Road Trip Facts & Stats: 35 Interesting Things To Know

Road trips are a popular and adventurous way to take a vacation. With winding roads and beautifully diverse landscapes in front of you, there’s no more quintessentially American way to explore the countryside. With this list of road trip facts and stats, we hope to inspire your next adventure.

Interesting Road Trip Facts & Stats

One reason that road trips are so popular is that you don’t have to keep a specific itinerary. Sure, you can keep a schedule if you want to, or you can travel at your own pace and follow the road wherever it leads you.

If there is one thing that this list of road trip facts and stats made clear to us, it’s that people appreciate versatility and freedom.

We’ve organized this list into seven categories, so let’s dive in and see what other nuggets we might be able to uncover.

Family car ride.

1. Road Trip Trends

Road trips can be fun, but let’s also be honest, they are often the cheapest way for families and friends to travel. That’s one of the reasons that road trips are so popular. Still, while you take a road trip because it is affordable, you remember it because of the crazy experiences, deep conversations, and beautiful views along the way.

Here are some facts and stats related to road trip trends:

  1. 97% of summer travel in the United States is done by car, with road trips being the most popular choice of travel.
  2. More than 200 million Americans will take a road trip during any given summer, and 18% of those road trips will journey 500 miles or more.
  3. Less than 25% of Americans use travel agencies to schedule their trips.
  4. The average American traveler is willing to drive about three hours before reaching their final road trip destination.
  5. The most popular time for Americans to take road trips is during the summer months. As many as 55% of adults travel for the Fourth of July holiday.

Family road trip

2. Road Trip Destinations

While we’ve got nothing against cornfields in Nebraska, once you’ve seen one cornfield, you’ve seen them all. Road trips are all about memories, but some destinations may be more memorable than others.

Our favorite road trips are along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, but there are some even more popular destinations. Here are some top facts and stats related to road trip destinations:

  1. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs along the longest linear park in the United States. The beautifully scenic view, which runs through North Carolina and Virginia, is America’s most popular road trip.
  2. The Grand Pacific Northwest road trip is another highly popular drive that covers 550 miles from Oregon to Washington state. The trip passes through Mount Rainier National Park and belongs on your bucket list.
  3. If you have plenty of time to spare, consider the Grand Circle Road Trip, which travels through Utah and Arizona. The trip can be made in about two weeks, but take your time if you can. The trip will take you through Zion, Bryce, and Grand Canyon National Park, and you can also connect to Las Vegas or Salt Lak City.
  4. Route 66 is a legendary American road trip that spans almost 2,500 miles from Chicago to Los Angles. The drive generally takes at least 16 days to finish.
  5. For a music-inspired road trip, we recommend Nashville to New Orleans, which will allow you to start with the Country Music Hall of Fame, stop at Graceland (Elvis’ home) in Memphis, and finish your trip with live music on Bourbon Street.
Family vacation is as much about the journey as the destination.

3. Road Trip Expenses

Road trips might be one of the most affordable ways to travel in groups with family and friends, but that doesn’t mean road trips are free. It’s always good to do enough planning to ensure you can reach your final destination. 😎

Here are some helpful facts and stats related to road trip expenses that you might consider before you next hit the open road:

  1. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), the average cost per mile of driving a car is around $0.60. That just covers your car, not the rest of your road trip, but it is an interesting data point to consider.
  2. A road trip from New York to Los Angeles covers 2,800 miles and is estimated to cost at least $1,000 (and likely more). Transportation and lodging are your biggest expenses, so consider a fuel-efficient vehicle. You could also mix in camping along the way to save a few hundred dollars.
  3. The average cost for a hotel room now surpasses $200 per night.
  4. The average cost of food on your road trip might start at $40 per day for an adult, assuming you buy all of your food on the road.
  5. Travelers try to consider sustainability, with 90% saying they look for sustainable travel options for their journey. In fact, 74% of travelers would pay more for a more expensive option if it appeared they were good corporate citizens.
Adventure awaits

4. Road Trip Safety

My dad always used to tell me to be safe and to watch out for the other driver when I would start on a road trip. While I often wished he would leave that unspoken, I miss and appreciate his care. And to that sentiment, here are some facts and stats about road trip safety:

  1. Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents on road trips, with cell phone use being the most common distraction. Did you know that taking your eyes off the road for 5 seconds at 55 mph is like traveling the length of the football field with your eyes closed?
  2. Seat belts are vitally important, so make sure you wear one. For drivers and front-seat passengers, seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45% and the risk of serious injury by 50%.
  3. Since 1975, seatbelts have saved over a quarter of a million lives.
  4. Alcohol-impaired driving accounts for well over 25% of vehicular fatalities, so avoid any driving or road-tripping when impaired.
  5. By the numbers, Texas, California, and Florida have the most serious crashes but are also among the most populated states, so that’s not a surprise. Here is something that might be more surprising: Reportedly, 98% of Hawaiians use seat belts, compared to 76% of people driving in New Hampshire.
Beautiful bridge at Acadia National Park

5. Road Trip Benefits

So we’ve stated some of the obvious benefits, such as road trips offering unique memories and bonding opportunities with family and friends. Still, there are other important benefits that shouldn’t be ignored.

Here are some facts and stats to consider about road trip benefits:

  1. 66% of Americans favor road trips over flights, so hopefully, taking a road trip results in a more positive vacation experience.
  2. Airfare is exceedingly expensive for a large group, so traveling together via the road is a great way to save a little money.
  3. Historically, at least 10% of flights are delayed each year; in some years, it has been 20%. While road-tripping may not get you to your destination as quickly, at least you control much of your experience along the way.
  4. 53% of adults in the United States believe that learning about other cultures is an essential part of traveling. Road trips can be a way to explore new places and cultures, leading to personal growth and development.
  5. 94% of Americans noted they feel happier and healthier when they spend time outdoors. On top of this, 75% of parents say their kids say “thank you” more when they are on a road trip or vacationing with family.
Road trips are about the journey.

6. Road Trip Behavior

Even the best road trips have a few dull spots, so you need a solid plan to help pass the time when the conversation dies down. Here are some road trip facts and stats related to how people choose to experience their road trips:

  1. While some spend endless hours planning their vacations, more than 90% of travelers prefer to do nothing on their vacations.
  2. The work year can be a slog. To combat this, more than 30% of travelers like to start the new year with a trip on their calendars to have something to look forward to.
  3. Around 80% of travelers agree that vacation time helps their mental well-being.
  4. On the other hand, nearly 70% of Americans admit to being “flipped off” by a fellow motorist, so maybe we all need more road trips to calm the mind. Yikes.
  5. For 40% of Americans, classic rock is the music of choice while road-tripping.
Have you considered compiling a favorite list of facts for road trip trivia?

7. Random Road Trip Facts & Stats

Ok, so by now, we hope you are ready to hit the open road. There is nothing better than a good road trip, so here are a few more road trip facts and stats to send you along your way:

  1. In any given year, more than one-third of Americans plan to take a trip of at least 50 miles with family members. The road trip reigns supreme.
  2. Family road trips account for around 80% of family vacations, which makes sense when you consider that airfare for an entire family gets expensive.
  3. Contrary to popular opinion, a cross-country car ride likely causes more pollution than the same plane ride, reinforcing the importance of choosing an efficient vehicle for your next road trip.
  4. 70% of people returning from family road trips say that they were having lots of fun and their family plans to return to the open road.
  5. For those that don’t plan road trips, more than 20% of the time, that’s because the traveler didn’t have time to take off from work. Bummer!
Road trip facts: the Pacific Coast Highway is a popular road trip destination.

Favorite Road Trip Facts & Stats

Some road trips are planned down to the hour, while other road trips offer complete freedom from any obligations. Both have their place and offer awesome opportunities for bonding, mental relaxation, and adventurous exploration.

We’ve shared some of our favorite facts and stats in hopes of inspiring your next journey. We obviously love road trips!

Here is one more road trip fact to consider:

The Pan-American Highway stretches from Alaska to Argentina and is more than 30,000 miles long! The more you know…

If this interests you, check out our list of quotes for family road trips. And here is one tip: Consider AAA alternatives for roadside assistance if you plan to spend much time on the open road. It will give you peace of mind.

Why Road Trips Are Important

Road trips are a cherished American pastime because they offer freedom, flexibility, and adventure. People say that it’s the journey that matters, not the destination, and this applies both literally and figuratively to road trips.

Plus, road trips are still an affordable option for many travelers. With a little planning and some good friends and family, unforgettable experiences wait. We love to travel, and we hope you do too. So, pack your bags, and hit the open road.

Jeremiah moved to the Charlotte area with his wife, Erin, back in 2013. The family has grown over the years, and they now call the Carolinas home. They enjoy hiking and adventures, road trips, backyard fire pits, and pizza night. Jeremiah loves to explore, and looks forward to sharing tips, tricks, and resources for your next trip.