SOURCE: Rand McNally

May 23, 2006 16:51 ET

Navigating the Family Road Trip

Rand McNally National Consumer Survey Reveals America's Growing Love of Road Trips

SKOKIE, IL -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 23, 2006 -- If you're one of the millions of Americans who cherishes the time-honored tradition of the family road trip, complete with sing-a-longs and car games, you're not alone. Despite rising gas prices, people are taking even more road trips now than they did growing up, and where do they want to go next? According to Rand McNally's "Great American Road Trip Survey," American families want to go to a Disney theme park followed by a national park. While on their way, most would choose to have Chevy Chase keep them company and pass the time by looking at the passing sights.

To celebrate its 150th anniversary and the long-standing tradition of the family road trip, Rand McNally, America's largest commercial maker of national and local maps, street guides and atlases, conducted the "Great American Road Trip Survey." The survey polled nearly 4,000 consumers from all 50 states, as well as celebrity road trippers such as Jamie Lee Curtis and Doris Roberts to find out what America thinks about the family road trip. Respondents shared their "road trip" must-haves and top places to visit while on the road.

"For 150 years, Americans have trusted Rand McNally products to help them navigate millions of family road trips," said Rob Apatoff, CEO, Rand McNally. "Capturing America's love of the family road trip in this survey was such an entertaining way for us to mark this milestone."

Rand McNally Survey Highlights:
-  96 percent of respondents have taken at least one road trip in their
-  40 percent of childhood road trips lasted a week
-  76 percent of respondents usually take a road trip for their vacation
-  Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California ranked
   No. 1 as ideal destinations for parents and children
-  Asked what celebrity they would most like to share the family road
   trip with, Chevy Chase was voted No. 1
-  Top two in-transit pastimes?  Looking at passing sights (67 percent)
   and playing games (63 percent)
-  Top road trip disagreements? Personal space/seating arrangements
   (54 percent) and when to stop for breaks (27 percent)
-  Best stop for a bathroom break? Restaurants
-  Best places to stop for the night? Hotels and motels (56 percent)
   followed by bunking with family and friends (54 percent)
-  Who navigated? Mom (47 percent) followed by dad (41 percent)
-  Best food for the road? Potato chips, candy and cookies

Other highlights from the national "Great American Road Trip Survey"

On the Road Again
-  Most Americans have taken a road trip with kids (86 percent)
-  Walt Disney World Resort in Florida or Disneyland Resort in California
   rank supreme as destinations parents want to take their children on
   a family vacation (39 percent)

He Said, She Said
-  Opposites attract as women would prefer to ride with Brad Pitt while
   men would choose Jennifer Aniston
-  More men found gas stations provide suitable restrooms on the road
   than women
-  For women, visiting a relative's home is their No. 1 road trip
   destination when they are traveling without children. Men preferred
   national parks

Democrats, Republicans and Independents Agree...
-  Members of each party would campaign to visit their ideal vacation
   spot -- Walt Disney World Resort in Florida or Disneyland Resort in
-  Chevy Chase would be their top celebrity candidate to share a road trip
-  No secret about it -- restaurants offer the best bathrooms on the road

The Age Old Question
-  Jennifer Aniston, Ben Stiller and Jessica Simpson claimed top rank as
   the most popular celebrities to take a road trip with for 18 to 28
   year olds
-  The young and the young at heart (aged 18 to 49) agreed on Disney as
   the ideal vacation spot

Road Trip Scrap Book
-  Road trip memories fell into a few main categories:
   -  Accidentally leaving a loved one behind at a rest stop
   -  Being chased by animals or attacked by bugs
   -  Desperately needing to use the restroom or getting car sick
   -  Getting lost
   -  Cars breaking down, running out of gas, or receiving speeding
   -  Torturing siblings
Celebs Hit the Road

Actresses Jamie Lee Curtis, Doris Roberts, Leah Remini and Patricia Richardson and singer Mark McGrath were happy to share their family road trip memories.

Television mom Doris Roberts agreed with popular opinion, saying she would most like to head to a Disney theme park, but Jamie Lee Curtis would rather spend her time in the second most popular destination, a national park. Mark McGrath could lead a band of celebrities, including Leah Remini and Patricia Richardson, on a trip to their shared ideal destination -- the ocean, lake or beach.

"Marie Barone" aka Doris Roberts and Jamie Lee Curtis once again agreed with popular opinion, saying playing games was their favorite way to pass time in the car. Mark McGrath favored playing games and reading, leaving the singing to Patricia Richardson who named games, reading and singing as her top three road trip activities.

Like her opinionated character Carrie Heffernan, Leah Remini spent a lot of time arguing, as she usually passed time in the car by bickering with her siblings. Jamie Lee Curtis, Mark McGrath, Leah Remini and Doris Roberts said choosing a radio station most commonly disrupted the harmony of their past road trips. Like most consumers, Patricia Richardson was too concerned with fighting for her personal space to decide between classical or top 40.

About Rand McNally & Company

Rand McNally is North America's largest commercial maker of national and local maps, street guides and atlases. The company's print and electronic products include America's No. 1 Road Atlas, The Thomas Guide® map books, custom-made wall maps on the Web, wireless navigation solutions and online maps, directions and trip planning at

Celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2006, Rand McNally offers the most trusted tools to discover, map and navigate your world. The company leads the way with innovative products and services for the consumer, business, education and commercial transportation markets. For more information, visit or call (800) 333-0136.

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