Road Trip through North America
America and Canada are both dream destinations for car enthusiasts. Think of the famous Route 66, the Alaska Highway or the Icefields Parkway that connects Canada’s beautiful national parks. This article lists some of the best and most scenic routes. To plan a road trip through North America, some key preparations need to be made, such as applying for an ESTA, an eTA for Canada and in some cases an international driving licence.
Route 66: historic road from Chicago to Santa Monica
A classic known to all road trip fanatics is of course Route 66, a legendary motorway almost 4,000 kilometres long, going all the way from Chicago to Santa Monica near Los Angeles. The route runs through the states of Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and finally ends in California. Route 66 officially came into being in 1985. Because the roads could not handle the increasing traffic, several parts of Route 66 have been replaced by interstate highways. However, it is still possible to travel along parts of the original Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica.
An ESTA travel permit is valid for a stay of up to 90 days. This gives you more than enough time to cover the entire route from Chicago to Santa Monica. If you have a shorter stay in America, you can also do part of Route 66, for example from Chicago to Texas or from Arizona to Los Angeles.
Scenic route in Canada: from Vancouver to Calgary
Canada is also an ideal destination for a road trip, for example through the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta in the west of the country. A popular route runs from Vancouver on the west coast to Calgary. The route passes the city of Whistler in a beautiful mountainous area and several national parks, including Clearwater and Wells Grey National Park, Jasper and Banff National Park. Between Jasper and Banff lies the Icefields Parkway, a breath-taking panoramic route through the Rocky Mountains.
Preparing for a road trip: applying for a travel permit
Preparation is key to enjoying any holiday, and the same applies for road trips. For example, it is recommended taking an international driving licence with you when you travel. Although the British driving licence is also valid in America and Canada, it is not accepted everywhere and car rental companies may still ask for an international driving licence.
In addition, an ESTA must be applied for before visiting America. This is a digital travel authorisation for travellers, allowing them to travel to America without a visa. The ESTA is quickly and easily applied for online and is usually approved within 3 days.
An ESTA is not required if you are first travelling to Canada, and then crossing the border into America. In that case, you must apply for an eTA for Canada. Like the ESTA, the eTA must be applied for online and is also approved within 3 days. Are you travelling by car from the USA to Canada? Then you do not need an eTA. The ESTA alone will suffice.