If you are planning a driving holiday this summer, how do you make sure everything goes smoothly?
Reality check: It’s going to be a weird summer. The pandemic is fading, but it’s still here. People are nervous about traveling, but they itch to get on the road.
Goodyear predicts 73 percent of Americans will take a car ride this year, after more than half of U.S. drivers (54%) failed to take any road trips by 2020. And 65% of drivers say their next road trip will be 200 miles or more, suggesting long-distance travel must be returned.
“I expect the number of Americans taking car rides to increase significantly this year,” said Zander Buteux, head of organic growth at VacationRenter. “Evidence to support this is that our RV rental bookings increased 350% over the last year – and there is no evidence that this trend is hitting the brakes.”
He is right. These car trips take place in the middle of a resurgence of travel. Research from Medjet suggests that 9 out of 10 Americans travel somewhere this summer. Of these, 72 percent will be domestic trips, and slightly less than half of those trips will be by motorhome or car.
“The summer of the great American road trip is very lively,” said John Gobbels, Chief Operating Officer for Medjet.
I’m also on an American road trip
I’m one of the road trippers. I left Arizona in early April after getting my vaccinations and driving through Texas, Florida, South Carolina and Virginia. Highlights included Disney World, Kennedy Space Center, Savannah, Ga., Charleston, SC and Virginia Beach and Richmond, Va.
For me, it’s not a driving holiday. We get bombarded with road trip questions about min Consumer Advocate website, which helps many travelers. I have already covered the best car for your summer travels and how to protect (or not protect) your summer vacation.
But there is more ahead. I’ll get to that in a moment.
So how do you plan the best American road trip? The strategies are simple but easy to overlook: You need to plan, be flexible, pack your COVID-19 essentials and remember your “pleasures” and “thanks” – among other things.
Driving holiday 101: YOU NEED TO PLAN!
Sorry to shout, but it was not me. It was veteran road tripper and co-consumer advocate Sally Greenberg, who says – and I quote – “YOU MUST PLAN BEFORE!” She has already made a few car trips in 2021. Some museums, restaurants, hotels, sporting events, state parks and national parks are back to normal. Some are not. “Some require masks and others don’t,” she says. “Find out what you want to do when you are on your road trip a few weeks in advance. Go to the museums’ websites and book your tickets in advance. Many are closed several days a week, so you have to hit them on the right days. “Here are a few more strategies for planning a road trip.
Be flexible on your American road trip
A car allows you to be flexible. You do not have to arrive at the airport at a specific time or worry about schedules. Why not take advantage of independence? It’s advice from Andrew Selepak, a university professor from Gainesville, Fla. “The nice thing about taking a car ride is that you are not limited to getting to different places because you have a car to visit attractions and stops that are not where you traveled to in the first place,” he says. just got back from a week long car trip to Virginia to visit his family, he says he does not have to wear protective gear when driving, in his car he makes the mask rules.
Find reliable information for your driving holiday
There is so much information out there and not everything is reliable. If you want your summer trip to go smoothly, rely on official sources. For example, Visit Arizona publishes a website called AZRoadTrips.com, which provides suggestions for road trips and the most up-to-date information on guidelines from the Arizona Department of Health Services and the CDC. It also links to a list of open and closed attractions and areas throughout the state. And look no further, but Arizona is a great travel destination. During Memorial Day, car travel to and within Arizona exceeded not only the volume of 2020, but also 2019, according to a recent report from Arrivalist.
Pack masks and disinfectant (yes, even now)
Because you never know when you’ll need them. (I should know – I was just chased out of a sandwich shop in Charlottesville, Va., Because I neglected to bring a mask.) “I take a large pile of face masks with me as well as hand sanitizer supplies,” says Anthony Robinson, a frequent road user. -tripper who publishes an astrophotography blog.
Do not forget the car on your American car trip
Oh, I know: That sounds funny! But in recent years, the car has been an afterthought for travelers. This year not so much. Hertz expect that more than 80% of Americans will take a car ride in the midst of a once-in-a-generation car rental shortage. “Our biggest piece of advice is to plan your trip in advance and reserve your rental car when making other travel arrangements such as air and hotel,” says Laura Smith, senior vice president of sales, marketing and customer experience at Hertz. “Prices are often more expensive the closer to the time of the rental, so book early. Prepayment for a car rental can also provide a saving of up to 20%.” Last summer, Lift launched Raise rents through a partnership with SIXT that provides our users across the United States with a high-quality rental experience. And there is too Benefit, a new car sharing service that automatically includes full insurance coverage.
Take your manners on your driving vacation
The last year has been challenging for everyone. It is easy to forget your manners when planning a car trip. But if you think about it, it’s one of the most important things. After all, what kind of fun is a car ride when everyone is angry at each other? “My advice to anyone planning a road trip this summer is to be patient and kind,” says Rachel Obenchain, a high school teacher and training consultant. She is embarking on an ambitious road trip through 23 states with stops in San Francisco, San Diego, Scottsdale, Austin, New Orleans, Atlanta, Charleston, SC, Nashville, Chicago and Omaha. (She needs all the patience she can get in the car for one.)
Here is my advice for planning your US road trip
I have been driving around this country for years and here is my advice. Based on what I have seen, this summer will be like no other. It will surpass the fragility, even last summer, which was quite unique. If you are vaccinated, you will want to consider getting out on the road. International travel is still uncertain.
When it comes to planning a summer drive, this year I treat it like it’s going to be the busiest ever. I try to stay away from popular beach and national park destinations and walk away from the beaten path. State parks and lesser known places are at the top of my list. I do not want to deal with crowds and absurdly high prices even if I am fully vaccinated.
I’m taking it slow. I think, really slow. I drive from Washington, DC to Los Angeles over six months. I think many Americans will take their time, too. They have saved enough vacation days up to take two or three weeks off, and this summer they will. In this sense, the pandemic has made us Europeans.
So what happens now?
No one knows the future, but based on how things are going now, it looks like this summer will be one for the record books.
“As the summer progresses, I expect to see Americans grow more confident in their journey,” said Jason Frye, author of Moon Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip. “I would not be surprised to see the number of visits increase in areas with solid COVID plans, rules and responses in place and generally low infection rates.”
Nor did I. If you are planning a summer drive, consider following this driver’s license. And don’t worry if you miss a walk or two. After all, driving holidays are meant to be adventurous, right?