Old-fashioned road trips are trendy again, and while in South Africa they continue to be the mainstay of the affordable holiday break, in the US there has been a particular resurgence.
According to US surveys of websites, newspapers, magazines and even books - the humble road trip appears to be the next big thing.
And of course they're actually a long-standing tradition steeped in nostalgia and pop culture, from the 1950s Beat Generation literary classic "On the Road" to the 1983 comedy movie "National Lampoon's Vacation."
On Instagram, the hashtag #roadtrip shows up 37 million times.
In some ways, the comeback of this 20th century-style vacation is surprising in an era when "time has become far more precious than money, a priceless commodity not to be squandered lumbering along down endless miles of highway," writes Richard Ratay in his upcoming book, "Don't Make Me Pull Over!: An Informal History of the Family Road Trip".
In other words, why spend 18 hours driving over 1 931 kilometres when you could get there in two hours by plane?
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Well for one, flying is expensive.
The more people taking the trip, the cheaper it is to pile everyone in a car - instead of buying airfare for a family of four.
Flying is also unpleasant. Getting to the airport, allowing time for security, dealing with delays and baggage can easily turn a two-hour flight into a trip that sucks up most of your day and all of your soul. For some travellers, it's more appealing to get up early, hit the road and spend all day driving. At least you can bring more than one bag without paying extra. And you can stop where you want, when you want.
So will you next Summer break be a road trip? Here is some insight into why it might be, along with resources to plan your own road trip.
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Where to go?
A colossal 960-page book published in May called "The Road Trip Book: 1001 Drives of a Lifetime," edited by Darryl Sleath, describes road trips all over the globe, from South Africa's Chapman's Peak Drive to California's Pacific Coast Highway, to the Pamir Highway from Afghanistan to Kyrgzystan.
Many of the trips are accompanied by digital route outlines that can be explored with Google Maps.
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Chevrolet worked with a data scientist, Randy Olson, to calculate the most efficient road trip route around the US, with one family-friendly stop in each of the 48 contiguous states. It would take 214 hours (around nine days) of non-stop driving to complete the over 20 921 kilometre route.
A car is silhouetted against the setting sun as it travels along Interstate 70 in Kansas City. (Photo: Charlie Riedel, AP)
The itinerary ranges from Disneyland in Anaheim, California, to national parks like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, to the Gateway Arch in St Louis, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Lake Champlain in Vermont and the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.
Here's an interactive map of the route.
According to MMGY Global's 2017-18 data, road trips represented 39% of vacations taken by American travellers in 2016, up from 22% in 2015.
The top reason cited for taking road trips: the ability to make stops along the way. Other reasons (besides lower costs and avoiding air travel) include the ease of taking pets along and the ability to make plans last-minute.
Millennials on the move
One surprise finding: The resurgence in road trips is "led by millennials," said Steve Cohen, senior vice president, travel insights, MMGY Global. "When we look at the total number of road trips, there were more taken by millennials than any other generation." And even though they're young, nostalgia plays a role. Millennials are remembering trips they took "when they were kids, which wasn't that long ago," Cohen said.
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The price of petrol matters less than you might expect. A recent AAA survey concluded that even though petrol costs more now than at any time since 2014, that's not keeping people home. AAA also said road trips were the most popular option for family vacations in their survey.
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