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Return of the Road Trip Escape the pandemic and discover the freedom of the open highways BY JENNIFER BRADLEY FRANKLIN

Though driving for a vacation never interested her before, Los Angeles-based mom of two and podcast host Jennifer Cohen took an 11-day road trip in summer 2020. “I wanted my kids to have a life experience that they could remember outside of the fact that there was this pandemic going on,” she says. The family took a luxury recreational vehicle to Las Vegas; the Grand Canyon; Moab, Utah; and Telluride, Colo. While they planned their overnight stops, she and her husband gave



themselves the flexibility to find treasures along the way. They ran along the “Forrest Gump hill” near Monument Valley in Utah, went whitewater rafting, zip lining and visited an alpaca farm. “There was a lot of spontaneity,” she says. Since some travelers have concerns about staying in hotels, camping or bringing lodging with you is an attractive solution. In a study released in June, the RV Industry Association found that 46 million Americans plan to take an RV trip in the next 12 months,

up from 25 million in 2019. As of Sept. 1, RVshare, a peer-to-peer RV rental service, has booked 1 million days in the last year, doubling the company’s seven-year booking total in 13 months. Even though Keryn Means is a self-described “flier versus driver” when it comes to vacations, she embraced driving as a more sensible way to travel in 2020. “Driving allows you to have a bit more control over the people you come into contact with, as well as what you will see and do,” says the


ALLISON ANDREWS HAD BIG plans for 2020. “I was supposed to visit 50 places I’d never been the same year I turned 50,” says the Mooresville, N.C.-based television producer. “(The pandemic) hit and trip number eight was cut short as I rushed back from Paris and Geneva.” Instead, she adjusted her plans to discover closer, drivable destinations. She’s not alone: According to a travel trends survey by Skift, 41 percent of respondents say their first post-COVID-19 trip will be by car to a destination less than 100 miles from home. Another 26 percent say they would travel more than 100 miles from home by car; only 16 percent say they would travel on a plane. As a result, the “Great American Road Trip” is primed for a resurgence.

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