5 perks of a solo road trip

Woman in a pink beanie looks at a winding highway

In this thoroughly weird time, with social distancing the norm and travel options limited, more than a few of us may be scratching our vacation itch with a solo road trip. It may well be our first stab at such a solitary sojourn, and the prospect of covering a lot of miles and sightseeing without companions with which to share the experience might seem a letdown. 

But these days, it’s all about finding silver linings, and there’s a lot to recommend a solo journey every once in a while. 

1. You can be more spontaneous

A car journey with family or friends tends to be run by committee, and departing from the plan for a gem museum, intriguing restaurant, or particularly photogenic field of flowers may provoke an uproar—assuming you’re behind the wheel to make the call in the first place.

Not so when you’re flying solo: You can be the master of your own destiny and follow the slightest suggestion of a magical discovery awaiting at the next pullout or off-ramp.

RELATED: Check out 10 exotic road trip destinations in the United States.

A quiet stretch of road in a redwood forest

2. You've got time for reflection & quiet

Nothing against the communal road trip, when you can swap stories, tell jokes, count animals, and otherwise pass the time with good company. But traveling by yourself gives you what may be—depending on your home or office routine—the rare chance to enjoy an extended period of peace and quiet. The unspooling road ahead and the countryside flashing by are classic inspirations for reflective mulling, whether you’re sorting out a dilemma, searching for an idea, or just giving your mind some breathing room. 

3. You can do your dream road trip (that nobody else was interested in going on)

Maybe you’ve always wanted to see the great Civil War battlefields. Maybe you’re intrigued by the idea of tracing out Route 66 or some other historic byway. Maybe you’re keen on an itinerary of the best barbecue restaurants, surviving Carnegie Libraries, national wildlife refuges, or the great western explorations of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery.

Not everybody in your family or your social circle may get jazzed about the same geographical adventures as you. A solo road trip is the perfect excuse to finally indulge, full-bore, in that esoteric bucket-list fantasy trek of yours.

RELATED: See how to save money and travel more safely with the AAA road trip guide.

A man with a camera on a tripod photographing a sunset

4. You can hone a skill

Being your own road-trip boss means you can dive into mastering a new or long-abandoned skill. Photography, for example, lends itself well to solo travel: You can spend as much time as you want trying to capture a certain light, with nobody else there to say, “Hurry up!” 

Or maybe you’re jonesing to pursue some roadside botany or geology, devote yourself to stargazing, or fine-tune your landscape watercolors. There’s an awful lot of rewarding firsthand learning to be done on the road, and it’s often most effective without others to constrain you.

5. You can get lost in a good book, podcast, or album

It’s never been easier to bliss out to some sonic stimulation over car speakers. Whether you’re cranking a customized music playlist, working through (in audio form) one of those big fat novels or epic biographies you’ve always meant to read, or getting addicted to 1 or 2 or 10 of the bazillion critically acclaimed podcasts currently a smartphone tap away, a solitary cross-country drive allows you to enjoy an uninterrupted, immersive, uniquely zoned-in consumption of culture as you roll across the miles.

Why not start with AAA's very own Traveling With AAA? It's available for free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Each episode features local experiences and travel options to help you feel like you’re actually there. 

RELATED: Prepare for your solo adventure with these 10 road trip safety tips.

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Prevent wear & tear by renting from Hertz

Instead of putting extra miles on your vehicle, rent an SUV with plenty of cargo space from Hertz. AAA members get all sorts of benefits when booking with Hertz, including discounts of up to 20% off base rates. Through Dec. 31, 2020, you can get 1 free day when you reserve 4.

Members also get the peace of mind that comes with Hertz's Gold Standard Clean, a 15-point sanitizing process for all rental vehicles. 

See details and current promotions
Learn more about Hertz's Gold Standard Clean


Let AAA help you plan your road trip

Members can visit a AAA branch for free maps and TourBooks1, or go online to use the AAA TripTik® Travel Planner, find maps in the AAA Map Gallery, check gas prices and road conditions, and much more. 

Road trip planning resources

AAA Travel alert: Many travel destinations have implemented COVID-19–related restrictions. Before making travel plans, check to see if hotels, attractions, cruise lines, tour operators, restaurants, and local authorities have issued health and safety-related restrictions or entry requirements. The local tourism board is a good resource for updated information.

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