Take the wheel with you: Booking.com shares top tips for summer road trips
As travel restrictions begin to ease, we’re bringing a newfound love of road trips with us. Last summer, staycations may have felt like the only option - but today, we’ve realized that those local adventures helped us appreciate the ease and flexibility of having our own wheels when on vacation.
“After a long period of restrictions, travelers are itching to get out there again,” said Bryan Batista, Senior Vice President of Booking.com’s Trips division. “Well over half of US travelers are planning to avoid public transport on their next jaunt. They know that nothing spells freedom like a road trip - hitting the road and seeing where it takes them. It’s all about the freedom to experience the world on their own terms, which fits with today’s trend towards more independent, more personalized travel. Since the vast majority of our car rentals come with free cancellation, they offer the flexibility to cope with whatever surprises the world throws at us.”
It’s a cliche already, but the world really is opening up again. 65%* of US travelers are excited about the possibility of traveling again, whether far afield or relatively close to home. Determined to get the most out of it, they’re looking for a more fulfilling adventure and explore cultures as much as landscapes. In fact, over half of US travelers (61%)* are interested in seeking out more rural experiences, and over two-thirds (70%)* will be giving tourist destinations a miss. So both those groups are particularly likely to take to the road as they swerve the packed beaches and go in search of something genuinely new.
With a mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, Booking.com shares some top tips for summer road trips. Short, long, pre-planned, spontaneous… there’s no single format for a good road trip. Nevertheless, there are a few simple tenets that make sense in any scenario:
- The journey is the vacation. ‘Making good time’ doesn’t mean going fast; it means making sure every minute is a joy. Motorways might be convenient, but the real adventures are to be found on the backroads, where we’re free to turn off and explore every interesting forest, building, turn off or beach we happen to stumble across.
- The right car is vital. Above all, the car needs to be right for the trip. A compact car can make sense if the itinerary includes lots of busy city streets - but for a long trip with plenty of people and stacks of luggage, there’s nothing like having some extra space to stretch out. Whether looking for an SUV for extra comfort and space or something with a bit more horsepower, Booking.com offers travelers a broad range of rental cars with easy to use search functions.
- Planning pays off. Even the most spontaneous adventure is better with a bit of prep. Not just the physical stuff (from snacks and drinks to sunscreen and appropriate footwear), but answers to a few important questions, like “Who’s driving?” or “How many hours a day?”.
- There’s nothing like organized chaos. It’s great to keep it flexible… within a few basic parameters. For example? A circular route avoids a long, boring drive at the end of the trip. And even the most laid-back itineraries can benefit from including a few ‘must-have’ experiences. A refundable accommodation booking allows for a change of last minute plan, and if you can’t actually make the trip for whatever reason, it’s worth bearing in mind that most Booking.com car rentals come with free cancellation 48 hours before pick up.
- Going off-grid? Mobile data’s a lot cheaper than it used to be, but that doesn’t mean the connection’s always reliable. So downloading maps and music ahead of time can make the trip a lot smoother and more enjoyable.
- Take ten. The experts say it’s healthy to factor in a 10-minute break every two hours or so. Stretching the legs is only part of it: taking a break from driving relaxes the mind, which means it’s more alert when back at the wheel!
It’s a brave new world
As we get back to enjoying the world around us, we’re doing it with more gusto. Travelers are feeling brave, and many once-timid explorers have caught the ‘road-trip’ bug - and feel like taking control and flying by the seat of their pants. Does this herald a new era of exploration and discovery? Time will tell.
To help travelers plan their next road trip and unleash their inner explorer, Booking.com offers car rental in 160 countries, with 60,000 pick-up locations worldwide. The majority of car rental options come with free cancellation up to 48 hours before pick-up, so car rental can be as flexible as plans. The company also offers Getaway Deals for travelers booking accommodation for their summer 2021 getaways - discounts start at 15% and are valid for stays starting anytime before September 30 2021. In addition, Booking.com is bringing the great value of its Genius program to even more customers by giving all account holders access to the program’s Level 1 benefits, with no minimum number of previous bookings to qualify, including access to exclusive 10% discounts at hundreds of thousands of participating properties around the world. All travelers have to do is download the Booking.com app, log in and look for the Genius logo to identify associated benefits, discounts and perks.
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and conducted among a sample of adults who have traveled for business or leisure in the past 12 months, and must be planning to travel in the next 12 months (if/once travel restrictions are lifted). In total 20,934 respondents across 28 countries and territories were polled (including 999 from USA, 496 from Canada, 497 from Mexico, 997 from Colombia, 999 from Brazil, 499 from Argentina, 995 from Australia, 499 from New Zealand, 999 from Spain, 996 from Italy, 996 from France, 999 from UK, 996 from Germany, 498 from the Netherlands, 499 from Denmark, 499 from Sweden, 498 from Croatia, 1001 from Russia, 498 from Israel, 997 from India, 994 from China, 499 from Hong Kong, 497 from Thailand, 496 from Singapore, 499 from Taiwan, 997 from South Korea, 500 from Vietnam and 995 from Japan). Respondents completed an online survey in July 2020.