Americans Prefer Road Trips to the Destination — Especially Spontaneous Ones, Survey Finds

The survey respondents said they like a mix of unplanned and planned stops on road trips

Photo: SWNS

Hit the road, Jack.

Driving on the highway might save time, but about half of Americans prefer to go through small towns on road trips, according to 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, 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.

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.

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Not only do road trips give people the chance to get behind a different wheel, 53% said it gives them the opportunity 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.

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