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An Ode to the Road

What’s your favorite part of a road trip?

Like any tradition, the great American road trip creates a lot of memories, and everyone will have their own favorite elements. Some of the habits I formed early in life still follow me on the highway today.

So here are some of my favorite parts of traveling over the road, along with tips on how you can integrate them into a group experience.

1) Tempting Treats

Taking a road trip means stopping periodically for gas and restrooms. I look forward to convenience store snacks and drinks as part of the road trip ritual and allow myself to enjoy guilty pleasures I would otherwise avoid.

When you’re traveling on a motorcoach with dozens of people, stopping at a gas station isn’t always feasible. But you can re-create some of the road trip thrill by stocking the coach with a variety of snacks and drinks.

2) Scenic Surroundings

The United States is home to some of the most impressive scenery anywhere in the world, and road trips offer the opportunity to soak in the sights as you go. I often enjoy the views from the interstate, and traveling backroads can be even better.

When you plan trips for groups, leave enough time in your itinerary to admire the scenery as you go. Include a slower jaunt on a scenic byway here and there. And if the weather is good, pull off for a photo stop at a scenic overlook or two along the way.

3) Notable Novelties

The 20th-century boom in America’s driving culture led to the emergence of roadside attractions. Ranging from the kitschy to the awe-inspiring, these attractions offer a unique sense of place during road trips and can help break up the monotony of highway travel.

If your tours involve travel days covering several hundred miles over the road, do some research ahead of time to find some roadside attractions to keep everyone stimulated and entertained. 

4) Leisurely Listening

There’s nothing quite like cranking up the volume on your favorite song when you drive alone on the highway. Whatever your audio format of choice — radio, longform albums, podcasts or audiobooks — road trips offer opportunities for uninterrupted listening rarely found in daily life.

On your tours, leave some time during road trips with no guide commentary or other distractions to allow people to enjoy some quality audio experiences.

5) Compelling Conversations

Some of the best conversations I’ve ever had took place during road trips, with hours to kill and little else to do but talk. Highway conversations can range from deep and meaningful to spontaneous and funny, but they’re often a highlight of time on the road.

You can help facilitate great conversations on your trips by encouraging people to rotate seats and offering some compelling icebreakers to get them talking.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.