A Travel Book Review: One Awesome Roadtrip by Johnny English

posted in: North America, Tips, USA | 67

I was recently, invited to review this travel book – “One Awesome Roadtrip” by Johnny English by NotionPress and it seemed like a perfect opportunity for me to share my love for travel and books with you. Hence, this post is going to be a little different from my others where I review a book is centered around a road trip through USA, as experienced by the author. It is a small book of just over 100 pages and 6 chapters that detail out 31 days of travel, spanning New York City, the Niagara Falls, Chicago, New Orleans, Florida, Tampa, Miami, Key West, Jacksonville, Charleston, Chattanooga, Memphis, El Dorado, Galveston, San Antonio, Austin and Houston.

One Awesome Road Trip by Johnny English
One Awesome Road Trip by Johnny English

One Awesome Roadtrip can be best described as a travel diary of the author, with each section of the book representing each day of his journey. Johnny English shares his highs and lows while doling out useful travel tips based on his experience. I took on this book with certain expectations – some of which were fulfilled and some which left me itching for more. Let me start my review with my 5 reasons as to why I think One Awesome Road Trip will be great for anyone headed to USA. First a bit of introduction to the author of the book –

About the Author of One Awesome RoadTrip

One Awesome Road Trip by Johnny English
One Awesome Road Trip by Johnny English

Johnny English is based out of Cape Town, South Africa with his wife and has been traveling since a very young age, One Awesome Road Trip is an account of his second trip to USA. While it was his second trip, it was the first for his wife Rosetta. In his account of this road trip, he tries to capture USA from the perspective of his wife as well as shares the changes that he found in the places that he was visiting for the 2nd time. He also, shares his planning phase for this trip in the prologue before he embarks on to his day-wise account.

Having introduced the author, let me now share my 5 reasons on why you should read One Awesome Roadtrip if you are headed to USA

1) Blueprint for planning your route map

 

One Awesome Road Trip by Notion Press provides you a perfect start to planning your routes, in case you are visiting USA. The author through his own itinerary guides you to the best roads and routes across cities, good car rental deals and options and inter-city flight options. Through his narrative, he shares how he booked for a minimum sized car and got lucky with upgrades. He also, shares the various intra-city transport options that you can look at. While doing so, he gives you suggestions on what kind of passes are available within expensive cities like New York and how best can one use those.

2) Guide to stays in USA

Stays

For a large part of his journey, Johnny English used the AirBnB stays. He shares his positives and negatives of such stays while suggesting what one needs to look out for when researching for these stays. He also, recommends using motels in USA as sometimes they come at the same price as the high rents of AirBnB. In his prologue, he touches about the biggest flaw of the AirBnB system – the fact that you have to pay a 100% advance and recovering that for whatever reason, is quite a painful process. His experience with stays in USA is a perfect guide for anyone trying to book their stays in the country.

3) Travel Tips for USA

Statue Of Liberty Image Credits: Pixabay under CCO
Statue Of Liberty                                                                                                                      Image Credits: Pixabay under CCO

One Awesome Roadtrip is full of practical travel tips for USA. The one thing that Johnny English has stressed on are the various cost-saving options that a traveler to this country needs to be mindful of. Starting with which low-cost airlines to book to how to look for food savings to various deals on sight-seeing entrance charges. For example, he shares his account of his visit to the Statue of Liberty where he not only had to pay USD 18 and wait in the queue, just to climb up the hollow statue and reach the crown. He explains why that was not such a great deal as there were other options like the Staten Island Ferry that was free and had no queue and yet, went close enough to the statue to take some good pics. In the same section of New York, he tells us how one can never get lost in the city.

In the same section of New York, he tells us how one can never get lost in the city. He tells us on how the lamp posts at various streets are numbered for you to figure out where you are.

The entire book is filled with such tips that make it easy for any new traveler to USA.

4) Challenges of a travel in USA

Image Credits: Pixabay under CCO

Through his journey in USA, Johnny English faced a few practical problems that were typical of the country. He has captured these through his own experience and reading these will help you to be better prepared for the place. To illustrate one such case was his whole encounter of Flash storms. The author shares his first encounter with one where he was stuck in a car on the road, with rain pelting on his windscreen. The torrential rain gave his zero visibility and he describes his fear and puzzlement. He explains how this is common and what one needs to do if they are caught in similar situations.

5) Importance of research in Travel

 

This one applies to all of us travelers, and not just the ones to USA. We often forget some basic research when heading to a destination and through his own account, the author in a way brings out the importance of this aspect of travel. While Johnny himself, did research on the best rates and reviews on hotels and stays, he seemed to have missed out on a few others. A case in point was the need for Canadian Visa when visiting the Niagara Falls from the Canadian side. He did not check on the same for his wife and ended up reaching the destination but not seeing it.

The Morning Glory Pool                 Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

Another incident that I noted in the book was his visit to the Yellowstone national park, where he reached after a bus journey only to find that the park was closed for the year and would open up only the next season. All these do stress on the importance of figuring out certain aspects of your travel before you add them onto your itinerary.

While I share the positives of this travel book, one of the main things that I was disappointed with is the lack of vivid descriptions of the places visited. Through his journey, the author shares only the rational aspects of his visit. I would have loved to know more about the destinations he visited – the main lure of the place, the culture and specialties there and possible trivia. While he touches about it here and there, on the whole, it does not seem to paint a picture. He refers to photographs on his website -oneawesomeroadtrip.com but sadly, the reference site does not seem to exist. As a traveler, I was a wee bit disappointed and left me longing for more.

One Awesome Roadtrip does include learnings for travelers in general – whether it is the importance of research or making the best of the situations when your plans go awry. The book is an easy read and you can try it out by purchasing it from here. Let me know what you think of this travel book review.

 

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67 Responses

    • Ami

      Thanks Jyotirmoy. I think people heading to USA for the first time would definitely appreciate it.

  1. Revati Victor (Different Doors)

    I did come across this book, and contemplated picking it up, never did end up doing that. Sounds like an interesting read for when we do plan something in the USA. Doesn’t seem like a general “read for entertainment” travelogue.

    • Ami

      You are right about that. I personally could do with some more description. But having said that, this is a rational book that can help travelers heading to USA.

    • Ami

      I suppose it can be scary and the author does say that it happens often. Nice to be prepared and I suppose that is what this book does. Thanks for reading through.

  2. Sandy N Vyjay

    Have not really read many books in the travel genre. But would like do that. This book seems really interesting. Thanks for providing a window to the contents of the book.

    • Ami

      You are bound to appreciate the same if you are heading to or have gotten back from USA. It is a lovely guide for those who want to head there.

  3. Vicki Garside

    Great review – this book would be really helpful for first time visitors to the States.

  4. Danik

    Haven’t read it and never heard of it, so I might give it a try one day. Love road trippin’ in USA, its amazing and a must!

  5. vishalgmr1971

    The 5 tips you gave the readers is a good reason to start reading this book. I am already in plans to buy this book for a reference.

    • Ami

      Thanks Vishal. I think you will find it reasonably priced and hence, a buy is definitely a good decision if you are heading towards USA.

  6. gokulr27

    That does look like a wonderful read. I usually purchase one book before each trip I take. This could go in that list now.

  7. Pete

    But how was the book itself? There are few things more boring than reading about someone else’s holiday, unless it can be made entertaining in some fashion, through disaster or conflict, a struggle or escape. If it’s just “I went here”, “I did that”, it’s hardly worth reading.

    • Ami

      Well, like I mentioned, I missed the whole descriptive part. It was a little dry without that. The book would be perfect for some travel tips for anyone planning a trip to USA.

  8. Chris

    I love a good travel read, and reading over that back cover (as well as that about the author) and I’ll be honest, it doesn’t sound that inspiring.

    There was no quick hook which I think you really need in such a saturated market, and when you go on to tell me his writing lacks that emotive, visual quality, I feel it’s a first impression that may well be vindicated!

    Thanks for the review 🙂

    • Ami

      Actually Chris, this is not a light read. That is one thing that I missed…the whole descriptive aspect. However, having read the book, I can see how useful it will be for anyone with serious road trips to USA. Cheers

  9. Sam Sparrow

    This sounds like such an awesome book! I love travel stories that bring in a sense of personality from the author, as it makes their planning and recomendations so much more believable. I’ll be certain to pick this book up!

  10. Abhinav Singh

    Whoa. I love reading thin books and I love reading travel books. So seems like I am gonna love this one, especially because I am getting more and more interested in USA off late.

  11. Stephanie Fox

    Its a shame the book didnt include such descriptive info and good photos, especially for a travel book when its exactly what you want to see! It sounds like such a good trip to do though

  12. Jennifer

    This sounded like an interesting read until I got to the part about Yellowstone National Park. He has his facts wrong. Yellowstone National Park is open 365 days a year. Services like the hotels, campgrounds, and road maintenance will close for the winter season but the park itself is never closed unless they have shut down parts due to fire or flooding.

  13. Chi Le

    Thanks for letting me know about this book. Sounds like a very interesting one! It’s great to learn from other people’s journeys.

  14. Taiss @TogetherInThailand

    Too bad he doesn’t describe the places he goes in detail, but sounds like this book is more of a guide for those who want to go and take a look for themselves. It’s nice that he gives details on costs and ways to save money. I never knew that lamp posts in NY had numbers to guide you! Nice book for taking a tour of USA!

  15. neha

    Very balanced review Ami. I have got mixed feelings about the book. As you called out, its small and crips so feel like reading it. But I will definitely miss the vividness that it’s lagging as I like reading vivid travel journals

    • Ami

      I know what you mean Neha. I wish there was a little more description. Would have made the whole read interesting and amazing.

  16. nomadicfoot

    I dont read books so much but working as a travel blogger i find this book very helpful. You also have given a very good detailed review of the book. Great work keep it up.

  17. Pedro

    I’ll confess that I had never heard of it before, but looks like a good read. It’s now on my list for books to read soon.

  18. RoarLoud

    Even though the US is my home I wouldn’t know anything about visiting NY city – sounds like the book is full of great tips! I do love saving money:)

    • Ami

      Everyone does….want to save money and this book does help you with it. 🙂 Hope you get down to reading it.

  19. Trisha Velarmino

    I love reading books on traveling! May not go to US anytime soon, but it would be interesting to get hold of this book, though I also want to be able to envision the cities the author has visited and get more info on its things to do.

    Btw, your review was very insightful and clearly written! Thanks for sharing this! 🙂

  20. Carola

    Sorry, totally unrelated but I can’t get over the author’s name: Johnny English!?! I front of my inner eye I see Rowan Atkinson’s clumsy spy explore the US with his new wife – and it’s hilarious!

    Thanks & happy continued travels!
    C

  21. Chris

    A great author may create a more readable travel book than a great traveler, though sometimes, the most amazing aspects of a voyage just can’t be put into the correct words by anybody. What makes a great author and what makes a great traveler varies widely according to who’s deciding. I applaud Johnny English’s effort in bringing his book together and thank you for the review.

Would love to know what you think