Ah road-trips: the OG method of travel before flying was a thing. Few things compare to the freedom, exhilaration, sense of adventure and pure fun that road-tripping brings, not to mention it providing the perfect opportunity to be a little more spontaneous than usual. There is just something extra amazing about road-trip travel memories (both good and bad) and there are so many reasons for that – here are just a few to get you excited about hitting the wide open road…
Great bonding time
Because you’ll be spending countless hours driving in the car with not much place to go, a cross-country expedition gives you the time for some serious bonding with your fellow travellers. You’ll swop small talk for meaningful conversations and skimming the surface for deeper contemplation, bringing you closer with the family and friends you’re on this adventure with – and that’s never a bad thing. Plus, you’ll be creating some special memories together that you will cherish forever.
Travelling solo?: Well, the same applies here. Many hours spent in the car with just yourself and the wide open spaces before you is the perfect time for some true introspection and self-reflection, and in this busy day and age, it’s the ideal kind of time out.
A unique, “up close” perspective
Travelling in a car means you get to immerse yourself in the journey completely, viewing new (and old) places up close like never before. Not only will you inevitably get to see more, but you’ll find yourself noticing (and appreciating) the small things that so often get overlooked. Because you’ll be “in the action” and very much at one with your surroundings, you’ll get to experience things in a far more tactile and meaningful way, something you’re not able to do when travelling in the sky or underground. Get ready to see things in a whole new light from the road.
You take the wheel, literally
Sure, it never hurts to have a travel plan when you head out, but one of the things that make a road-trip so appealing is the fact that you take the wheel and have complete control over where you go, when you go, how long you take to get there and how long you stay for. The journey begins when you decide and the directions you follow are totally your own, giving you the freedom to be spontaneous whenever you’d like – because sometimes the best adventures are the ones that don’t follow a set plan.
Discover the lesser-known gems: Taking the backroads can often be a different way to experience the landscapes as well as the places you encounter – it tends to be the smaller, off-the-beaten-track places that you come across when take the road less travelled, and these are often the most rewarding. At the end of the day, road-tripping allows for a spontaneity that isn’t always possible with more rigid forms of travel – and we love that.
Many hours on the road, a lot of which take you along stretches of little to zero connectivity, means you have the chance to unplug and escape that “technology burnout” so many of us experience as a result of being constantly “switched on” and connected all day, every day. While you’re road-tripping you’ll hopefully find yourself less inclined to reach for your phone or check your emails every five minutes, instead taking the time to focus on your surroundings and breathe. In a way, a road-trip allows for a digital detox - something we could all do without every so often, so we say, embrace it!
Opportunity to meet new and interesting people
One thing you’ll come across while road-tripping is how incredibly friendly and helpful the locals are. From telling stories, to sharing the best kept secrets of a place, to showing you around or even just shooting you a smile as you walk into the local restaurant, you’re likely to receive a warm welcome wherever you find yourself. On top of that, you’ll bump into lots of fellow road-trippers along the way from across the country (and even the world) which is both fun and exciting, not to mention you may learn about other cool places to stay or visit that you hadn’t planned on exploring.
Because you’ll be on the ground as opposed to flying, crossing borders into other countries can take on a new and exciting meaning. You’ll be physically crossing the line yourself, taking in the changing landscapes, people, culture and places as you go – in other words, you’ll be getting a true taste of different destinations. The excitement of crossing a border seems to be magnified when done in a car, making it feel more of an achievement than simply waking up in another country after a flight. It’s a one-of-a-kind travel experience and one that will not soon be forgotten.
Make some unforgettable memories
Like we’ve mentioned before, one of the most special things about taking a road-trip is the memories you’ll make, the moments you’ll share with your fellow roadies and of course all the amazing places you’ll get to see with your own eyes, in your own time, on your own terms. Road-trips can be both challenging and fulfilling, but one thing you can bet on is that they’ll be filled with wonderment, breath-taking sights and discoveries, both big and small. Road-trip memories are the best and ones to be cherished for years to come (before you make new ones!)
So if you’re considering getting out there and embarking on a fantastic road-trip, you really should – it will only benefit your mind, body and soul. Before you hit the road though, we’ve also put together a few road-trip essentials we feel are a must for making your trip that much smoother:
- First-aid kit: The more variety the better! Don’t forget things like burn cream, plasters, antiseptic cream, bandages, various medicines and even mosquito repellent.
- Bluetooth headset: If you do plan to spend time on the phone, then this is a must so you can keep both hands on that wheel.
- Jumper cables and a wheel jack: Because you never know when car trouble may strike. In fact, it’s always a good idea to take your car for a service beforehand just to check everything is in working order.
- Torch, Leatherman and an umbrella: Extras that may come in handy!
- Snacks: An essential to keep your energy levels up and your mid alert – driving long distances can take its toll. Remember: if you’re feeling tired, rather pull over at the nearest safest place for a quick snooze.
- Playlist/podcasts: No road-trip is complete if it’s not accompanied by some good old-fashioned tunes. If you’re keen on mixing it up every few hours, be sure to download some podcasts to listen to as well.
- Power bank: Always a good item to bring along to ensure your phone is always charged, especially if you’re using it for navigation purposes.
We’d love to hear all about your road-trip plans, so why not get in touch and let our friendly reservations team recommend some amazing Portfolio places to consider staying along the way, as well as some special, must-visit spots? The places you stay and see on any road-trip definitely add to the overall experience, so the more information you have and research you do before heading out the better. And because we’re self-confessed travel experts on all things South Africa, we’re guaranteed to share a thing or two that you’ll be glad we did.
Here’s to epic road-trips, awesome tales and unforgettable experiences!