Road Trip: The Family Getaway

family behind a car

For many months in the early part of the pandemic, families in the United States were restricted to their homes. As of March 7, though, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 65.1 percent of the population have been fully vaccinated, and 44.1 percent of them have received booster shots. All these families can now safely take a much-needed vacation.

Data from the 2021 U.S. Family Travel Survey conducted from June to July 2021 among 2,365 American parents showed that in 2020, only 44 percent of U.S. families were able to take a vacation. Double that number or 88 percent of parents stated that they would likely take a trip with their children from July 2021 to July 2022, though. Among them, 83 percent want to have their vacation within the country. The top choice, gaining 62 percent of votes, was to visit other family members and friends. The close second, at 61 percent, was to take a vacation by the beach. Other popular choices were to go to a theme park, a water park, and a national or state park. The Family Travel Association (FTA) collaborated with the NYU School of Professional Studies in doing the survey.

Budget Trips

Households must spend wisely because inflation has pushed up prices of almost everything. To make the most of the vacation budget, taking a road trip to the destination is the best choice. It also extends the fun because the trip can be planned to include several interesting stopovers.

When doing this, make sure that the family car first undergoes a thorough checkup by a reliable mechanic. All potential issues must be addressed, including those that may have been overlooked for a long time. For instance, a small crack in the windshield can be brushed off when the car is used only for nearby errands. For a long road trip, though, this will need auto glass repair. If ignored, it can lead to the windshield collapsing in case of an accident, with serious repercussions for the driver and front-seat passenger. Once a mechanic has vetted the car, ensure that emergency repair tools and a spare tire are in the trunk.

The family must agree on a destination and stops that would be fun for everyone. Check with CDC updates to ensure that the area does not have high Covid-19 transmission rates. The good news is that about 70 percent of the country now has low transmission rates.

Get a map and mark the route with the highest number of enjoyable stopovers both on the way out and on the way home. Find family-friendly budget accommodations or bring camping gear and find campsites. It would be best to make reservations for all these to avoid having to sleep in the car. Making reservations far in advance will get the best rates. Make sure, though, that the agreement allows a refund or a rescheduling in case the area suddenly becomes a Covid-19 hotspot on your scheduled trip.

Places to Visit

a person driving

Whether as the main destination or as side trips on the way to visiting family, there are many wonderful spots in the country to consider. Your choices will depend on your preferences, where you will be coming from, and how far you are willing to go.

U.S. News ranked the top beaches across various states based on the cleanliness of their sand, great water, and quality of attractions. We removed the beaches in Hawaii because they could not be driven to, even if the beaches of Maui and Kauai took the top two spots. Third on the list was Sanibel Island, Florida, followed by Destin, Florida; Laguna Beach; Outer Banks, North Carolina; Cannon Beach, Oregon; Naples, Florida; Miami Beach, Florida; and Monterey in Southern California. Since we eliminated the top two, we add the 11th placer, Key West, Florida, followed by Bald Head Island in North Carolina. While these are the best, many other lovely beaches to discover may be closer to you.

Among the national parks, every family will have an amazing experience at these ten best choices of travel professionals and recent guests. They are Yellowstone stretching across Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming; Yosemite in California; Glacier National Park in Montana; the Grand Canyon in Arizona; Zion National Park in Utah; Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming; Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah; Arches National Park in eastern Utah; Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado; and the Sequoia National Park in California. Families can camp in specified areas in these parks and go hiking. Some parks allow a dip in the river and fishing for certain types of fish. Some types of fish can be cooked for a meal.

Other fun stopovers on a road trip are fruit farms that allow guests to pick and pay for what they have chosen, quirky museums, amusement parks, and inland water parks. Allow several days for the trip so that the pace is leisurely and relaxing.

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