As the winter days get colder and grayer, do you long for a Dream Vacation? Somewhere warm, where you can get away from it all? However, maybe a trip like that isn’t possible this year. Instead, there might be a solid alternative that is within your reach. Consider taking a road trip. It might be even better than a Dream Vacation!

This past week, my husband, two dogs and I drove the 1,900 miles from South Dakota to Southern California in three days. It was better than a Dream Vacation in at least five ways:

1. Your road trip companion may become a really good listener. Sometimes, I talk about things that bore my husband. But not so on a road trip. While driving, he wants to hear more of what I have to say, just so he can stay awake. He’ll say, “Tell me more” followed by an enthusiastic, “And then what did you order online!?” On a Dream Vacation, there would be none of that, he would get distracted and check Facebook. But on a road trip, I have a captive audience. Seriously, when we log some serious windshield time, we have wonderful conversations. At least *I* think we do.

2. “No Dog Left Behind.” On a Dream Vacation, your dogs most likely will not be going along. They will probably be staying at home. You will miss them terribly. Not so on a road trip. In the car, your dogs are always a couple of feet away from you. If you wonder how they are doing, all you need to do is to turn your head and look.

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Our dogs were doing fine. Look carefully – there are two dogs in this picture.

3. One appreciates the simple things. Simple can be good when it comes to road trip meals. Cheerios with milk and a sliced banana in a motel lobby is a gourmet breakfast treat, especially if the Mexican restaurant you found on Yelp the night before was not the best. I had forgotten how good Cheerios can taste! Makes me want some right now.

4. You can savor time on a road trip. When your Dream Vacation is over, you might wonder, “Where did the time go?” Not so on a road trip. You get to appreciate every hour of every day. The time does not fly by. It walks by, sedately. Whether you want to or not, you learn to live in each and every moment of a road trip. If you have limited vacation time, you might want to consider getting in the car and driving somewhere far away. It makes the most of your precious days off.

5. At the end of a road trip, you’re ready for it to be done. At the end of a Dream Vacation, you don’t want it to end. In fact, it can be painful as you return to reality. After road-tripping for just a few days, you are happy it’s over. In fact, real life has never looked so good.

Next time you think your Dream Vacation may be out of reach, maybe a good old-fashioned road trip is what you really need. Even if you’re traveling solo, find some books on tape, throw the dogs in the back, pack some snacks and get ready to make the most of your time.

Road Trips – where just a few days away can feel almost like a week!

We made it to the desert!