I've done a LOT of road trips in the last two and a half years, mainly because of rock climbing. It's a lot cheaper to take my car that can go 400 miles on $20 of gas, than spend $400 to go to Colorado on a plane. As a kid, I would go on road trips with my dad to Kansas city to visit my aunt for the 4th of July every year. I spent my time watching movies on my portable DVD player while the hours passed by. Fast forward 15 years, I take a road trip every week to different climbing destinations across the Southern states.
Road trips are sort of a special time for me now. I usually have 1 or 2 friends in the car with me and we'll talk from Dallas to Arkansas and not even realize the time that's passed. It's a super important part of the traveling experience for me now. If you sit and think about it, when was the last time you sat and talked to someone for 4 hours.. I know exactly when that was for me, it was last Saturday driving from Austin back home with my friend Frank. A lot of the time we go through life taking a few minutes every hour or so talking to someone and moving on with our day. Even your boy/girlfriend or spouse, I doubt you've spent 4 hours talking to them in a long while. I've discovered friends in people I disliked previously, found a gentle person behind a tough exterior, and all while behind the steering wheel of my Ford Focus.
I also enjoy the road trip time because it helps me appreciate my final destination. Being from the concrete jungle that is Dallas, I don't have any outdoor climbing within 3-4 hours. I spend most of my time training in the gym with my outdoor goals burned into my brain. When I'm on the road to Hueco Tanks, New Mexico, Colorado or Arkansas (they're all 5hr + drives) I know that I've only got my short time in these places and then I've gotta go back home on Sunday. This can be one of the best motivators, knowing that you've got limited time in a place and you've got to make the most of your time there. And this can be broadened into a super deep "We only have a limited time on Earth so make the most of your short trip" analogy that rock climbing is FULL of, but I won't get TOO sappy on ya. Basically my hours in the car make me calm down and think about how fortunate I am to be where I am, and to be able to do the things I do.
Besides all the warm fuzzy parts of talking with people on road trips, uhh I need people so I can stay awake. Despite what anyone tells you "OH bro I can drive forever at night, don't even worry." everyone gets sleepy driving, and especially at night. If you get in my car for a road trip and you plug in headphones and expect me to chauffeur you to our destination, you're gonna be paying me for it. Unplug from your devises and plug into the people around you, because it's incredibly unique to be able to have someone's attention for hours at a time without having to pay them.
Road trips are about relationships, learning about your friends and partners, and appreciating your time. I think everyone needs a good road trip in their life to escape the go go go way that most of us live. There's no rushing the trip, we'll get there when we get there, just enjoy the ride.