Big Travel Is Back, But Here’s Why We’re Sticking to Road Trips

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2021 Road Trips – Why We’ll Hop in the Car for Most Travel This Year

Travel is back, apparently.  To some, it never left, and to others, it’s still worth waiting for.  We’re somewhere in the middle.  With the natural increase in travel for many due to the summer months, pile on a tons more who’ve been itching to travel since early 2020.  I’ve admittedly gotten swept up in the planning a bit, actually scouting out possible flights for family trips in the future.  However, we’re mostly refraining from such hasty plans – we’re primarily planning 2021 road trips.  So why will we continue opting for the car over planes for now?  Let me explain.


As I’ve described previously, we had to call a time out on visiting family and friends since early 2020 due to the pandemic.  Our travel priorities now revolve around catching up with those folks rather than visiting exotic locales.  Those destinations will be around much longer than our family and friends will.  We can’t get the time back from last year, but the least we can do is to make up for it with the family and friends we cherish most.  For us, we can easily travel to most of those people without hopping on a plane.

2021 Road Trips

Steering Clear of Revenge Travel

Almost a year ago, the Washington Post described “revenge travel”, the pent-up demand that many have for travel.  Indeed, this novel term a year ago has become more common since.  A seemingly higher proportion of individuals are excited to get out there ASAP.  On top of that, some of these individuals are edgier than usual.  Many of us, have seen the videos of recent behavior on planes.  I understand that these terrible events are most likely related to a very small portion of overall travelers.  Perception is reality for me here, though.  My family and I aren’t huge fans of domestic air travel, anyway, and getting on a plane now during the pandemic (yes, we’re still in it) with angrier than usual individuals isn’t our idea of family fun.  For now, we’ll instead opt for the car and the receiving end of a more familiar but avoidable unpleasantness, road rage.


We enjoy flexibility during our travel in normal times, but we’ve placed even higher priority on it during the pandemic.  Thankfully, pandemic trends are headed in the right direction, but we know we aren’t out of the woods yet.  Travel industry volatility and bad news for customers is still potentially around the corner, in my view.  I’ve heard multiple horror stories recently of involuntary, significant flight changes that have substantially and negatively impacted individuals’ plans.  I’ve chosen to remove that uncertainty with the air transit portion, at least.  I’d rather mitigate against traffic jams.

2021 Road Trips
We’ll get back to Disney World – just later than originally planned.

Allowing More Time for Travel Industry Normalization

While entities such as airlines, hotels, and car rental companies are starting to catch up, we’re nowhere near the pre-pandemic normal for these services and more.  Will they ever get back to that type of normal?  I don’t know, but I’ll surely give them more time now to get their acts together.  Mark predicted and was quite prophetic on a few of these points back in March.  The simple uncertainty of a car rental at a potential travel destination gives me pause.  Waiting multiple hours to book awards?  No thanks, I’m good.  One of our favorite travel destinations, Disney World, continues to adjust its policies.  By simply postponing, we set up our next trip for a higher likelihood of success.  I totally understand that many have legitimate reasons for big travel ASAP, but the near term risks don’t outweigh the gains for us.

2021 Road Trips Are Easy Wins

Since we largely took a big travel time out during the pandemic to this point, I’m looking for us to get back in the travel game with a few easy wins.  Instead of swinging for the fences, we’re fine hitting a few singles and doubles.  And we can do that via car.  Hell, just using up all of our hotel free night certificate stockpile will be a cause for celebration.

No doubt, my family and I will need to adjust back to our pre-pandemic travel lifestyle.  We’d rather gradually ease back in rather than taking on a big travel shock to the system immediately.

2021 Road Trips – Conclusion

We all have our own individual travel styles that are subject to tweaking during the pandemic.  Taking on more road trips is just the latest iteration for us.  The contentment of that travel while we also adjust to local everyday routines returning to normal is enough for us currently.  Bravo to all of you who have chased your travel dreams and stayed curious as we progress into this next period of the pandemic.  Regardless where or how you go, I wish you all good health, safe travels, and new levels of discovery!

Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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  1. Benjy,

    Man, you’re starting to use this site as your personal diary/journal. This stuff isn’t even remotely helpful.

    If you’re going to use this space to speak of road trips you could have at least spoke of car rentals, maybe even Airbnd, boutique hotels, anything that could have been useful.

    But instead your turn this site into your personal blog where you rant endlessly on things bothering you on a given day.

    Shawn, Mark, Ryan, Ian…they all write about useful things and give reports and tips when something goes well and when things go awry.

    You man, you just rant and complain lately and it’s getting old.

    No one cares about your reason for not getting on a plane. No one cares you you feel that you don’t want to be around potential angry passengers. You value family and that’s awesome but no one is less than because they choose to get back to traveling before catching up with family.

    Get your own personal blog if all you are going to do is use this site to rant and complain. I swear you and AC must be neighbors.

    Let us enjoy this site for what it brings to the space and this hobby. It’s Miles to Memories, not “What’s bothering Benjy today”.

    Your rants are really getting out of control. Maybe it’s times to send Shawn and Mark a message and ask them to give you some time off to get your self together so that you can come back refreshed with useful tips.

    Now you’ve got me ranting…see your negativity is contagious. Bye!

  2. Agree. Got 3 road trips planned for this year. All with my own car because not even thinking about rental car. Hopefully things will be better next year as we have one big trip planned so far. Everything cancelable of course…


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