Road Trip or Safari? Maybe The Magic is the Same!

Did you ever think of a road trip and a safari as being similar in any way? What could they possibly have in common? Road trip - drive yourself around the country, see the iconic sights and maybe some relatives, eat out for every meal, sleep tight, then hit the highway again. A safari - Africa, wild animals, bumping along dirt roads, eat out for every far, ONE similarity.

So let's widen the lens a little bit and bring the two a little more into focus, so that we can see details. As a refresher, here is my Road Trip issue; here is my Wild Wonderful Safari issue.

THE ROAD TRIP - as with every successful vacation, your road trip begins with a plan. This plan isn't about rigidity - it's about safety, security, some certainty (mostly about not having to spend the night by the roadside), while still allowing flexibility, fun and downtime. If kids are along, ensuring that there is adequate time out of the car every day, teachable moments in geography, history, culture (name your subject), time for exercise, and family bonding. If remote schooling is a must, a place to reap abundant wifi 'til the school day's end before heading out for the 'enjoy' part.

You are taking a road trip to visit beautiful places you have never seen or don't see enough, to visit faraway family, to avoid air travel, to soak up wide open spaces and let fresh air blow through your hair, to give your busy brain a change of pace, to avoid the evening newscast, to let your eyes feast on beautiful landscapes, to catch a sunrise or sunset, to hear wild animals howl in the dark - to do and see things that stir wonder in you, and to expose children to that wonderment. My road trip impetus: seeing the iconic places and things I've only seen in photos or movies, and to make them real. What's yours? I bet you can find your travel joy on a road trip.

THE SAFARI - The Swahili word 'safari' comes from an Arabic word meaning journey or voyage. Is that a trip? Check.

What do you do on a safari? Visit places you have never seen, soak up wide open spaces and let fresh air blow through your hair, give your busy brain a change of pace, avoid the evening newscast, let your eyes feast on beautiful landscapes, catch a sunrise or sunset, hear wild animals howl and growl in the dark - do and see things that stir wonder in you, and to expose children to that wonderment. My safari motivation: visiting the distant places and things I've only seen in photos or movies, and to make them real. A safari checks a lot of boxes. I bet you can find your travel joy on a safari.

If 'roughing it in Africa' doesn't sound appealing, then don't do it. In fact, roughing it in Africa is not my specialty; your comfort, enjoyment, and the making of unforgettable memories are. As I mentioned in Wild Wonderful Safari, the level of comfort that is afforded travelers is much more than most people expect. The same goes for a road trip. You can spend your nights in the place where they 'leave they light on for you', or you can step into deluxe accommodations, and impeccable food and service. Choose between small tours or privately guided sightseeing that allow appropriate physical distancing. You might think that's no vacation but it sure beats staying home with the evening news, no? Your road trip can mosey (noun: a leisurely walk or drive) to a luxury ranch or villa that is exclusively yours. If your vehicle might not survive the mosey, perhaps a rental, even an RV is more appropriate? Make sure you check with me for rental vehicles of all types before you begin your US safari.

As far as the African safaris go, flights to East Africa resumed at the beginning of August. Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda are welcoming travelers again. With the safari-providing partners I work with, safety has always been a top priority and remains so today, with extensive new safety and health protocols for guests. They have offices and full time staff in country to ensure those protocols are followed. And if you're seeking privacy and wide-open spaces, stand on the deck of your private tent, gaze at Africa’s rolling, wildlife-rich plains, and notice that there isn't another person in sight. Close your eyes and imagine it.

Are you a road-tripper or safari-taker? Personal taste aside, the main differences: timing (planning your road trip will be quicker!), and you. A safari is a road trip on steroids, but in oh such a good way! I think you can have both. Ease into it - start small and take the time this year while the weather is still amenable to do your moseying, meandering road trip. When you're ready to add magical excitement to that road trip, a safari in 2021 or 2022 might be the answer. Like all successful trips, the sooner the planning starts, the better.

'til next week.

Let's talk. I create expertly designed vacations for people who crave immersive travel. If you’re too busy to take time to plan the details of your own well-deserved escape, don't know where to begin, or are feeling the pressure to make lifelong memories with those you love, then don’t wait another day.


-Juliet Weller, Founder


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