Ah road trips.
I feel road trips are like Marmite to many; you either love them or hate them. There’s very rarely an in between. But I feel like over the years I’ve mastered the road trip and though all of my road trips have been USA based, I can’t wait to do a British one. My bucket list, as many of you already know, grows like a bit of a mofo yearly and whilst we’re in the situation we’re in with the pandemic, home based road trips are very appealing.
For me, a road trip means freedom to explore the places you might not ordinarily see if you have just the one base. The weird and the wonderful, the picturesque and the overrated. They can be tiring but the memories you will make are worth every single second. I do however recommend having at least one block of time where you’ll stay in the same place a few nights because there’s a huge difference between the enjoyable tiring, and something that will just ruin your trip.
My first road trip was back in 2005 and it holds such a special place in my heart. It was with my mum and her friend and we spent three weeks travelling California via Greyhound.
I look back on those images and feel so thankful that as an 18 year old I got to experience such a bucket list trip. Of course there were many eeeek moments; the Greyhound is an interesting beast and the stations are….well if you’re considering travelling via Greyhound be responsible, be vigilant, and don’t hang around bus stations alone at night. And make sure you have a note of the times so you don’t get stuck in Hollywood after the last bus has left and end up getting a taxi back to Anaheim. This happened to us and to this day we’re sure the driver who dropped us at the station had a feeling this could happen because he was actually still waiting outside. It was a hefty price but worth every penny to get back to the hotel.
My second was four years later in 2009. My mum and I got to share the places we’d loved the first time with our now husbands (so, my stepdad and my husband). We loved California so it was a half repeat trip but this time, we swapped out San Diego and travelled to Las Vegas instead. I remember my mum and stepdad getting a mini camcorder for the trip and oh so vividly, I remember us all rolling our eyes when my stepdad would be lagging behind us filming, joking that he was our little Spielberg was always catching something on film somewhere we weren’t. I didn’t realise just how much I would value those videos until this last year when I got a copy from him and honestly, it made me cry. The memories from that trip, Alcatraz, Lake Tahoe, Disney, Fremont, LA…..SO.MANY.MEMORIES.
In 2016, we went all in. We planned an epic three week road trip, decided to fly business class with British Airways and this was the trip that actually cemented my love of a road trip. It sealed the deal. It was also where I realised that I couldn’t be the only one getting frustrated planning road trips without a really useful all in one planner, and so my business, Love, Luna, was born.
Across the three weeks we covered Napa, Carmel, Pismo, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, San Diego, Las Vegas, San Francisco….it was an epic road trip. And made me PASSIONATE about helping people plan, whether they believe in it or not, when you’re doing a road trip essentially you have to have a plan. Even if its only a bare bone plan.
Then 2017 and 2018 saw just me and my husband do mini road trips, and I use the term ‘mini’ very loosely. In 2017 we visited Las Vegas and visited the Canyon (south) and would not recommend taking our route, or just doing one night. See, planning is essential. I did not think this needed a plan. Dear reader I was WRONG. 2018 we went back to Vegas and broke the trip up with a trip to LA for 6 nights.
2019 we visited New York for a week and this was the first time for many years we’d done America without a car or some form of road trip involved ,and honestly, it was strange.
We can’t wait to get back to the US and hit the road again. It’s a passion and something I would encourage anyone to try, at least once. Start small in your own country or go all in. Hire a car or jump on trains or a buses. Road trips allow you to discover new loves, find hidden gems, meet new people, you may try foods you’ve never heard of or find your forever love and return to one place you visited year upon year. You truly never know what a road trip will bring and I think, for me, even though I’m someone who really struggles with the unknown and unplanned on a mental level, I love the excitement of potentially finding somewhere you’ll return to many times and make some wonderful memories with the people you love.
Tell me, what are your thoughts on road trips? Love? Hate? Curious?