By Livy Beaner // SWNS
Driving on the highway might save time, but about half of Americans prefer to go through small towns on road trips, according to new research.
A survey of 2,000 drivers also revealed that 42% worry about driving in the dark — making it a scarier prospect than foreign (41%) or unfamiliar roads (37%) for most respondents.
And even though the majority of people (40%) think they’re the best driver they know, 61% claim they would only go on a road trip if they didn’t have to drive.
They’re also only willing to journey about seven and a half hours, on average.
The poll, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of EconomyBookings.com, found that the typical person has taken about seven road trips in their lifetime.
More than three-quarters (78%) of Americans have found hidden gems along the road that they wouldn't have seen if they were traveling another way.
In fact, more than one-third (35%) said they prefer a mix of both planned and unexpected stops, with the most popular destinations including restaurants (46%), historic locations (40%) and roadside attractions (38%).
Almost one-third (32%) prefer to listen to a curated playlist — and although 40% said the driver should get to choose what comes out of the speakers, 42% end up taking turns with their passengers anyway.
“Road trips have always been an important part of American culture and history, so it comes as no surprise that this country’s car rental industry adapted so quickly to the pandemic,” said EconomyBookings.com CEO Alen Baibekov. “For example, U.S.-based brands Enterprise and Alamo were the first in the world to implement a ‘Complete Clean Pledge’ that includes cleaning and sanitizing every car prior to being delivered.”
Seventy-four percent of respondents agreed that the journey is more important than the destination, which may contribute to why 70% of people would prefer to rent a car that is different from their current vehicle.
One-third of respondents said they’d choose a convertible.
Not only do road trips give people the chance to get behind a different wheel, 53% said it gives them the chance to travel on their own schedule.
According to respondents, other perks of road tripping include bonding time with family and friends (51%) the opportunity to make stops (48%) and saving money on a more cost effective method of travel (46%).
And it turns out that a life partner is also the best road trip partner. More than half (51%) of people said their partner/spouse is the best person to travel with.
More than three-quarters (76%) said they would actually choose driving over flying if they knew the drive would be enjoyable.
“With Omicron cases on the rise, many commercial airlines have canceled thousands of flights over the last few months,” Baibekov said. “So for many people, renting a car was the only way to reach their loved ones and celebrate the winter holidays together.”
TOP 5 BEST ROAD TRIP COMPANIONS
- Spouse/partner (51%)
- Friend (42%)
- Child (37%)
- Sibling (30%)
- Pet (29%)
MOST POPULAR ROADSIDE STOPS
- Restaurant (46%)
- Historic locations (40%)
- Roadside attractions (38%)
- Landmark (36%)
- Small town (35%)
- Small stores (35%)
- National Park (35%)