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Top 10 Epic Road Trips Around the World

(Last Updated On: March 25, 2024)

An international road trip is an exhilarating way to explore the nuances of a country’s landscape, culture, and people. Unlike any other form of travel, a road trip offers the freedom to pause in the moment, detour to hidden gems, and experience the journey at your own pace. From the historic routes winding through Europe to the vast, open highways of North America and the scenic coastal drives in Australia, each road trip promises a unique adventure.

Vehicle Selection and Maintenance

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Nickolya

Choosing the right vehicle is paramount for a successful road trip. Consider the terrain you’ll be traversing, the number of passengers, and the amount of luggage you’ll carry. For rugged landscapes, an SUV or a vehicle with high clearance and 4WD might be necessary, while for long highway stretches, a comfortable sedan may suffice.

Route Planning and Accommodations

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / OPOLJA

Detailed route planning is crucial for maximizing your road trip experience. Utilize reliable mapping tools to outline your journey, considering distances, driving times, and scenic stops along the way. Research accommodations in advance, considering a mix of hotels, motels, and campgrounds, depending on your budget and preferences. Booking in advance can save you from the stress of finding last-minute lodging, especially during peak travel seasons.

Legal and Documentation Requirements

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ken Durden

Familiarize yourself with the legal requirements and documentation for your road trip, especially when crossing international borders. Ensure your driver’s license is valid in the countries you’ll be visiting, and obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) if necessary. Check visa requirements, vehicle insurance policies, and any documentation needed for border crossings to avoid legal complications during your trip.

Safety and Emergency Preparedness

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Aleksey Matrenin

Safety should be a top priority on any road trip. Equip your vehicle with a first-aid kit, emergency roadside kit, and essential tools for minor repairs. Familiarize yourself with the emergency services contact information in the countries you’ll be visiting. It’s also wise to inform someone of your travel itinerary and check in regularly, especially when traveling through remote areas.

Cultural Sensitivity and Environmental Responsibility

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / PeopleImages.com – Yuri A

Being culturally sensitive and environmentally responsible are important aspects of any travel, especially on a road trip where you’ll interact with diverse communities and ecosystems—research cultural norms and practices to ensure respectful interactions with locals. Practice sustainable travel habits, such as minimizing waste, respecting wildlife, and staying on designated roads and trails to protect natural habitats.

Budgeting and Expenses

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / TMA Harding

A well-planned budget is essential for a stress-free road trip. Estimate your expenses, including fuel, accommodations, food, tolls, and attractions, and allocate a contingency fund for unexpected costs. Consider using apps or tools to track your spending and explore ways to save, such as cooking meals or choosing budget-friendly lodging options.

1. Route 66, USA

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Nyokki

Embarking on Route 66 offers a quintessential slice of Americana, a journey through the heart of the United States that encapsulates the spirit of freedom and exploration. This historic highway, often referred to as the “Mother Road,” stretches over 2,400 miles, connecting Chicago to Santa Monica and passing through eight states. This road trip is not just a journey through places but through time, offering a glimpse into the evolving American dream.

2. The Great Ocean Road, Australia

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Darryl Leach

Australia’s Great Ocean Road is a journey through some of the most breathtaking coastal scenery on the planet. Stretching approximately 243 kilometers along the southeastern coast of Australia, this road offers dramatic ocean vistas, pristine rainforests, and the opportunity to see Australia’s unique wildlife up close. The road weaves through charming beach towns, past towering limestone cliffs, and around lush national parks, providing diverse experiences.

3. The Ring Road, Iceland

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / kb-photodesign

Circling the island nation of Iceland, the Ring Road, or Route 1, is a gateway to some of the most spectacular natural wonders in the world. This 1,332-kilometer loop is a journey through a landscape of contrasts, where fire meets ice, and ancient Norse mythology feels alive. The Ring Road encapsulates the essence of Iceland’s raw, untouched beauty, making it possible for travelers to experience the diversity of the island’s landscapes in a single journey.

4. The Amalfi Coast, Italy

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Alexandree

Traversing Italy’s Amalfi Coast by road is akin to moving through a living postcard, where steep, lemon-scented cliffs meet the azure embrace of the Tyrrhenian Sea. This serpentine stretch of road, officially known as SS163, is famed for its breathtaking vistas, charming coastal towns, and architectural marvels, spanning approximately 50 kilometers from Sorrento to Salerno.

5. The Garden Route, South Africa

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Finn stock

South Africa’s Garden Route offers an enchanting blend of ecological diversity and outdoor adventure along its 300-kilometer stretch. From Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River in the Eastern Cape, this route showcases South Africa’s unparalleled natural beauty, featuring dense forests, pristine beaches, and rugged cliffs.

6. The Atlantic Road, Norway

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Czech the World

Norway’s Atlantic Road is a marvel of modern engineering, offering a journey that is as thrilling as it is picturesque. Stretching over 8 kilometers, this unique roadway connects a series of islands via a combination of causeways, viaducts, and eight bridges, with the Storseisundet Bridge being the most iconic and photographed. The road’s design seamlessly blends with the dramatic natural landscape, offering drivers and passengers alike stunning views of the Norwegian Sea, with frequent sightings of seals and whales.

7. The Transfagarasan, Romania

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / DaLiu

The Transfagarasan Highway in Romania offers a driving experience that is both exhilarating and awe-inspiring. Cutting through the Carpathian Mountains, this road covers 90 kilometers, winding through some of Europe’s most stunning landscapes. The route climbs to an altitude of 2,042 meters, making it the second-highest paved road in Romania.

8. The North Coast 500, Scotland

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / D K Grove

Scotland’s North Coast 500 has quickly established itself as one of the premier road trip destinations in the world, offering an immersive journey through the Scottish Highlands’ rugged landscapes, coastal beauty, and rich history. This 500-mile route starts and ends at Inverness Castle, winding past dramatic mountain ranges, serene lochs, and ancient castles.

The Bottom Line

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Monkey Business Images

International road trips offer unparalleled freedom and adventure, allowing you to explore the world’s landscapes, cultures, and histories at your own pace. Whether you’re navigating the historic paths of Italy, the rugged terrains of Scotland, or the scenic coastal drives of South Africa, each journey promises a unique blend of discovery, adventure, and personal growth. As you plan your ultimate driving adventure, remember that the road less traveled often leads to the most memorable experiences. Embrace the journey, stay open to the unexpected, and let the road unfold before you.

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The post Top 10 Epic Road Trips Around the World republished on Passing Thru with permission from The Green Voyage.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jacob Lund.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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