AAA Travel Tips / 12 Reasons to Take a Road Trip

12 Reasons to Take a Road Trip

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By AAA Travel Editor Katie Broome
August 09, 2021
Ah, the open road. For many, a long ribbon of highway conjures up feelings of freedom, adventure and exploration. Now more than ever, travelers in search of an escape are turning to road trips to reclaim some semblance of normalcy in their lives. From cost savings to pet-friendliness, here are the top reasons to road trip (as if you needed more than just one!).
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No Airports or Early Morning Flights

Avoid the hassle of the airport altogether by driving instead of flying. Just think — no early morning wake-up calls to get to the airport on time only to sit around and wait for hours. On a road trip, your vacation begins as soon as you start your engine.
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Schedules Are Flexible

You can’t beat the flexibility of a road trip. There are no flight times to worry about or bus schedules to memorize, as you’ll have your own set of wheels to get around. Plus, if you spot something cool out the window, it’s much easier to pull over when you’re driving than if you’re flying. As long as you book hotels with free cancellation, your itinerary is flexible, too, if your plans change.
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More Room for Luggage (and Souvenirs)

Say goodbye to weight limits and luggage restrictions. With a road trip, you can pack the car as full as you want to. It’s especially convenient if you have strollers, toys or other bulky gear to lug around. If you need even more space for souvenirs, consider renting an SUV from Hertz, which offers special benefits for AAA members.
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Save Money on Food

You sure can’t bring a big bulky cooler filled with food and drinks on a plane, but you can on a road trip! Save money by stocking up on snacks, sandwiches and other essentials to take on the road, and make sure your cooler is easily accessible for your passengers.
An added perk of bringing your own food? Picnicking! Find a picnic table at a park or a rest stop and revel in your cost efficiency. (Not sure how often to stop? The AAA TripTik Travel Planner will recommend places to stop at regular intervals along your route. As a general rule, you should aim to stop every 2 hours or 100 miles.)
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Pets Can Come, Too

For pet owners, the thought of taking a pet on a flight can be anxiety-inducing, but road trips are a great alternative. Bring your pets along for the ride, and add pet-friendly hotels, restaurants and activities to your trip itinerary. For more tips about road-tripping with pets, check out AAA’s Driving With Your Pet article.
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See Small Town America

Small towns are easily overlooked when you’re flying into a big city, but on a road trip, you can stop in as many small towns as you’d like. Smaller towns and cities often provide more opportunities for chatting with the locals, hearing about fun things to do and eating at mom-and-pop restaurants (all great road trip experiences!).
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Visit Roadside Attractions

They’re kitschy, yes, but what would a road trip be without them? Some weird and oh-so-wonderful roadside attractions we recommend for road trippers: Lenny the Life-Size Chocolate Moose in Scarborough, Maine; Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska; The Blue Whale of Catoosa, Oklahoma; and Rock City Gardens in Lookout Mountain, Georgia.
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Really Get to Know Your Travel Companions

Long stretches of roadway can provide the perfect backdrop for good conversation. (After a round or two of roadside bingo, of course.) As the miles tick by, you’ll likely cover a wide range of topics and create a lot of memories.
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Quality Alone Time

If you’re on a solo road trip, a long drive can be the perfect time to clock some quality alone time. Many seasoned road trippers can attest that driving is often meditative, as your mind is focused on a single task — safe driving — while the engine purrs in the background. Podcasts, audiobooks and music can enhance the experience.
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An Excuse to Make a Good Playlist

It’s easier than ever to find songs for road trips on music streaming apps, and as you gear up for a trip, you’ll want to create a playlist tailored to the occasion. Make it a collaborative playlist with your travel companions to get their input, and be sure to name it something memorable so you’ll be able to listen to it months from now and reminisce about your experience.
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Start a Family Tradition

Many road trippers have fond memories of the family road trips they took back when they were young. Start laying the groundwork for your own family traditions by incorporating certain details into your road trips. Do you get the family excited to listen to certain songs or audiobooks on a trip? Will you always stop at an ice cream parlor on the way home? Do you drive to a certain spot in the mountains each summer? Games, picnics, pillow forts in the backseat — all can make for good road trip memories.
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Rely on the Travel Experts at AAA

You may remember going to your local AAA office in the past to pick up a TripTik or a AAA TourBook guide before leaving for a road trip. These helpful tools are still available today, but in an easier-to-access digital format. Find route planning tools and turn-by-turn directions with the online TripTik Travel Planner, or download a AAA Digital TourBook® to research destinations across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Lastly, may we recommend some great road trips? Travel editors have compiled the best of the best, complete with maps and suggested stops, at AAA.com/RoadTrips. Happy planning!
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