The World First Wander: A worldwide road trip special
Welcome to another World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in the world of travel blogging and writing. As always it’s compiled by Tristan Rothwell, the man who scours the internet for the very best travel related stuff so you don’t have to.
Pack your bags and pack them light. This week we are heading off on a road trip - and we don’t need you jiggering the rear axle with your shoe collection. That much we do know. For everything else, we have a swashbuckling A to Z of road trip advice from some of the finest travel writers in the blogosphere. Start your engines. It’s time to mirror, signal, manoeuvre your way to the trip of a lifetime. Honk, honk!
What exactly is a road trip?
According to the font of all knowledge (ahem, Wikipedia), a road trip is “a long distance journey on the road”. Hmm. Not exactly a robust definition. So how long is long distance? Does a road trip really have to take place on the road? And do you need to hire a hootin’-tootin’ RV or will your Uncle Jack’s Fiesta 1.1 do the trick?
The legend of the road trip starts back in 1888 when Bertha Benz borrowed (without consent) her husband’s car to travel 66 miles to visit her mother. 66 miles may not sound like much of a stretch in today’s money, but by nineteenth century standards - with a two-thirds of a horsepower engine that struggled to hit 10mph - it was a bona fide test of endurance. And you couldn’t even stop for a Burger King on the way.
Flash forward to today and your road trip can be anything and everything you want it to be. Coast to coast along Route 66, 10,000 miles in an old banger in the Mongol Rally, the length of Australia’s Gold Coast on an epic surfing adventure. You choose. Long or short. Through mountain passes. Along salt flats. You are limited only by your imagination. Okay, you are limited by your vehicle too - but even that’s negotiable with the right budget.
So, where would your dream road trip take you?
Wherever you go, make sure it’s safe
First up this week is a blog post from Wander Mum, who has some sound advice about car safety. Sure, it might not be the most romantic part of road trippin’, but it is one of the most important. You won’t be going very far without both you and your car in one piece: Car safety advice for a road trip.
Go solo or go with friends?
Make no mistake, this is a mighty big decision. Going solo can be immensely liberating - it’s just you and the open road. Trouble is, if (or when) something goes wrong, being on your own will bite that much harder - especially if you think a carburettor is something that belongs in an Italian restaurant. Going with friends can make things much less daunting. But you’d better be sure you can cope with living in each other’s pockets. Being together 24/7 is enough to drive a wedge between even the closest relationships. Decisions, decisions. While you scratch your head, Solo Traveler has your back: A solo road trip – why you can and why it will be fabulous!
If you decide the solo thing just isn’t your cup of cocoa, let’s look at this from a different angle. Would you consider road tripping with a stranger? Pick your jaw off the floor. Yes, it’s a gamble. But it can also be one of the most thrilling experiences of your life. And you might just get to have as much fun as the guys from Internet Adventure Club.
Just make sure its epic
Of course a road trip doesn’t have to be epic must be epic. And the supremely unglamorous secret to achieving epic? Planning. Lots and lots of planning. The good news is that Helen In Wonderlust is here to throw you a bone or two: How to plan an epic road trip.
Talking of epic...
The name Valley of Fire conjures images of biblical epicness. But you won’t find the Valley of Fire in the pages of Leviticus or Genesis, it’s in Nevada! And the scenery is every bit as dramatic as the name suggests. Don’t believe us? Hotfoot it over to Alex In Wanderland’s A very JUICY road trip part V: Valley of Fire. The photos are stunning. As for the hired RV - well, you be the judge.
It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey
Exactly. Sure it’s a cliché, but it’s lost on so many travellers. The journey is part of the travel experience. One person who knows that better than most is Elle-Rose from The World And Then Some, a traveller who discovered the joys of road trippin’ after realising that flight gave her the wrong kind of goosebumps. Thousands of miles, hundreds of photographs and dozens of unforgettable experiences later, Elle-Rose knows a thing or two about how to make the most out of a road trip.
Road tripping at 90
You don’t have to be a spring chicken to road trip. After a cancer diagnosis, 90 year old Norma Bauerschmidt opted against treatment in favour of packing her bags and hitting the road. How inspiring is that? Norma has since become something of an internet sensation - and you can follow her adventures on Facebook at Driving Miss Norma.
What about a road trip at home?
You don’t have to go to the end of the Earth and back to enjoy a road trip! There’s plenty on offer right here in Blighty. In fact a road trip is one of the best ways to see Britain for what it is: a little island that’s endowed with a rich and varied beauty. Travel around the coast. Go up hill and down dale in the Peak District. Take in the visceral landscapes of Snowdonia. There’s a lot of choice for such a small island. Whittle down your options with Hand Luggage Only: 20 essential places you must include on your British road trip.
As we enter the home straight of this week’s Wander, we look to Europe. And let’s just say that with 3,930,000 square miles to explore, you will want to make sure you have a full tank. Or just do what Michael Hodson did and bee-line for Slovenia. There’s plenty to see - from the European Green Capital - that’s Ljubljana, by the way - to the Julian Alps. You would know that too if you had read Roadtripping Slovenia: The parts you shouldn’t miss.
That’s the joy of road tripping. It makes it so much easier to make like Fleetwood Mac and go your own way. No itineraries to stick to. No waiting in departure lounges. And no letting the tour guide decide where you go. So if you’re in the mood for rebelling against the norm, may we be so bold as to recommend a trip to Riga - Latvia’s architecturally beautiful capital? Bruised Passports did just that. And by jingo it sounds like they had a fairly decent time in the process: Baltic roadtrip: A guide to Riga, Latvia.
Righto, that’s it for this week! We hope we’ve left you with an appetite to get those wheels rolling. But remember that wherever you go and however you get there, if you are blogging it we want to know. Chances are you might appear in the World First Wander one day soon!
Until next week.