Some of the most famous road trips have been undertaken by a few friends, heading off for an adventure. Che Guevara and Alberto Granado in The Motorcycle Diaries, Sam and Frodo on the road to Mordor, even a van full of overly-caffeinated teens in Paper Towns.
Your road trip may not have the same cultural legacy but still, what better way to celebrate International Friendship Day than by planning one of these classic road trips with your best mate?
Mannheim to Pforzheim in Germany
The roads winding through Baden-Württemberg
The world’s first road trip was undertaken by Bertha Benz, a German automotive pioneer who one day woke up and decided to drive her husband’s latest prototype (the Patent Motorwagen automobile) from Mannheim to Pforzheim. Benz was accompanied by her two teenage sons and went without the knowledge or permission of her husband, something that was considered rather daring at the time.
Today there is a memorial route in Baden-Württemberg, dedicated to Benz, but if the 66 miles she travelled (at 10 miles an-hour) doesn’t feel as impressive now as it did in Bertha’s day, you can always take a few days to travel along the famous German Autobahn. However far you’re planning to travel, be sure to start your journey with a decent breakfast at GuestHouse Mannheim.
Buenos Aires to Bariloche in Argentina
A view of Lake Nahuel Hupai
While travelling the entire length of South America might be a bit of a stretch, the first leg of Che Guevara’s celebrated road trip is well-worth doing. Guevara started in Buenos Aires and travelled with his close friend Alberto Granado in a journey immortalised in the 2004 film, The Motorcycle Diaries.
From Buenos Aires travel through the Swiss-style town of Miramar, onto the Argentinian Lake District, stopping off at the lakeside village of Villa la Angostura. Then you can travel on to the gateway to the Lanin National Park, San Martín de Los Andes, and finish your trip in the mountainside town of Bariloche. Finally, spend a few nights admiring the view from the El Casco Art Hotel on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi.
Orlando to Delaware in USA
Take a trip to a place that doesn't exist
For a change of pace, how about a road trip to nowhere? The ‘paper town’; in John Green’s novel by the same name is a made up place that the teen heroes must travel to in search of their elusive school friend, Margo Roth Spiegelman. The route travels along the East Coast of the USA and is worth it for the scenery alone.
Grab a night’s rest at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Orlando and then head to the SunTrust Center to follow in the footsteps of John Green’s tenacious teens. Drive north to the town of Agloe Delaware, stop off for a couple of selfies (there really isn’t much else to do here), and then head on to New York City.
Auckland to Queenstown in New Zealand
A quick stop off at Mount Cook on your journey through LOTR country
A Lord of the Rings inspired road trip in New Zealand is ideal for fans of the trilogy but the scenery is enough to keep any non-Tolkienites in your friendship circle entertained. Start your trip in Auckland and head to Matamata (The Shire), then travel on to Tupo and discover Mordor (we never said that this trip would be in chronological order).
Next up is Wellington for multiple LOTR museums, and you’ll finish up in Queenstown, where the final of The Fellowship of the Ring was filmed. Any true hobbit knows that breakfast(s) are the most important meal of the day so check out the spread at Queenstown House Boutique Bed & Breakfast. Or you can book a room at the Alexis Motel & Apartments, overlooking Lake Wakatipu a.k.a. Lothlorien.
John O'Groats to London in UK
A straightforward yet picturesque route
Any of the motorbike road trips undertaken by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman are worth recreating, especially the start of their Long Way Down trip. A fairly straightforward and picturesque route, the journey from John O’Groats to London (or carrying on to Cornwall, if you’re feeling intrepid) will take you through some of the most beautiful bits of Britain.
The trip takes 4-5 days and afterwards you can either fly out to complete the next leg of the journey, or play the tourist for a few days. Tip: As you’ll be entering London from the north, check into The Hide London, on the city’s northern outskirts, and utilise their free parking.