Picking up a car with detailed trip notes and 24-hour back up allows you to travel all over the world without the fear of getting lost or running into difficulties far from home. Fly drive vacations let you do just that with everywhere from Alaska and Cuba to Spain and Slovenia, offering a chance to explore with confidence. As an organised self drive tour also features accommodation that's been chosen for character and comfort you'll be able to travel beyond city limits with friendly and welcoming hosts letting you in on secret spots to visit as well as tasty homemade meals about as far from a Little Chef as you can hope to imagine. Basically, a fly drive vacation lets you make the most of your time as you explore at a pace that's tailor made to meet your wishes as well as pointing out things to see and do along the way.

1. Croatia

Fly drive Croatia and open up a world of lakes, vineyards and Adriatic islands with the forest trails of Plitvice National Park just two hours from Zagreb. Further south and you’ll find Velebit and Paklenica National Parks on the way to Zadar and Split. Here, ferries offer island access before you continue onwards to Ston and the start of the Peljesac Peninsula which stretches all the way to Serbia and Montenegro.

2. Cuba

Cuba self drive vacations let you make the most of the island with hire car pick up points in Havana and drop offs in Santiago allowing travelers to explore east to west. Highlights en route include Cienfuegos, Trinidad, and Topes de Collantes, with central cities, such as Sancti Spíritus and Camagüey, offering insight into 16th Spanish influence before heading to unspoiled Bayamo or the Sierra Maestra.

3. Iceland

Arrive in Reykjavik and away you go on a tailor made, self drive Iceland tour that will have you whale watching in Húsavík, wallowing in Mývatn thermal pools and driving onwards to the waterfalls and glaciers of Jökulsárgljúfur, Skaftafell and Vatnajökull National Parks. Hiking over fjords and up volcanoes is one thing but driving over the largest lava field on the planet, is something else entirely.

4. Orkney

Heading north of John O’Groats may seem 'off map' but that’s what makes a self drive vacation on Orkney and Shetland so exciting. Orkney offers an ideal start point with Neolithic cairns and settlements combining with pure and simple isolation. Take an overnight ferry to Shetland with its seals and sea birds that steal the show, just about as far north from Scotland as you can get before hitting the Pole.
South Africa

5. South Africa

Take your time in Cape Town before driving along the coast or to the Winelands where foodies will find Franschhoek offering a banquet of gourmet delights. Take the Garden Route east to Port Elizabeth by way of Tsitsikamma Forest and Plettenberg Bay and you may feel like your journey’s complete. However, dropping off the wheels and flying to Kruger is an option that’s way too exciting to turn down.

6. Tasmania

Tailor make a Tasmania itinerary with B&Bs, farmstays and out-of-the-way wilderness cabins to let you explore from top to tail without extensive driving time – or another soul in sight. Every local will have their own special recommendations and when you tag on highlights like Tamar Valley, Great Western Tiers and walks around Cradle Mountain or Crater Lake, you know you’re in for road trip to remember.


Self drive vacations in Scotland

Robert Kidd, Founder and Director of our supplier McKinlay Kidd, shares his thoughts on self drive vacations in Scotland: “Scotland not only offers some superb scenery but also pretty empty roads, certainly compared to much of England. Even in high summer it's perfectly possible to find an open road whether it's on the coast or through the Highlands. Within less than hour from the central belt – either north or south – you are able to find open spaces.”

Iceland advice

Emma Bluman, from our Icelandic tour partners Alkemia, shares her recommendations for fly drive vacations: “Iceland can get busy and you'll need to book accommodation at least six months in advance if traveling in the summer. However, Iceland is also a great destination all year round and prices are much more affordable in low season. With easy directions to follow and a high level of safety, Iceland is a perfect destination for a fly drive vacation.”

Driving in Cuba

Marcel, our Latin America Journeys guru, explains the pros and cons of driving in Cuba:
“Self drive is the best option to travel over Cuba as it's the most interesting and gives you a chance to explore more at your own pace. Sometimes it's difficult to get a bus to a remote, yet beautiful, location and it also gives you a chance to reach homestay accommodation rather than staying in hotels. You will, however, need a GPS and trip notes as there aren't many signs, especially on rural roads.
Cuban roads, even the main ones, are poor with pot holes and just two lanes. Classic cars don't have seatbelts and sometimes people drive at night without lights. There are also people traveling by horse and cart even though this is illegal on main roads. We recommend that you don't drive in Cuba at night and think about hiring a taxi for some sections of your trip to help you break up the journey and let you see the countryside as well as ensuring your safety on long distances.”
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Self drive & fly drive or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Tips from our travelers

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful self drive & fly drive travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation - and the space inside your suitcase.
See more than one part of Iceland as they can be quite different - and try to escape the regular tourist trail. Hire a car.
- John Stork
“For the time of year we went to Orkney & Shetland, which was mid October, make sure you have got warm, thermal clothing. If you are wanting to see the puffins, dolphins etc. go before September.” – Moira Parker

“Get an automatic - it really helps on Croatia's winding mountain roads.” – Markeus Woodworth

“Make use of the local transport to explore destinations more widely. We took buses on Hvar to Stari Grad and Jelsa, and hired bikes on Korsula, and took a water taxi from Split to Trogir.” – Charles Fox

“The vacation will be planned entirely around your likes and preferences, so think carefully about what you want to get out of your trip. Also, take advice from the experts, they really do know the country and will know what's feasible/best within timescales and budget.” – Philippa Roll
Cuba is such a wonderful country but it is also a country that has simple infrastructure - manage your expectations and some of the challenges will turn into fabulous stories rather than pain points for later.
- Rachael Fitzpatrick
“Read the notes provided, carefully. There are a few things (like changing money) that you will think don't matter too much, but if you are advised to do something, then do it! Cuba is not like any other country – you may not find a Cadeca (bureau de change) where you expect one and you can run out of cash very easily. If you follow the advice, you will have a stress free, brilliant time.” – Jenny Jones

“Do not travel in Cuba during July. Even Cubans were mopping their brows and exclaiming 'Qué calor!'” – Diane Norman

“Do a min 2 weeks in Tasmania, if not 3 weeks, spreading them out among those towns.” – Lim HunHo
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: Dino Reichmuth] [Croatia: Pascal Habermann] [Cuba: Alexander Kunze] [Iceland: Andre Filipe] [Orkney: Donald Judge] [South Africa: South African Tourism] [Tasmania: Andrew Harvey] [Driving in Cuba: Stefan Jorger] [Review 1: Steve Batch UK] [Review 2: kuhnmi]