Stefanie checks the map and her phone for the next best place to stop on her road trip

The Growing Trend in Road Trips

August 26th, 2020
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The concept of the modern road trip has been around for decades and it’s popularity has been growing faster each year. It remains the most popular family vacation option because of the flexibility to have set plans or simply plan-as-you-go. Data from multiple sources shows that every year there is a cyclical interest for road trips, summer months being the highest number of planned trips. There are several pros and cons to the growing popularity of road tripping with friends or family so being aware is the first step of deciding to take that road trip this year.

Health Safety and Road Trips

Due to the Corona Virus pandemic, many Americans have halted their ideas of planning a vacation that involve flying or overly crowded spaces. However, that is not the case when it comes to road tripping. Recent data suggests that over 70% of Americans plan to take a vacation in a car or recreational vehicle.

There has been some discussion as to whether or not taking a road trip is safer than other types of travel such as by plane, train or metro. This is because traveling in your own vehicle guarantees that you are only around the people you have been around for the last few months due to the mandatory orders of the pandemic. However, what if you’re road tripping with friends instead of family for the first time since quarantine? You know you have been following the rules but have they been keeping safe and social distancing? In this case, it is important for both parties to take the necessary precautions before embarking on this journey together.

While road tripping may theoretically decrease contact with strangers overall, it may be more harmful due to the fact that traveling long distances with multiple stops along the way increases the chances of coming into contact with an infected person.

Accomodations for Road Trips

Even though much of the country has been on lock down since March and health officials are still ordering people to stay at home, many are getting anxious and frustrated with the continuous house arrest. However, more recently as restaurants, bars, lounges and gyms begin to reopen, people are starting to organize more social events and public gatherings. According to the U.S. Travel Association, the increased interest in road tripping has increased the demand for RV purchases and rentals. The increase in vehicle demand and hospitality services has positively affected the travel industry even though the trends are starting to change and evolve with what we call the new normal.

Benefits of a Road Trip

There are many positives that come with road tripping as part of a group of friends or family during a pandemic. For starters, this is a once in a lifetime experience where you can say to your kids, “Hey, guess what, I took a road trip across country during the historic pandemic of 2020.” Planning a road trip is quite exciting because you are in charge of the ultimate adventure. Like most people, you may only be allowed to take a vacation as a family once a year when the kids are out of school and it is finally time to use your 2 weeks paid vacation time. You decide to rent an RV and drive across country from the California coast to the beaches of Miami. Along the way you plan to stop at famous attractions that have been on the family bucket list for years. From the Grand Canyon to Mount Rushmore to New Orleans, let this be the time to add as many pit stops along the way to get as much out of this experience as possible.

The great thing about planning a road trip is that you are in charge and you can change your mind at any point during the trip. If you stopped at was not what you expected then you can just keep driving until you find a town or campsite that suites you. Last-minute decisions are fun and easy to make and don’t have to change the course of the plan in action. Another advantage to road tripping is you’re able to bring anything that will fit in the van. This means you can bring all of the comforts from home including that soft plush blanket that weighs 10 pounds.

According to multiple sources, you can actually save money by driving instead of buying round-trip airfare. This will obviously depend on the distance to your destination. Planning a road trip is especially budget friendly when you travel with a larger group of people. This way you’re able to split the costs for food, gas, and hotel rooms along the way.

Things to Consider When Taking a Road Trip

Besides the many positive things that go with planning a road trip, there are other things you may want to consider before deciding on embarking on this new adventure. Depending if you plan on driving your own vehicle or renting from a dealer, you will want to consider the amount of wear and tear your car may acquire on the road. For example, not only will you be worrying about your car breaking down at some point, but the general usage of your car’s engine and tires. You will also want to consider cost and time when deciding if a road trip is the type of vacation for your family.

Driving is one of the slowest modes of transportation, especially if you plan on stopping at popular attractions and crossing multiple state boarders along the way. With an RV, there are some inconvenient hurdles that may be difficult to overcome such as being able to find parking in certain cities. Not only that, but many cities have high parking fees or may not have parking at all. A way to avoid this issue is to plan your accommodations or refueling stops in smaller towns and solo gas stations that you see along the way.

Lastly, you’ve finally arrived to your destination and can not wait to finish the week off with a few days of rest and relaxation. Then reality sets in when you remember that you have to get back to where you started. Make sure you are prepared to make the same journey back home after only a few days.

Overall, there are many things to consider when planning your next long distance adventure so doing your research and planning accordingly is the first step. Since air travel has plummeted drastically, more Americans are planning their next road trip now more than ever before. Only time will tell if road tripping will be the preferred mode of transportation when it comes to holidays and vacations.