Thinking of hitting the open road this summer? Well, depending on what U.S. states you'll be driving through, the experience could vary greatly.
According to a new study, the Pacific Northwest and West Coast look like the best states to be traveling through by car, while the Deep South looks like an area you may want to avoid.
Using 21 different metrics, WalletHub has revealed the results of its study titled "2014's Best and Worst States for Summer Road Trips."
Oregon led the way, scoring well in most of the WalletHub metrics with traffic conditions, weather and attractions helping greatly in the high ranking. Idaho was ranked next best, with Minnesota, Utah and Washington rounding out the top five.
Mississippi was ranked last as weather and attractions pulled it down considerably. Oklahoma, West Virginia, Arkansas and Alabama round out the bottom five in WalletHub's ranking.
The U.S. Travel Association claims that domestic and international travelers spent $62.1 billion on leisure travel in 2013. And in the previous year, it adds that nearly eight in 10, or 79 percent, of all domestic leisure trips were by car.
Another recent study revealed that 40% of Americans plan to take more summer vacations this year compared with last year, so the roads will be busy again this summer.
Thus, WalletHub wanted to see what roads are best traveled over the next few months as folks head out for family vacations.
"As consumers prepare for their journeys this summer season, WalletHub compared the 50 U.S. states to determine the Best & Worst States for Summer Road Trips. Using 21 key metrics, we identified which wallet-friendly states offer maximum fun as well as the ones that will have you heading back to base faster than you can say dollar," the study outline explains. "We examined not only the attractions, traffic conditions and weather in each state, but we also took into account gas prices and lodging costs to help you plan your budget."
In working on the study, each of the WalletHub researchers admitted that many factors go into what equates to enjoyable travel as travelers head out for vacations or events. A few offered some sage advice as well.
Thinking only of the destination gets in the way of enjoying the journey, one professor noted as he channeled some zen advice. "We need to be mindful that we are always traveling so in one sense we are on a constant road trip. It's important to remember that the greatest reward of road trips are the people we meet, the places we see and the things that we learn along the way," said Robert Alex Robertson, associate professor of tourism planning and development at the University of New Hampshire.
"To minimize threats to our road trip experience, we need to practice staying in the moment, take nothing for granted and see everything with new eyes. J.R.R. Tolkien said it best, 'All that is gold does not glitter; and not all those who wander are lost.' "