Can you brave the longest road in the world?
If you’re looking for the road trip of a lifetime, consider a road spanning the entire Americas, circling Australia’s coast, or covering India’s mainland.
When preparing for an extensive road trip, there are many things to prepare. Understand the type of terrain you’ll encounter—will you need off-road equipment or snow tires? Consider a vehicle’s gas mileage and if you have the ability to store all of your necessities for several months.
The roads below could allow for a trip to span over multiple seasons, so it’s important to grasp what type of weather you’ll encounter. Even if you’ll be driving in dry heat during the day, consider how temperatures could be freezing at night. Your expectations may change if you’re planning to camp or drive through the night. Lastly, be conscientious of the cultural differences you’ll encounter on your trip. You’ll cross many languages, backgrounds and ways of life. Be kind and prioritize your safety while driving through lesser-known parts.
At 30,000 miles, the Pan-American Highway is the longest road in the world. It’s a network of roads that start at the northern tip of Alaska and run all the way down to the southern tip of Argentina. Most travelers take around a year to travel its full length. To provide context, the Pan-American Highway is the equivalent to traveling around the equator, or traveling from New York City to Los Angeles and back 11 times. It crosses 14 countries, spans six time zones, and two continents.
Highway 1 in Australia, also known as the “Big Lap,” is a connection of highways that make a giant loop around the country. It runs through just about every habitable area of Australia and through all of the major cities including Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. To really experience the trip, it takes most travelers about three months to complete. The route consists of breathtaking coastlines, farmlands, and national parks.
The Trans-Siberian Highway runs the entire length of Russia, beginning at the historic St. Petersburg and ending in Vladivostok, a port city just north of North Korea on the coast of the Sea of Japan. This route is especially notorious for treacherous weather and driving conditions. In the winter, expect freezing temperatures and snowstorms, and in the summer expect parts of the route to become impassable with permafrost.
The Trans-Canada Highway is the longest national highway in the world, connecting the easternmost end and westernmost end of Canada. The route is filled with beautiful Canadian scenery of mountains, rivers, and lakes. Be sure to stop in a few different national parks, like Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland and Labrador. Don’t forget to try traditional Canadian food like baguettes, mousse, and poutine.
The Golden Quadrilateral Highway of India connects India’s four main urban areas—Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai. This trip will contain once in a lifetime experiences with Indian cuisine and history, with stops like the Taj Mahal and Belgaum. India offers a scenic countryside incomparable to almost anywhere else in the world. From the Himalayan mountain range in the north, to the Thar Desert and salt marshes in the west, to the eastern watershed region of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, the landscape is unlike anything else in the world.
U.S. Route 20 runs coast to coast, from Newport, Oregon to Boston, Massachusetts. It is officially the longest road in the U.S. Covering 12 states, most travelers take around one to two months to complete the entire trek. The highlight of this route is Yellowstone National Park in Montana, a must-see for any nature-loving adventurist. You’ll also encounter America’s rich pioneer past as you go west, with sites like the Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Wyoming. For the music lover, don’t forget to connect with America’s past at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
If you’re looking to connect with America’s heartland, this is the trip for you. U.S. Route 6 runs from Provincetown, MA to sunny Long Beach, CA. This trip typically takes travelers about four to six weeks. It passes through some of the most beautiful countryside that the U.S. has to offer, including the Great Lakes, the Great Plains, the Rockies, and paradisal southern California. The roads will all be paved and relatively well taken care of, but you may encounter steep climbs in the mountains and gusty winds in the flatland areas. Be sure to check out Denver, the only state capital that this route passes through.
A road trip is becoming a worldwide pastime, not just an American one. If it’s not easy to get your car to one of these roads, consider renting a car on experience the open road. Exploring the world on four wheels is one of the most exhilarating activities one can do. But it’s always good to know your intentions before choosing your journey. Do you want to challenge yourself, meet new people and find yourself in unexpected situations? Or, are you just looking to take your family on a relaxing vacation and see some awesome national parks? Whichever path you choose, keep an open mind when hitting the open road and return with a story to tell.