The Friday before Memorial Day is declared National Road Trip Day and serves as the official kickoff of the summer road trip season. Millions of Americans hit the road each year over the long weekend, visiting friends and family while paying tribute to our American heroes.
Two-thirds of American drivers (54 percent)* report an increase in the number of trips they plan to take this summer and more than half (53%) of people plan to take a road trip. And we may see a new trend on the rise, with 52% of respondents reporting that the pandemic has made them more likely to take an outdoors-focused trip.
It’s clear that the open road calls when long weekends and Fridays roll around. We pack up, fuel up, stock up, and then crank up the tunes. In fact, 63 percent** of road trippers say that having good music, audiobooks, and/or podcasts to listen to are the most important parts of a successful road trip. Additionally, three in five road trippers (59 percent) say that having good snacks and drinks for the road, finding great places to eat on the way, and finding clean bathrooms to use while traveling are their most important parts of a successful road trip.
Whether we’re seeking adventure, visiting family and friends, or making a business connection, road trips are often a rite of passage. Sometimes we endure them, often hearing, “Are we there yet?” And other times we never want them to end; sometimes getting lost can be even more fun than the original plan.
Road trips that begin and end with happy passengers are always the best. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Plan ahead. Even a spur of the moment trip requires a little planning.
- Two in five (42 percent) road trippers find travel apps very helpful when planning their trip, and mapping out your stops ahead of time can be a great way to save both time and money.
- One way to do so is with the Pilot Flying J app’s enhanced trip planner feature. The trip planner helps users create their route and find Pilot and Flying J locations along the way, showcasing specific amenities, fuel prices, and more.
- Vehicle maintenance is vital to any successful road trip. Beyond the routine maintenance like oil changes and sound tires, other simple checks will keep you on the road.
- check your wipers and wiper fluid
- make sure your spare tire and jack are in place
- all lights and signals are working
- condition of your brake pads
- registration is current or not about to expire
- Plot your course. Consider construction, fuel and snack stops, shopping, and the interests of the other travelers.
- Road trippers prioritize convenience and efficiency, primarily (58 percent) wanting to stop at all-in-one rest stops (offers gas, food, drinks, coffee, bathrooms, and more.).
- Specifically, the top “road trip essential” snacks are chips and salty foods (52 percent), freshly made, grab-and-go foods (50 percent), and fast food options (49 percent).
How do you travel?
There are two kinds of people who take road trips. If you’re going together, you might want to discuss a compromise before hitting the road! The tourist takes their time getting there and doesn’t mind taking backroads to see long-forgotten ghost towns. On the other hand, the pilot enjoys seeing the country from the car, sets a course, and frowns upon unscheduled stops or side trips.
No matter the destination, road trips include an element of expectation, and they rarely disappoint. The best road trips bring us closer to people over a stick of beef jerky and car karaoke. They connect us to places through memories, a postcard, and the kindness of strangers.
National Road Trip Day History
In 2019, Pilot Flying J, the largest travel center operator in North America, founded National Road Trip Day, the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, to officially kick off the unofficial first day of the summer travel season. Pilot Flying J prepares all spring for the summer travel season and helps provide guests with the fuel, food, drinks, and travel necessities needed to make it from point A to point B as easily and conveniently as possible. With 750 travel center locations in North America, Pilot Flying J is a convenient, one-stop-shop for travelers, offering clean bathrooms and a large assortment of snacks, beverages, and food options. To learn more about National Road Trip Day, visit pilotflyingj.com/nationalroadtripday.
22 May 2020
28 May 2021
27 May 2022
26 May 2023
24 May 2024
23 May 2025
22 May 2026
28 May 2027
26 May 2028
25 May 2029