The Road Trip Is Going Luxe — Here Are 3 New Itineraries to Step Up Your Driving Game
The search for safe travel during the pandemic has sparked a sustained wave of interest in traveling by car. And many can't wait to plot routes, research sights, and tune up their car-maintenance skills.
But if getting under the hood isn't your idea of fun, don't worry. Luxury travel companies are offering their own twists on the classic driving vacation — handling all those pesky practical details so you can enjoy a hassle-free journey through some of the most beautiful places on the planet.
Aman Driving Journeys
These road trips are based out of Aman hotels in destinations including southern Europe, Morocco, the western U.S., and Japan, where a stop at Amanemu, on Ago Bay, includes track time at the Suzuka Circuit Grand Prix course. You can have your own car shipped in or choose from a stable of vehicles — including BMWs, Ferraris, and off-road-ready SUVs — then set off with a personalized itinerary preloaded on an iPhone. Break up the drive with recommended photo stops, gourmet picnics prearranged by hotel staff, or reservations at local-favorite roadside restaurants. And no need to worry about breakdowns: a support vehicle is never far away. aman.com; from $9,760 for four nights.
The company's Patagonia Revealed Safari sets you up in a new Jeep Wrangler — complete with stocked cooler, binoculars, and iPad loaded with your itinerary — to explore this mountainous region of Chile and Argentina. (You can also let a guide take the wheel.) The route includes the massive Perito Moreno glacier and a rarely visited part of the Sierra Baguales, where you can see fossils on a guided hike, followed by a cave picnic of Patagonian meats, cheeses, and wines. Rest at some of the area's best hotels, including Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, on the edge of Chile's Torres del Paine National Park, and Eolo Lodge, in El Calafate, Argentina. quasarex.com; from $6,750 for eight nights.
The South American travel company has relaunched its Travesía (Spanish for "nomadic journey") between Chile's Atacama Desert and the 4,000-square-mile Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia. Two guests travel in a dedicated 4 x 4 Land Cruiser with a local driver — this route is unsigned, unpaved, and sometimes technical — plus an Explora guide with Wilderness First Responder certification. (Also included is a supply of supplemental oxygen; elevations range from 7,000 to 13,000 feet.) During the day, your job is to go hiking and biking, spot flamingos, and admire volcanoes, geyser fields, and multicolored lakes. At night, enjoy regional cuisine cooked by personal chefs and head out for astronomy expeditions to take in the skies, which are almost entirely free of light pollution. You'll stay in sustainably built Explora Mountain Homes along the way, plus the new Explora Uyuni Lodge at the edge of the salt flat. explora.com; $1,200 per person per day, all-inclusive.
A version of this story first appeared in the July 2021 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline Road Trips Are Going Luxe.