Whether you drive this route by car, motorhome or motorbike, this is the ultimate ‘all American’ road trip to self drive Route 66. Crossing the USA from east to west covering over 2000 miles, get your motor running and ‘get your kicks on route 66′! (See bottom of this page for price guidelines). Head to the bottom of the page for testimonials from people who did Route 66 through Travel With Jules.
There are many fabulous fly drive holidays in the States but this has to be the biggest and best! I’ve driven parts of it around the canyonlands myself and it really is incredible (and Las Vegas has to be seen to be believed!). I can arrange for you to travel Route 66 on a Harley Davidson and really get the wind on your face! Maybe you saw Billy Connolly on TV which gave a flavour of this classic highway. You can do this driving holiday most of the year though I’d suggest you avoid winter as some roads can be closed by snow and it’s not very pleasant in the cold (especially if you are on a bike or camping!).
NOTE BEFORE YOU SEND AN ENQUIRY: Route 66 is the most popular holiday in the world (well, for Travel With Jules it is!), I am flooded with enquiries every week and a large number of people are simply looking for the cheapest price. I provide a high level of personal service and every itinerary is tailored to your own personal needs – this takes time and research on my part. Route 66 is NOT a cheap holiday and in particular bikes (bike hire is at least £3000 per bike for 2 weeks and over £4000 per bike for 3 weeks) and convertibles are very expensive. If you are serious about booking this holiday and would like a personalised quote then please do get in touch but I would appreciate the courtesy of letting me know if you change your mind or book elsewhere. You may not get the cheapest holiday with me (though I am very competitive!) but you will get the best value for money and your own Personal Travel Advisor to look after your booking every step of the way and provide financial protection on your booking.
Sometimes know as the Will Rogers Highway after the humorist and also referred to as the ‘Mother Road’ or ‘Main Street of America’ this was just part of the US highway system until it became recognised in popular culture as the iconic drive that it is today. Road signs were erected in 1927 a year after it was originally established, running from Chicago to Los Angeles. The hit song making bringing worldwide fame to this road was originally recorded by the Nat King Cole Trio in 1946 and later coped by various artists including The Rolling Stones and Chuck Berry. Route 66 has had many changes and improvements over the years, altering the overall length and often detouring around cities to avoid congestion. In 1985 ‘US66′ was removed from the Highway System and replaced by the Interstate Highway System. Some sections of the former road have now been designated ‘Scenic Byways’ under the name ‘Historic Route 66′ and there are maps to help you through these sections.
So where is the actual ‘Route 66′? There are some deveations and of course with self drive holidays you can do your own thing, but here is a ‘standard’ trip of just over two weeks that I can book for you with overnight hotels pre-booked. If you want different hotels or to deviate from the standard tour or just want the flights and car hire, that’s fine too, I can tailor make any version of Route 66 you don’t have to do the tour everyone else tells you to!
Outline Itinerary Pick up your car in Chicago Airport and stay overnight with a day to explore on arrival (note if you are hiring a Motorhome you must overnight in Chicago on arrival). Head to Route 66 and towards Springfield (home of Abraham Lincoln) following the Mississippi to St Louis and see the Gateway Arch at the river and try the world famous frozen custard stand!
Continue through the Ozarks and Mark Twain National Forest to Springfield. From Missouri into Kansas and Oklahoma (sometimes referred to as ‘Indian Territory’) overnighting in Tulsa or Oklahoma City. Across the ‘Texas Panhandle’ you will see Palo Duro Canyon State Park and get to Amarillo. A popular place to stay here is the Big Texan. Take a look at Cadillac Ranch just outside Amarillo. The half was point of Route 66 is marked near Adrian on the Texas – New Mexico border and you can stop at Tucumcari a famous historical town with the iconic Blue Swallow Motel. Across the plains and through Sangre de Cristo mountains slightly north to the Spanish Artisan town of Santa Fe in New Mexico, before looping back to Albuquerque.
Gorgeous cruising roads are next across the New Mexico desert to Gallup, if you want a quirky stay here ask for El Rancho. the Four Corners area and the Navajo Nation. (You can detour to Kayenta and Monument Valley here). Near Holbrook visit the Petrified Forest and Meteor Crater. Between these two points of interest is Holbrook where there is a popular Wigwam Motel. West to Flagstaff you can visit the Grand Canyon or take the Grand Canyon railway from Williams. Old Route 66 travels through historic towns with memorabilia and fun points to stop at Seligman and Peach Springs on the edge of the Indian Reservations west of the Canyon, stop at Peach Springs at Hualapai Lodge. Grand Canyon Ranch is accessed from here where you can experience horse riding and helicopter rides. Then head off the route to journey across the desert past Hoover Dam to Las Vegas for a couple of nights in this mind blowing neon playground! On the historic Route 66 in the last stretch aross towards Los Angeles, drive through well known movie locations such as Bagdad and maybe stop at the other R66 Wigwam Motel near San Bernardino.
The final part of Route 66 ends after Pasadena on the outskirts of LA, just before the Pacific Ocean but you can drive right up to it, turning into Sunset Boulevard in Santa Monica by the famous pier. The road and America stops here – next stop is Hawaii! Drop your car at Los Angeles airport. Maybe extend your holiday and actually go to Hawaii or spend more time around California. It’s a popular choice to carry on to San Francisco.
Whichever way you want to enjoy this fabulous road trip get in touch and I can arrange the ultimate fly drive American adventure. Remember you can do this route in either direction, but the more common choice is to start in Chicago.
Route 66 by Motorbike – I can arrange for individual bike hire or guided motorcycle tours of Route 66. The most popular bikes are Harley Davidson Fatboy, Honda Goldwing 1800 and the BMW R1200GS. Rentals are charged per 24 hour period and all bikes come with Saddle Bags, Helmets (for driver and pillion) and include unlimited mileage and insurance. There are also group guided Motorcycle tours of Route 66. BIKE HIRE IS VERY EXPENSIVE!
Route 66 by car – all types of normal rental cars are available from economy and compact up to luxury and 4×4. If you want a sat nav we can add one locally. If you fancy a soft top, the most commonly available model is a Chrysler Sebring or Mustang Convertible. American Old Classic Cars are impossible to rent but there are some modern luxury cars we can get for you such as Cadillacs or Lincolns.
Route 66 by motorhome – Motorhomes or ‘RVs’ (Recreational Vehicles) are a popular way to self drive anywhere in America. For Route 66 I can book a variety of sizes to suit your group the biggest would usually sleep 6 people. If you have an HGV licence it may be possible to hire one of the huge ‘motor coaches’ used in the movies! Ask me to check this out for you. Usually Perosnal kits (linen and towls) and Vehicle kits (crockery and kitchen essentials) are included. I can give you a web link to check out the variety of campground available along the route. Note that motorhome depots are not open on Sundays and all operators require that you overnight in a hotel on arrival before collecting a motorhome.
On all vehicles my quotes will usually include the top level of insurance – details can be provided. If you are shopping around beware that some hire companies do not include things like essential items, cooking fuel and linen in motorhomes, decent insurance and local taxes on cars and bikes, etc. Cheapest is not always the best option!
PRICE GUIDELINES To give you a rough idea of prices for Route 66 holidays, on the standard 18 day itinerary, with a ‘normal’ (intermediate size 4 door saloon car), 2 people sharing a room, hotels along the way and transatlantic flights, you are looking at something in the region of £1900 – £2200 per person for travel in 2013, depending on the time of year, standard of hotels and flight fares.
Convertible cars are more expensive (average price including flights, hotels and convertible around £2500 per person on standard 18 days ). Bike hire for a Harley or similar is usually around £220 per day (plus one way drop fee around US$550). Motorhomes can work out a little cheaper as you are not using hotels but are quite heavy on fuel consumption and you need of course to pay campsite fees and ususally a one way rental too.
NOTE One way rental fees are usually applicable on any self drive holidays worldwide and depending on your vehicle and the distance covered on Route 66 is usually US$250 – $700. On the standard route 66 itineraries, I can sometimes get this waived for standard cars depending on the operator used. Young driver fees apply and anyone between 21 & 25 needs to pay this locally, currently US$25 per person per day. Minimum age for rental vehicles is 21. There is often a local CFC (Customer Facility Charge of US$8 per day) paid locally out of Chicago.
Check out my testimonials page for feedback on services provided by Travel With Jules and here are some extended comments from clients who travelled Route 66:
Well, where do I start?!! Julie has been the most helpful, patient & greatest person to organise this trip for me & my best friend Liz. We have just returned back from the USA, driving Route 66, WOW, what an adventure Julie organised for us!
From the first phone call from Julie, I knew she was the right person for the job & I wasn’t wrong. The detail & effort she put in to make it our best ever trip was unbelievable – from tailoring the Route 66 itinerary, to booking our flights & hotels it has been just perfect and she always responded quickly by email or text, even on weekends! Our trip was absolutely amazing, something we will both never, ever forget & I’ve already enquired with Julie about another fly drive holiday in the States for next year & we only came back this week! Thank you so much Julie for being the best Personal Travel Advisor ever, you’re a star! (Caroline Gorner June 2012).
If, like me, you’ve stumbled across Julie’s website after doing a search for a holiday experience, don’t waste any more time looking for your perfect holiday organiser – you’ve found her!
For us, it started in a pub. “Let’s do the classic American road trip – Route 66.” Chicago to Los Angeles, and all the places in-between that we could remember from the song… “from St Louis to Missouri… Oklahoma City..” Book a flight, rent a ’67 Chevy convertible, buy a map, set off and find all those idyllic US motels that we’ve seen in the movies. What could be simpler! Now find someone who really knows what they’re talking about – Enter Jules. From the first conversation, her suggestions and advice on the trip, car hire, timings and accommodation were invaluable. Nothing seemed like too much trouble; plenty of ‘what ifs’ posed and responded to with an immediate understanding of what we were looking for.
The trip itself… Brilliant. From the corn fields of Illinois, the plains of Oklahoma and Texas, the stunning scenery of New Mexico & Arizona, the chaos of the L.A. freeway’s to the sense of achievement arriving at Santa Monica pier and the Pacific. But, it’s the people you meet that make it special; from fellow travellers, a stranded trucker in Texas, to the guy with the best job in the world – protecting American Eagles from feather poachers in New Mexico, and plenty more – can’t buy that bit.
So, if you’re looking for a travel organiser to tailor your holiday to your requirements, look no further than Jules – thoroughly recommended. (Andy & Graham, September 2012)