There is just something about a driving vacation for me that is so much more relaxing than flying. Flying, to me, is always about being on time, rushing to the airport and through security, worrying about what you’ve packed, how long this is going to take, will I make my connection, etc. Driving is just about me and the road. Sure there’s traffic, and sometimes there are even delays, but I’m not going to miss my connection, I’m sitting in it. I can listen to what I want, stop when I want, take a scenic detour if that’s what I decide, or just take a break from the mental work of driving wherever, whenever. Try that when you’re flying!
Ultimately, I think it’s more relaxing for me because it doesn’t have to involve anyone else. Flying involves forced interaction (some of it much more intimate than I would like!) with so many other people, that becomes a stress in and of itself. Driving is much more under my control, my social interactions are far less intrusive and are at my whim. I can talk to the waitress at Denny’s, or the gas station cashier, or a trucker at a rest stop at my discretion. Those can be interesting interactions, or they may just be mundane and eveyday sorts of things. You never know. At the airport, you know exactly what sort of interactions you’re getting, and they aren’t going to be pleasant. (Unless you happen to like going through a crowded airport carrying your shoes, trying to pick up your carry-on while a security guard is demanding that you turn on your laptop right now to prove that it really is a working laptop, and a handful of other people are standing behind you, waiting for you to get out of their way so they can do the same thing. Nope, no stress there! ) I don’t deal well with forced interaction, maybe that’s still a little part of me that distrusts people in general, or is intimidated by people, I don’t know. Or maybe I just like the long, deep thoughtfulness that comes from being on the road.
I just know that driving is more enjoyable for me, whatever the reason.