6 Benefits of Driving Yourself while Traveling

Driving can be one of the most exciting and easiest ways to get around when traveling. Whether I’m traveling with our RV in tow or my daughter and I are off on one of our infamous road trips in her car, driving gives me that sense of freedom I relish.

Even on trips overseas, I enjoy renting a car or even a bike. Although my favorite would be renting an RV or camper van … renting a camper van in New Zealand remains on my bucket list. That freedom to simply hit the open road and explore as much ground as possible is absolutely the best. Traveling on our own terms, our own schedule, and off the beaten path can be an amazing adventure.

RV traveling down the road with scenic Moab, Utah in the background

Personal time

First, traveling anywhere is all about us. Adventure awaits! After all, we’ve set aside time to travel and do things with family, friends, our partner, or even just our self and organizing flights with potential tight schedules can be stressful and can get in the way of all our fun.

Gal taking a photo of a zebraWhen driving ourselves, we get to make our own schedule and if we don’t want to keep to it, we don’t have to. During the process of us driving, if we discover a pristine beach or find that perfect mountain meadow and we want to stay a little longer, we can.

Let’s not forget about photographic opportunities and the freedom to stop, snap, and stay. It’s all solely based on ourselves and how we want to spend our day.

Ah, doesn’t that sound wonderful? Yep, I’m looking forward to our summer excursion!

Ultimate freedom

The number of new things we can discover when driving ourselves is pretty amazing. We’re more likely to go off the beaten path with the freedom we have traveling with our own transportation.

I’ve never been one to enjoy taking public transportation unless I have no other option, and the thought of making plans around an airline schedule no longer appeals to me. And this coming from a former Flight Attendant. These days, air travel is the last resort for me, but necessary at times, especially if I ever want to rent that camper van in New Zealand. Yeah, it would be a necessity to take that long flight from America to New Zealand to check that adventure off my bucket list.

But once I’m in my own transportation, I try to set aside time to explore something new each day to make the most of that sense of freedom.

Road tripping, gal hangs hand and arm out window causing a sense of freedom

Cost efficient

Let’s face it, road trips are usually more cost effective. Flying can be expensive, and taxis can cost a lot of money if we rely on them regularly while on vacation. Sure, sometimes we’re left with no option. Yeah, I don’t think there’s an easy way for me to get my RV to Hawaii (or New Zealand). So, flying it is, and then I’ll rent a car.

By renting my own transportation, I can explore on my terms, stop at a grocery store for healthy eating options, and save some money from having to go out to eat all the time, especially when traveling with a family of four.

One of my families most memorable trips was to Hawaii several years ago. My family still likes to tease me about our day excursion to the top of Haleakala, dormant volcano on the island of Maui. There was a thick layer of low-lying clouds along with a slight drizzle of rain, and I was convinced that if we drove to the top, we’d be above the clouds. Wrong! Once at the top, the thick layer of fog made it nearly impossible to see anything. After a few laughs, we headed back down the mountain. Near the base of the volcano, we noticed a newly opened zipline venue and quickly turned in.

I had packed a picnic lunch that day. The money we saved by not eating out or not booking a guided tour to Haleakala National Park, allowed us to go ziplining for the first time. It was so much fun and made for great family memories.

Transporting luggage

One of the biggest benefits of driving is packing. This is probably my favorite benefit to road tripping. I have the extra room to take a few more frivolous items … you know, like that cute pair of shoes that I may not even wear.

Luggage in an airport can be a nightmare not to mention the fear of it getting lost. Therefore, I’ve always been a ‘carry-on’ only kind of traveler. Even when I’ve traveled to Europe for a week, it was just with my carry-on. So, those cute shoes were always left behind, sigh.

RV traveling down a deserted road in Utah

Comfort

There’s no better feeling than being comfortable when traveling, and with your own mode of transportation, it’s so much easier. I think we’ve all been on a flight or bus with screaming kids. That’s the worst!

With our own vehicle, we don’t have to worry about sitting next to strangers and we can come and go as we please. Yep, that’s the ultimate comfort while traveling.

Chance to be spontaneous

I love the spontaneity and freedom of driving. Spontaneity is an amazing luxury that I don’t take for granted.  A random day trip, a detour along the way, or even just the decision to go somewhere different for happy hour is all at my fingertips when I have my own vehicle.

Final thoughts

Whenever and wherever I travel, I always keep safety in mind. It’s also important to understand the rules and laws of the states or countries we visit.

Did you know there’s a law in France for having an unused breathalyzer in your vehicle? I guess it’s still a controversial law, but even so, I found that tidbit of information interesting.

Here in the U.S., we need to think about laws regarding cell phone usage while driving. Every community, county, and state has its own laws about talking or texting while driving.

As my daughter and I do more research and brainstorming on potential travel locations for our next mother/daughter adventure, we’re finding a lot of useful information. 1Cover’s The Secret Traveler offers tips on how to stay safe while on the road along with other helpful information and travel ideas. Hmm, our travel list seems to be getting longer instead of shorter!

Research and knowledge are the best ways to plan for any travel journey. Happy road tripping!

Benefits of a road trip, #roadtrip, #bestvacations, #drivingwhiletraveling
road tripping, benefits of driving, #lovetravel, #drivingonvacation

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65 thoughts on “6 Benefits of Driving Yourself while Traveling

  1. We love road trips (and also dream of taking on in New Zealand one day.) Although flying isn’t nearly as much fun as it used to be, getting to France from Chicago would be tough (and long) without it. 🙂 I just try to make the best of it and bring plenty of reading material. A Kindle and iPad really help with that! I used to drive to visit our one daughter in Philadelphia, but it takes an entire day and as it’s tolls the entire way, taking a Southwest flight (and two bags fly free with them) is about the same price and gives me almost two extra days, so I do that. However, give me a road trip almost any time and I’ll be happy.

    janet

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    1. Yeah, sometimes you just have to make the best of flying to get from point A to point B in the most efficient way. I do not miss those toll roads in IL. We’ll be heading to WI this summer and avoiding IL partly because of the roads. Road trips are still the best even when there are tolls!

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  2. I totally agree. We are on the first day of a “short” road trip planned for 30 days but we have allotted 35 just in case we want to change our plans.
    Since retiring, we have been blessed with almost all the time we want for road trips – the longest was 14 weeks – but even before that [and since] we took shorter trips including flying somewhere to rent a car for a week or two.

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    1. Yes you do see a lot and you guys always discover some hidden gems. You’re the King and Queen of road tripping. Can’t wait to hear what you have planned for this summer.

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        1. Told ya! RVing is an addictive way to travel. You always have your own kitchen and potty in tow not to mention your own pillow and plenty of room for extra camera gear … most important 😃

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          1. And, you can take your pets. Also, we love the flexibility…if we want a place at the beach, so be it; if we want a place in the mountains, so be it; if we want to see cacti blooming in the desert, so be it. We go there at our own pace and stay as long as we like.

            I love your blog.
            Susan

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            1. Thank you Susan. Yep, being able to take your pet is a top benefit of driving. Looks like you’re having a great excursion yourself.

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    1. Yep! Once I get to WI and have a better idea of how our summer will unfold, we’ll need to see if we can arrange a camping meet-up. Dental issues may mess up our ‘hit the road’ time frame. 😥

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  3. I sometimes succumb to an overseas holiday, and usually before I’m out of the destination airport I’m thinking, “what was I thinking”. I’m like a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by the conclusion of an overseas trip – miserable and not a very nice person, plus I’ve spent a bucket load to be that way. Give me a road trip any day.

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    1. I hear ya! Whenever my daughter and I talk about that trip to New Zealand and/or Australia, the flight to get there always seems like that’ll be the worst part of the trip … that and driving on the other side of the road 😆

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      1. Australia isn’t so bad for driving as the main roads are long, what I imagine America is like. However NZ has a lot of very narrow, steep, windy roads with lots of hairpin bends. They can be a bit tricky especially if you’re used to driving on the other side of the road. It’s ok if you don’t get distracted, but if your car starts to wander a bit, the problem is that your automatic reaction is to correct to the wrong side. A lot of head on collisions happen that way, particularly near Milford Sound. There are literally dozens of waterfalls in that area and people get distracted looking at them. My advice to anyone used to driving on the right hand side of the road is to get a tour to take you into a couple of places so as you are free to admire the scenery. Actually, particularly going into Milford I think a tour is best for everyone, it’s so stunningly beautiful that you’d miss a lot if you were driving. The rest of the country is ok.

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        1. That’s too bad about those wrong side collisions. That would be scary. My daughter has been to Milford Sound and loved it. I’m leaning more toward a Canadian excursion, which would be a lot easier for us.

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  4. It doesn’t look like my previous (long) comment posted. I guess the connection wasn’t great along the way yesterday.

    I wrote something about the fact that these are great benefits of road trips and driving yourself. Especially driving around in your own RV or camper van, which combines the vehicle and your home. Perfect! The ultimate freedom, and that’s what we love most on the road.

    I hope you get to go to New Zealand soon, because things are changing rapidly. It’s very busy with tourists and van dwellers and I enjoyed my camper van trip there in 2014 much less than my visit in 2001. The country is similar to Canada, but smaller scale. Go soon and don’t expect to much – that my two cents. 🙂

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    1. Like everything else, due to social media, the best locations aren’t secret anymore. We’ve seen a drastic change just in the past six years since we’ve been living full-time in the RV. Places that allowed free boondocking are either closed off or now charge a fee. I think due to cost and logistics, my travel goals will be geared more toward the Canadian Rockies than New Zealand. Your two cents are always welcome 😁

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  5. This is the only problem with RVing in Florida..It’s hard to be spontaneous. We are not fans of the curbs, swimming pools and Rec Hall type of campgrounds. We really love the Army Corps parks…however you can only stay 14 days..and have to book most of them 6 mo. ahead. Texas seems to be easier to “fly by the seat of your pants”!!

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    1. I too prefer the beauty of Army Corps parks and state parks, but we end up staying at the private parks for convenience. If we were part-time, I think it would be different. I also think these days it’s much more challenging to travel without reservations, but that depends a lot on location. I still prefer ‘flying by the seat of our pants’. 😀

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  6. This very much sounds like my husband. He loves the road trip and being in control. I enjoy road trips, but also love flying & hotels. Safe travels!

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  7. I HATE flying! Airplanes were not made with folks my size (6’4” 230) in mind. RVing is the perfect way to travel and there is no lifestyle like it. Enjoy your summer! Looking forward to seeing your beautiful pictures.

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    1. Ever since nine eleven, flying just isn’t the same and we avoid it if at all possible. I have a new camera to play with this summer. So, I hope I have plenty of new stuff to photograph and share.

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  8. I’ve never been a big fan of flying and now, you couldn’t pay me to do it. (Ok, maybe to go to New Zealand, but otherwise? No way.) I will choose driving any day of the week. I can be on my own schedule, with my own stuff, and I don’t have random strangers feeling me up and going through my cosmetics. So much better….

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    1. What? You don’t like TSA feeling you up? 🤣Flying ain’t what it used to be. We used to love our spur of the moment trips to Hawaii or the Caribbean when we were in the airline industry, but things have changed. I’ll stick with RV travel. 😊

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  9. These are all good reasons to do road trips or have your own means of transportation. An RV or camper van is the best, as it combines your mode of transportation and your home. Can it get more comfortable and convenient? 🙂 Yes, I love my freedom as well.

    The last time Mark and I checked our luggage was when we went to or returned from our sailboat in the Pacific, as we offloaded things we didn’t need anymore or returned with many boat parts. Since then, carry-one it is, whether we fly back east (or Belgium) for a week or a month. I like to keep things simple.

    About that camper van trip in New Zealand…I hope you get to do it soon. That country is being flooded with tourism and people driving around in vans. It’s a beautiful place, but – based on what you’ve done and seen – it’s not that awe-inspiring. It’s actually quite similar to Canada, but on a smaller scale.

    Yes, we loved the freedom of traveling around by camper van a few years ago and the boondocking (for self-contained vehicles) is fantastic. But, it’s busy, even in the off-season. We went in their fall and it was much colder with shorter days than we anticipated. Also, things had changed a lot since I was there in 2001. Go soon and don’t expect too much, or you’ll be disappointed. That’s my two cents anyway. 🙂

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  10. I could not agree more. Excellent article. We have been RVing for 50 years and it is the only way to travel. Especially now that we are in our 80’s.
    Mel

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  11. I agree with you on all your points. When we travel in the southwest, we always drive. When we travel to Europe, I always make the plans, reservations, etc. and then rent a car as needed for maximum freedom, flexibility and spontaneity. I can’t deal with packaged travel and having to be on other people’s schedules. We were Born to be Wild, I guess. I usually listen to the song before setting out on an adventure.

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    1. Great song for setting out on an adventure. I’ve never been on a packaged tour and don’t think I ever would. The free spirit in me relishes the freedom of spontaneity way too much. And I do like to change plans on a whim! 😏

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      1. I’ve never been on a package tour either. The closest was going to France with a class. We ended up renting a car and striking out on our own.

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  12. Your article appeared at the perfect time. It reminded me of why we bought our fifth wheel and why my feet have been itching. After spending the winter and spring at home, we’re packing up and heading out, anxious to see what adventures await.

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    1. Hope you’re feeling better than ever and have something fun planned this summer. I’m itching to hitch myself. We’d already be rolling by now if it weren’t for dental appts.

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  13. Enjoyed this comprehensive and well-written article about the joys of driving travel, Ingrid. Road trips have an ease to them that I really like, because, like you say, we’re on our own time and own path. Happy trails to you!

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