday on the road, for your wallet and your soul.
Fresh Air and Mountain Tops
It’s a well-known (and self-evident) fact that people go on vacation to escape the daily grind. We fantasize about visiting tropical climes and seeing the world’s wonders because we imagine they are better than the surroundings we see every day. Being in nature and far away from the responsibilities of home allow us to unwind and relax – for some people, vacations are the only time they can truly feel de-stressed.
It goes without saying that the road trip offers peace aplenty. At the helm of a wheel, with your family in tow, driving along famous highways or secluded mountain roads with fantastic views truly satisfies our need to escape. It simulates the ‘runaway’. Even if you’re an American and you don’t leave the country for your trip, you’ll see scenes you never have before and breathe new air: the most basic motivation for vacationing.
A Cheaper Way to Travel
As we mentioned, public transport costs around the globe are increasing exponentially. In the UK, train fares have recently risen by 3.4%, making people’s monthly work commute sometimes cost more than their rent. Air fares are largely the same, and as a result, some families have only ever known ‘staycations’.
This needn’t be an obstacle in the way of a relaxing, enlightening holiday. Whether you’re in Britain, Spain, California or beyond, the road trip offers a way to see your own country as you’ve never seen it before. Even if you don’t have a vehicle, hire car companies make it cheap and simple to drive across any country and drop off the car at the other end. (They usually have several facilities dotted around the country.) This system is specially devised to make traveling easy for those who wish to take cross-country road trips. For example, hire cars in Malaga, Australia, can be picked up there and driven to other towns across Western Australia, then dropped at another of the company’s service points.
Hire companies work the same way world-over. As long as you have the correct licence to drive in your chosen country, you can hire a vehicle and be on your way. If you need to hire, just make sure you simply incorporate dropping off cars and picking up new ones into your routes.
To experience a true road trip lifestyle, book off a month or more from your job and buy a reliable van to truck your route. Pack camping equipment, and stop off for the night in national parks and other famous landscapes. Central Europe, the US, and Australia are the perfect destinations for these types of trip. You can easily budget cheaply for fuel and food, and the rest is up to you.
Trek trails by day, light campfires on mountains in the evening, and sleep under the stars on beaches. If you decide to detour from your route and go visit a new town for the day, your van will easily take you there. No being confined to hotels with run-down pool facilities as entertainment.
Road tripping has endured the test of time to become the back-to-basics way of seeing the world, spending a little, but returning home rich.
Opening photo: Pixaby