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Old 04-13-2020, 10:52 AM
 
655 posts, read 220,263 times
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I travel constantly, for both work and to see family.

Usually I fly. I like flying fine. If you're upgraded or are in an aisle or window seat in premium economy, it's perfectly fine.


I also take Amtrak, both in the Northeast and for long-distance overnight trains. They're extremely comfortable and pleasant.


So flying and trains are both fine.



However, I can't imagine anything worse than a long-distance car trip. Driving isn't significantly faster than a train, and it's a lot less comfortable. And both are usually slower than flying.

So what's the appeal of long-distance road trips? Cost? Flexibility? Something else?


Thanks.
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Old 04-13-2020, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Toronto
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There is a certain total end to end control with driving.

Some like to just fall into a trance like state driving. Others like to look at the scenery.

I drove from San Fran south Highway one. It is a far more memorable and enjoyable experience than flying from SF to LA where I could see the road the whole time.

It's also about objective. If you want to save time, have a specific purpose, the travel is just something to get over with.

With road trip, it's part of the experience. Get solitude. Some want to think about something, not put with up with crowds, lines, authority, i.e. be subject to strict security. I guess with roadtrip, just have to watch out for State Troopers.

Going with a friend, a partner, that also opens up a whole new dynamic of conversation, bonding, shared experience, etc.

For me, if I had time, I'd sure do more road trips. Being married now, 40, young kids, it's near impossible. More tired too. Time is far more restricted.

But my greatest memories are 3 long-road trips I took, with my buddies before kids. Stopping at gas stations, eating the 'junk' food, the jokes in the car. I'm actually in Toronto. My first real long one was to Florida in late August 2001. Was in 3rd year university. Before the world changed. We really had no set plan. Other than to Miami. Had maps. But we didn't even know where else to stop at. Decided along the way, to check out Daytona Beach once we saw the signs since we heard about the famous Daytona 500. Wow, it was amazing weather, sand wave conditions. Probably the best I've every been to, despite flying to Mexico, Dominican, St Lucia, as well as Caribbean Cruise and several beaches.

Than we drove around looking for motels. It was low season so so so many choices. Stayed for 2 nights. Made another along the way W. Palm Beach. Didn't sleep there after we had a hard time finding a motel at 1 am. Than to Miami. We were supposed to head back on the Monday. So on Sunday, we said, let's do a quick trip to Key West. Wow, what a surprise. First went to the beach side, wasn't as nice as we thought. Then ended up in the party side. Wow, fun fun night. So many people out.

Slept a little on the beach, then left around 4 am.

Did another trip to Miami, in early 30s in 2012. This time, just 1 friend. Wasn't as exhilarating, especially since GPS made it alot easier. But we made good time. Straight to Key West. A hurricane/tropical storm was on the way. Hung out in Miami, but once it was stormy, and before the worst of it, we were able to drive out. Flights were definitely cancelled. That was fun too, eating at divey places along the way, again, he's my childhood best friend so had some good conversation.

Also did an similar East Coast trip to Halifax in mid-2000s. We also ended up at a University Residence, but it was really nice. Just the freedom of finding places to go without a huge, stressful plan. It just makes the experience that much better. Also did a trip to Boston in my earlier dating days with my wife to see Bill Mahr. Similar. We look back with fondness, and a level of detail. Whereas flight trips, it's more spotty, and generally take things for granted.

It's definitely a younger person's endeavor. But if I win the lottery, I'm going to do a coast to coast road trip. As in from hear to northern Canada, all the way West to British Columbia, down to Southern California, all the way along south US to Florida, Key West, back up the East Coast. Sounds crazy, but that's just this inner, old side of me that still finds road trips appealing.
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Old 04-13-2020, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Odessa, FL
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For those of us who are older, it may be part nostalgia. When I was growing up the only economical choice was driving. The airlines were regulated and there was no such thing as a discount ticket. Air travel was expensive, especially for a larger family. So we drove everywhere. On multi-day road trips we often would go until dinnertime, then find a motel and stay the night. No reservations. Today's travel is very different (leaving aside the impact of COVID on our lives). Airline tickets can often be purchased at a discount if you have some flexibility, and we always get hotel reservations ahead of time to make sure we have a room.

So in a time when airline travel is so inexpensive, other than nostalgia why would anyone still want to travel by car? Here are a few reasons that occur to me. You can take anything that will fit in the trunk, so packing is a bit more relaxed. There are no intermediate steps (parking at the airport, going through security, etc). You are on your own schedule: no rushing to be at the gate an hour early. If you really want to get lunch at that roadside BBQ stand, you can. You can stop and "sightsee" along the way if you want. If your car is big enough, then 5 people costs about the same as 2. Sidenote: on many occasions we have rented a large SUV for long road trips: they are much more comfortable for longer trips and still typically less expensive than a family traveling by airplane (for trips when deeply discounted tickets aren't available).

I've never traveled long distances by train. But the biggest issue I see with that is the lack of routes. Amtrak is an alternative only if you are going where it goes. Being in Atlanta I can only travel by train if I want to go to DC (and points north) or to New Orleans. Travel to Florida by train (for example) is completely impractical: I would have to travel by way of DC.
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Old 04-13-2020, 12:09 PM
 
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For me, there's no appeal. Anything longer than 2 hours is unpleasant, but I'll begrudgingly drive up to 6 hours if I have to. Longer than 6 hours and either I'll fly or I won't go.
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Old 04-13-2020, 12:09 PM
 
2,352 posts, read 764,286 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billl View Post
For those of us who are older, it may be part nostalgia. When I was growing up the only economical choice was driving. The airlines were regulated and there was no such thing as a discount ticket. Air travel was expensive, especially for a larger family. So we drove everywhere. On multi-day road trips we often would go until dinnertime, then find a motel and stay the night. No reservations. Today's travel is very different (leaving aside the impact of COVID on our lives). Airline tickets can often be purchased at a discount if you have some flexibility, and we always get hotel reservations ahead of time to make sure we have a room.

So in a time when airline travel is so inexpensive, other than nostalgia why would anyone still want to travel by car? Here are a few reasons that occur to me. You can take anything that will fit in the trunk, so packing is a bit more relaxed. There are no intermediate steps (parking at the airport, going through security, etc). You are on your own schedule: no rushing to be at the gate an hour early. If you really want to get lunch at that roadside BBQ stand, you can. You can stop and "sightsee" along the way if you want. If your car is big enough, then 5 people costs about the same as 2. Sidenote: on many occasions we have rented a large SUV for long road trips: they are much more comfortable for longer trips and still typically less expensive than a family traveling by airplane (for trips when deeply discounted tickets aren't available).

I've never traveled long distances by train. But the biggest issue I see with that is the lack of routes. Amtrak is an alternative only if you are going where it goes. Being in Atlanta I can only travel by train if I want to go to DC (and points north) or to New Orleans. Travel to Florida by train (for example) is completely impractical: I would have to travel by way of DC.
Excellent points here!

All I can add is that all modes other than cars almost certainly require a second (at least) mode to get to and from your final destination.

And then once at that destination, you've presumably got to do little trips here and there.
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Old 04-13-2020, 12:30 PM
 
Location: ABQ
3,775 posts, read 6,323,607 times
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A lot of it is based on someone's childhood. My family couldn't afford to fly -- particularly not long distances and we just drove. My mom and I would play word games in the car and I was always curious about what things looked like. She'd allow me to steer the car from the passenger seat and before I even had my driver's license, I drove to Nogales, Mexico from Sedona. I've driven cross-country 4-5 times, across Mexico once, the length of the Philippines north-to-south, and next I want to tackle Canada. I love it!

To get lost in thought with music or a series of podcasts -- it's something that I look forward to each and every time. Half of the fun of the trips I plan is actually the driving part of it. Just before the pandemic, we started in Miami and made a gigantic circle up toward South Carolina and finally finishing in Dallas. True story: I nearly didn't drop the rental car off in Dallas because I wanted to drive the rest of the way to California (where I lived at the time). I would have been totally fine with missing the flight home.

If anyone has kids, I recommend they make it fun for them so that they too can remember those memories fondly.
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Old 04-13-2020, 01:26 PM
 
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If you have the time.. Driving is the way to go.

Big difference in seeing the country from the air vs the highways.

I've always wanted to do a Route 66 road trip. It's just.. Getting weeks off work to do it right isn't the easiest thing in the world.

Time is the big factor, tho. Would you rather spend 2-3 days traveling to your final destination.. Or get there in 5-6 hours? If you're limited to having a week there.. Well, decision is kinda made for you.
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Old 04-13-2020, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Toronto
665 posts, read 205,951 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Labonte18 View Post
If you have the time.. Driving is the way to go.

Big difference in seeing the country from the air vs the highways.

I've always wanted to do a Route 66 road trip. It's just.. Getting weeks off work to do it right isn't the easiest thing in the world.

Time is the big factor, tho. Would you rather spend 2-3 days traveling to your final destination.. Or get there in 5-6 hours? If you're limited to having a week there.. Well, decision is kinda made for you.
Same here! I'd love to do that. I have a book from the 90s that outlines all the historical restaurants and places along the way. So definitely even at the time, modern, independent places from the 90s are also closed. But would still love to do it nonetheless.
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Old 04-13-2020, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Eureka CA
9,509 posts, read 12,561,577 times
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If you have to ask, you'll never "get it".
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Old 04-13-2020, 02:06 PM
 
Location: N.Sierra Nevadas (California)
68,896 posts, read 5,430,690 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hertfordshire View Post
For me, there's no appeal. Anything longer than 2 hours is unpleasant, but I'll begrudgingly drive up to 6 hours if I have to. Longer than 6 hours and either I'll fly or I won't go.
Same here.
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