By MARIE SALCIDO
Summer vacation is about to get waaaaaay more interesting thanks to this new road trip operator.
For decades, Americans have toured the country via the great highways and winding roads, exploring notable sights like national parks and standout cities, and discovering unexpected destinations along the way. Then efficiency replaced curiosity, and budget airlines stepped onto the scene with fractional fares and time-saving routes. Why spend triple the time getting from point A to Point B when there’s a quicker and more convenient way to do it? And there went the road trip.
Cue Roadies, a new-era Western road trip with all of the creature comforts of plush accommodations, and none of the hassle when it comes to bathroom breaks, traffic delays, or asking for directions.
“We thought road trips were getting lost and we thought, ‘how do we modernize it?’” explains Lee Roth, who co-founded the travel company with longtime friend Mark Wills last year. “What if we could create an experience where every day you wake up to a new adventure?”
Their vision ignited when they met their inaugural luxe coach, a tricked-out tour bus that had formerly chartered touring musicians, including the likes of Paul McCartney and Katy Perry. Equipped with twelve cozy sleeping pods, two lounges with flat-screen TVs, and an onboard kitchen, the rock star accommodations aren’t too shabby, and the perks of rock star treatment go beyond the fancy set of wheels.
Each 11-person crew is led by a private tour guide, who knows the ins and outs of each destination and coordinates unforgettable excursions at each stop. The route hops across the West, from San Diego to Las Vegas, hitting L.A., Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, and the Grand Canyon along the way. Since most of the driving takes place overnight, travelers have the chance to spend a day exploring each destination, whether on their own or through an optional menu of activities, which runs the gamut of jeep tours in the Grand Canyon, surf lessons in San Diego, and rock climbing in Joshua Tree. For those looking for some R&R, Roadies also partners with top hotels in each location, like the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica, or Palm Springs’ Arrive, for access to their dreamy poolscapes and fitness centers.
Roadies can be booked per individual seat, which starts at $999 for transportation and accommodations, or privately for large groups. We’re already picturing it as the next bachelorette party craze, but it’s also ideal for solo travelers to make new connections whilst exploring the highlights of some of the country’s most iconic locales.
“It’s all about spending time with friends, whether you knew them before you started or not,” explains Wills. “Travel broadens the mind, and we love the idea of bringing people together.” The first tours kick off this summer, with current routes weaving across the West among California, Arizona, and Nevada. With all of the riches across the country’s many regions, Roth and Wills say they hope to eventually extend their journeys geographically. Think mountain-to-mountain tours for skiiers, or surf-focused trips along differing coastlines.
It’s exactly the kind of trip to remind us that it’s just as much about the journey as the destination.