The Best Speed for Your Road Trip – Motorboat or Sailboat?

My last blog was about whether to book reservations ahead of time for a road trip, or day by day. I shared some of the reasons why I booked ahead for my 5-week trip to the West. However, there is one more important aspect to consider before making this important decision.

How fast will you be traveling?

When I was planning my trip, an online acquaintance, after reading my proposed itinerary, correctly assumed I would be driving on major highways and frequently staying in motels. She strongly recommended that I rethink my mode of travel to her slower method of using the back roads and staying in campgrounds. Following is a portion of her email:

“In the boating world, the difference between a motor boater and a sail boater is that one wants to get from point A to point B, whereas the other is much more into the journey.”

Of course, she had no idea how well I understood the pleasures of sail boating, and the joy of spontaneous discovery. But how could I explain to her that when I thought about this trip, it screamed motorboat! motorboat!

Maybe because this was my first trip out West, and yes, I would be doing a lot of highway driving. They were the roads that would lead me to all the National Parks and other touristy sights I had spent my entire life reading about and seeing in movies.

I needed the speed of a motorboat because my itinerary for 36 days on the road would be filled to the brim. In fact I researched for almost a year to find the perfect route, and then made reservations for all 35 nights before I left home. Booking ahead gave me the comfort of knowing that I would stick to my itinerary and see everything on my list. A side benefit was that I made reservations in unique places that would have had a “No occupancy” sign posted by the time I arrived.

For the record, I don’t agree that if I had traveled by the sailboat method I would have been “more into the journey”. In fact, my motorboat method probably allowed me to be more into the journey because I didn’t have to stop every day and think about where I would lay my head that night.

Each method is designed for different speeds. For a successful road trip choose the one that best fits the blueprint of the trip you are planning. You will then have the answer of whether or not to make reservations ahead.