This year sees the 50th anniversary of American Poet and Author, Jack Kerouac’s “On the road”, a popular book about travelling across America in the 1950s and getting a fuller experience of the vast continent of North America. Many people are paying tribute to the author from his home town of Lowell, Mass through to the end of his journey, San Francisco.
The book itself has such broad appeal that even today after 50 years it still sells 100,000 copies a year. Many fans have decided now is as good a time as any to take a trip to America and shrug off the usual tourist destinations of Florida and New York favouring an adventure from coast to coast just like the man himself.
The trip would be best done just like the book, starting in Massachusetts travelling down south to New York then simply going west until you run out of land at San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean. These kinds of holidays are proving quite popular with similar trips being documented in TV shows such as Top Gear giving people inspiration to have an adventure on the road.
Recently flights to destinations on the east coast of America have become more accessible with many airports in the UK such as Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport now having direct links to east coast cities like Boston and New York it is easier and much cheaper than in previous years to make the jump across the pond.
It is also worth noting that it is sometimes cheaper to consider multi leg flights which can sometimes go to somewhere in Europe such as Belgium or Amsterdam before travelling on to America. Smaller European airline companies tend to do this; some people compare them to long haul buses, stopping off at different countries like bus stops!
Once you touch down you then need to organize your method of transport for seeing the whole of the country, you have multiple options here, each suited for a different type of traveller. If you don’t want to worry about breaking down in the Nevada desert or getting a flat tire in Kansas then you could always take the Amtrak railway network to go effortlessly from city to city, stopping off where you like to do some sightseeing.
But to capture the essence of Kerouac’s novel you should consider hiring a car to cross the country, many larger car hire companies allow you to return the car to another branch at your destination. You should check with the company first as sometimes there is a surcharge involved for this.
Alternatively there are some American companies that offer a service to drive people’s cars across the country. This service is normally offered to companies who need to relocate company cars from one office to the other but quite often in cases where workers are relocated across the country the company will move their car for them. This is a very good way of arranging transport as all that you will have to pay for would be petrol costs (sometimes they throw in a tank to start you off!). Once registered with this transporting company you are able to take up “jobs” which can help you travel across the country either directly or a more varied path.
The one thing to bear in mind is that due to the sheer size of the country and all the options is to take your time, plan out what and where you want to visit and to enjoy the trip! People who have traversed the North American continent have often spent months more than anticipated and felt better because of it. It truly is an “experience” holiday like no other, often romanticised in Movies, TV and obviously Jack Kerouac’s book.
With cheap flights on offer for common American destinations it may be worth taking advantage of these and then going off the beaten track and seeing the rest of this wondrous country, just like Jack did.