ALL POSTS IN [Road Trips]

Photography by Getty Images

AAA predicts that 93.3 million Americans will hit the road during the holidays, making this Christmas travel season the busiest it’s been in 6 years. More people are taking road trips this year because finding a reasonably-priced airplane ticket is like finding a needle in a haystack.

A record 84.4 million people will drive at least 50 miles between Dec. 22 and Jan. 1, according to the reputable travel agency. That’s 90.5% of holiday travelers, up from 89.3% just 6 years ago. So what does that mean to you? Expect plenty of traffic jams, crowded rest stops and bumper-to-bumper lines near highway tolls.

Need tips for dealing with this inevitable headache? Pack a couple travel-size games and snacks to keep the kids preoccupied. We recommend checking out some helpful family travel tips from Mommy Points blogger, Summer Hull, before you head out the door. Our travel expert offers up advice on everything from flying with a baby for the first time to finding hotels with health food options.

One thing travelers aren’t too concerned about is gas prices, which have dropped 50 cents since September, according to AAA. The average price at the pump will range from $3.20 and $3.40 a gallon by New Year’s Day, but that’s still not enough of a reason to thwart travelers’ plans to drive.

Although more people will be on the road, the airports will be just as busy. We recommend heading to the airport earlier than you normally would to avoid long TSA security lines — especially on the weekend before Christmas, the day after Christmas and on Jan. 2.  AAA’s economist John Heimlich expects 86% of the airplane seats to be filled with paying passengers, up from 85% last year.

Hundreds of flights have been canceled or delayed due to a major storm system making its way across the Midwest and headed for the East Coast of the US. Meteorologists predict that another storm on the West Coast may throw a wrench in travel plans next week; so before you head out the door, check out our weather forecast tool — powered by WeatherTrends360 — to find out if these 2 storms will affect your Christmas travel plans.

And if you’re headed to a big city, download The Layover app or peruse our airport guides to find out how you can kill some time during a lengthy layover.

A survey released today from YourTango.com, along with Ford Motor Company, shows that couples use road trips for “quality time” — giving them the chance to reconnect and strengthen their relationship.

In the survey of more than 1,000 couples, 91 percent have taken road trips together, with 84 percent agreeing that the experience strengthened their relationship. Road trips allow for more than quality time, though, with 63 percent of respondents agreeing that they are affectionate with their partner while driving — holding hands or sharing a kiss at a red light. Who doesn’t like a little romance on the road?

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Today marks the beginning of the 3-day Monterey Jazz Festival in arguably one of the most beautiful parts of California. Entering its 55th year, it’s the world’s longest-running jazz festival, with acts like Tony Bennett and Esperanza Spalding performing this weekend. You don’t have to be a jazz fan to appreciate that kind of star power.

Photo by Cole Thompson

 

Can’t make it to Monterey this weekend? Visit the gorgeous seaside town vicariously with this video from our go-to beach gal, Marianela, at Point Lobos State Reserve Park. Or plan a trip down the Pacific Coast Highway. And next week, the Ghost Adventures crew investigates the Point Sur Lighthouse, right outside of Monterey.

Want to plan a music festival getaway? Let our Music Festival Guide help you decide where to go — just pick the month and pack a bag! Or if you’re looking to really get away, learn about the new music festival cruise trend!

SturgisSturgis Rally

The 72nd annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is now in full gear — and so is the action. From the Black Hills to the Badlands, thousands of motorcyclists have descended on the area to celebrate the freedom of the open road — and maybe set a record or two. This year, stuntman Toby Baker returns to Sturgis to reclaim the Guinness World Record for the longest-running ride through a tunnel of fire. That’s 230 feet, 2,900 degrees. That’s just one of the highlights this week. READ MORE

Travel Channel has teamed up with Rand McNally on their annual road rally adventure — Best of the Road — to search for the best small towns across the country. Watch the small-town showdown tonight at 8|7c on Travel Channel.

Best of the Road

Hosted by our resident comedian, Bert Kreischer, the show will follow 3 teams as they road-trip across America to find the best small towns in the categories of food, beauty and fun. Town winners are awarded the prestigious title of Rand McNally’s “Best of the Road.”

Our road warrior videographer, Allison Otto, joined the RV as it toured the country from Washington, DC to Seattle.  From meeting Joplin, MO’s celebrity cat to touring Danville, KY’s miniature world, Allison captured small town wonders from coast to coast. Check out her photos all the way from Rt. 66’s Carousel Park to a traditional Kentucky BBQ.

Watch a sneak peek of the teams’ adventures. And don’t miss America’s best small towns being revealed tonight!

Join Travel Channel as we make our way across the United States and then down to Cancun and Costa Rica. See what’s on this week’s itinerary and join us for a quick getaway!

Start the week off with Bizarre Foods America tonight at 9|8c when Andrew samples the unique cuisine of Miami – check out our Bizarre Food of the Week for a sneak peek! And don’t forget to enter to win a trip to Miami – maybe you could try the bizarre foods yourself …

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The Best of the Road RV continues to make its way across the country searching for America’s best small towns. Our road warrior,  Allison Otto is capturing the wonders of Small Town America.

Check out Allison’s latest dispatch from the road, where she gets a taste of small town life — one bite at a time:

Biting into a hot, fried cinnamon-apple pie in Gainesville, TX; sipping a salt-rimmed prickly pear margarita in Santa Fe, NM; enjoying a freshly charred romaine salad drizzled with a blue cheese cream and balsamic reduction in San Luis Obispo, CA: This is how I discovered America on this Best of the Road journey.

Strawberry tart from Café Eccell in College Station, TX.

The sweets, the spices, the savories—I’ve been truly lucky on this trip to sample so many of the unique, creative dishes this country has to offer and the variety of meals that make American cuisine my favorite in the world. But what kind of traveler would I be if I didn’t share my finds with you all? So here–in no particular order—are five of the best:

1. Prickly pear margarita from the Coyote Café in Santa Fe, NM: Try this signature drink in the evening in their rooftop cantina with a bowl of chips and the café’s fresh guacamole. Heaven!

2. Strawberry tart from Café Eccell in College Station, TX: Pattie Sears, a College Station resident since the 1960s and a member of the College Station Convention and Visitors Bureau, said this tart— filled with Bavarian cream, topped with apricot-glazed strawberries and chocolate shavings in an almond-lace cookie shell– was a can’t-miss in College Station! I savored every single bite while listening to Pattie’s stories of College Station’s history. Thanks, Pattie!

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The Best of the Road RV continues to make its way across the country searching for America’s best small towns. Our road warrior,  Allison Otto,  is capturing the wonders of Small Town America.

Check out Allison’s latest dispatch from the road, where she meets Joplin’s celebrity cat that’s survived nearly nine lives:

When the Best of the Road RV stopped in Joplin, MO, I had the great fortune to film Percy Katz, a Russian Blue cat and former stray who is the official greeter at the Joplin Museum Complex and has gained a bit of celebrity status. Since Percy, who has greeted visitors from around the world for the last 12 years, is the unofficial mascot of the town, his cancer and a subsequent kidnapping episode made front-page news in Joplin.

Percy, Joplin’s celebrity cat, poses for his close-up.

I was a bit nervous to film Percy, as cats aren’t always interested in posing for the camera. But Percy was wonderful, and with the help of museum director Brad Belk (and a bag or 2 of cat treats) we got some fun shots for a web video. It was obvious how much Percy means to the community. Percy even “wrote” a regular history column (with the help of the museum staff, of course) for the children’s section of the local paper, and every year he donates to Joplin’s humane society.

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If you live in a major metropolitan area, you probably already know that the traffic in your city is pretty bad, so seeing your home make it on a list of cities with the worst traffic isn’t too much of a surprise. But maybe you’re planning on renting a car in Miami or taking a family road trip to San Francisco. In that case, TomTom’s North American Traffic Congestion Report might come in handy.

According to the report, the cities that saw an increase in traffic over the last year were Seattle, Houston, Ottawa, Ontario, San Francisco and Miami.

The cities that saw a decrease? Edmonton in Alberta, New York, Boston, Minneapolis and Toronto.

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We’re in the midst of summer and that means one thing: time for family vacations. Well, cookouts, too, but it’s mostly a chance for busy families to pause and spend precious moments together in between the routines of a normally hectic schedule.

But with endless possibilities for family getaways, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the prospect of schlepping the kids somewhere new. Travel Channel is here to make it easy on you with tips to plan a trip everyone can enjoy.

Want to avoid the hassle of airports while having a little more control over your budget? There’s a reason why road trips are a classic family adventure — read our tips on road-trippin’ in the US.

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