Old timers know one thing for sure: Road trips are unrivaled when it comes to exploring new places and vacationing away from home. Not by trains, not by planes! The concept of road tripping, the whole idea of navigating dirt tracks as you look for shortcuts and competing with stranger motorists on highways, all that on four wheels, probably with a bunch of friends, is insanely thrilling! Old timers cannot trade that experience for anything.
Then there are the X and Z generation travelers who value the convenience of air travel more than any experience in the world. You can understand it, of course, considering that air travel is faster, it can get you to places a car cannot reach, and it is unbelievably cheap these days. Taking a budget trip to Europe from New York, for example, costs almost the same as a one-way bus ticket to Florida. Besides, many millennials live in city apartments and walk or use roller skates to work. Many of them do not own cars and even the few who do, their cars aren’t large enough for comfortable long-distance road trips.
Truth is, it is hard to ditch air travel for the road. But I kid you not, that is exactly what you should do this summer! Why? Because flying is the most boring form of transport ever! You sleep for almost the entire trip, you have to eat awful foods on board, there is nothing to see up there besides clouds and a whole stretch of nothingness, and you share seats with strangers who are more often than not boring and/or annoying. And that is when you fly first or business class. If you fly budget airlines, you are constantly nauseated by crowded planes and tight seating spaces, maneuvering your luggage is always an extreme sport, and getting clearances upon arrival at your destination is extremely tedious.
So, while flying may have its benefits, road trips will always win! If you aren’t convinced yet, here are 5 more reasons why road trips are better than flying:
#1 Cars slow you down, which is a good thing when you’re having fun
You don’t just fly over cities when on a road trip; you tour them and navigate the countryside. You stop in towns you didn’t know existed and interact with people, and cultures for that matter, you hadn’t planned for. Night falls and you are forced to spend the night and experience the nightlife of places you couldn’t possibly have planned for. When driving through the sunshine state, you will spend your nights in multiple family vacation rentals and explore all the lovely places around each rental. From Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Florida, East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame, Cocoa Beach Pier, to Orange County Convention Center- there is always a tourist attraction near you.
Being on a road trip also means you get to see how places connect, how terrains change from one region to the other, and how architectural designs change from town to town. You get to know how urban development is affected by the terrain, weather, and the predominant culture. You witness scenery gradually change from lowlands to highlands, from thick forests to large open fields, and from farmlands to concrete jungles. You watch as coastlines morph into mainland, as weather changes from region to region, and as the human world changes. You notice how neighboring communities share too much in culture and resources, yet they still manage to be so different. Bottom line: Road trips are ridden with learning experiences.
#2 It offers perfect chatting and bonding opportunities
Assuming you are going on a family trip or you are vacationing with a group of friends, how much can you interact with each other on a plane? Probably not at all! You run out of stories almost as soon as the plane takes off. Even if you share seats, texting, emailing, and social media dominates your flight.
Road trips are different. All the things you see on the road, everything we have described in #1 above, inspires pleasurable, intimate dialogues between everyone in the car. You talk deeply and meaningfully, jam to songs, laugh, make fun of one another, and snack together. You will have a lot of stories to share long after your trip.
#3 It is a road to self-discovery
Road trips help you discover things you didn’t know about yourself. There are endless sceneries to see, but you only take pictures of the things that interest you. You interact with tons of different cultures, but you only document those that you know will remind you of “good times”. When you have too much to choose from, it is easier to discover who you really are.
Road trips also offer you ample time to think and reflect on and about your life. They motivate you to be curious and discover new things and places. They encourage gratitude by flipping life around so you appreciate your life more. All these help you become a better version of you.
#4 They give you a better perspective of life
You get a flat tire when on a road trip but you have no time to feel sorry for yourself. You have to find a solution all by yourself. That teaches you to be self-reliant.
You can’t get to your hotel in time? That becomes an opportunity to camp outside, under the stars! That teaches you that not all setbacks are awful.
Your friend is talking too much or driving too fast? Well, you are stuck with them so you better learn to be patient with people.
Sometimes you have to trust total strangers with your life. You learn to trust your gut, you become a better judge of character, and you learn to survive outside of your comfort zone.
Road trips force you to throw plans and itineraries out of the window. You learn to let life surprise you sometimes.
You are stuck in traffic? No worries! After all, you have hundreds of miles to drive. Your car is your home for the next few days. There’s no point in sweating small stuff.
#5 You are in charge!
This needs no explanation: Road trips allow you to tailor your trip your way. You can leave whenever you want, you can bring your pet if you want, you eat what you want, you sleep where you want, you listen to the songs you want, you can park by the roadside if you want- you name it! You don’t enjoy this much freedom when flying.
Road trips are hands down the best. However, for the best experience, you need to bring the elements necessary for a successful road trip. That includes a reliable car, GPS, a good collection of music, money for gas, and your tool box in case of a flat tire. Also, bring lots of snacks and a sleeping bag in case you are forced to sleep outside.