There’s hardly any better way to explore a destination than on the open road. You have the freedom to make stops when and where you want, and can change your itinerary at a moment’s notice. Better yet, it can be seriously cost-effective, especially when combined with camping.
We’ve done many a road trip in our travels, and these ones certainly take the cake. Here’s 5 spectacular road trips around the world, complete with routes and must-see highlights along the way. Happy road tripping!
Psst, planning a road trip? Check out these thrifty road trippin’ posts!
- 12 Essential Items to Road Trip on the Cheap
- RV Relocation Deals: How to Rent an RV for $1/Day
- How to Book the Cheapest Car Rental Possible
1. Northern Canada & Alaska
Yukon & Alaska
Route: Whitehorse – Haines Junction – Haines (then car ferry) – Skagway – Whitehorse – Dawson City – Whitehorse (A “figure 8” round-trip)
Must-stops: any marked scenic point! Tombstone Territorial Park, Chilkoot River (Haines, AK) to spot bears from ~6PM onwards (free & no tour required!), Carcross Desert (the world’s smallest) en route to Whitehorse to/from Skagway.
When to go: Fall for magnificent leaf displays (Sep – Oct), summer for ~24hr sunshine (June – Aug). Northern lights peak Aug-Oct.
How long: ~9-14 days
Highlights: Remote & mountainous landscapes, unique flora (arctic tundra). Abundant wildlife such as elk, deer, moose, bears, squirrels, chipmunks, beavers, raccoons, and foxes.
Thrifty tips: Hit up grocery stores to stock-up on snacks & food in major cities as convenience stops are few & far between. There is a Walmart in Whitehorse which is good for loading up on food & supplies. Camping options are abundant throughout the route.
Car booking: Booking Buddy (free cancellation), Kayak, or use these search engines to find cheapest company and book directly on the company site (don’t forget to do a quick search for coupon codes!).
2. Southern France
Southern France to Paris
Route: Marseille – Aix-en-Provence – Arles – Blois – Paris (one-way)
Must-stops: Chateau d’If (home to the Count of Monte Cristo near Marseille), Avignon, Les-Beaux-de-Provence (medieval town & must-see Carrières des Lumières), Cheverny, Lanobre (Chateau de Val – stunning medieval castle).
When to go: Spring or summer (April – Aug) for sunshine and warmer temps.
How long: 8-12 days
Highlights: Charming countryside, well-preserved medieval towns & castles, lush vineyards, under-touristed sites. Detailed highlights can be found in our article, 5 Awesome Cities in France That Aren’t Paris.
Thrifty tips: DIY lunches by getting baguettes & cheese from bakeries & grocery stores. Formule 1 and Ibis Budget are discount hotel chains. If you sleep just outside of destined cities big savings can be had!
Car booking: VroomVroomVroom (free cancellation), Kayak, or use these search engines to find cheapest company and book directly on the company site (don’t forget to do a quick search for coupon codes!).
3. Australian Outback
The Australian Outback
Route: Alice Springs – King’s Canyon – Uluru – Alice Springs
Must-stops: The Olgas, King’s Canyon day hike, Uluru for sunrise and/or sunset.
When to go: March-May (April is ideal) to have minimal heat, rain, and masses of tourists.
How long: 5-7 days
Highlights: Astounding vastness, neon sunsets, epic camping and hikes, dingos, kangaroos, star-stuffed night skies.
Car booking:VroomVroomVroom (free cancellation), Kayak, or use these search engines to find cheapest company and book directly on the company site (don’t forget to do a quick search for coupon codes!). Note: $1/day RV relocations are rare in this region but occasionally lengthy routes such as Melbourne to Perth or Darwin occur (found via iMoova or Jucy). Check our how-to guide for FAQs on RV relocations.
4. Oahu, Hawaii
Route: As the island is small, you can base yourself in one place and drive anywhere within an hour. Therefore, create a route in any order!
Must-sees: Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach, Kailua Beach Park, Kualoa Regional Park (to view Chinaman’s Hat in the distance), Waimea Bay.
When to go: shoulder seasons are mid-April to mid-June and Sept to mid-Dec. Prices may be inflated from Dec – March (high season).
How long: 4-6 days
Highlights: glistening white beaches, turquoise waters, great snorkelling & diving, lush landscapes, scenic hikes, great weather even in off-seasons, shaved ice, food trucks galore (garlic shrimp is a must-try).
Thrifty tips: Travel in off-season, stick to free but scenic activities (e.g. beach-bumming, hiking, scenic drives). You can snorkel in free and quiet beaches (hint: Hanuama Bay is overpriced & overrated).
Car booking:VroomVroomVroom (free cancellation), Kayak, or use these search engines to find cheapest company and book directly on the company site (don’t forget to do a quick search for coupon codes!). Book early for prices as low as $10 USD/day.
The Canadian Rockies, Prairies & Lakes
Route 1 (Canadian Rockies, ~1 week) – Calgary – Banff – Lake Louise – Jasper – Edmonton – Elk Island National Park – Calgary
Route 2 (Badlands, Prairies, and Lakes, ~2-2.5 weeks) – Calgary – Dinosaur Provincial Park – Drumheller – Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo-Jump – MooseJaw – Regina – Saskatoon – Winnipeg – Thunder Bay – Algonquin Park – Sault Ste. Marie – Wawa – Toronto
When to go: summer (June – Aug) or fall (Sep – Oct) for ideal temps. Fall brings magnificent colours to the trees and far less tourists than summer.
How long: for a non-rushed pace take 3 weeks if including Canadian Rockies (Route 1), 2-2.5 weeks without (Route 2).
Highlights: Endlessly flat wheat fields, Alberta badlands, quaint Canadian towns, big cities (Winnipeg, Calgary & Toronto are must-sees), infinite lakes, elusive wildlife such as moose, elk, deer, bears, and foxes.
Thrifty tips: Jasper/Banff are expensive – camp when possible and if wanting to canoe, try cheaper alternatives to Lake Louise (e.g. Emerald Lake). If travelling to multiple national parks, you may want to buy an unlimited entry parks pass. Note: this is cheaper to order ahead online from Parks Canada, if possible.
Car booking: VroomVroomVroom (free cancellation), Kayak, or use these search engines to find cheapest company and book directly on the company site (don’t forget to do a quick search for coupon codes!). If driving an RV, check Motorhome Republic for coupon codes.