Why you should go on a Road Trip
Index to this page
1. Take a Break
Grab the wheel and drive away from tedious and dull duties, deadlines, responsibilites, and routine. A Road trip is liberating.
Tidy up your business befor you go so it doesn't nag your mind while you are on the road, and leave.
Work and the stress that comes with it, burns you out, it leaves you tired and ties you up with a tight agenda and scheduled life.
A road trip lets you take a break from all of that, it opens a new world where you can reconnect with yourself.
Driving along a highway into the unknown declutters the mind.
Disconnect and clear your mind
On the road your eyes can relax, see the horizon, hills, trees, new scenery and forget about the virtual world in your mobile screen. The road is about real life, not virtual reels or posts on social media.
Living the moment, taking in the views, experiencing nature, fresh air and open space is great for disconnecting.
Let that sensation of being free take over; open your mind to the new surroundings, let your worries fade away.
A road trip is healing!
2. Look at Life With a Fresh Outlook
Discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. Marcel Proust, 1923, La Prisonnière, Vol V of In Search of Lost Time
Looking at the world with new eyes as Proust suggests is one of the benefits of travel. Road tripping will let you see new places, you will meet new people, taste new food, enjoy sunsets and see mirages hovering in the distance, smell the wet earth in the wind preceding a summer storm, take a turn that takes you into an unexpected spot... Adventure opens de eyes to the beauty of nature and the joy of life.
3. Create Unforgettable Memories
I recently embarked on a 1,400 mile road trip with my eighty-eight-year-old Mom, my brother, and my wife. We went to visit my sister who lived in another state and decided to drive instead of flying.
The trip was an adventure and proof that memories made during road trips last a lifetime: We remembered road trips we'd taken fifty years ago with Dad at the wheel of our 1960s Valiant, the places we stopped at, the dust, the hot wind blowing in through the vent windows, the old AM radio playing and the din of the wind. We remembered how many times we had to stop to refuel the gas-guzzling car and switch places so that no one hogged the window. Nostalgia and fond memories flowed while we shared quality time on the road.
I felt deep inside of me that I'd remember this trip for the rest of my life.
The best things about memories is making them. Unknown
4. A Chance to See Your Country
Canyon near Boulder Town, Utah. A. Whittall
The world is great, vast and has spectacular scenery. Nature, and man-made wonders. Hit the road, embrace the views, get the chance to see other places, small towns, parks, you will come across places you never even imagined you'd see.
Ask the locals, they know the well kept secret spots. In Utah, we stopped for a coffee in Escalante, and the owner, seeing me study my Rand McNally Road Atlas came over and marked some spots we should visit (one was a canyon near Boulder Town -pictured), and in Kingman AZ , on Route 66, the staff at the Power House Visitors Center also marked on a map some must-see spots in Arizona, those tips came in very handy, we got to see some wonderful places off the beaten track.
Find those hidden gems, take that unexpected turn onto a local road and you will experience the beauty of America.
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. Saint Augustine
5. Meet New People
As you leave your work, friends and routine behind, your road trip will put you in contact with new people, who live different lives compared to yours.
Having breakfast in a cafe in Pinedale Wyoming, my wife and I struck up a conversation with the locals while we tucked in to our bacon and eggs, we learned about the ranches, and horse breeding; it was fascinating; on the road you meet people from all walks of life.
At Cebolla NM we talked for quite a while in Spanish with a local whose roots in the area dated back to the days of the Spanish Conquest in the early 1700s and who spoke Spanish with an intriguing Castillian accent, not the typical Southwestern-Mexican Spanish one hears in the region.
In Beijing, China, we stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, chatting and drinking wine with a group of Aussies that felt like old friends.
Different values, culture, food and flavors, and learning about the local history enriches you and is part of the fun of a road trip.
The people you meet on your travels are like chapters in the story of your journey.
6. Add Flexibility to your life
Your routine life back at home is tied to your agenda: work, club, gym, kids going to school, everything is fit into a schedule that governs your life.
A road trip adds flexibility and lets you be more spontaneous. This isn't an organized tour with a fixed itinerary and timetables; it is a road trip and you can do whatever you want. Stop and spend the night here or drive a bit further and see what the next town has to offer.
You like a place and decide to stay another day, do so, you don't like a place and decide to move on, no problem!
How much should you plan?
In our Plan Your Road Trip page we address the issue of planning less to experience more:
Some travelers like to have a very detailed Route 66 trip plan detailing all their stops, the sights they will see and the hotels where they will stay at. This is perhaps a good idea if you have a tight schedule, so that you can optimize your trip.
Others, especially those with more time on their hands, prefer an open plan, and are open to letting the road take them to unexpected destinations.
A middle-of-the-road approach is to outline a general broad idea of your Route 66 vacation, and then book key accommodations with plenty of time. Leave room for unexpected scenic spots that may surprise you along the way.
And it is this flexibility that lets you explore more, change your plans, be impulsive and enjoy more.
The unexpected is just one turn away! Your road trip will take you to places you hadn't imagined.
If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail. Heraclitus
7. Bonding with your travel mates
When you travel with friends or family, it is a shared experience, you are all together inside your car for hours, you can't help getting to know each other better.
Quality time together is a rare commodity nowadays. We are all tied up to our busy lives and don't have the chance to spend time with our loved ones. A road trip on the other hand gives you hours on the road to talk, listen and share experiences.
My recent experience with my Mom and brother let us recall good old times, and gave us the chance to catch up.
People don't take trips, trips take people. John Steinbeck, 1962, Travels with Charley: In Search of America
8. Inner Growth
Travel gets you out of your comfort zone, it puts you in new places and situations you hadn't imagined. A road trip is a journey of self-discovery. It opens your mind.
When you travel you become more mindful, you switch off the autopilot, you experience more.
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. Mark Twain, 1869, The Innocents Abroad
New experiences nourish your inner self, the power of nature, the songs on the playlist, the time shared with your friends, family and new people create unique moments that give you a new perspective on life.
Let your mind wander as you look out of the window, taking in the scenery, live the moment.
I adhere to a phrase by Ralph Waldo Emerson written back in 1841, which is always misquoted as follows: "Life is a Journey not a destination"; actually Emerson's thought was far deeper than that; he wrote:
To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Experience, Complete Works
A Road Trip is a not only a trip by car along a highway, it is also an internal journey of self discovery.
A trip that is full of surprises and positive experiences, memory making events happen during road trips!
Savoring every step of the road is what it is all about.
9. It is Good For Your Health
Travel in general is good for your mental and physical wellbeing. Chen, Chun-Chu & Petrick, James. (2013) have shown that traveling has health benefits such as decreasing the risk of heart disease.
But more important is that people feel happier before, during and after taking a vacation. The benefits begin with the "Anticipation Stage" as you plan a trip, it creates positive expectation. During the trip, the "Beneficial Stage" involves positive trip reflections that lead to "Happiness... Life Satisfaction... Stress Relief ."
People often feel that they are healthier after a vacation and it reduces work stress too! Vacation satisfaction and experience reduces exhaustion and boosts life satisfaction and the subjective feeling of well-being.
10. It is Fun!
Perhaps the best reason for taking a road trip is that it is fun! It is a great excuse to enjoy life, laugh, be with those you love, sing the songs in your playlist and do unexpected things.
Our society places a high value on success so we work hard and dedicate many hours every day to be productive and successful, but we forget about having fun. Competitivity and work is fine, but we often forget that life needs fun. A road trip is a great chance to get out there and start having fun.
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Banner image: Hackberry General Store, Hackberry, Arizona by Perla Eichenblat
Chen, Chun-Chu & Petrick, James. (2013). Health and Wellness Benefits of Travel Experiences A Literature Review. Journal of Travel Research. 52. 709-719. 10.1177/0047287513496477.