As Dorthy bids the land of Oz and her newfound friends a tearful goodbye at the end of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, she clicks her ruby red slippers together and says the most famous lines in all of movie history: “There’s No Place Like Home.”
These five words have stuck out in the minds of many Americans and they continue to touch audiences far and wide, perhaps even more so now as people move farther away and the world gets wider.
As the holiday season draws near, many of us are gearing up to head home to spend time with our families and friends.
For many people, the holidays are the only opportunity they have to go home, catch up with treasured friends and family, and decompress. Now, more than ever, time together is becoming more valuable to Americans than a pair of jeweled slippers.
Yet, when prompted, many Americans express reluctance, and even resistance, to heading home for the holidays.
Many Americans skip heading home altogether, saying they have no time or desire to make the pilgrimage to their hometowns. With this sudden shift in sentiment, it’s no wonder travelers are starting to dread their trips home.
And for what? Because we don’t like navigating family politics, or because we loathe feeling like a kid rather than the successful adults we are? Because we’d rather stick it out alone than face the most minor of inconveniences?
This holiday season we’re encouraging our readers to look for the silver lining, and in the spirit of the 112.5 million Americans (and counting!) expected to travel home for the holidays this year, we’ve compiled 7 reasons why you should start getting yourself pumped for your upcoming road trip home.
1. Road trip snacks
Is there anything more exciting than making a stop at your local supermarket or gas station just to stock up on chips, chocolates, trail mix, and cookies?!
We didn’t think so.
There’s something about a road trip that makes your diet go out the window and your craving for junk food to jump into overdrive.
The holidays are hardly the time to reign in your sweet tooth and road trips are a great excuse to avoid doing so. After all, you do need fuel to keep you going if you’re to make it to your destination!
2. Reconnecting with friends
Seeing old friends after spending a long time apart is one of the holiday season’s greatest joys.
No matter how long it’s been, and even if you’ve both changed immensely since you last met, coming together to spend time with your old pals is incredibly special.
Even if you’re dreading spending time at long family functions and being treated like you’re 13 all over again, let the promise of meeting up with friends afterward help you get through it.
3. The sights
America is a big, beautiful nation, full of the most incredible landscapes and stunning scenery on this side of the equator.
Road trips are a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with your surroundings.
Take a minute during your trip to take things in as a sightseer would: notice all the little peculiarities in the landscape, the beauty of nature on the road between your home and your destination, and enjoy all of the quirky tourist traps along the way.
4. ...And tastes!
Diner food is just the best; it tastes great and it’s super indulgent. There’s a reason there’re hundreds of shows cataloging the nation’s best diners and restaurants, and there’s no better reason to see what all the fuss’s about!
There are bound to be dozens of famous eateries between you and your destination. Make a game out of seeing how many you can visit before you make it back home or make a “food bucket list” and cross places or dishes off as you go along.
Either way, the food, the glorious, delicious, greasy, buttery, savory, sweet, food, is definitely something to look forward to as you make the trek home.
5. Road trip games and challenges
Who doesn’t have fond memories of jabbing their sibling’s arm during a particularly engaging game of punch buggy (or Chevy, or Ford, or….) or guessing in circles at iSpy?
Aside from helping curb frustration and boredom, road trip games are a great way to pass the time and have fun with your co-pilots.
Take a minute before your trip to consider a few game options to keep you and your passengers entertained for the drive, flight, or ride over. If you’re feeling particularly creative, put your own spin on the classics by creating new rules to keep things fresh and fun.
6. Cheap gas
High gas prices are a pain that almost everyone in the nation has to deal with. Unless you live in the heartland.
The center and southernmost states of the nation enjoy the lowest gas prices in the entire country, owing thanks to a variety of factors such as proximity to the pipelines, low taxes, and lax refinery laws.
If you’re heading out of town for the holidays, consider fueling up before you head back home.
Who knows: it might be your last chance to have a full tank!
7. Great tunes
Cross-country odysseys have inspired countless musicians to bare their souls on record. Almost everyone from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Queen, AC/DC to Lana Del Rey and so many others have all sung about the Journey home.
There are so many great playlists out there that you’re bound to find one that suits your taste in music and, if you don’t, creating one’s just as easy.
We’ve created a playlist for those of you who just aren’t feeling it or simply have too much on their plate:
Whether you’re eager to get home, or you’re avoiding thinking about it too hard, we hope we’ve gotten you at least a little bit excited about making the trip back. The holidays are best shared with the people you love, no matter how nuts they drive you, and it’s important to take the time to show them how much they mean to you.
Remember: there’s no place like home, and there’s nothing quite like the journey there and back.
Where are you headed this holiday season? Got any tips to make the trip easier and the transition home just a little smoother? Leave them in the comments below and check back to swap sage advice with your fellow readers.