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4 Tips for a Happy Road Trip


With AAA forecasting that 41.9 million of us will hit the highways over the July 4th weekend, findings from a new  AARP Travel survey prove that the old-fashioned road trip remains prized by travelers 45 and older.

More than 70 percent of those surveyed said driving is still their preferred way to go, according to AARP’s research. A majority reported that they plan to take three such trips a year.

Why are roads all the rage? Respondents said they take to the highway when they want a more flexible journey; it means they will have a car at their final destination, for example. Driving also costs less than other forms of travel.

The May survey of men and women 45 and older who had taken at least one road trip in the last year also revealed details of:


  • Car care. Most travelers report some vehicle preparation before a trip, such as checking tire pressure or cleaning. Only 43 percent said they keep a road-emergency kit in the car, however.


  • Route planning. Three-quarters of road trippers say they use some sort of electronic navigation, whether it’s their in-car GPS or a smartphone app. Nearly 1 in 5 still use paper maps. Just 40 percent of respondents said they use other road-related travel apps, such as those that post traffic-jam updates or suggest detours.


  • Scheduled stops. About two-thirds of AARP survey participants said they plan to make an intermediate stopover in places such as beaches, parks or other cities before reaching their final destination.


  • Eating well. Thirty percent of survey respondents said they will drive five or more miles out of their way to eat in a specific restaurant. Local eateries are more popular than fast-food chains. And many just munch away the miles, with 60 percent describing in-car snacks as “a must.”


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Photo: YinYang/iStock

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