UPROXX: A Week In A Luxury Coach Captures Everything Sacred About Road Trips

Written by Emily Hart, Uproxx, June 28, 2018

It’s 4:45 am on a luxury coach in the middle of the desert. The curtain in my bunk opens and I’m awoken by a hand on my shoulder and a familiar (if exceedingly excited) voice saying, “We’re here! We’re here!”

I scramble down out of my bunk, delirious from the two hours of sleep I managed the night before, and run to get my backpack. I rush out of the coach to a strangely empty, but familiar, parking lot. I start running — both to warm my bare legs (it’s unexpectedly cold), and to make sure I don’t miss the big show.

It doesn’t take long to lose the crowds and suddenly I’m alone at the edge of the world. I find a spot on a rock to drop my camera gear and sit down — I’ve scored the best seat in the house. As the sun starts to come up over the Grand Canyon, I can’t help but tear up. I’ve seen it before, but just like everyone else will tell you “This view never gets old.” It’s iconic for a reason.

I sit alone, perched on a lone rock with my legs dangling a mile above the canyon floor, for what feels like hours. Maybe it is. After a week on a luxury coach with nine strangers, the release is mandatory. It feels luxurious. In just a week I’ve surfed in San Diego (with the San Diego Surf School), explored Santa Monica, hiked in the dry desert heat of Joshua Tree, and faced my fear of heights in Palm Springs. My time alone is a chance to reflect on my trip and on the diverse land and cityscapes this country continually offers the eager travelers.

 

So how did I end up on a tour bus (most recently inhabited by Olivia Newton John) at the Grand Canyon at 4:45 am on a Friday morning?

I was on the road with (the aptly named) Roadies, a travel startup, on their inaugural tour. Roadies, founded by Lee Roth and Mark Wills, is aiming to “reinvent the road-trip” through heavily curated week-long bus trips through some of the American Southwest’s most iconic locations. But this isn’t your grandmother’s bus trip — Roadies contracts luxury tour buses with all of the amenities (lounges, tv’s, wifi, snacks) that drive primarily during the night — so travelers wake up in a new location each day.

Roth conceived of the idea on a hike with a friend, lamenting the lack of time available to plan and take road trips.

“I thought: ‘There’s something magical about road trips,’” he explains. “So how can we take that magic without the pain of driving all day and planning for weeks? What if we could create an experience where every day you wake up to a new view, experience, and adventure?”

Roadies partners with local resorts, attractions, and adventure guides along the way to create iconic experiences at every stop. The resorts provide showers, gyms, and spas, and “tour managers” plan activities each day — along with a la carte options (surf lessons in San Diego and rock climbing in Joshua Tree are just the beginning).

As a frequent National Parks traveler, Roth and Wills asked me to tag along on the inaugural tour — which not only included the stop for sunrise over the Grand Canyon but also a day in Joshua Tree National Park. To be honest, as a solo traveler, I was hesitant. Travel is so personal, and the way that I experience a place is also personal. Just like in any story, the setting and characters determine the plot. Still, I loved the concept and thought it was worth a shot, so I headed to San Diego to meet the team.

Surfing with the San Diego Surf School

Surfing with the San Diego Surf School

 

In just one week we traveled from San Diego to Las Vegas, with stops in the parks. We also hit up Santa Monica and Palm Springs along the way. We slept in the bus and woke up in a new spot every day. I met bloggers, writers, entrepreneurs, and adventurers. I learned to surf, hiked along the ocean, got an all-access tour of a marijuana dispensary, drank Shirley Temples at the Grand Canyon, and still managed to spend countless hours floating in pools and sipping rosé.

I experienced things I never have, and honestly, probably never would on my own solo travels. In the process, I fell in love with the idea of a shared tour. One only needs to scroll through their Instagram feeds to understand that millennials value experience over things. (And there is a lot of research to back it up). National Parks are seeing record visitation, living in a van is no longer something to be ashamed of, and #optoutside is nearing 9,000,000 tags. The so-called “experience economy” is booming, and Roadies has filled a niché. Say you want to go on a classic road-trip through the West, but you don’t want to plan it. You don’t have the time. You don’t have people to go with. All of this is covered. Roadies is made for the bespoke generation — spend as much or as little time planning as you’d like, they’ll fill in the rest. (They’re also planning to launch a series of “curated” trips, planned and promoted by Instagram and travel industry stars.)

ARRIVE Hotel; Palm Springs, CA

 

When I got back from my week on the road, I went straight back to work (summer school — being a math teacher is my side gig). “What did you do on your week off?” my coworkers asked. “I went to San Diego…. and LA, and Joshua Tree, and Palm Springs, and then the Grand Canyon and then Las Vegas” I replied somewhat sheepishly, still surprised that this wasn’t all a strange fever dream. But impressive as that list may be, and as memorable as the locations were, I had to add to the end of my list, “but the real heart of the trip was the journey itself.”

That might sound cliché but I know it to be true: The small moments on the road are what matter. The things that seem insignificant at the time are the ones that take up the most space in your memory. Sitting up in the jumpseat with our impossibly interesting driver AJ, listening to his stories of rock stars and far-flung travel. Singing along to the radio. Watching an endless sea of stars seem to swallow our bus as we headed down a lonely road.

Through close quarters we were forced to share. Just like The Breakfast Club or The Real World, we were ten people who didn’t know each other, picked to travel in a bus together, to find out what happens when… you know the rest. Ten people who only made sense in this context (seriously, how is ‘On The Roadies’ not a reality show?). The coach created the conditions for connection — because true engagement comes from shared experiences. The small moments, like talking about boys with a new friend at edge of the Grand Canyon or taking a commemorative selfie with the Palm Springs Tramway operator who saw I was afraid of heights and calmed me down by letting me stand in the operator booth.

Sunrise over the Grand Canyon is beautiful, and surfing in San Diego was a blast — but the journey is what made it real. In the end, I found that the road is the destination.

 

 

 

See the original article here.

 

SUNSET MAGAZINE: These Vacations by Deluxe Bus Are Hotel-Meets-Road Trip Perfection

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.

See the full article here.

NEW YORK TIMES: See the Sights in the Southwest and California Like a Rock Star

By Elaine Glusac, April 30, 2018

A new travel company wants to take you to your next outdoor adventure in a tour bus packed with resort-style comforts and rock star amenities.

The kind of tricked-out buses associated with rock-star tours will drive a new kind of road trip with the launch of the travel company Roadies.

Roadies buses, which come complete with sleeping berths, lounges, flat-screen TVs and showers, will transport up to 11 travelers on seven-day itineraries between San Diego and Las Vegas via Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park and the Grand Canyon.

The land cruise travels by night and arrives in a new destination each day where passengers leave the bus for excursions like hiking, surfing and horseback riding.

“We see it as an opportunity to reinvent the great American road trip,” said the company’s co-founder Mark Wills.

“Every day, you wake to new view adventure and experience and you do it in a way where you’re never stuck driving,” added Lee Roth, the other co-founder.

The company plans to partner with a hotel or resort in each destination that will act as a base camp for exploration and offer access to amenities. During stops in Los Angeles, for example, Roadies buses will park at the Fairmont Miramare Hotel & Bungalow, giving travelers access to its swimming pools, spa, restaurant and bar. For an additional fee, they can book a session at 4th Street Recording Studio, located on the property, where the likes of The Beach Boys, Fiona Apple, and Kasabian have recorded.

Trips are aimed at younger travelers with an interest in sharing intimate trips with like-minded adventurers. A guide, called a “tour manager,” travels along on the trip, providing advice, getting travelers on excursions and organizing group dinners and entertainment.

The bus, furnished with the comforts of a hotel suite, is a big part of Roadies appeal. The company providing the buses has also handled transportation for touring musicians such as Paul McCartney and Katy Perry, according to Roadies executives.

“There’s something magical about a rock-star bus and the stories that are told about it, and we wanted to capture that,” Mr. Roth said.

Weeklong trips begin in June and start at $1,299.

See original article here.

Travel + Leisure: You Can Now Take a Road Trip on a Tour Bus Built for Rock Stars

SIOBHAN REID APRIL 11, 2018

It’s every groupie’s dream come true.

We love a good road trip as much as the next person. But there are certain aspects to road travel — cramped quarters and a lack of facilities, to name a few — that can make the experience less than ideal.

Enter Roadies, a new travel company that promises to elevate the classic road trip with a fleet of luxury coaches. Built for rock stars but designed for you and your friends, Roadies buses come outfitted with sleep pods, a bathroom with a shower, flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, and a variety of food and snacks.

Each trip comes with a tour manager who will plan out free daily activities like hikes and beach outings as well as à la carte excursions like hot air balloon rides, helicopter tours, and recording studio sessions. And most of the driving is done at night, so you’ll wake up each day with plenty of time to explore.

But it gets better: the coaches will park at high-end hotels like The Fairmont Miramar, where travelers will have access to amenities like pools, gyms, restaurants, bars, and spas at no additional charge.

The company is kicking things off this summer with two inaugural routes along the West Coast. There’s the week-long “Sunshine & Lights Tour,” with stops in San Diego, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, the Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas. And the week-long “Hot N’ Spicy Tour,” which hits all the same locations in reverse order.

Rates start at $1,299 per person and each tour sleeps up to 11 travelers. To book, visit roadies.coach.

See original article here.

The Manual: This Company Wants to Put Together a Next-Level Road Trip for You and Your Friends

Written by: Matt Payne, The Manual, March 16, 2018

“Some of my best memories were going with friends and hitting the road,” says Roadies co-founder Lee Roth. “There’s just something magical about the road trip and I thought about how can we take that magic and create an experience that would mirror the magic without the pain of driving all day and the pain of planning for weeks.”

roadies company road trip planner bus joshua tree 1 jpg

Roadies coaches sleep up to 11 and are outfitted with flat screen televisions as well as sleep pods (also with their own televisions), Wi-Fi, books, and a stocked kitchen. Most of the driving is done at night, so each day, guests wake up in a new city with an itinerary customized to ensure the most epic stops ever. In addition, Roadies partners with iconic hotels that allow Roadies guests access to their pools, gyms, and other hotel facilities while in each destination city.

Each trip comes with a “Tour Manager.” The Tour Manager is tasked with planning out daily activities, which range from finding the perfect place to watch a sunrise over the Grand Canyon to ensuring dinner reservations at a base city’s coolest restaurants. For additional charges, guests can add excursions — perhaps a surf lesson in San Diego or a bike ride up the coast might be of interest. With a visit to Palm Springs, guests can partake in a cannabis tour or a hot air balloon ride. If getting stoned or floating around in a hot air balloon don’t get you high enough, you have the option of taking a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon for an extra $299.

While Roadies experiences are well planned, that sense of freedom that comes with the open road is also important. “While we have curated experiences in every market — our guests are free to do whatever they’d like,” says co-founder Mark Wills. “If they wanted to go to a museum that’s not on our itinerary, they can do that. If they want to hang out with friends they know who live in the area, they can do that too.”

“We ultimately want to create experience that open minds and allow you to see the world differently,” adds Wills. “Experiences that inspire books to be written, paintings to be painted or ideas generated for new start-ups. Our vision is to build experiences that enlighten minds, broaden perspectives and create a lifetime of stories.”

See the article on next level road trip – by The Manual here.

Conde Naste Traveller: Road trip like a rock star in California

Roadies is a new tour company that lets you see America’s West Coast like a star

We’ve all probably dreamt of kicking back in a celebrity-worthy motor coach and pulling up in one destination after the next rock-and-roll style. A new California-based travel company called Roadies is offering a similar experience, with A-list kitted-out coaches, not for stars, but for groups of travelling friends and families.

You’ll hit the road with a “Tour Manager” who arranges experiences that show off the destinations as a local would see them – think hikes at the Grand Canyon, sunning on secluded beaches in San Diego or enjoying a tipple at some of LA’s best bars. There are also add-ons such as hot-air balloon rides and song-recording sessions at the legendary Nightbird Recording Studio.

But what about the coaches themselves? Each includes flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, games, a bathroom with a shower, 11 sleep pods with plush bedding and a variety of food (both healthy and naughty) to satisfy all on board. Rich wooden panelling and sleek black furnishings lend a stylish vibe.The inaugural trips will set off on June 3, 2018 (though can be booked now), and include a seven-day tour along the West Coast with stops in San Diego, Los Angeles and Joshua Tree.

See the full article here.