5 Reasons Why Road Trips are Better Than Flying

Road trips were once a grand American tradition, spoofed by National Lampoon’s Vacation and a milestone for many. However, somewhere in the last 30 years we began revering flying over getting behind the wheel. All forms of transportation can provide a fantastic getaway, but they also all have unique upsides. You miss out on a lot while flying, but if you’re going to road trip you need to start by making sure you have some foundational musts in place. First, make sure you choose the right vehicle. If you’re traveling with a larger group or kids, you’re going to want a comfy SUV or maybe a top-of-the-line sedan. Renting can be a great way to try before you buy, or to explore options if you are on the fence about purchasing a new vehicle. 

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Next, make sure you’ve mapped out the to-do list with just the right amount of activities. You don’t want to jam your schedule completely full because that will make anxiety skyrocket. Depending on the number of people in your group (and their ages), you might be able to recruit one idea per person for each day. This helps ensure everyone is invested and guarantees a one-of-a-kind trip.

Packing plenty of snackable items can help save money while you’re on the road. With road tripping, one of the most fun aspects is checking out new restaurants and roadside gems. However, that can quickly get expensive if you’re not careful. Having healthy and energy-packed items ready to grab can help you avoid restaurant meltdowns and high costs. Finally, download a few helpful apps and try them out before you hit the road. They can help you find the cheapest gas stations, give recommendations on lesser-known attractions, and even help you come up with new car games.

Still don’t know if road trips are for you? Here are five reasons why piling into the car is the best option for your next vacation:

1. They give you freedom. You don’t have much say on when breaks and detours happen if you take a plane or train. Plus, once you do arrive at your destination, if you don’t have your own car you can easily ask a taxi or Uber to take you somewhere—but at what cost? Having a car has always been a hallmark of freedom in the US, and it’s never more clear than when you’re on a road trip. You can easily modify, adjust, or totally change your plans when you’re in complete control. You don’t have to deal with a plane’s cramped bathroom or settle for whatever meals happen to be available. When you’re really managing your own trip, suddenly there are a lot of new possibilities.

2. You can opt out of technology. It’s pretty impossible (not to mention unkind) to forbid your child from watching the bevy of movies and games at their disposal on a plane. That seatback entertainment can suck anyone in. However, banishing screen time for at least some of a road trip is more manageable. Road trips can be a great bonding experience as you introduce one another to your favorite car games. Since vacations should really be about enjoying one another’s company, why not get started on the right foot?

3. You can save big. When you’re on a road trip, you’re not paying per seat. You only have two years to take advantage of little ones flying free before they’re required to have their own, adult-sized seat purchased for them. Saving money is one of the biggest attractions of road trips, but it’s not just with seats. You can also pack as heavy of bags as you’d like. There’s no worry about weight restrictions, and you have a lot more freedom with size constraints.

4. You can see a lot more. When you have a final destination by plane or train, you have to map out every side trip—and that includes the cost. When you’re behind the wheel you naturally slow down. You can check out that weird roadside attraction. You can easily zip to the other side of town once you arrive to test out that restaurant a local recommended. See, do, and experience more? Now that sounds like a memorable getaway.

5. You’re more comfortable. Unless you’re always flying first-class, nobody thinks airplanes are comfortable. Get the right vehicle and you have more leg room and more luxury. Nobody is reclining into your lap, and you can easily manage the temperature and entertainment. It’s your vacation, and you deserve to be in charge.

As you think about your next trip, ask yourself what’s really important. Is getting there as fast as possible really the goal? Maybe saving money has become a priority. It’s likely that maximizing every part of the trip is on your to-do list. If you want to really connect with your fellow travelers and have more say in how the vacation goes, driving might be a better option. However, it all starts with considering what kind of vehicle is going to be at your beck and call. Choose wisely and you can design the trip of a lifetime.

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