Forget the Summer of Love, this summer is all about fun! Specifically adventures and trips with friends or family—safely, of course. But getting to your destination is only half the battle. And while it might be tempting to embark on a ten-hour drive rather than try to organize a train trip, car crashes are the leading cause of death when traveling in the US. Rather than letting potential hurdles get the best of your exciting plans, allow us to do the gritty work for you.
We’ve compiled a list of the best and safest ways to travel long-distance, so you can focus on the fun times ahead.
Nothing says travel more than catching a plane to a neighboring state or far-off, distant land. There’s something extraordinary and magical about watching the landscape shrink before your eyes as a plane takes flight and gains elevation. And for argument’s sake, there’s no better place on earth to watch a sunset or sunrise grow from light pink to brilliant hues of orange, purple, and deep blue.
It’s easy to see how folks of all ages can become enamored with plane travel: it’s efficient, romantic, and exciting. Plus, there were zero deaths during scheduled airline travel in 2014, which is a comforting statistic—even if you scale plane passenger miles with automobiles, planes would still be the safest way to travel. But there are other perks to aerial voyages—planes take you from point A to point B quickly, making them ideal for international travel or quick trips. And if you have children under the age of two, they fly for free.
Once upon a time, trains were the lifeblood of travel in the United States—it was largely the only way people could sightsee or visit family members in other states. But trains have become extremely underutilized—relegated as slow-moving relics that only urban commuters ride.
But trains are not only safe; they also provide a sense of laid-back luxuriousness that you don’t get when traveling by plane or car. After you board the train, all you need to do is take a seat and let the personnel do the “driving” for you. And the loveliest part of all? You get to watch the world unfold all around you. Some trains have cars that are designed specifically for unobstructed nature viewing. These scenic cars are particularly exciting for kids since they offer an unhampered picture of what the world outside the train looks like. Plus, there’s usually a fully stocked bar on those cars, too, so you can enjoy a beverage and stop to smell the roses, rather than having to focus on the road or navigate a busy airport terminal.
When compared to the passenger death data from planes and trains, automobiles are the most dangerous method of travel. Driving requires a lot of responsibility and attention, and it can be difficult to fully focus when you’re driving a car filled with antsy kids and luggage. On top of it, you have to navigate other drivers’ bad driving skills, making long-distance road trips extremely stressful. On the other hand, automobiles provide fast and dependable transport to rural areas where an airport or train station aren’t available.
From a security standpoint, planes and trains have more safety protocols in place to ensure everyone gets to their destination in one piece. So as you drum up ideas for summer vacations and family trips, consider the distance you want to travel and how much money you want to spend on transportation. Both factors will help you decide what method of travel is best for your family. From there, the sky’s the limit (especially if you choose to take a plane)!