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The great American road trip is high on the bucket list of nearly every traveler, whether they’re from the United States or not. There’s a certain romanticism surrounding the idea of cruising down long straight highways experiencing the differences of each state and stopping off at some of the world’s most appealing attractions along the way.
But road trips can also be notoriously tricky to plan, and if you’re visiting the U.S. it’s hard to imagine cramming everything you want to see into your vacation time. Randy Olson, a prominent data scientist enlisted by Chevrolet to tackle this problem, has come up with the most efficient route to go through all 48 contiguous states, including some of the best vacation spots in the country.
The data-driven map he created as a result can be found below, or at this link. National landmarks, theme parks, museums, and state parks are all included on the journey. It’s highly unlikely many people would be able to undertake the entire road trip – it would take 214.56 hours on the road, around nine days – but the map shows the possibilities of traveling by car around the U.S.
“This map is designed so road trippers can start anywhere and drive as much or as little as they like,” Olson said. “Across the U.S., people can create their perfect route, whether staying close to home or embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime 48-state journey.”
The American road trip is still alive and well as a vacation option in the U.S., and especially with families. A study conducted by Chevrolet in 2017 showed that 93% of American parents enjoy road trips with their family, and 53% “love” them. The same research found that American parents who take road trips think the perfect length of a family road trip is approximately six hours.
Technology is making the road trip a more comfortable experience. The days of sweltering in a boiling hot car with nothing to do but look out the window are over. Now most modern cars have wi-fi, entertainment systems, and more, the idea of driving halfway across the country with friends or family doesn’t sound grueling at all. If the driverless car revolution continues at the same pace, it may become even more relaxing over time, as passengers sit back and let the car do the work.