As the weather gets colder and the classwork gets harder, it’s around now that I find myself reminiscing about my summer holidays. For me, this means thinking back to the road trip my family and I took, flying to Atlanta (Georgia), then driving south to Savannah, onto Orlando, and then cruising down the florida panhandle to our final destination of Miami.
This was not the first road trip my family and I have done. The structure of visiting many destinations in just one holiday is one that appeals to us, and we consider all the driving as an extra insight into what the cities and towns that we visit are like, away from the main tourist hubs.
This year, however, was one of the longest and therefore hardest drives we have attempted, and it’s fair to say got us all considering whether a road trip is the best way to holiday or not.
It fell on my father to have the task of navigating the American Roads – not a task for the faint hearted. What with the driving on the right, endless interstates and the occasional 6-laned roads, driving through the United States for any Brit provides enough stress to make your hair fall out, and definitely made us feel deserving of our lunchtime stops.
Luckily, one thing you have to give the Americans credit for is their abundance of service stations, each with multiple fast food stations (meaning that we got to try almost everything on the Subway menu in a 2 week period). Perhaps it’s worth saying that if you’re more inclined to dine at expensive restaurants, road tripping might not be the one you.
In fact, if you prefer to live in comfort in general it might still be worth second thinking; since one of the other obstacles we encountered was the severe lack of space in the car. Whilst it’s true that hiring a Chevy Camaro Drop Top made us feel like kings of the road, we found that the boot space of a sleek sports car was not exactly practical when we had two weeks worth of luggage to fit in it. Nevertheless, I didn’t particularly mind having to share the back seats with a suitcase. It’s just a good job I’m an only child.
Another factor that undoubtedly came into the equation was the heat. When it’s 34°C and you’re stuck in an aluminium can with wheels and leather seats, it’s hardly the most pleasant of experiences. At one point on a day trip down to Key West, I distinctly remember being so stuck to the car seats that I genuinely worried I might not be able to get out. The heat could not even be combatted by the use of windows due to the sheer noise from the volume of traffic on the motorways. We accepted quickly that there was no winning, either we deafened ourselves or we melted.
That being said, even with the combined stress of the roads, the the lack of space in the vehicle and the overwhelming heat, my family still had yet another incredible holiday and we avoided any (or at least most) arguments. In fact, it’s fair to say that each time my family & I have road-tripped anywhere, it’s only brought us closer. Being together in unfamiliar places, exploring the wider world and spending so much time together in a (very) cramped space is true family bonding time, a necessity that is too often overlooked nowadays.
It’s an experience I’d recommend to any family. A road trip can be made as cheap or as expensive as you want it, and it’s a real chance to get to visit many new places, whilst really getting to know each other and creating unforgettable memories.
Photo credit: Saskia Peach