Route 66 in the USA is an iconic road that has been immortalised in films, songs, poems and has come to represent a great many ideals that people hold dear; freedom, adventure and the chance to discover your true self. It has inspired people to change their lives for the better and for many it symbolises much more than just a road that connects the cities and countryside of Middle America to the West Coast.
Beginning among the high-rises of Chicago and continuing through farmland and cowboy country, until it reaches the sandy shores of the Golden Coast, Route 66 was historically believed to lead to a better life, away from poverty. It is still one of the most popular self-drive routes in the Western World.
Trying to capture an essence of what those who journeyed all 2448 miles along it during the Great Depression might have felt is a main aim for many who consider this trip. Other reasons include finding out why it so heavily inspired the beat poets, such as Jack Kerouac, and to experience the diversity of American life that can be accounted for along the 8 states the road crosses.
However, although a lot of people fantasise about driving past the lakes and canyons of this famous highway, the reality of organising such a trip can prove to be a stumbling block. It’s a very long road after all and youre going to need a lot of stopovers along the way. When planning such a holiday, how many of us truly feel comfortable going with the flow, organising simply the car hire and leaving your accommodation up to chance? Do you really need a grotty, last minute motel to be part of your experience? But what’s the alternative? Spending weeks and months meticulously planning your driving trip of a lifetime? Who needs the stress of that either?
Luckily First Class Holidays have the perfect solution for those wishing to embark on a classic American adventure of discovery, such as this, but with none of the hassle. Neither will you have to risk low quality rooms or meals along the way. Their all-inclusive, 19 day self-drive Route 66 package will provide you with everything you need to make the most of this holiday, with minimal fuss.
Driving yourself will give you the opportunity to savour the views and attractions that interest you and their itinerary will ensure you see everything of interest, dine in well-established restaurants and stay in very highly regarded accommodation without having to go through the trouble of making the travel arrangements yourself. Before we look into how we do this, lets take another look at what makes Route 66 so special.
The History of Route 66
Known to be a mother road that serves smaller tributary roads, Route 66 was officially built in 1926. Its location used native American trails that had existed there for centuries beforehand. Originally it was used by the sort of settlers travelling with covered wagons that are a familiar sight on cowboy films, but these were soon replaced when the first motorcars, such as the Model Ts, came into existence. It’s still a dream for many to drive a classic American car along this revered route.
Today, youll see towns that appear not to have changed since the road was built, save for the plentiful souvenir shops selling postcards and car stickers. The rock formations, desert landscape and cliffs that have stood here for far longer are also unchanged.
Although the road got decommissioned when it fell into an expensive state of disrepair, charitable organisations have raised funds to prevent it from being closed altogether. Today it enjoys enough tourist traffic to keep it going, the passengers of which are all trying to get a slice of the American dream.
Preparing for your journey
Although First Class Holidays will give you everything you need, it’s good to be aware of the sort of surroundings you’re going to experience before you set off, as the road is very remote along some stretches.
Youll need to make sure you stock up on food and water, just in case you break down, and make yourself aware of where the petrol stations are along the way.
Be aware that if you step outside your air-conditioned vehicle along the way to take in the views, it can get very hot in some areas. Take plenty of sun cream and a hat to avoid sunburn. Sunglasses are, of course, an essential drivers item.
First Class Holidays Route 66 itinerary
Youll fly into Chicago and spend a couple of nights in the Best Western hotel here, giving you the chance to relax and explore this fascinating city at your leisure before your journey begins in earnest.
You might want to immerse yourself in the Chicago shopping experience, stroll through the gardens of Millennium Park, or take a boat across Lake Michigan. But when the light fades and the city lights up, you simply must visit one of the blues clubs, which are so integral to Chicago’s culture. Springfield, Illinois Your first day of driving will take you from the bright lights of Chicago, through the farmlands of Illinois, to the state capital city, Springfield, where you can discover Abraham Lincoln memorabilia, play golf, or go to a drive-through movie. Your accommodation will be the Best Western hotel here and you’ll stay overnight before setting off the next day for St Louis. St Louis Another famous former president is associated with St Louis. This time its Thomas Jefferson. Youll spend a couple of nights here to experience various views of the mighty Mississippi river among its other attractions.
The enormous Gateway Arch, Busch Stadium and Cathedral Basilica are must-see sights, but youll also enjoy walking in the Forest Park or Botanical Gardens, exploring the Science Museum and many art galleries, as well as a spot of shopping in the Gateway Mall.
For Route 66 and many more adventures visit our First Class Holidays page!