By Jackie Veling
Speakeasy Content Studio
Family vacations once meant piling into the car and hitting the open road with only a fold-out map (or a well-thumbed road atlas) as your guide. But as air travel has become the norm and shortened the distances between far-flung locales within the U.S., road trips have started to feel like a thing of the past. Why spend hours — even days — driving the scenery-less expanse of the American Interstate when a flight can get you to your final destination so quickly?
But vacations are experiences, not exercises in efficiency. That’s one reason why road trips kick up so much nostalgia in the American consciousness, especially if you have kids. The road trip is defined by specifically family-friendly features no other type of travel can claim. As you plan your next vacation, consider bypassing airport security altogether and reclaiming your right to the Great American Road Trip. You’ll make more memories driving the nation’s highways than you ever could at cruising altitude.
Road trips are a great way to get everyone involved
Unlike buying a plane ticket and simply showing up to the airport, road trips are heavy on the pre-planning. What route will you take? Where will you stop? Where will you stay?
All family members can get in on the action. Bust out the maps (whether paper or digital) and sit around the dinner table as you nail down the details of your trip. Want to visit the restaurant with the best lemon meringue pie? Done. Want to take an off-road excursion that leads to a breathtaking vista? You’ve got it. When it’s time to depart, everyone will be equally invested in the trip.
You can save money on traveling as a group
Most families like to stick to a budget. Plane tickets are a great way to take a big chunk out of it. And that’s not counting bag fees, expensive airport food, long-term parking (or ride-sharing to the airport) and providing care for any four-legged members of your household while you’re away.
Minimizing the burden on your wallet means less stress for everyone — and more fun on your vacation. Road trips usually come at the price of just a few tanks of gas, and savings only go up when traveling by recreational vehicle (RV). Not only can you fit in more people (and pets) for the same price, but RVs also allow you to camp outdoors in comfort. That saves you even more money on lodging fees. Whether you choose to own or rent, you won't lack for RV options. Besides, the more you use your vehicle, the more you'll get out of it.
You’ll pack way more into your trip
Speaking of getting the most bang for their buck, that’s all but guaranteed on a road trip. No matter your final destination, there are sure to be numerous stops along the way worth the detour along the way. From state or national parks to quirky roadside attractions to can’t-miss diners, the American highway possesses both a culture and traditions all its own. You’ll see miles of country speed by, all from the comfort of your own vehicle, and you’ll have the freedom to get out and explore whenever the mood strikes.
Your children will get a complete education
There’s a good chance the only thing your kids are going to learn in an airport is how many ounces of fluid they can safely stow in their carry-on luggage. But a road trip is stocked with hidden educational opportunities. Teach your child basic geography by letting them follow your trip on a map. Help them learn about the meaningful people, places and events that have played a starring role in our nation’s history as you visit various sites. And for any future outdoorsmen or women, camping is a great way to introduce them to geology, basic survival skills and the joys of nature.
The family will bond like never before
There’s a good chance you won’t be able to establish a WiFi connection in your moving vehicle. However, and as the saying goes: That’s not a bug; it’s a feature. A road trip presents your family with a rare, uninterrupted opportunity to spend quality time together in today’s technology-packed world. With few screens around, the potential for making memories becomes virtually endless. Sing along to the radio at the top of your lungs, play fun car games like the classic “I Spy” or even take turns telling stories. Once the conversation gets going, it will be hours before you hear, “Are we there yet?”
Rediscover the forgotten magic of the American road trip by planning your next vacation on the ground. As you pull back into your driveway after a fun-packed trip, you’ll have seen and experienced the country in a whole new way. Moreover, your family life will be more wonderful — and full of wonder — than ever before.
Presented by REV Rentals. For residents of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, REV Rentals is the easiest way to enjoy everything that a state-of-the-art recreational vehicle has to offer. Featuring more amenities, REV RVs make summer travel both affordable and fun. Enter to win a free 7-day RV rental and make your next family vacation truly unforgettable with REV.