We’ve all dreamt of hiring a car and setting off along Route 66 or another epic road trip that the world has to offer. But what do some of the roads less travelled have to offer? We’ve analysed the best-rated drives that have had the fewest Google searches to reveal the most underrated road trips.
While there are thousands of great road trips that people aren’t aware of, this is purely a look at the top 50 most popular. But whichever trip you decide to take, always make sure you’re covered to drive as car insurance laws can vary by country.
The most underrated road trips
1. Causeway Coastal Route, United Kingdom
% of ‘good’ reviews: 98.1%
Annual search volume: 23,700
Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast is one of the UK’s most rugged and raw beauty spots. One of the best ways to experience the coast is on this scenic drive from Belfast to Derry. Despite 98.1% of the journey’s Tripadvisor reviews being positive, the road trip had just 23,700 searches in the last 12 months.
To put that into perspective, the famous Route 66 trip had over 6.5 million searches in the same period. This is surprising considering the Causeway Coastal Route’s fame. The trip takes in many popular sights such as the Glens of Antrim, as well as padding well-known filming locations from Game of Thrones.
2. Route des Crêtes, France
% of ‘good’ reviews: 98.5%
Annual search volume: 131,200
Another lesser-known route is the Route des Crêtes in eastern France’s Vosges Mountains. The route runs from Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines to Cernay, through the Parc Naturel Régional des Ballons des Vosges, reaching an elevation of over 950m. Despite the stunning views and great reviews from those who’ve driven it, this trip was searched just 131,200 times in the last year.
3. Foothills Parkway, United States
% of ‘good’ reviews: 97.5%
Annual search volume: 68,700
There are 2 road trips that are tied in third place, both in the USA. The first is the Foothills Parkway in Tennessee. As the name suggests, the road stretches from the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and runs to the Tennessee Valley. The route provides spectacular views of both and it is actually still under construction, with new stretches constantly being added.
3. Lamar Valley, United States
% of ‘good’ reviews: 97.4%
Annual search volume: 68,000
Located in the northeastern corner of Yellowstone National Park, the Lamar Valley offers some of the most impressive scenery in the country. Despite this, the route saw only 68,000 people searching for it in the last year.
The area is often referred to as ‘America’s Serengeti’, with lots of wildlife species to spot such as wolves, bison, pronghorn, badgers, bears, and more.
The most overrated road trips
1. Nandi Hills, India
% of ‘good’ reviews: 81.7%
Annual search volume: 1.96 million
On the other hand, India’s Nandi Hills is crowned the most overrated road trip. Its ratio of 81.7% positive reviews is still a good score. But given that the trip has been searched almost 2 million times in a year, you’d expect slightly more positive ratings.
The route is a popular trip, but this very popularity has led to the area becoming overcrowded and commercialised in the eyes of some.
2. Route 66, United States
% of ‘good’ reviews: 89.1%
Annual search volume: 6.52 million
As perhaps the most famous road trip in the world, it would always be difficult for the famous Route 66 to fully live up to the hype. The route received over 6.5 million annual searches last year, far more than any other route.
But, despite many positives, Route 66 is a very long trip, with much of it taking you across very flat and unremarkable scenery. Much of the highway is a simple 2 lane road that is poorly maintained in places. This may explain why the route has received fewer positive reviews than other road trips analysed.
3. Road to Hana, United States
% of ‘good’ reviews: 83.4%
Annual search volume: 801,500
Another well-known drive that failed to convince some visitors is the Road to Hana, in Maui, Hawaii. The Road to Hana is an epic journey, stretching 64.4 miles along the coast. However, reviews claim that some of the sights aren’t as spectacular as you’d hope.
Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com, comments: “Road trips have become a popular way to see the world, particularly post-Covid as more people feel uncomfortable travelling by public transport. However, as the popularity of road trips increases, so does traffic along the route. Therefore, choosing an underrated route is a great way to experience the fun of a road trip while avoiding the crowds.
“If you’re planning an upcoming road trip, the route isn’t the only thing you need to consider before embarking on your journey. If you plan to drive your own car along the route, it’s important to check your car insurance to ensure your vehicle is fully insured abroad. Alternatively, if you’re planning on hiring a car for your trip, always check the cost of car hire abroad. Car hire can be a huge expense, especially when combined with the cost of fuel, which again varies from country to country.
“When driving abroad, UK drivers should also make sure to take valid driving licences with them. It’s also important to research the driving rules within the country they’re visiting, as well as checking if they need an International Driving Permit to drive there.”
The top 50 most popular road trips in the world (determined by Google search volume) were analysed on both their Tripadvisor reviews and annual Google searches.
For each trip, the number of 'excellent' and 'very good ' reviews were calculated as a percentage of the total reviews for each road trip. The number of global Google searches made in the last 12 months according to Google Keyword Planner were also recorded.
Each road trip was then given a normalised score out of 10 for both its reviews and number of searches. Trips were being scored higher for having better reviews and lower searches.