Paul has been passionate about travelling for over 35 years. He has been on many flights, rail, and road journeys in the US and Europe.
I've been travelling around Europe, North America, and other parts of the world for more than thirty five years. While there are certainly some negatives associated with car travel, this article lists and looks at ten of the positives, particularly to when driving is compared to other modes of transport, such as planes and trains.
10 Positives of Car Travel
Here are 10 advantages of car travel compared with other modes of transport.
- Own Time Schedule
- Choose Your Own Route
- Pack More Stuff
- No Security or Tickets
- See More Scenery
- Relatively Inexpensive
- Podcasts, Music, Audio Books
- Social Bonding
- Go Off-Grid
I will explore each plus point in more detail below.
1, Own Time Schedule
Unlike with trains and planes, when you drive somewhere, you can set your own time schedule. You set off at a time that suits your needs, not according to a timetable, and you take as long as you like on the journey. You can even change your time schedule en route, if you decide to stop for a scenic break, or take an extended meal break.
2. Choose Your Own Route
As with the timing, driving gives you a lot of freedom regarding the route you take. If you have the time, you can pick a scenic route, stop off at some places you want to visit, or visit friends or relatives on the way. Contrast that with trains and planes, where the routes are more or less set in stone, driving offers a great deal of flexibility.
Your car is your own domain, where you set the rules and can do what you like. There are no strange people (other passengers) to deal with. If there are screaming children sat behind you, they are your own, and you can appease or admonish them as you wish. You can dress casually, even scruffily. You have all sorts of personal freedoms that you don't have on a train or plane, which are effectively public spaces.
4. Pack More Stuff
Luggage can be a real issue when you travel by air or rail. There are generally practical limitations on what you can carry, or restrictions within certain price categories. When you drive, you can more or less throw everything into the trunk and the back seat. The only limitation is the volume that your car can comfortably hold. It can also feel more secure when you are transporting your possessions by car.
5. No Security or Tickets
Part of the hassle with traveling by train is buying the right tickets for your journey. It can mean doing some research to get the best price and route. There are even more hoops to jump through with plane travel. You have to arrive at the airport early, wait in a line to check your luggage in and get your boarding pass, and then go through all the rigorous security procedures, which is never fun. All these inconveniences are skipped when you go by car.
6. See More Scenery
Car journeys can often offer the best experience of attractive landscapes in my experience. That's because you can take a route that has the best scenery, and there's the option to stop for a while and walk around. In a plane, you are generally too high up, or the view is obscured by clouds. Trains can be good, but they often spend a lot of time going through dull suburbs or industrial areas of cites.
7. Relatively Inexpensive
If you already own a car, and are paying for the tax and insurance anyway, the transport costs for a road trip essentially come down to buying more gas, and maybe spending extra for tolls and parking. It will generally work out cheaper than air or rail travel, especially if you are splitting the costs with others, and/or it's a short to medium length journey.
8. Podcasts, Music, Audio Books
Back in the day, when I began to travel by car, there really wasn't much to occupy the driver's mind, apart from listen to the radio, or chat to a passenger. It really could get very boring over long distances. Nowadays, digital technology supplies an almost infinite choice of podcasts, music, and audio books, as well as radio shows from anywhere and everywhere.
9. Social Bonding
Road trips can bring friends and family together and create memories that are never forgotten. There's something deeply personal about traveling together in a car. Of course, there is also always the potential for squabbles and worse, but when it goes well, a road trip is something truly special. With our busy modern lives, it can be a rare thing to spend multiple hours up close with friends and family, it's an opportunity for some quality time.
10. Go Off-Grid
Car journeys enable you to visit remote places that the trains and planes don't travel to. If you want to get away from the towns and cities and into the wild, a road journey gives you that opportunity. You can go pretty much anywhere by car, provided there is some sort of road or track. There's the option to take a tent too and immerse yourself fully in the natural world.
© 2021 Paul Goodman
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 15, 2021:
I love a good car trip! You are correct in writing about all the positives of being able to do that.
Angeles from Spain on April 15, 2021:
Very informative! I really enjoyed and... I agree with you! Nothing like traveling by car!