Family Road Trip 2021: 68% of Respondents Prefer Driving for Summer Travel
May 25, 2021

Seventy percent of those surveyed report their last summer road trip was the time of their lives

Foster City, CA – May 25, 2021 – After a year of lockdowns, Americans are ready to hit the road for their summer vacations — and memories of vacations past are fueling their wanderlust. According to results of a motorist study released by, a one-stop destination for unbiased, expert advice on car insurance, 79% of Americans have taken a family road trip in the last five years and 70% of those families report having the time of their lives during those vacations. In fact, 28% are willing to embark on road trips of more than 1,000 miles.

The majority of Americans (68%) prefer road trips for summer travel, compared to 15% of respondents in’s annual survey of 1,000 drivers who say they would rather fly, and 17% who only favor car travel now because of the pandemic and expect to resume flying eventually. The research also highlights what family road trip experiences are like and how drivers feel when on the road, how they cope with traffic, and what types of mishaps they’ve experienced due to poor road conditions.  

This year, finds that 24% of people planned to take a road trip last year, but their driving plans were wrecked by COVID. Another top reason for skipping a family road trip is work: 20% of respondents say they can’t get time off—down from last year’s 23% percent.

Other common reasons for avoiding road trips include high gas prices (20%) and difficulty with hotels (10%). Another 11% percent of people complain about spending so much time trapped in the car with family members.

What do people think about family road trips this year compared to the previous two years?  

How drivers described their family road trip experience 2021 2020 2019
Super fun, we will do it again  70%  70%  73%
Stressful, yet enjoyable 34% 39%  36%
Someone had a meltdown within an hour of the trip 13% 7% 12%
Much more fighting than at home  12% 6% 8%
Someone had a meltdown before we left the neighborhood 9% 6% 6%

Dealing with traffic woes 

During their trips, 53% of drivers say they are relaxed and content, up from 37% who felt this way last year. On the other hand, 9% of respondents admit being stressed or angry while driving, down from 11% in last year’s survey.

How do Americans cope when they experience traffic delays? 

  • 69% listen to music
  • 30% listen to news
  • 25% talk on the phone
  • 23% listen to audiobooks or podcasts 
  • 21% check social media on the phone
  • 18% listen to sports radio
  • 17% text on their phone
  • 11% get out of the car and walked around if in stopped traffic for extended time
  • 10% eat an entire meal 
  • 9% talk with strangers in other cars to pass the time 

Some drivers aren’t able to cope with heavy traffic at all. Five percent (5%) were driven to tears during their road trip, 5% had an accident, 6% received a traffic ticket, and 4% got into an altercation with another driver.

Toll of road trip accidents

According to the Department of Transportation, the conditions of roads around the country are getting worse. This results in 48% of drivers taking alternate routes to avoid bad roads. Many drivers sustain major (30%) or minor (30%) car damage because of poor road conditions, 15% hit objects, and 14% get into an accident with another car.

Just one accident can raise your yearly car insurance rate by 32%, or $450 a year, on average, according to’s auto insurance rate data analysis.

Whether drivers have been in an accident or not, they can save on car insurance by comparing rates, explains Penny Gusner,’s senior consumer analyst.

“Car insurance rates fluctuate, so you may no longer be getting the best deal, especially if you’ve been in a recent accident,” Gusner cautions. “Since companies each assess risk differently, there may be significant differences in car insurance coverage prices among carriers.” 

To view the full report and methodology, visit 2021 Family Road Report

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