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The Driving Holiday Explained

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Holidays are supposed to be all about relaxing, right? Getting away from the stresses and annoyances of everyday life, which, alongside countless emails and telephone calls, DIY to be done and bills to be paid, includes driving.

Even for those lucky souls who don't sit in traffic for long periods of each day, driving is often seen as one of the evils of the modern world and certainly not an activity to be indulged during our well-earned breaks away.

This, however, is such a profound shame as, even I, the usual car-hater that I am, have seen that the open road can indeed be romantic and driving on foreign soil can be just as memorable as a cruise and just as culturally rewarding and insightful as a tour of the world's finest museums.

Of course, the big one is driving across North America in the tyre-tracks of Jack Kerouac and his fellow Beats, visiting Vegas and crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in a convertible classic. Truly this is one of the 'must-dos' in world travel and the experience is completely feasible even for those with just the usual two weeks in summer to spare and a limited budget.

Looking further abroad, the 250 kilometre drive along the Great Ocean Road in the Australian state of Victoria manages to be both epic and relatively short, showcasing some of the finest coastal scenery it's possible to see out of a windscreen.

Clinging to the Pacific, the road, which was only completed in 1932 after just 14 years of hard toil, snakes through the forests of southern Australia, with the trip also allowing for some of the finest seafood south of the Equator to be sampled.

However, it's not necessary to travel half-way around the world to have the perfect holiday on four-wheels.

Though the train has been hogging the headlines recently, travelling to France by car can be equally as magical - once you negotiate the English docks, that is.

In comparison to the clogged motorways and road rage that lies beyond the white cliffs of Dover, France has actively embraced the motorist and, once you're clear of Calais, the signs for 'green routes' can be easily spotted alongside the normal speed and direction postings.

These 'green routes' are far from the quickest way to get anywhere in the country, though, as their name suggests, they have been recognised as the prettiest and, for the most part, the most tranquil.

Just a day's ride from London and you can find yourself pottering through vineyards or past centuries-old castles before stopping off and making a weekend of it at a small bed and breakfast and seeing what all the fuss over French cuisine is about.

With a bit of organisation, such as sorting out travel insurance or buying a map before setting off, ensures that, far from being a necessary evil, driving can be again what it once was: a joyous jape and break for freedom on whichever road takes your fancy.


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