NEW YORK — Feeling stuck in a rut? A new study finds nine in 10 people are in desperate need of a vacation, even if it’s just to the next state over. In fact, the average American hasn’t left their home state in about three and a half years!
That’s according to a new survey, which also finds 67 percent of respondents believe they still have “so much” left to see in their own state too. The poll of 2,000 Americans who have taken a road trip at some point in their lives finds many took advantage of in-state travel this past year. Half of the respondents add they’ve had more time to explore their local area as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Americans feel safest within their state borders
Less than 10 percent said they’ve been out of their home state over the past year. However, there’s good reason for that as over half the poll (52%) add they feel the safest traveling within their state this summer since safety guidelines and restrictions vary between states. Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Visit Anaheim, researchers looked at in-state travel, but it also delved into road trips and asked respondents to plan their “perfect road trip.”
With its beaches, mountains, and everything in between, California tops the list as the best state for road trips (38%). Following in second place, 29 percent picked Arizona with its red rocks and the Grand Canyon. As for when Americans want to hit the road, June comes in as the top month (23%), followed by May (14%). Respondents say the perfect trip would last about four and a half days.
Don’t rush a road trip, enjoy the view
There might be a few reasons the best road trips aren’t quick getaways. Forty-four percent of Americans said it’s “the journey” and not the destination that matters most. In fact, respondents prefer to make stops and sightsee along the way. Interestingly, researchers find men were much more evenly split between wanting to drive without stops (36%) versus sightseeing (34%). Meanwhile, women preferred to take their time (51%) over sprinting to the finish line (20%).
“Road trips are such a safe and fun way to get outside, begin traveling again and see your state,” says Jay Burress, president & CEO of Visit Anaheim, in a statement. “Road trips are a great way to explore and give travelers a chance to travel at their own pace — whether they prefer to take their time or drive straight to their destination.”
Most Americans prefer to be the ‘co-pilot’
Researchers also asked Americans to pick their “road trip persona” from a list of “duties” the typical road-tripping family takes on. More than one in three (35%) identify as “the navigator,” making sure they get to the right place by way of careful attention to GPS, maps, and road signs.
More than a fifth (22%) said they’re typically the driver and 11 percent simply consider themselves the “snacker” — the person eating most of the snacks in the backseat. The top places respondents would like to visit on their “perfect road trip” included a river or lake (46%), the ocean (45%), and a hiking trail (37%).
Those surveyed were split on whether their road trip would be spontaneous (36%) or pre-planned (34%), but respondents did agree they’d like to have two friends along for the ride.
Road trips can still test some people’s patience
Despite wanting some friendly faces around, be careful who gets an invite on your vacation! Respondents said four hours and 23 minutes was too long to spend in a car with friends without a break. It turns out Americans have an even lower tolerance for their own families (three hours and 46 minutes)!
In general, men appear to be more pro-road trip. Three in four said road trips are “here to stay” as their main way of traveling, in comparison to just 43 percent of women. Regardless of gender, 56 percent said they’ve taken a “perfect road trip” and that number may increase very soon. Over six in 10 are hoping to take more road trips than ever this summer after COVID-19 limited travel in 2020.
“After this year, we all deserve a vacation and we encourage you to travel safely and embark on a ‘perfect road trip’ this summer,” Burress adds. “We love seeing California as the best state for a road trip because from our theme parks to our professional sports to our craft breweries and eclectic dining, California and Anaheim specifically have everything you’re looking for to create memories that will last a lifetime.”