Although there’s nothing I love more than jetting off to some foreign and remote destination, once there I equally love to hop in a car and start exploring. Maybe it’s the American in me, but there really is nothing better than exploring a new place with the unbridled freedom that only a car can provide. Remote spots, quirky sites and who knows what else are all available to us on a great driving adventure. We can stop when and where we want with nothing limiting us except our own free time. The road trip is an amazing way to explore the world, but not all drives are made the same. This year I’m working with Allianz Travel Insurance to share more information not only about the importance of travel insurance, but some of my favorite styles of travel as well. Today I want to share some of my favorite road trips around the world not only to spark your next trip idea, but to also show that travel insurance is important no matter what type of trip you’re on. I’ve had mishaps happen in every corner of the planet and in every conceivable way, but thankfully I was also prepared. Check out the Allianz section on rental car tips and insurance to learn more!
This epic drive was near the top of my bucket list for years, and the actual experience of tackling Route 66 was everything I had hoped it would be and more. From the Dust Bowl to the American Renaissance in the 1950s, this road has held a special place not only in the hearts of Americans, but of people around the world. It hearkens back to an era when anything seemed possible, when taking to the open road was an adventure and the fun truly was in the getting there. While Route 66 technically doesn’t exist anymore, it’s still possible of course to drive huge parts of it as you meander from Chicago to the pier in Santa Monica, California. Along the way are quirky roadside attractions, strange motels and national wonders that rank amongst the top in the world. Yes, I wanted to see and experience all of those things but I also wanted to reconnect with my own country, one I love dearly and of which I am fiercely proud. Just as people did in the 1950s and 60s, I wanted to experience a great American road trip and to discover aspects to the American experience that I never knew existed.
Wild Atlantic Way
Stretching for more than 1,500 miles along nearly the entire coast of Ireland, the Wild Atlantic Way is the longest coastal driving route in the world and certainly one of the most interesting. I first experienced part of this massive driving route a few years ago as I explored the idyllic Dingle Peninsula in the southwestern part of the country. Grassy green cliffs that fall into the crashing sea, sprawling farmlands and some of the nicest people I’ve ever met were all highlights of my short time on the Wild Atlantic Way. More recently, I drove the northwest portion of the Way, from Sligo to Letterkenny. What I love most about the Wild Atlantic Way is that you really can’t do it all on one trip, unless you have a few months to spare. That means repeat trips to undertake different portions, finding new wonders each and every time.
German Fairy Tale Route
The German Fairy Tale Route is a 370-mile route that starts in Hanau and ends in Bremen, featuring the cities, natural landscapes and landmarks that both celebrate the Brothers Grimm as well as inspired them. The German countryside doesn’t often get the attention it deserves, just one of many travel revelations I had during my week road tripping along the route. From small towns and villages to beautiful forests and mountains, discovering the more natural side of Germany was an unexpected pleasure. Add to that postcard-perfect villages, grand castles and some of the best food in the country and you have a road trip that’s fun and meaningful.
Extraterrestrial Highway in Nevada
Otherwise known as Nevada State Route 375, this is a 98-mile stretch of road that starts at the intersection of U.S. 93 and the Extraterrestrial Highway and continues west to the intersection of the Highway and U.S. 6. Thanks to the fact that Area 51 rests along the highway, this area has long been known for alien sightings and a fierce belief in life from other worlds visiting the remote Nevada desert. Over the years the road has developed into what it is today, one of the quirkiest but also one of the loneliest stretches of road in the country. Some of my favorite moments were admiring the desert landscapes, enjoying fantastic blueberry pie at the Little A’Le’Inn, visiting (sort of) Area 51, and spending the night at a haunted hotel in Tonopah, Nevada.
Red Centre Way, Northern Territory in Australia
Australia is big, very big in fact and after a few trips Down Under it’s only now that I realize how long it would take to see and do even a small portion of what makes the country so great. I love visiting Australia though; it’s probably my favorite foreign country and that love affair all started with a road trip around the fabled Red Centre Way in the Northern Territory. The Red Centre is what we all conceive the Australian Outback to look like. Huge stretches of nothingness seem to go on forever, interrupted only by the odd rock or clump of trees. This is also where Uluru, known still by some as Ayer’s Rock, is located, making it also one of the most visited regions of the country. Sure, you can just fly to Uluru, but it’s a lot more fun to spend a few days exploring the Red Centre by car and really experiencing the country the way it was meant to be seen, on the road. It’s a lonely drive though, and safety is always a concern because if you get stuck out there, no one is going to come by anytime soon to help out. But the rewards are well worth the risk, whether it’s the quirky city of Alice Springs, the natural wonder of Kings Canyon or the major site in the Territory, Uluru itself. This was one of my first great, adventurous drives and I will always have a soft spot for it in my heart.
Iceland’s Ring Road
Iceland is one of the most popular tourist spots in the world, and with good reason. The level of natural grandeur in this small country seems otherworldly, which is probably why so many movies and TV shows use it as a filming location. Luckily, these incredible landscapes are easy for anyone to visit by driving along Iceland’s Route 1 otherwise known as the Ring Road. This national road circles the island connecting most of the key sights around the country in one easy to navigate drive. I’ve only done portions of the driving route, but from my own experience it really is an amazing place to drive around, car being the best way to see the highlights of this beautiful country.