Road Trips Are The Travel Choice Of 2020 & Why I Just Booked One

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Planning a Road Trip

Why We Are Planning a Road Trip Even If We Cancel

We have increasingly road-tripped in the past few years as our air travel has decreased. Road tripping, or at least planning for it, has become an even more appealing future travel option for us due to current COVID-19 events.  Let’s jump into why I’m planning a road trip even if we end up canceling down the road (groan).

Planning a Road Trip Is Low Commitment

In our current world of unknowns, planning a road trip is fairly safe and has an easy exit strategy.  I don’t have to worry about booking airfare where my miles, or dare I say it – money, may be tied up with the airlines and their ever-changing cancellation policies.  The activities that we plan for road trips don’t involve financial commitments where cancellation isn’t an option. I’m making a few hotel reservations far out for this trip, and the points rates I book have very liberal cancellation policies.  Beyond that, my road trip cancellation policy entails putting the suitcases away and not filling up the car.

Planning a Road Trip Is Low Maintenance

Similarly, we’re able to easily and quickly plan a road trip.  Lodging takes up the most time for us, and I’m able to take care of that fairly time-efficiently.  Everybody is different, but planning long distance travel, most often involving flights and the requisite award searches, bookings, and confirmations, turns into a huge time suck from my perspective.  Yes, these activities can be fun at first, but after a few hours I’m over it.  Sure, that fourth hour might end up with a flight costing 1,000 less miles, but I’m not getting that hour back.  I can make more money or points/miles, but I cannot make more time.

Planning a Road Trip

Appreciating our Surroundings

We have internationally traveled extensively and enjoyed it.  We are intrigued by other countries, cultures, people, and experiences, both near and far.  At times so much, that perhaps I have easily forgotten the beauty in those same things right around me in the States.  So much of that fulfillment can come from “closer” travel.  Also, we are at a point in our lives where we don’t need to be in an over-water villa in the Maldives to feel like we are having a great vacation.

Spontaneity Lives On

On road trips, we can more easily make gut changes to our schedule.  Taking an impulsive exit from the highway or turning around to check out a sight is a pleasant detour on a road trip; this same experience is impossible in a plane or guided tour.

I’m also the type who enjoys reading every brown sign on the interstate aloud, as annoying as that may be.  And making unplanned stops now and then, at those sights or others, are where great memories can be made.  I haven’t gone full Clark Griswold, though, despite what my family (or some of you) may think.

Road Trips are Just Easier for Us

Many of you undoubtedly have taken your kids on big, long trips via plane.  We’ve done it a few times and have enjoyed it, but it would definitely wear on us if we did it too often.  Our little ones are at the age that matches up nicely with our road trip style, so that’s another reason we focus on these types of vacations lately.  Our little ones experience simple joys at their current ages that we can easily satisfy with a road trip.  In future years, I hope that’s possible, but I’m not so sure.

We also enjoy the control that we have over our road trip travel, outside of an infrequent traffic jam.  With air travel, we cede so much of this control over to other companies, people, and acts of nature.  Sure, there are inconveniences and surprises out of our control during road trips, but we’ve found them to be less frequent and stressful than with air travel.

Planning a Road Trip

We Remain Hopeful

Finally, planning a road trip during the current COVID-19 crisis encourages us to remain optimistic about future travel.  Being stuck, literally and figuratively, over the past couple months has been challenging for many of us.  Ask Mark.  Merely arranging a potential road trip in itself has been a sort of escape for me.  During the process, I’m even discovering new areas to visit and sights to take in.  Even if we end up canceling, I will have ended up learning about a new area that I wouldn’t have known as much about if I hadn’t planned the trip.

Conclusion

I’ve been recharged and encouraged about future travel opportunities simply by planning a road trip.  At the same time, I know that even if I have to cancel, it was worth doing.  It also has been a way of keeping my travel motivation and skills sharp while we are in this lull.  Are you planning a road trip in the future?  What other travel-related activities are you pursuing from home?

Benjy Harmon
Benjy is a fan of points, miles, and financial independence. An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently focuses on roaming throughout the USA expense-free (or close to it). He enjoys helping others achieve their travel goals, Disney-related and otherwise.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Thinking about road tripping to Atlantic city later this summer. Got some ihg free nights to use. It will be a 5 hour drive for us.

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