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 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
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
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
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
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.
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 to 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.