The official start of “vacation season” is here, and with, literally, a world of destinations to chose from, it’s a daunting task not only to decide where to spend your summer vacation, but how to get there. As GIANTS, we have a few extra things to consider in terms of what we wanna “deal with”…..leg room on long flights, bed sizes in cruise cabins, etc. Well what about vacationing in the comfort of a car? In this article I will touch upon some of the pros and perks of a good old-fashioned road trip.
Before your mind gets flooded with images of the Griswold’s trekking cross country on their way to Walley Worldwith luggage strapped to the roof of their station wagon, breathe!
Road trips these days are not as strenuous as they used to be. Although they can be your actual vacation, a pro about road trips is that, whether planned or spontaneous, you have the option of adding one before, during or after getting to an actual destination. As a result, they give you the opportunity to add depth to your travel and have a much fuller experience. I did this while I was in Las Vegas and decided to add a road trip through Arizona to visit the Grand Canyon (read about my Las Vegas adventure is last month’s feature Viva TALL Vegas!)
I’ve done most of my road-tripping on the East coast. Having driven the I-95 from Cape Cod to Miami and can tell you that whether you’re traveling solo, with companions, or family/kids, road trips allow you certain options and conveniences that you wouldn’t necessarily have if you were flying directly to a resort and just staying there for your duration.
Let’s start with comfort…If you are traveling in your own car, I imagine it’s already a giant-friendly vehicle. I’ve road-tripped in various car categories, from a friend’s Nissan Maxima to my own Hyundai Santa Fe. As I’m usually the driver, I love being able to put my seat all the way back and not worry about hitting someone else’s knees, unless I have a full car, then I just make sure the shortest person is behind me, sorry mom!
Pictured here is the Chevy Captiva I rented during my Canyon trip. Not only did I have ample head room, but so much leg room, I was even able to, ready for this…. move the seat up!
Don’t want to put all those miles on your own car? All the car rental companies from Hertz to Dollar offer full-sized sedans and SUVs for us GIANTS to choose from. Whether it’s through deals and promotions, redeemable credit card points or AAA memberships, there are many ways to score a good deal on a car rental, some offering rental packages where you don’t even have to return it with a full tank of gas. Depending on time of year and destination, a comprehensive car rental package, complete with full liability insurance coverage can cost significantly less than airfare. Should you be traveling with companions, this can be an even more economical situation, as you have the choice of asking to split the cost. Another convenience regarding cost is the luggage. On road trips you can bring as many bags as can fit, and don’t have to worry about them being a certain weight either. Want to go shopping for souvenirs? Buy as many as you want without worrying about overstuffing your luggage, impending an overweight fee, or having the need to buy an extra suitcase to fit them in.
Next, convenience. Convenience of what? Everything! I don’t know about you, but unless it’s a really short flight, no matter how many books, magazines, movies or music I bring, I still get antsy. Especially if I didn’t pay for the extra legroom seat and the 5’2" woman in front of me still feels the need to recline her seat all the way! Really lady?! When driving, you can pull over as many times as you want to take a break, and if you’re traveling with kids, you know this is priceless. Heck, you can even plan and map out your pit-stops along the way. On a return trip from the Poconos, I remember purposely planning a pit-stop at a Cracker Barrel with a gas station next to it for a fill-up and a good meal. Don’t you just love those old rocking chairs out front?
As a GIANT, being able to pull over, get out of your car, and stretch out your legs as many times as you want is a huge convenience. It's lovely to be in control, especially if it can spare the staring of people trying to figure out how much headroom there actually is between you and the roof of the plane!
Lastly - Adventure! As we know, when it comes to road trips, getting there is half the fun. Yes, you may have the duration of your trip set, destination chosen, and maybe even tours and activities planned along the way, but it’s the little unforeseen moments throughout the trip that make it memorable:
Rolling down your windows and singing along to your favorite soundtrack.
An unexpected wrong turn when your GPS signal fades out that leads you to stop at a road-side store dating back to the turn of the 20th century.
Your kid no longer wants the bologna sandwich you packed and when you arrive at the next lodging and food area the diner looks like the set of Happy Days.