15 Reasons to Go on an Epic Summer Road Trip (and Bring Your Dog)

Taking a road trip can help you see new places and bite your travel bug while still on a budget. (Plus, your doggo can join!)
Last updated June 1, 2023 | By Cat Lafuente Edited By Jeff White
friends on road trip adventure

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Packing up the car and hitting the highway is a one-of-a-kind adventure. It broadens your horizons both literally and figuratively, builds character, and gives you new experiences you never would have otherwise.

Yes, getting on a plane and traveling to far-flung locales is something special, but there are so many reasons to stay domestic and hit the open road. For example, the ease of bringing your best furry buddy along.

These 15 reasons you should do it this summer will have you grabbing your best travel credit card and hitting the open road for an adventure you won’t soon forget.

See parts of the country you haven’t before

aiisha/Adobe sunrise in Hunts Mesa

The U.S. is a fairly big country, with a host of fascinating cities, towns, parks, environmental gems, and more. Haven’t you always wanted to see the ocean on both coasts?

See the skyscrapers of lower Manhattan? Explore the Grand Canyon. See Old Faithful in action?

Taking a road trip is a great way to do all of these things, seeing parts of the country you haven't before.

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Bond with your family

Nichizhenova Elena/Adobe family going on a car trip

In our day-to-day lives, we’re all busy with school, work, and other obligations that keep family members separate and occupied.

On a road trip, you get the chance to truly be together, spending time talking to one another as the hours spent driving tick by.

Or if you prefer, you can go solo for some quality alone time.

You can bring your pup

ArgitopIA/Adobe happy dog with head out of the car window

Traveling with a pet on a plane is no picnic, especially if they have to go in the hold.

On a road trip, however, traveling with your dog can be an excellent opportunity to bond with them. Many dogs love riding in the car already, so it makes them happy as well.

If you have a cat your mileage may vary, but there’s a chance they’d enjoy it as well.

Save money by not buying plane tickets

BBbirdZ/Adobe airplane flying view from inside aircraft

Let’s face it, plane tickets aren’t cheap, even if you’re only flying for a couple of hours. They cost hundreds of dollars even just for a seat in coach, and upgrading costs you even more.

However, taking a road trip means not plunking down that cash for a ticket in the first place. You can also keep more money in your bank account if you bring your own food and beverages, but there are limits if you travel by plane.

Gas is more affordable this year

manusapon/Adobe Putting gas into a car

Gas prices in 2022 soared for several reasons, mainly the war that Russia has waged in Ukraine. That made filling up at the pump a painful experience for many.

Fortunately, gas prices have come down from those record highs, restoring normalcy to our commutes. That’s another reason to take a road trip this summer.

You don't have to worry about delays

hin255/Adobe airport terminal passengers

Airlines have become increasingly more unreliable in recent months – remember that Southwest debacle that grounded thousands of people?

Even when the airline isn’t experiencing a technological mishap you never know if your fight will suddenly be delayed or worse, canceled.

Taking a road trip means not having to worry about any of that.

Set your own schedule

Kay A/peopleimages.com/Adobe women sharing moments of traveling on mobile smartphone

Traveling by plane means you are on the airline’s schedule with little control over how long you wait when you take off, and when you land.

That’s not the case on a road trip, as you are in charge of when you depart, how long you spend driving, and when it’s time to stop for the night.

You can make the trip as relaxing or ambitious as your heart desires.

You have more room for stuff

New Africa/Adobe red car luggage on beach

There are limits as to how much you can take on a plane, and that can get expensive thanks to bag check limits.

But on a road trip, you’re only limited by how much your trunk can carry. That means you can bring beach chairs, coolers, pop-up tents, you name it.

Enjoy driving your car

Arek/Adobe landscape in Iran

Some folks might not particularly enjoy driving, but many of us do. It can be enjoyable to chill out behind the wheel, watching the scenery change and admiring how pretty the sky can look.

If you have a particularly nice car, the simple act of driving can be pleasurable as well. Driving can also nurture your sense of independence and improve your mental health.

Listen to podcasts and books

vladim_ka/Adobe mans hand touching an icon in the Apple Carplay

Long hours spent driving means you have plenty of time to binge your favorite podcast or listen to audiobooks.

That’s a great way to keep your mind engaged while your eyes are focused on the road and your hands are occupied.

Of course, there’s also the time-honored tradition of blasting your favorite songs, too.

Check out roadside attractions

travelview/Adobe famous clown greets the guests of circus circus hotel

Roadside attractions are a quirky American road trip tradition. There are many of them along the highway, including bigfoot museums, the world’s largest X, clown motels, UFO-themed stops, and more.

These one-of-a-kind stops can be both weird and fun. Many have gift shops as well if you want to pick up one-of-a-kind souvenirs, which you’ll have more room in your car to take home.

Stay in fun accommodations

PixHound/Adobe wooden cabin country house on grasshill

Unless you have a camper or don’t mind sleeping in your car (we do), you have to find places to stay when it’s time to retire for the night.

Level up your road trip game by staying in fun Airbnbs, campgrounds, or themed motels that can add to the adventure.

Many hosts have activities you can do to get to know the local area better, too.

Go where the weather is nicer

ValentinValkov/Adobe palm trees on sandy island in the ocean

Do you live in an area that gets lots of snow and ice in the winter? Drive south where the weather is warmer.

Or perhaps you live in Florida and want to avoid peak hurricane season; drive north and west to dodge those storms altogether.

This is easy to do as the U.S. is so large and has many different climates.

Discover hidden gems

Henrique/Adobe turquoise waterfall hidden in the tropical jungle in Brazil

Taking a road trip will also give you the chance to discover hidden gems you didn’t know existed.

This can be as small as a park in a small town, or as dramatic as discovering a body of water that truly enchants, like a hidden waterfall.

The same is true for restaurants and gas stations with unique offerings you’d never visit otherwise.

Make memories that will endure

S Fanti/peopleimages.com/Adobe phone selfie

Folks who have taken a road trip for any reason will be the first to tell you that the memories endure.

Even if you’re not on vacation, the sights you see and the people you meet stick with you. You may even find that your perspective shifts as you’re exposed to new things.

It’s a great way to develop as a person and broaden your horizons.

Bottom line

Chris Overland Nomad/Adobe camper van in the forest mountain road

While traveling by plane can give you an international adventure, don’t sleep on the idea of taking a road trip.

They have many advantages over plane travel, including financial ones, and can even make you a better and more experienced person.

To go the extra mile, plan visits to places that will benefit from your tourist dollar, which can give a boost to economies in need. It’s a wonderful way to give back while you earn travel rewards and enjoy the open road.

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Cat Lafuente Cat Lafuente is a Florida-based writer and editor with extensive experience in digital and print content spaces. Her own personal finance journey — particularly consolidating debt and paying it off, in turn boosting her credit score and becoming a homeowner — inspired her to join the FinanceBuzz team; she hopes she can help others do the same.