Do you ever feel the urge to break free from your daily routine? If so, a road trip might be just what you need. There are lots of road trip benefits, which we explore in this article.
Picture yourself jamming to your favorite music as you pass through charming small towns, beautiful countryside, and maybe a big city or two. Along the way, we are certain you’ll create new memories.
Depending on where you allow the road to lead you, you may also experience personal growth, develop deeper connections, and return with a deeper appreciation for the world around you.
Top 35 Road Trip Benefits To Consider
It’s clear that road trip benefits extend far beyond a chance to listen to your favorite music. We’ve organized our list of benefits into five categories to help you consider all of the reasons you should start planning your next road trip now.
Grab your favorite road trip snacks, buckle up, and get ready for the journey of a lifetime!
Personal Growth & Development Benefits
For some of us, a long road trip represents the opportunity to step outside of our comfort zone. From navigating roads you’ve never driven to interacting with locals with different values and cultures, road trips represent a chance to embrace the unknown and move beyond your comfort zone.
Here are seven ways that road trip benefits include personal growth and development:
- Building self-confidence – Whether you plan your road trip from A to Z or you set out to embrace the unknown, road trips are a fun way to uncover your capabilities as an individual.
- Enhancing decision-making skills – Have you ever opened up directions on your phone and wondered which route is best? At some point, you have to make a decision and go. Road trips are an excellent way to reinforce your decision-making muscles.
- Expanding cultural awareness – We live in the suburbs of a top-20 city, and we’ve learned along the way that the culture in the center city is completely different from the culture 20 miles away. This truth is even more evident when you travel hundreds of miles and meet new people along the way.
- Developing problem-solving abilities – Whether you encounter traffic slowdowns, detours, or unexpected weather, road trips offer a mix of unexpected situations and challenges. Road trips require that you solve your way around these challenges.
- Improving adaptability and flexibility – And often, the problem-solving skills noted above require adaptability and flexibility. If you are on a tight timeline, take an airplane. If you are ready to embrace the journey and worry less about the final destination, roll with the punches a road trip may jab your way.
- Boosting communication skills – When you road trip with friends or family, there are bound to be differing expectations. Communication is key to ensuring you meet everyone’s needs along the way.
- Strengthening emotional intelligence – One way to improve your communication skills is to hone your emotional intelligence. Road trips offer an opportunity to consider other people’s experiences. This is true for both the individuals in your car and those you meet along the way.
Health & Well-being Benefits
Another reason that we love to travel is that it can positively impact our overall well-being. The daily grind takes its toll on the body and soul. Road trips offer the chance to reset and recover from that daily grind.
Here are seven ways that road trip benefits include your health and well-being:
- Reducing stress levels – According to the CDC, connecting with others is important for reducing stress. There is no better way to connect with others than to lock yourself in a car with them. 😎
- Increasing physical activity through outdoor activities – Road trips often lead to camping and hiking experiences, but the opportunities for physical activity are endless. Headed to the beach? Try learning to surf. Going to the mountains? Go hiking in spring and fall, and learn to ski in winter. The possibilities are endless.
- Improving mental health – More than 30% of adults report symptoms of anxiety or depression in any given two-week period. Laughing, singing, and taking naps (as long as you aren’t driving! ha!) are just some of the many ways that road trips can help improve your mental health.
- Strengthening the immune system through exposure to nature – We recommend you spend some time outside enjoying nature on your road trip. Studies suggest that spending time in nature can improve your immune system.
- Encouraging a healthy work-life balance – Most of us don’t long to be workaholics. Still, we feel responsible for our jobs (and supporting our families) and have difficulty stepping away. Road trips are the perfect opportunity to put your laptop down and focus on the moment.
- Providing opportunities for mindfulness and reflection – Road trips also offer the perfect opportunity to be still and reflect. Think of things you are grateful for, what is going well, and what you might want to change. Make use of the quiet moments.
- Fostering better sleep patterns – Taking a break from daily stressors and screen time should promote a more relaxed state and support improved sleep patterns. Additionally, road trips often involve increased physical activity and time in nature, both of which may help you sleep.
Social & Relationship Building Benefits
Have you ever had an inside joke that lasted for your years? Road trips offer a unique opportunity to develop deeper connections and shared experiences. You might even foster new inside jokes along the way.
Here are seven ways that road trip benefits include your relational well-being:
- Strengthening bonds with travel companions – There is an extent to which road trips are what you make of them, and the same is true with the relationships you form along the way. Road trips are an awesome opportunity to form deeper relationships and bonds with those you travel alongside.
- Meeting new people and making new friends – Road-tripping exists along a spectrum. There are family road trips that last a weekend and full-on cross-country journeys. Regardless, you will meet new people, but if you take an extended road trip, stay at campsites, and explore new areas, you will make some new friends.
- Experiencing quality time with loved ones – Taking a road trip with friends is a ton of fun, but road-tripping with your family is a truly special experience. As I write this, my family is on a road trip, and our 12-hour car drive allowed me to play games with my son and daughter. Hopefully, they will remember these trips long into the future.
- Building teamwork and cooperation skills – Some people prefer to enjoy the journey and stop every few hours to stretch their legs. Other people prefer to dehydrate themselves to avoid stopping at all. Some people enjoy highways, while other people enjoy backroads. Reaching your destination will require cooperation and teamwork.
- Creating lasting memories – Road trips are fun but can also be uncomfortable. One great thing about road trips is that they tend to create lasting memories regardless. Once, my wife and I were road-tripping with our dogs and got a nail in our tires. We had to sit at a dealership with two dogs for two hours while we waited for them to change our tires. It’s not the most fun experience I remember, but it created a memorable bonding experience I look back on fondly.
- Enhancing social skills and networking – People search for quotes about road-tripping to find some of that shared social experience. Whether through social media or local hole-in-the-walls along the way, road-tripping offers a unique opportunity to develop social skills and work on networking.
- Fostering empathy and understanding for others – The essence of road-tripping is leaving your comfort zone. When you leave your comfort zone, you start to develop empathy and understanding for other people’s experiences in life.
Learning & Exploration Benefits
There are only so many stories that will fit into a history book. Each community across the nation has its own unique story. When you take road trips, you are given the opportunity to learn and explore other cultures.
Here are seven ways that road trip benefits include learning and exploring:
- Discovering new places and attractions – You may plan your trip around certain places and attractions. You may stumble across others along the way. Once, we were driving through Maine and stumbled across an observation deck at the top of a tall suspension bridge. The unplanned stop made our planned road trip even better.
- Expanding knowledge of history and local cultures – It’s easy to ignore the many communities you pass through while road-tripping. Still, each one offers one-of-a-kind insight into the American experience. There is never a shortage of things to do on a road trip. You might as well learn along the way.
- Experiencing regional cuisine and flavors – I find it fascinating how one region might be known for a barbeque while a coastal region one hundred miles away might be known for a specific type of seafood. Enjoying local cuisine is one of my favorite reasons to hit the open road.
- Encouraging a sense of adventure and curiosity – If your road trip is simply about reaching your destination, then you’re missing out. The best road trips are filled with adventure and curiosity, which allow for the journey along the way.
- Developing navigation and map-reading skills – In today’s world, this might better read “developing phone-use skills,” but you likely already know how to use your phone. But if you road trip long enough, you will spend some time reading a map and deciding where you want to go. It’s an important and useful skill you will develop on the open road.
- Enhancing appreciation for art, architecture, and natural beauty – Once we flew to San Diego, enjoyed rocky coasts at La Jolla with perfect weather, and then road-tripped across the desert to Las Vegas. We then hiked through Zion National Park, looking at the tall red canyons. The differences that a few hundred miles create are both astounding and breathtaking.
- Learning about local ecosystems and wildlife – On that same trip from San Diego to Zion, we started by watching the seals sunbathe at La Jolla. We finished hiking in a place so hot that grass and vegetation struggle to grow. It was incredibly interesting, and we loved learning along the way.
Financial & Practical Benefits
Like most people, we love to travel. Unfortunately, we are constrained by cost and time. This is especially true for families with multiple kids. We’ve already covered many of the fun and interesting road trip benefits, but the truth is there are some practical benefits too.
Here are seven ways that road trip benefits include financial and practical benefits:
- Cost-effective compared to other forms of travel – We’ve alluded to this, but let’s call it out specifically. Road trips are much more affordable for group travel, and the break-even is as low as two people. Think about it: You buy the same tank of gas regardless of how many people are in the car. An incremental plan ticket often doubles what you would spend for gas on a road trip.
- Ability to customize and control the itinerary – Flying is about getting from point A to point B, but you won’t enjoy much along the way, aside from your window. When you road trip, you zig-zag wherever you want to go and stop as much or as little as you want.
- Flexibility to alter plans on the go – And when you change your mind, that’s ok. Road-tripping allows you to linger where you want to linger and move along when you are ready to keep going. In fact, you don’t even need a fully-baked plan. Pick a general destination, and then decide on the rest along the way.
- Camping or staying with friends allows you to save on accommodation – You can find campsites almost everywhere. While most people will prefer hotels, camping offers many of the same benefits as road-tripping. Camping is affordable and great for bonding.
- Developing budgeting and financial planning skills – Here is a fun idea: use road trips to teach your kids about budgeting and financial planning. Let them help make decisions along the way.
- Environmentally friendly when carpooling or using fuel-efficient vehicles – Planes tend to produce heavy carbon emissions. Traveling with a group of people in a car may be significantly more environmentally friendly. This is especially true if you have a fuel-efficient, hybrid, or electric car.
- Independence from public transportation schedules and limitations – When you reach your destination, you can also use your car to move around during the day. In contrast, you might need to rely on public transportation if you fly. Public Transportation is great for daily commuting, but it might not be as convenient when you are in an unfamiliar place.
Why Road Trips Are The Best Way To Travel – Road Trip Benefits Summarized
There are lots of ways to vacation. You can fly to your destination or even take a train. Or if you live near a port, you might even consider taking a cruise.
Still, road-tripping holds a special place in our hearts because it is affordable and offers ultimate flexibility. You can plan your trip to the highway exit or follow the road wherever it leads you.
Are Road Trips Better Than Flying?
While flying is romanticized, it also has its drawbacks. Flying is expensive and uncomfortable. And trains are kind of cool, too, but not widely practical. Train tickets aren’t that much more affordable than plane tickets, and travel takes much longer and is more restrictive.
There are still good reasons to fly. You might fly if you are taking a cross-country trip to see an area of the country you’ve never seen before. After all, you likely have limited time for your trip.
It also makes sense to fly if you are taking a trans-continental trip. You can’t drive across the oceans.
Still, road-tripping is special in our hearts because it is the most practical way to vacation with friends and family. It is significantly cheaper than flying or riding trains and offers a unique opportunity to interact with the towns and cities you pass along the way.
Are Road Trips Good For Families?
Road-tripping is great for families because it is the most affordable way to travel and offers a one-of-a-kind bonding opportunity. You will foster your relationships and learn about new places and cultures.
Remember that road trips are about the journey, and that is why we love road trips. There might be fights and annoyances along the way, but that’s ok. That might just be where the growth and bonding happen.
For extra peace of mind while you are traveling, consider roadside assistance, like a modern AAA alternative.
Still, with a little planning for peace of mind, we absolutely think road trips are worth the investment in time and money.
The Verdict on Road Trip Benefits
The benefits of taking road trips are nearly endless. Road trips are more affordable for groups, easier to plan, and more flexible. They also offer a chance to learn about other regions and cultures. In short, road trips offer an opportunity for affordable traveling, bonding, and learning.
We are big fans of road trips and encourage you to plan your next trip soon!