Why Road Trips are the Ultimate Slow Holidays
There’s something so liberating about packing your holiday essentials into the back of a car, grabbing a map and setting off on a road trip. Whether you’re planning an epic journey or a weekend getaway, the freedom of a flexible itinerary completely slows down your trip. There are no flights to rush for, no frantic journeys on public transport. There’s just you and the open road.
If you’re looking to slow down your travels and don’t know where to start, my advice would be to take a road trip, either solo, with your partner or with a gaggle of girlfriends. Driving could be considered the antithesis of slow travel if you put your foot down and speed straight to your destination, but if you take the time to look out of the window and appreciate the places that you pass, you’ll instantly be converted.
If you’re feeling adventurous, leave the map at home and simply drive, stopping off along the way whenever something catches your eye. Choose your route based around the most interesting road signs or the lure of discovering what lurks over a hill. For the more cautious, follow your GPS but allow for unscheduled stops. Set your own pace, free from the dictations of trains, planes and buses; relishing in the flexibility to turn down roads unexpected.
The beauty of a road trip is that the journey itself is the holiday. Rather than flying from A to B shrouded by clouds, you get to see so much more of the world. Set a slow pace and stop as many times as you like to take photographs. Travel to places a little farther off the beaten track, towns that are situated far from airports, places that you’ve read about in books. Listen to music, podcasts or audiobooks along the way, giving a soundtrack to your trip.
Even if you only have a couple of days, you can still take it slow. So, you have to drive through the night and don’t have time to stop along the way? Use your time in the car to contemplate things that have been troubling you, combine your food stops with beautiful scenery, stop to snooze in the most scenic place you can find. The slowness that you find on a road trip is still there, no matter what speed you travel.
Some of my favourite ever trips have involved the open road. Circumnavigating Iceland’s Ring Road, driving leisurely around the north of France, exploring the luscious landscapes of the Azores. There are no worries about luggage or transfers, no limitations to where you can go. Once you’re behind the wheel of a car (or in the passenger seat), the world is your oyster. You can step away from the usual tourist circuit, discover hidden hot springs, isolated waterfalls or empty beaches, where you can while away hours upon end and leave whenever you like. There’s no rush when you have your car keys in hand.