The most captivating adventures are the ones inspired by curious appreciation of the unknown. But where do you go for inspiration? Sure, there are city guide books and tourist-friendly manuals to seeing as much of a new destination in the shortest amount of time, but if it were up to us, every trip would be a driving adventure. It doesn't matter what your conveyance is—your next adventure should be one between you and the road.
For inspiration, pick up any one of these books. We can guarantee that the travel bug will leave a lasting mark.
Generations of drivers have been steered westward, perhaps in pursuit of a modern manifest destiny, by the likes of legendary authors like Jack Kerouac and John Steinbeck. Thanks to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, Hunter S. Thompson offers us yet another set of reasons to give Sin City a whirl. Amid the distractions that Las Vegas provides, Thompson manages to weave a bright red convertible into the mix. Skip the movie and buy a copy, and then create your own adventure on the road.
The Southern Route
The notion of the Great American Road Trip owes much to the relative, temperate calm of driving through the southeast in all four seasons. We know the region best as the perfect setting for uncrowded two-lane roads and the gateway to some of America's most complex regional cuisine. For a completely new perspective on the states that touch the Gulf of Mexico, pick up a copy of Paul Theroux's Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads. Theroux takes a page from our playbook and mostly avoids the highways, in order to get a better sense of the post-Katrina people and culture of the deep South. Buy a motorcycle or rent a convertible and get ready to put on the miles.
No matter how triumphantly we champion the cause of dropping everything in the name of taking a long car trip, it's not exactly simple to carve out time for an epic journey at the drop of a hat. Weekend road trippers shouldn't have to suffer, which is why we love The New York Times: 36 Hours USA & Canada, 2nd Edition, a collection of The Times' greatest hits of updated guides to two-day trips around North America. Use it as a broad-strokes guide to making the first critical travel decision—determining where to go—and then pull out a map to find the backroads that make each destination special. There's something to be said about having a go-to travel book, and this one contains enough surprises to delight weekend warriors throughout the year.
The Sun-Drenched Vacation
How much do you know about traveling to Cuba? Thanks to years of restrictions and trade sanctions, probably not that much—aside from the presence of classic American iron on the city streets, and the requisite myths about cigars and mixed drinks. Prepare to change your perspective by reading The Havana Habit, by Gustavo Pérez Firmat. Pivoting from Havana to tell the greater story of Cuba, Firmat's take on Cuba is seeing it through the lens of how the island influenced mainland American culture and vice versa. We can bet that you'll be inspired to take a road trip through the small but drivable island before you're halfway through.