KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Memorial Day is a time to honor the country’s fallen veterans, and it is also considered the unofficial kickoff of the summer travel season with more than 36.6 million Americans on the road last year over the long weekend visiting friends and family while paying tribute to our American heroes, according to an INRIX research study.
Pilot Flying J is marking the start of the summer road trip season by declaring the Friday before Memorial Day weekend — May 24 — as National Road Trip Day and celebrating with a discount for guests.
Consistently one of the busiest days of the year at Pilot and Flying J travel centers, locations see an increase in gas and food sales by nearly 15 percent, as well as an average of almost five million gallons of gas sold on this day based on Pilot Flying J sales data from January 6, 2017 to March 1, 2019.
To find out why so many people are road tripping, Pilot Flying J commissioned a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults who take at least one road trip per year. The study revealed that people opt for a road trip over other forms of transportation for flexibility and cost savings. Specifically, the study found:
- The top reasons people take road trips are that it’s cheaper (57 percent), they have more control over the trip and plans (51 percent) and they like being able to stop whenever they want along the way (50 percent).
- Almost one-third (31 percent) of road trippers say they’d hit the road more often if they had a rewards program that made it cheaper to travel by car.
- Further, two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents say that they would be more likely to stop at a rest stop that has mobile rewards and fuel discount programs.
To help those drivers, Pilot Flying J is offering its new app to save drivers time and money with a more personalized experience tailored to their type of travel, location, preferences and needs, according to Whitney Haslam Johnson, chief experience officer for Pilot Flying J, who said there are several ways guests can save money with the app, including a 3-cent gas or auto diesel discount and exclusive offers on favorite food items and drinks when the app is used at the time of purchase.
To celebrate National Road Trip Day, drivers can enter the promo code “ROADTRIP” in the Pilot Flying J app starting May 21 to save an offer for $5 off their next purchase of $10 or more. The offer can be redeemed May 21-27 and it excludes fuel, alcohol, lottery and cigarettes.
“We are excited to celebrate the kick-off to the busy summer travel season with National Road Trip Day and to reward our guests with something to make their road trips even more enjoyable,” Johnson said. “We strive to be the perfect road trip stop, providing guests with everything they need to have a successful trip, including clean bathrooms, a large selection of snacks, food and beverage offerings, and even those easily forgotten items like phone chargers.”
The study also revealed road trippers’ must-haves for a successful trip. The majority of respondents say the essentials for a trip are food, entertainment and clean restrooms. Specifically:
- Three in five road trippers (59 percent) say that having good snacks and drinks for the road, finding great places to eat on the way and finding clean bathrooms to use while traveling are the most important parts of a successful road trip.
- The top “road trip essential” snacks are chips and salty foods (52 percent), freshly made, grab-and-go foods (50 percent) and fast food options (49 percent).
- For millennials and Gen Z, it’s all about what happens in the car. They place more value on having music, audio books and/or podcasts to listen to (67 percent), good snacks and drinks (63 percent) and good conversations (52 percent).
- Meanwhile, Gen X and boomers care about taking stops along the way, placing more value on finding clean bathrooms (67 percent), great places to eat (63 percent) and pleasant places to stop, rest and stretch their legs (56 percent).
Additionally, when making a stop for their road trip necessities, the study found that travelers primarily (58 percent) want to stop at all-in-one rest stops (offering gas, food, drinks, coffee, bathrooms, etc.) to save time and money.
“With 750 travel center locations in North America, Pilot Flying J is a convenient, one-stop shop for travelers, offering clean bathrooms, a large assortment of snacks, beverages and food, and necessities travelers may have forgotten to pack,” Johnson said. “For instance, road trippers can pick up a Pilot Coffee, one of the many made-in-house on-the-go offerings from PJ Fresh such as breakfast burritos, salads, fresh fruit cups, pizza and sandwiches, and road trip necessities like a phone charger or sunglasses.”
Two in five (42 percent) road trippers said they find travel apps very helpful when planning their trip, and the new Pilot Flying J app makes it easier than ever with its enhanced trip planner feature, Johnson said. The trip planner helps users create their route and find Pilot and Flying J locations along the way, showcasing specific amenities, fuel prices and more.
Road trippers can download the Pilot Flying J app at https://pilotflyingj.com/app/.
To learn more about National Road Trip Day, visit pilotflyingj.com/nationalroadtripday.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.