My preferred mode of transportation used to be commercial aviation. I’m a pilot myself, and the joy of getting on an airplane and hours later arriving at my destination was thrilling. I loved every bit of it.
I’m not sure what changed, perhaps simply getting older, but traveling by air is now a huge inconvenience. It’s fast, but cumbersome. Before even leaving for the airport, you have to pack your bags and hope that they don’t cross the 50 pound threshold for added fees. Then there’s the logistical planning of getting to the airport on time to clear security, the inevitable flight delays, and the uncomfortable seats. Sure, there are more expensive seats available for purchase, but at the end of the day, it’s economically less efficient. We’re all going to the same place, and on domestic flights, it’s barely worth it for the steep mark-up.
I’m a Southwest Airlines fan, but despite their friendly attitude, which has soured a bit since their merger with AirTran, I’ve found a new preferred way to travel: road trips.
Of course, if it was just me flying, I might have a slightly different perspective. Who wants to get in a car and drive across the country alone? Small children and their needs are dictating how I like to travel, but there’s something distinctly American about loading up your family in you van, packing whatever you want because it all fits, and driving to your destination. No approvals, no paperwork, no passport, no timetable. Leave when you want, arrive when you want. Hungry, thirsty, or need a break? Just pull over at the next stop and hop out! Plus, driving is ridiculously economical.
We’re getting ready to take our family summer vacation to Michigan. This is a road trip that I’ve been looking forward to for weeks. We’ve begun to gather car activities for the children and soon will start procuring supplies. I have a detailed plan for getting the van ready to hit the road. The excitement is building and the kids are really getting into it.
There will come a day when I look forward to flying commercially again as my default means of travel. That day is not today. So, until then, I’ll look forward to our family adventures on the open road as we travel across America and explore our incredible nation.