A Complete Guide to Road Trip Romances

Road trip romances are some of my absolute favorite romance subgenres to read. There’s something about road trips that just makes a romance so much more fun and angsty: the forced proximity, fighting over the music, getting into adventures in all sorts of places, and eventually the classic only-one-bed situation. I have read quite a few road trip romances in my day and I want to share all my favorites with you! Here are 8 road trip romances (both YA and adult) that you should definitely check out. 

This is Jessica Joyce’s debut novel, and it is fabulous. After her grandmother passes away, Noelle tracks down her grandmother’s long-lost love, Paul, to go on a honeymoon road trip that the two never got to go on. The only issue is that Paul’s grandson is tagging along for the ride- and he’s Noelle’s rival from high school, Theo. This story combined all my favorite tropes– road trip romance, academic rivals, and enemies to lovers– seamlessly into a quite poignant romance novel that also explored themes of grief and going after your dreams. The photography element to the book also led to some really beautiful and romantic scenes as the group drove across California. I adored the banter between Theo and Noelle, it was actually so hilarious. 

This is the most recent road trip romance I have read, and the plot is actually quite similar to You, with a View. It also deals heavily with topics of grief, but manages to be laugh-out-loud funny as well. After Millie’s elderly best friend Mrs. Nash passes away, Millie embarks to reunite her ashes with her long-lost-love. All flights become grounded, so Millie has to catch a ride with Hollis, one of her extremely cynical acquaintances from college. They travel from D.C. to Florida, encountering comical situations throughout their trip.  Millie and Hollis were the definition of opposites attract and grumpy/sunshine, as Hollis doesn’t believe in true love and Millie practically lives for it. This story had a really interesting discussion on grief, the value of optimism, and long-lasting love.

This road trip romance is a little different from all the others on this list because it takes place around Christmastime, making it a perfect holiday read! I would say it’s also the funniest book on the list, and was one of my favorite romances of 2023. Due to unfortunate circumstances, Katherine and her ex-husband, Tom, are forced to travel from NYC to Chicago together. They run into many mishaps and chaos as they try to make it in time for Christmas. The wild antics, the incredible banter and wit, and the second chance romance were so good.

Emergency Contact felt comical and festive yet simultaneously romantic and poignant. Throughout their journey together, both characters had to look inwards to admit their own mistakes in their failed marriage, and see the other’s perspective. Besides the serious stuff, I had the best time ever reading about all the chaotic mishaps. This book was genuinely so funny and clever. The banter had me laughing out loud frequently, which I almost NEVER do. Both characters were so real and deeply flawed, and their chemistry was really well written. 

This is an young adult MM historical romance which includes the grandest of road trips. Monty and his best friend Percy, along with Monty’s sister, go on a Grand Tour of Europe as a last hurrah before Monty is expected to take over his father’s estate. It’s been a few years since I’ve read this book, but I remember the characters being so fun and lovable, and the friends-to-lovers romance being angsty and full of mutual pining. The road trip is not your typical one- it becomes chaotic and adventurous, with pirates being a big part of the plot. This is an amazing coming-of-age road trip romance set in historical Europe! 

I read this so long ago that I barely remember it, but I’ll try my best here. This is another YA romance. After Ali’s estranged father passes away (I’m sensing a theme in almost all of the books on this list), he leaves her his vintage convertible. She plans to sell it to a buyer up north in order to save her childhood home. The only person Ali knows who can drive stick shift is Nico, her ex. The pair embark on a road trip up the West Coast. The book deals with topics of grief, reconciliation, and forgiveness.  

This is a pretty old book that I read a while back, and most people have never heard of it, so I thought I might introduce it to you guys. It’s a little silly and immature, but it definitely is funny and entertaining. Rosie accidentally sets her ex-boyfriend’s car on fire and earns herself a temporary restraining order. Her parents’ “punishment” for her is to send her on a road trip with her best friend Matty, and his other friends Logan and Spencer. I won’t say who her romance is with, but I can assure you that there is not an annoying love square. Besides the romance, there is a lot of character development for Rosie and she matures a lot over the course of the trip. 

This is another old YA romance, and one that some people seem to be irritated by– my advice is, don’t be too harsh on the main characters and enjoy the ride (literally).  Jordan and Courtney are exes who have to drive cross-country together for their college’s orientation, and there is no love lost between them in the beginning. As the road trip continues, things come to light about why Jordan broke up with Courtney so suddenly. This is a simple, fun romance that I enjoyed. Many readers didn’t like Jordan and Courtney, but I found them to be fun to read about because of their big personalities, immaturity, and stubbornness. 

I’m ending the list off with a classic YA road trip romance that I find myself rereading every couple years. Amy’s mother has moved them to Connectcut, and she needs Amy to drive from California to Connecticut with their car. But, ever since her father died, Amy hasn’t been able to drive– so her mom enlists the help of Roger, the son of a family friend, to drive Amy across the country. Along with Amy and Roger, the readers get to explore so many interesting parts of the country- both obscure and tourist spots. Amy and Roger’s relationship develops over the course of the road trip and the romance is really sweet. 

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