11 Ways RVing Beats Flying

You never look back on your RV trip and say “oh yeah I remember when we were stuck waiting to take off for three and a half hours.”

Everyone should experience traveling the country in an RV. There is no other way of travel that compares. You can enjoy the scenic wonders of nature without compromising on comfort no matter where you travel.

If you love RVing, you’ve probably found yourself aboard a commercial jet at one time or another, thinking to yourself, “I sure wish I was 30,000 feet below, cruising down the highway in my coach.”

Driving north on US 89 near Page, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And you’re not alone. Millions of people, including your friends at RVing with Rex, would choose the freedom of the open road over a cramped airplane any day.

Nevertheless, there are those out there who feel that traveling the “friendly” skies is the way to go. For those folks, we’ve compiled a list of reasons why hitting the road almost always beats taking flight.

Camping at River RV Park in Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. When you’re up in the sky, you miss the journey

One of the best things about over-the-road travel is the time spent on the way to your destination. The road trip games, bonding with family and friends—not to mention the sights and sounds you encounter driving across the United States and Canada.

I’ve posted numerous articles about our travels and the amazing destinations we’ve discovered and toured including Arches National Park, Cajun Country, Alabama Gulf Coast, California Gold Country, Grand Canyon, and Bourbon Country.

Visiting new places and experiencing new adventures are one of the great things about the RV lifestyle. From the fields of green and gorgeous mountain ranges to the soaring skylines and unforgettable landmarks, it doesn’t get any better than life on the highway.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Riding in a coach is better than flying coach

Up in the air, you’re forced to spend hours on end confined to a narrow seat in a cramped space. Turbulence is a nightmare that is often unavoidable, and if you aren’t lucky enough to land a window seat, the only scenery involves the people sitting just inches away.

Related Article: Why RV?

A motorhome or trailer, on the other hand, is a roomy, plush oasis where everyone rides first class. You choose the movie, and can even take a nap in your bed.

Driving Newfound Gap Road through Great Smoky Mountains National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. On the ground, you’re in control

When you board a flight, you’re no longer the leader of the ship. You’re told when you can get up and walk around and snacks are limited to a bag of peanuts and a can of soda—if you’re lucky. Should you need assistance, you have to rely on a flight attendant who is likely exhausted, jetlagged, and irritated from dealing with rude passengers.

With an RV, however, you’re the captain, in charge of everything from the speedometer to what’s playing on the radio.

Camping in Lake Mead National Recreation Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. With an RV, you can bring it all

Sure, flying will get you there, but you’ll be leaving a whole lot behind. Save for some luggage and a small carry-on bag, you won’t be bringing much with you on a plane other than a few essentials and some travel-size toiletries.

Get there in an RV, and you and yours will arrive with all of your gear, including your entire wardrobe, camping, and recreation supplies—and even your pets.

Touring Gettysburg National Memorial Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. You can stop whenever you want

It’s nice to get up and stretch your legs after sitting for a long time. On a plane, you can walk back to use the restroom, but that’s about it. In an RV, on the other hand, you can stop as often as you’d like, get some fresh air, and even go hiking for a while before hitting the road again.

Dining at La Posta in Historic Mesilla, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. The food is better

Airplane food is mediocre at best. Regardless of what they offer, there’s a science that explains why it tastes so bland. Studies have shown that your sense of taste isn’t the same at 30,000 feet in the air. Wine can also taste more acidic than if you drank the same type at ground level.

Related Article: Why are RVs So Popular?

In your RV, you get to fully taste everything you make, and you aren’t limited to a menu.

Motorhomes at Mount Rushmore National Memorial © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. In an RV, you don’t have to go through TSA or security

Nobody likes passing through security. In a motorhome, you don’t have to deal with this step and even travel with bottles that are larger than travel size. Not to mention you’ll never be randomly selected for a pat-down.

Driving the Davis Mountains in Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8. You get to experience all of the amazing sights along the way

There are places worthy of your bucket list from coast-to-coast. Flying across the country takes you over all of it but in an RV the whole trip is an adventure.

The roadside attractions, local restaurants, famous landmarks, and beautiful scenery all combine for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You may not remember much about a flight you took 10 years ago but you’ll always have great memories from a road trip.

Driving Utah Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

9. You can save money on hotels (and sleep in your own bed)

Campgrounds and RV parks cost less than hotels. Plus, in your RV, you’ll get to sleep in your own bed with the pillows and blankets that you’re comfortable with and won’t have to worry about pests like bed bugs.

Camping along Utah Scenic Byway 24 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. RVing just plain costs less

In many cases, traveling by RV adds up to a less expensive family vacation.

According to a PFK comparison study, a family of four can save 25-59 percent on vacation expenses traveling by recreational vehicle, while couples can save 11-46 percent, even after fuel and ownership costs are considered.

Related Article: Where are the Best Spots to Live the RV Life and Why?

The same study also found that vacationing in an RV was 45 percent less expensive than an upscale vacation, taking into account both airfare and hotel accommodations.

Along the road to Mount St. Helens in Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

11. No worry about cancellations

Consumers got a taste of what the summer air travel season could look like over the Independence Day weekend when thousands of canceled flights left passengers stranded and luggage piled up at airports across the globe. Aviation consultant Kit Darby told CBS News that a lack of pilots will continue to disrupt flights worldwide through the summer travel season and probably beyond. That’s because many pilots have retired during the pandemic, and it can take years to train qualified replacements. 

Worth Pondering…

No matter where we go in our motorhome, that sense of independence is satisfying. We have our own facilities, from comfortable bed to a fridge full of our favorite foods. We set the thermostat the way we like it and go to bed and get up in our usual routine.

Why NOW is the Best Time to Plan Your Travel Bucket List

Have you been dreaming of destinations that you’d like to be quarantined in?

As we travel again, having had time to consider how much we miss traveling and exploring, will we do anything differently? Will we make better use of our time by ensuring that our travels have a defined goal in mind?

I posed the above question in an earlier post titled, Why Do You Travel? Many of us, I suggest, travel for the wrong reasons, putting the ‘where’ ahead of the ‘why’. We have a perfect opportunity to change all that with a new travel paradigm.

Ocean Drive, Newport, Rhode Island © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A renewed and surging interest in travel suggests that many people (including myself) are starving for travel and as it becomes safe to travel again, many of us will embrace it— and we should. But will we travel better than before?

Audubon Swamp Garden, Charleston, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This pandemic is not the first major disruption to travel and besides other outbreaks from SARS and Swine Flu to MERS and Ebola there have been volcanic eruptions, terrorist attacks, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, tornados, and wildfires. But because this is so widespread and long lasting, I for one will emerge with a newfound sense of seizing the moment.

World’s Only Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Life is short enough without one not knowing when the next shoe will drop. A lesson to be learned is that if there are things you want to do in your life, you should put a plan in place and Just Do It.

In terms of travel, this is not a new idea since the pandemic. Each trip we create is by definition unique. What all of our trips share in common is the belief that any journey worth taking should be a rich personal story set within the larger narrative of life itself.

Lady Bird Wildflower Center, Austin, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In Why Do You Travel? I concluded that in this time of reflection we can make the most of the opportunity to plan our future travels by first asking why rather than where. Because travel is so freely available we tend to rush through this question.

Fort Jackson State Historic Park, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The bulk of travel that puts the where ahead of the why follows a predictable blueprint that hasn’t changed since the days of the Grand Tour; we visit the Louvre, tour the Pantheon, and ride the London Eye. We do all these things automatically because they’re what you’re meant to do.

Laughlin, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

That is why you need to think about what you really want to do and see? Create your own Bucket List and do it in multiple categories that could focus on family trips and personal passions that could include an interest in history, architecture, food and wine. Then plan a realistic timetable to accomplish your goals.

Fountain Hills, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

During the pandemic, time is the one thing we have in abundance which makes travel planning even more desirable. This forced break is the optimal time to begin planning those big trips that require considerable research and forethought. We may also see tighter restrictions in place in terms of visitors to some of the most coveted sights which makes advanced planning even more important.

Julian, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This multi-year calendar approach makes a lot of sense for many reasons. Bucket list sporting events such as the Kentucky Derby, Indy 500, Daytona 500, Masters Tournament, Rose Bowl Parade, and Superbowl benefit from booking a year out.

Daytona Beach, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In addition, some trips can be done by just about anyone while others require a modicum of fitness and mobility that may mandate simply not waiting too long. If you want to hike the Appalachian Trail or heli-ski in Rocky Mountains, these should be closer to the front of your list.

Fort Frederica National Monument, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But besides these logistical issues the biggest reason to plan a multi-year bucket list calendar is to ensure you do what you want to do while you’re physically able and in a way you can afford. Since the world is just too big and diverse not to explore, use some of your downtime and emerge from this crisis with a better sense of all the things you want to do and see with the time you have remaining.

Rebecca Ruth Chocolates, Frankfort, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

I have wandered all my life, and I have also traveled; the difference between the two being this, that we wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.

—Hilaire Belloc