According to MMGY Global, between 2015 and 2016 the percentage of Americans going road tripping nearly doubled. From 22% to 39%. Domestic vacations have increased by 14 million, with Americans now spending $5 billion on leisure travel. Overseas vacations have declined. Speaking to farmers market vendors, I learned they cancelled their European vacation plans due to their perception that Americans are not well-liked overseas. Really?
The media is (of course) blaming President Donald Trump. He might be the main man to thank for the increase in the popularity of road trips. Start with a trade war with every nation in Europe; toss in demanding NATO pony up for our protection; add some disparaging tweets at European leaders, for their poor decisions and leadership; top it off with shaming Mexico and Canada and these headlines make a Utah road trip sound quite appealing. (However, the decline in international travel actually began under Obama).
Last year our Road Tripping issue was second in popularity only to our beer issue. We literally saved every copy that wasn’t taken and we have handed them all out. Utahns love to road trip, especially within Utah. Utah is home to the highest per capita of people who call themselves “preppers” why not prep by pretending gas is already $10 per gallon? Utahns are proud of our state and we love visiting each other’s towns and cities.
And why not? Why drive for days to other states when there is so much to see inside of our own beehive? Why go further when you can visit places like Lake Powell or Bear Lake? Why leave if you have Canyonlands and Arches (Moab), Bryce Canyon, Highway 12 and stunning Capitol Reef and Escalante? Where are you going to find nicer high-altitude lakes than Lake Mary or Cecret Lake in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons? Where are you going to find better sand dunes than Little Sierra? We have some of the best ghost towns in Eureka, and Spring Canyon (above Helper, Utah). We have some of the greatest places to camp and fish around Fish Lake, Strawberry and Flaming Gorge. We have some of the best back country in the remote high Uintas and down in the Bears Ears. It might appear I’m using sarcasm or exaggerating, but I I’m not.
I’ve lived here now over forty years and I’m trying to find a good reason to move away to satisfy my wife’s telling me I suffer seriously from “Utah bubble-boy syndrome.” We need to “experience the world,” but how do you do it when you live in such a state where there are so many adventures right out our back door? I even find the ugly places in Utah fascinating. Visit Skull Valley, near the “Dugway proving grounds” and you won’t be disappointed; there is history, intrigue, strange sightings in the heavens; and you can take your old TV there and exercise your second amendment rights in shooting it to pieces. Venture further west to the Salt Flats and watch the sunset over one of the flattest, saltiest spots on earth. In summary: go and see amazing Utah! And be sure to come to the Made in Utah Festival on August 25th.