Campus Life, Lifestyle

My thoughts on road trips

Travelling has become much more stressful during the pandemic. I’ve mostly avoided making unnecessary trips out of Boston since the pandemic started, especially because air travel isn’t a good idea during this time and Spring Recess was canceled.

However, I decided a short road trip to Cape Cod wouldn’t be so bad because contact with other people is nearly avoidable. I always preferred flying instead of driving, but my first road trip to Cape Cod illuminated why road trips are a more adventurous experience.

Driving on the highway is much more confusing yet more rewarding

I’ve had my driver’s license since I was 16 years old but dreaded driving anywhere outside the comfort of my neighborhood. Therefore, I became the designated GPS while the better drivers on the trip handled the driving.

I learned — the hard way — that following a map requires proper concentration because we ended up taking a wrong turn and had to get back on the highway and start over. Although missing an exit is stressful, going off-route isn’t always a bad idea. I got to see beautiful scenery I would have missed on the highway.

Although airplane windows provide aerial views, nothing beats driving in the middle of quaint New England towns and nature. Road trips provide beautiful scenery without the cost of plane tickets.

The best carpool karaokes happen on road trips

car driving on a road near mountains
Road trips give you a chance to explore new places and make memories with friends and family. COURTESY OF FERDINAND STOHR VIA STOCKSNAP

Road trips aren’t complete if you don’t spend at least half the ride signing your lungs out with your friends.

On planes, I listen to music with my AirPods to tune out crying babies or strangers snoring. Listening to music is 10 times more satisfying when you’re driving with your friends and singing along to songs on the highest volume — especially with the extra rush of endorphins if you roll down the windows, weather-permitting.

I would advise putting one person in charge of music beforehand to avoid fighting over who gets to choose their playlist. Otherwise, road trips are practically made for carpool karaoke.

Road trips last a long time, in a good way

You can never really plan how long it will take to reach your destination because you’re bound to miss exits or get lost.

Although my friends and I agreed to leave before rush hour, we still ended up stuck in traffic at 5 p.m. Yes, crowded airports are no fun, but rush hour in Boston feels even worse — especially if you experience motion sickness like myself, which staying in a moving car for an extended period of time does not help. However, I think it’s a much smoother ride without the cabin pressure or turbulence on a plane.

Even though Cape Cod is only an hour or so from Boston, driving takes more time than taking a plane or train, so it feels like the trip lasts longer. This is especially true if everyone wants to make multiple stops at gas stations to buy snacks or use the bathroom.

Longer rides are not inconvenient, though. It means you get to spend more time with your friends or family. I realized a lot of bonding takes place when you’re stuck in the confined space of a car for longer than usual.

Quality time feels more special during the pandemic when you’re not seeing people in person as often. You get to experience the expected and unexpected ups and downs of road tripping while making unforgettable memories. Going on this road trip reminded me of the old cliché: The journey is more important than the destination.

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