It’s an American tradition. Piling into the car and setting off an adventure.
When I graduated college, two friends and I took a road trip from Pennsylvania to Vail to visit another one of our friends. It was a great trip. The day we arrived, our friend in Vail quit his job so he could hang out with us. I vaguely recall visiting a hot spring outside of Steamboat Springs where no one was wearing clothes. We felt it necessary to follow local traditions, but I have to admit that once I took off my glasses, I could see nothing.
Fast forward a few years, and I was part of a very different road trip. My wife and I, along with our two children (six and three; our youngest was not yet born) drove from Pennsylvania straight through to Disneyworld. It was another great trip, although I must admit the drive down was much more exciting than the drive home.
Several years later, we had plans to take another major road trip, this one all of the way out to Alberta, Canada. I had been offered the opportunity to teach a summer course at the University of Lethbridge, and we decided to drive there. It was going to be our chance to visit the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, and many other famous sites. We even bought a conversion van for the trip. But then, a couple of weeks before we were scheduled to leave, the course was canceled for lack of enrollment. I guess my reputation had somehow crossed the border 🙂
We still have not visited any of those places out West that I just mentioned, but we did get several good years out of the van.
All those memories came back to me as I read about a survey conducted by OnePoll of 2,000 drivers on behalf of EconomyBookings.com that offered some interesting facts about road trips:
- 42 percent worry about driving in the dark
- 41 percent worry about driving on foreign roads
- 37 percent worry about driving on unfamiliar roads
- 61 percent claim they would only go on a road trip if they didn’t have to drive.
- Seven and a half hours, on average, is the longest they’re willing to take a journey.
- The typical person has taken about seven road trips in their lifetime.
- 78 percent of Americans have found hidden gems along the road that they wouldn’t have seen if they were traveling another way.
- 35 percent prefer a mix of both planned and unexpected stops, with the most popular destinations being restaurants (46%), historic locations (40%), and roadside attractions (38%). We do like to eat…
- 32 percent prefer to listen to a curated playlist
- 40 percent feel the driver should get to choose what comes out of the speakers, but 42 percent end up taking turns with their passengers anyway.
- 74 percent of respondents believe the journey is more important than the destination
- 70 percent of people would prefer to rent a car that is different from their current vehicle. One-third of respondents say they’d choose a convertible.
- Other perks of road tripping include bonding time with family and friends (51%), the opportunity to make stops (48%), and saving money on a more cost-effective method of travel (46%).
- 51 percent say their partner or spouse is the best person to travel with. I hope the other 49 percent aren’t married to some of those 51 percent.
- 76 percent would actually choose driving over flying if they knew the drive would be enjoyable.
And my personal favorite, and one I would include myself in:
- 40 percent think they’re the best driver they know
Now I’m in the mood for a good old-fashioned road trip.
But don’t worry America, I’ll be sure to keep my clothes on…
*image from Oprah Daily