The hit BBC programme Race Across the World was the talk of the office here at Flying Colours. If you haven’t seen it before, five pairs must race from one location to another – this time it was across Canada – hitting checkpoints along the way. The catch is, they can’t take any flights and they have a limited budget to travel with.
Some teams are eliminated along the way and the first team to reach the finish receives a cash prize. Every week, it was a hot debate in the Flying Colours office about who would take the win.
The show also got us thinking about our travel plans, because even the teams that didn’t win the cash still got to experience a unique trip across Canada. They were able to see things that they otherwise would have missed if they had just jumped on a plane from one side of the country to the other.
There’s a lot to be said for travelling through places instead of flying. So, if you’re thinking about your travel plans in retirement or just planning your next family holiday, here are five of the best overland routes in the world.
1. Central America overland route
Central America, the bridge between North and South America, is a very culturally rich region with lots of small countries to visit. The Central America overland route is one of the best ways to hit all the highlights and get a good sense of the whole area.
Mexico is an excellent place to start because you can spend a few days in vibrant Mexico City before heading south towards some of the more rural areas on the trip. The most common 24-day route then moves through Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and finally to Costa Rica.
The amazing thing about this route is the diversity of cultures and natural landscapes. You’ll see everything from white sandy beaches and barrier reefs to jungles and ancient Mayan temples.
If you want to get out of your comfort zone and experience a true adventure, this is the ideal trip.
2. The Baltics
“The Baltic States” is a collective term for three countries: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. This area of Europe has become more popular with travellers in the last few years because of its unique history and incredible medieval architecture.
It’s also very affordable, which is good news if you are planning a long road trip through all three countries.
The city of Kaunas in Lithuania is a brilliant starting point as it’s centrally located and has plenty going on. It was European Capital of Culture in 2022, so you’ll find all kinds of great museums and historical buildings to explore.
From here, you can travel through Lithuania, visiting the coastal town of Klaipeda and the capital city of Vilnius along the way. In Latvia, highlights include Daugavpils – a less touristy city where you can get a real sense of life in the country.
Most people then choose to end their trip in Tallin in Estonia. This is perhaps the most modernised city in the region, but it is still steeped in history and culture, so you get the best of both worlds.
This is a great overland trip that can be as short or long as you want it to be, and you can easily do it by train too.
3. The Silk Road
The Silk Road is a network of trade routes that connected China with the Far East and Europe and changed the course of history forever.
Now, it’s a superb way to explore vast swathes of the world on some amazing overland routes. It would take years to explore every single route, but there are some well-established shorter journeys you can take.
The “five stans” is a popular trip that takes you through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. Or perhaps you’d prefer a highlights tour of China, Tibet, and Nepal in a month-long trip?
There are also some extended trips available if you want a true adventure. You can travel all the way from Istanbul to Beijing in three months, for example, hitting 11 different countries along the way.
4. The Scotland North Coast 500
You don’t necessarily have to travel halfway across the world to find a great overland route to enjoy. If you are looking for something closer to home, the Scotland North Coast 500 (NC500) is perfect.
This 500-mile route follows the north coast of Scotland, taking in the amazing scenery of the highlands, with plenty of places to stop off along the way.
The great thing about this route is that you can customise it to your tastes. The journey starts and ends at Inverness Castle and you’ll probably want to visit spots like Loch Ness along the way, but beyond that, it’s up to you.
You could explore some of the best places for local food and drink, find some famous whisky distilleries, go hiking, or tour some of the top golf courses in the world.
5. The Hippie Trail
The Hippie Trail was a cultural phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s, which saw thousands of westerners travelling overland from London all the way to Delhi, India.
While the 6,000-mile trek is not as popular as it once was, it’s an outstanding route that takes you through Europe to Istanbul and then through the Middle East all the way to India. In the past, travellers completed much of the journey on buses or by hitchhiking, but that’s all changed now.
These days, you can do the trip in a few months with a combination of flying, driving, and trains. Splitting it up and following smaller sections of the journey is a good option too.
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As you start thinking about retirement, you may be planning a big trip like this. We can help you ensure that you have the income that you need to achieve it.
Email email@example.com or call 0333 241 9900 for more information today.
This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.