Fueled by inspiring road-trip ideas, one in four Americans get behind the wheel every year and let the horizon unfurl before them. The road trip is wound up in American mythology, from Thelma and Louise to “Get Your Kicks on Route 66” to Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. At their heart, road trips are about escaping restrictions—so why limit yourself to the lower 48? Explore the United States—and the world—with Travel + Leisure, whose writers and editors seek out the best routes and sites to see by car.
Fun road trips await travelers across the globe. Drive past the “Twelve Apostles,” striking limestone stacks off shore from Australia’s Great Ocean Road. Zigzag along the Amalfi Coast’s hairpin—and sometimes vertigo-inducing—bends. Wind through the top of North Carolina’s lovely Blue Ridge Mountains on the eponymous Blue Ridge Parkway. Skirt along Scotland’s remote northern coastline on the scenic North Coast 500 highway. Navigate a network of state and national roads in the American Southwest to hit a sandstone-colored jackpot of national parks: from Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Arches, Canyonlands, to the Grand Canyon.
Gas adds up, so keeping a few fuel-related tips in mind might help cut down on the total cost. Fill up the tank ahead of time—gas prices rise around weekends and holidays. Slower speeds are better for mileage, as is a softer touch on the gas and break pedals. A heavier car is one that requires more gas per mile to move. Some hotels offer gas rebates to encourage road-trippers to visit.
Paper maps are an essential backup, especially if a phone dies or a GPS system stops getting service. Don’t forget to provide ample music, snacks, and car-friendly games. Audiobooks can also be great for long car rides. One tip: pick a title that reflects the region you’re driving through.
Whether you are looking for a classic cross-country road trip or an unusual (but no less inspiring) path less traveled, T+L can help you map out the best road trip itineraries.