Holiday Road Trips: Why Fly When You Can Drive?

Road-Tripping In The Lincoln Mkc.
An enjoyable road trip in the Lincoln MKC. Photo credit: Shannon Entin for AGirlsGuidetoCars.

Driving isn’t just for everyday adventures, you know.

My kids hate that I fly a lot for work but when we travel as a family, I insist we drive. I have learned to love road trips: no limits on what you take with you or what you bring home, schedules are flexible and itineraries are expandable.

Most priceless is the time you get to spend with your companions.

A snow storm = quality time with mom and dad

Kristin Shaw learned this when she was pregnant with her son (but didn’t know it yet).

Dodge Hellcat

Kristin Shaw in the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

“Eight years ago, I flew to Indiana to spend the week before Christmas with my parents, and was scheduled to come back to Austin on December 22nd. I had purchased tickets to a Spurs game for my husband’s birthday on December 23, so I had plenty of time to get back.

On December 21st, there was a snowstorm, and my flight was cancelled. The airline told me I could get home on December 24th, but that was not going to work. As it turned out, my parents were scheduled to fly to Florida on a different airline, and their flights were canceled, too. So we decided to jump in the car and drove from Elkhart, Indiana, to Atlanta, Georgia – about a 12-hour drive – where my parents would drop me off to make a rebooked connection. They would then drive the rest of the way to Ft. Myers. My dad has a red Chevy HHR, and he had to drive carefully through the icy Indiana roads; the trees were coated with crystalline icicles.

It turned out to be a great drive with fun conversation and quality time with my parents. That night, we stayed in a hotel and the next morning, they dropped me off at the Atlanta airport. I made it home in time for my husband’s birthday.

One great road trip leads to another

This year, my husband, son, and I are taking our first major road trip from Austin to Ft. Myers – about 18 hours! – to be with my parents for Christmas. I can’t wait for the trip and the family time on the road.”

Driving Stick Shift Easy

Doesn’t she look happy? Kim Tate in the Mazda MX 5. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A flight home leads to a new journey

I learned a new appreciation for cars and road trips when I flew home to my parents house for Thanksgiving in 2012. I didn’t rent a car while I was there, so I had to rely on either my mom’s minivan or my dad’s Miata if I wanted to go anywhere.

I went out to see some friends one evening and decided it was definitely cooler to drive the Miata than the minivan (no offense). I hadn’t driven a 6-speed stick shift in a while so it took a bit of getting used to, but before I hit the first traffic light I was back in the swing of driving a manual.

And back in love. My first car, an MG Midget, was a stick shift and I suddenly realized I missed it. I decided then and there to trade in my Jeep for a manual transmission and began the search for my next car.

On this car shopping road trip the East Coast was my mall

Bmw 335I In Navy Blue

My BMW 335i in my favorite car color: navy blue. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Christmas soon rolled around and I was still looking for my new car. I decided to turn our holiday road trip into a shopping trip up and down the East Coast. I downloaded some apps to my phone, including Autotrader’s app, to help me research and shop for my new car. We tested cars in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, North Carolina, and Georgia. Early on I found the car I wanted in Baltimore, but continued test driving many others to be certain. As we headed back home for New Year’s we stopped back at the dealer in Baltimore and purchased the BMW 335i six speed I’d driven the week before.

Buying a car leads to a new adventure: AGirlsGuidetoCars

I learned so much from the process and felt so empowered to not only buy a car on my own but also, negotiate a great deal, all while traveling, that I wrote the story for TravelingMom. Soon Kim Orlando and I started talking about a car site for women that would help them along in their car buying journeys, too, and before we knew it, we were on a trip of our own: building AGirlsGuidetoCars.

This is a time of year for thanks and gratitude. And we have a lot to be thankful for: You. Thank you for being part of our journey, for sharing the fun and excitement with us, and for taking part in the change in how car companies see their most important customers: Women.

We hope you have a happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday season ahead.

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss