Cross-Country Road Trip Index

This Is Where To Go For The Best Cross-Country Road Trip

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After almost two years of being cooped up inside, most people have found the big wide world calling them once again and their wanderlust ready to be fulfilled. And for those wanting the taste of freedom once again, a cross-country road trip is the perfect solution.

 

Read on below to find out which countries to visit for the best cross-country road trip.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re listening to the rhythmic chug of an old VW Campervan or feeling the thrill of adrenaline in a Lamborghini SUV, the open road is one of life’s great pleasures – the thrill of the open road, deciding your own schedule, and stopping and starting as you please.

But with almost 40 million miles of roads around the globe, it can be difficult to decide where to put the pedal to the metal and cover the miles…

That’s why we have found out where to visit for the best cross-country road trip, ranking the best countries around the world to buckle up and explore. 

We compiled the index by analyzing a variety of factors that anyone looking to plan a road trip will deem important, and we then identified which countries around the world rank the best for these factors. 

This included attractions such as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, wildlife, natural assets, range of landscapes, and the number of cosmopolitan cities, as well as logistical factors including the quality of the roads, gas prices and average holiday rental prices. We also looked at the size of the country as there has got to be ground to cover after all!

Read on below to find out which countries to visit for the best cross-country road trip.

The Best Countries In The World For A Cross-Country Road Trip

USA

Sitting in the top spot is the United States of America as the best cross-country road trip – which is not surprising as being the third-largest country in the world means that there is so much to explore! The sprawling country is home to 29 of the 100 best-ranked cities in the world and whilst there is so much to discover within its metropolises, the US also offers travelers a diverse range of landscapes to explore – mountains, deserts, beaches, glaciers, and forests. 

Another benefit of road tripping around the US is the quality of infrastructure as it has the 8th best roads in the world – meaning you’re less likely to lose your rental car deposit on pesky burst tires or bust suspension! You’ll also save money with the price of gas, with the US being a lot cheaper than many other countries, and you’ll certainly get your money’s worth from the variety of experiences you’ll have.

USA

Mexico

Closely following the USA in second place is Mexico. It did beat its neighbor in the landscapes that it offers though, with the country offering road trippers the Lacandon Jungle to explore. Within this, and the entire country, there is a vast array of wildlife to spot as Mexico is home to almost 2,000 different vertebrate species.  

As well as diverse scenery, Mexico also offers a wide range of cultural sites to discover and ranked seventh in the world for the number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites it has, being home to 35. These include the towns of Morelia and Guanajuato, and several Mayan city ruins and Aztec ceremonial grounds. Perhaps the most well-known is Chichen-Itza, an ancient Mayan city that is filled with sacred temples, grand pyramids, and ceremonial cenotes.

Mexico

Canada

Canada takes third place in the countries for the best cross-country road trip. The country ranked sixth highest in the world for its natural assets (beaches, parks, etc), which isn’t surprising when it has beauty spots such as Banff National Park, Moraine Lake and Niagara Falls.

Canada is also scored highly for the infrastructure of its roads; it is renowned for its epic roads including Sea to Sky Highway and Icefields Parkway after all. The country also took second place behind the US for the number of its cities in the ‘top 100’ list. Toronto scored highest, followed by Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Ottawa and Edmonton.

Canada

Malaysia

The highest-ranking non North American country on the list is Asia’s Malaysia, which took fourth place. What it does offer above the top three countries though, is value for money. It is the 7th cheapest country for gas at only $1.87 a gallon, and tenth place for holiday rentals costing $82.54 on average for a week.

Malaysia might not offer as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites as those above it but it certainly offers a diverse landscape to road trippers: jungle in the Cameron Highlands, beautiful sandy beaches along its coastline, and glaciers on its highest point, Mount Kinabalu.

Malaysia

Argentina

Making up the top five is South American country, Argentina. Behind Brazil, Argentina is the second largest country on the continent at 2,736,690km2, meaning that there is plenty to explore. It is also worth visiting to see some of the 1,535 vertebrate species that call the country home including the Pink Fairy Armadillo and Patagonian Hare, both of which are endemic to Argentina. 

Argentina’s capital also made it onto the ‘100 best cities’ list, thanks to its blend of European flair and Latin passion. Buenos Aires is renowned for its mansion-lined cobblestone streets, bustling boulevards and nightlife that goes on until dawn. Not only cosmopolitan, but Argentina is also home to Yacutinga Rainforest, the Andes mountain range, the Patagonian Desert and a range of beaches down its length.

Argentina

The Best US States To Visit On A Cross-Country Road Trip

A cross-country road trip through America is the kind of experience every adventurer needs to try once in their life. With incredible national parks, beautiful beaches, and delicious local cuisines to try, it’s hard to know where to begin planning a road trip? That’s why we have found out the best states to visit on a cross-country road trip!

Florida

Ranking as the best state to visit during a US road trip is The Sunshine State, Florida. The state ranked well ahead of any other for the number of 5-star attractions it is home to, boasting over 9,000 things to do including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Discovery Cove and of course, Walt Disney World.

As well as attractions, Florida is also home to over 4,368 species of mammals, birds, fish and plants, making it a great destination for animal lovers. Not only that, the state is a good place for coffee fans. With a growing community of small-batch coffee roasters, a decent cappuccino can be picked up for as little as $3.70.

Florida

Oklahoma

Coming in second place is Oklahoma as a result of being great value for money! Anyone looking to save a few cents should head to the South Central state as it has the cheapest gas in America at only $3.03 a gallon. Oklahoma is also one of the cheapest places to grab a pint, with beer being available for as little as $3.00. It’s also pretty easy on the pocket for eating too as the average meal costs only $12.00. 

After Florida, Oklahoma has the highest number of species in the top 5 road trip states, with over 3,600 to see. The state’s official animal is the American Bison, which is ironic as the animal nearly became extinct in the 19th century. Now, the heaviest and longest land mammal in America roams free in Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge and is definitely well worth a visit to see the magnificent animals.

Oklahoma

Kansas

Kansas sits in third place.‘Tornado Alley’ is another great option for those looking for value for money. Kansas took second place for the vacation rental value it offers, coming in at an average of $182.47 per week. It also shares Oklahoma’s status as one of the cheapest states to grab a pint of beer but beat its counterpart in the coffee stakes, with an average price tag of $3.78 for a cappuccino.

The state is renowned for being the ‘home’ of Dorothy from L. Frank Baum’s book, ‘The Wizard Of Oz’. Visitors can visit ‘Dorothy’s House and the Land of Oz’ museum in Liberal. And in Wamego, you can travel the ‘Yellow Brick Road’ to the ‘Emerald City Playground’ whilst searching for the 15 Toto’s Around Town. Fun for all ages!

Kansas

Ohio

In fourth place is America’s seventh-most populous state, Ohio. It is a great state to visit on a road trip as it scored well all-round, ranking in the top half of states in every category (other than the number of species it is home to). Ohio ranked particularly well in the logistical benefits it offers to road trippers. It is the 14th best state for its road infrastructure, with 49% of its roads being considered of ‘good’ quality, and the fourth cheapest place for a holiday rental at an average of $273.99 for a week. 

For things to do, Ohio State Reformatory is well worth a visit as the filming location of the 1994 film, The Shawshank Redemption. Not only are you able to walk through the largest free-standing cell block in the world at six tiers high, you can also go inside one of the haunted rooms and, for the very brave, spend the night in this haunted attraction.

Ohio

Wisconsin

Rounding up the top five states to visit on a US road trip is Wisconsin, which ranked highly for how much it costs you to fill up your car and have a caffeine hit. The state also borders two of America’s Great Lakes, Michigan and Superior, which offer plenty of activities for all ages.

Wisconsin is also home to Taliesin, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the home, studio, school, and 800-acre estate of Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright was the pioneer of what came to be called the Prairie School movement of architecture.

Wisconsin
States - US Road Trip

Methodology

To compile the global ‘Cross-Country Road Trip Index’, we first collated a list of all of the countries around the world and then analyzed each on the below factors:

Attractions

Land size in km2

Number of  UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Number of known vertebrate species

Ranking of natural assets (beaches, parks, etc)

Number of terrains (rainforests/jungles, mountains, deserts, beaches, glaciers, forests)

Number of ‘Best Cities’ in top 100 ranking

Logistics

Quality of the road infrastructure

Price of gas per gallon

Price of average vacation rental per week

We used a variety of credible sources to find data for each of the above categories and then ranked the countries from first to last based on this data. Countries that a full dataset was not available for were omitted from the index.

We then added the scores together to get a total score, before ranking the countries based on this overall, final score.

As some factors are more important than others, those countries that had a tied final score were decided based on their ranking of ‘Quality of road infrastructure’ – the most important factor for a road trip of all.

For the ‘US State Road Trip Index’, we analyzed all of the US states on the below factors:

Attractions

Number of ‘things to do’ ranked 5-stars on Tripadvisor

Number of  UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Number of known plant and animal species

 

Living

Price of an average meal

Price of a cappuccino

Price of a beer

Logistics

Quality of the road infrastructure

Price of gas per gallon

Price of average vacation rental

 

The same scoring system as above was used. 

Sources include The World Economic Forum, NatureServe and Resonance Ltd.

The full dataset and source list is available upon request.

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