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Hey there Happy Travelers!
We have another guest post today, and I'm so excited to share it with you!
Petra and Shaun of The Global Couple are a mid-twenties New Zealand couple who love exploring at home and overseas. They search out amazing street food, scenic road trips, and have a passion for wandering with no destination in mind. They balance writing about the good times of travel with the reality of struggles they have been through while on the road - travel is not always easy! Check out their blog for New Zealand content as well as posts about North America, Southeast Asia, and Europe.
Their post today is about why road tripping is the best way to travel. As you know, Pat and I spent some time road tripping in their neck of the woods and we totally agree with them!
Without further ado, here's their story:
Are you a fan of independent travel and not being locked into an itinerary? Do you like pulling over on the side of the road to take photos and to stop at random points of interest? If you've answered yes to both of these questions, chances are you like road trips. If you answered no, well, you're in for a treat - in this post we hope to convince you why road tripping is the best way to travel.
We have been on road trips in New Zealand, the United States, and Canada, so we think we're pretty qualified to offer an opinion on this style of travel!
1. Your itinerary is up to you
You can take as long as you want to get from A to B (and you can even go via X, Y, and Z to get there) or you can blast through as fast as possible. The choice is yours! You can tailor a road trip to suit your needs - do you want to go through cities or stay well away from them? Do you want to see quirky off the beaten track destinations? If you plan and execute your own road trip you avoid having to go along with the group on a tour, or missing out places altogether if you travel by train or plane.
2. You can save a lot of money
Road tripping in a campervan is our favourite way to travel. Being in a campervan means that your accommodation and your vehicle are all-in-one, thus saving you precious dollars. In many countries you can park up on the side of the road for free (in New Zealand this is called freedom camping, and can only be done if you have a self-contained vehicle, i.e. a toilet and waste tank in your van – you don’t want to leave waste behind). Otherwise you can check into a cheap campsite rather than having to pay for an expensive hotel room. One of our most crazy road trip experiences was sleeping in our van in midtown Manhattan - it was quite noisy but we saved a couple of hundred dollars in accommodation andwe only had to pay $14 for parking!
3. You experience the 'real' destination you're visiting
If you fly in and out of major cities on a trip, that's all well and good, but you are really only experiencing one portion of the country you're visiting. For example in the United States, the big, busy cities like New York are vastly different to the little towns and natural sights you'll pass by on your way to the next stop. We love cities and we love the countryside, so a road trip is an excellent way to mix the two. In New Zealand, if you only visit cities, you'll miss the best part of the country! The natural landscapes, often hours away from the nearest airport, are the major attraction in New Zealand. You'd be silly not to visit them!
4. You learn how to cope as a driver and navigator in a different country
Chances are if you're road tripping around a foreign country, the road rules will be different, the language may be different, and pretty much everything will be unfamiliar. We've only been road tripping as a couple so one of us is the driver and the other is the navigator. We've had many spats while road tripping but it has also taught us to be more patient with each other - it can be mighty difficult trying to read a map in the dark, understand road signs in a foreign language, all while driving on the wrong side of the road in the wrong side of the car! It definitely tests any relationship. For those of you who travel solo, a GPS navigation system might be your best investment!
Our favourite road trip destinations
Some of our favourite travel memories have been from road trips. As a couple, road trips offer us a chance to chat, sing, laugh, and forget about rushing around and being so busy for a while. We love seeing places that are off the beaten track, that don't make it into the Lonely Planet guide - those are sometimes the places that you remember the most. Here are three of our favourite road trip pit stops that are difficult to get to by plane/train:
1. Oparara Basin, South Island, New Zealand
This is one of our favourite places in New Zealand. We discovered it while on a road trip a few years back in our campervan Bessie, and we now recommend it to all travellers! The basin has a very access dodgy road, and is not recommended for campervans - if you have a camper then you can get a shuttle bus into the basin (it's a dead end road anyway so you have to come out the way you went in!). The basin is full of spectacular limestone caves, primeval New Zealand forest, and brown rivers stained by tannins. It's almost as untouched as you can get in New Zealand (perhaps the world?) and well worth the detour.
2. Northland, North Island, New Zealand
The Northland region has the best beaches in New Zealand – there’s no contest! The fabulous white sand, turquoise water, lots of little islands, great surf, and undiscovered towns make this region worth visiting. We love Spirits Bay, at the northern tip of the North Island – there’s a cheap Department of Conservation campsite right next to the beach, and the Bay of Islands with its myriad of islands and gorgeous bays, although a little harder to access for road trippers.
3. White Mountains National Forest, New Hampshire, USA
While on our road trip around the northeast USA we stayed a couple of nights in the White Mountains National Forest in New Hampshire. The Franconia Notch State Park has some lovely waterfalls, as does the pull-offs on the side of the Kancamagus Highway that goes from Lincoln to Conway. There are many cheap campsites along the way, as well as wonderful hikes – just watch out for bears!
So, are you convinced to take a road trip now?
-Thanks to Petra and Shaun for sharing their story! I don't know about you, but I'm ready to hop in the car and hit the road!
In addition to their site, you can also follow their adventures on twitter and Instagram @theglobalcouple, and on Facebook.
Where are your favorite road trip destinations? Let us know in the comments.
Wherever you are I hope you're having a great week and traveling happy!
Hi there! I'm Skeeter. I grew up moving a lot and that makes me a bit restless for travel and exploration. I started this blog with my husband Pat when we decided to backpack New Zealand for a year. We are always looking for the next adventure and are loving life. We're just your average couple with two sassy dogs and a love for travel. We're sharing our travels and the tips we pick up along the way.
Hello! I'm Liz. Blogging is very new to me, but I'm so excited to finally write as much as I talk!
"Don't forget to travel happy"-Skeeter & Liz