From Lewis & Clark to Jack Kerouac to the movie Road Trip, we have always felt the allure of the open road. Whether crossing the Rockies, the Mississippi, or the Great Plains, the road trip has always been the most quintessential of American getaways.
Just as those in search of adventure headed west so many generations ago, you too can take in all that our vast country has to offer by way of the open road. It is in that spirit that, the following essay continues. If you needed any further convincing to fill up the tank, grab a map, and plan your itinerary, hopefully this guide can be that little nudge you need.
1 – You are your own travel agent
No other mode of transportation allows for the convenience and freedom that your own car does. You are not bound by train schedules, timetables, check-in times, or any of the other at times cumbersome requirements of modern travel.
Last I checked, you didn’t need a passport to cross between Iowa and Nebraska. By choosing to go on a road trip you are acting as your travel agent, tour guide, hotel booker. See a recreation of Noah’s Ark you’d like to check out? How about a museum dedicated to the worst that art has to offer? Why not pull over and check it out?
>>read more about Six Rest Areas Worth Pulling Over to See
2 – In-car entertainment
With the rise of satellite radio, iPods, and TV screens in seemingly every headrest, there has never been more ways to be entertained while in the car for long stretches at a time. No longer are you relegated to outlying AM stations or the fussy cassette player. No longer will scratched CD’s lead to heartache.
For anywhere between $100 and $200 for hardware and installation, and about $13 a month you can get a satellite radio subscription for your drive through Death Valley. If you want to listen to your iPod on your way through the Florida Keys, it will set you back anywhere between $10 and $50 depending on what kind of listening device you prefer. Either way you won’t be stuck listening to the same 8-track over and over anymore.
3 – Take the scenic route
By commuting every day we often forget the freedom afforded by the possession of an automobile. At no other time in human history has it been easier to get up and go to far off and intriguing lands. Why not take advantage of these circumstances and see the wider world?
Ever had the urge to drive to the sun? Ever felt the need to drive through the sky? You have the rest of your life to drive through the likes of Interstate 95 and Interstate 5. If ever there was a time to avoid the crowds, take in the scenery, and enjoy your surroundings, it is certainly now.
>>read more about 9 of the Most Scenic Drives in Europe
4 – Be your own stimulus package
We are enduring the worst recession in a generation. Unemployment is approaching double digits. Many of those most adversely affected by the downturn are those most vulnerable to begin with, people in the service industry. The service industry is subject to the whims of the larger economy and our current situation is no different.
If people are losing their jobs, worried about their long-term stability, or in fear of being laid off, they are certainly less likely to take that vacation they had planned. If you are lucky enough to have a job, especially one that allows for time off, embarking on your own mini-stimulus package and taking a road trip could help keep that certain bed and breakfast in business.
5 – Pick your theme
There are an infinite number of reasons to go on a road trip, but if you like you can design your whole trip around a singular theme.
How about reliving Huckleberry Finn’s journey down the Mississippi? How about visiting as many national parks as possible? What about visiting historical sites or national monuments? How about going on a culinary tour to sample the local favorites? Whatever your interests are, you can surely find a suitable theme to tie together your time on the road.
>>read more about Eight New Ideas For Summer Road Trips
6 – What better time than now?
A little over a year ago, the price per barrel of oil reached a record high of just under $150. While the price of oil has been slowly creeping upward this summer, oil is currently trading around $70 per barrel, and predicted to increase throughout the fall. The implication being that gas prices are currently the friendliest they are likely to be in the near future.
Furthermore, going on a road trip is the perfect excuse to take advantage of the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program, which was just funded for an additional $2 billion. Cash for Clunkers is a program through which motorists can trade in old, gas-guzzlers, and in return, get a $4,500 tax credit towards the purchase of a more environmentally friendly car.
Been thinking about reducing your carbon footprint and joining the ranks of the hybrid owners? Now is certainly the time to do so. When else would you have an environmentally friendly incentive to go on a road trip? But hurry, the program is only funded through Labor Day.
>>read more about Planning Your Next Road-Trip
7 – Road trip to riches
If you are not amenable to any of the above stated reasons, then this should certainly pique your interest. There are opportunities, through agencies known as ‘drive-aways‘ to make money by driving another person’s car from point A to point B.
Oftentimes these opportunities arise when one party is moving from one region of the country to another and simply can’t drive their car. Companies like autodriveaway provide services to families in this situation by facilitating the shipment of their cars. This is where you come in.
Absent an unsavory past, (if you have a previous conviction it is said to be near impossible to do this), you can soon be on your way to the open road. While not an opportunity to be sought out for its financial gains, it can be a way to make your journey more enticing.
Hopefully after reading this article you are already planning to hit the road for the most quintessential of American journeys. Whether on a solo mission or in a group, whether beaches or mountains, going on a road trip is an experience not to be missed. Now get packing!
Read more about:
- The Ultimate Guide to Extreme Global Road Tripping
- Top Tips for Driving on the “Wrong” Side of the Road
- 7 Great American Road Trips for a Long Weekend
Photo credits: Sirius receiver by brutal on Flickr, Zion Canyon by JasonRogersFooDogGiraff eBee on Flickr, Route 66 by Mollivan Jon on Flickr, Bison crossing by runningtwig on Flickr , Dog driving by the mechanism on Flickr , Road by ColorblindRain on Flickr, View from car by judithbluepool on Flickr