Hint: It's all about the car.

By Meredith Lepore
December 20, 2019
Hampton Real Travel Road Trip Hotline with Alfonso Ribeiro
Credit: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

There is nothing quite like the quintessential road trip. From hours on end in the car, to getting lost, to car games to those classic playlists, everyone needs to go on a good old fashioned long car trip either with their family or friends at least once.

And now, if you get a little lost or just need some basic guidance on what to do when one of the many inevitable questions or road blocks (literally) gets in your way, Hampton by Hilton, along with Alfonso Ribeiro, host of the Game Show Network’s "Catch 21" reboot and "America’s Funniest Home Videos" is there for you.

Ribiero is a self-declared road trip connoisseur and will be sharing all his hacks on the first-ever Hampton Real Travel Road Trip Hotline, 1-866-7-HAMPTON. They can offer lighthearted advice to vacationers on everything from car troubles to squabbles with fellow passengers. And clearly this is needed as a nationwide survey on road trips conducted by the company found that while 77 percent agree road trips are their favorite way to travel, 44 percent admit that the journey is stressful.

The survey also found that 71 percent of people admit there have been disagreements while on a road; common squabbles include where and how often to stop, what kind of music to listen to, and issues with ‘backseat drivers.' However, despite some tiffs and hours of boredom, 72 percent of road trippers agree it’s the journey that counts.

Travel + Leisure caught up with Ribiero to talk about this campaign, his profound love of road trips and some of his best hacks on the road with his wife, Angela, and their four kids.

T+L: So you are a big road trip guy? Have you always been?

We take road trips all the time and it's a very important part of how we as a family move around. We just love taking road trips. The kids love it, my wife and I love it. I took a lot of road trips as a kid and now as a parent I love it! So when Hampton came to me with this Real Travel hotline I thought 'That sounds fantastic!’ because it just naturally works for me as a person who loves to travel. I just felt like it would be great to partner on this.

T+L: Can you tell me about one of your best recent road trips?

We do road trips more than once a year. Last year we did a road trip from LA up to Tahoe. We rented a big ol’ RV and drove it and did all the great parks throughout California and Nevada.

We do a road trip every year up to Pebble Beach because I play up in the AT&T Pro Am, so those are some of my favorites.

Even when I was a young kid living in New York we drove up to the Catskills. When Hampton did their survey, they asked Americans what’s their favorite thing in travel and 77 percent said it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey and I so agree with that. How you get one from place to the next and that journey is so important and fun for your family and what you can do to keep it going.

They also found that almost half [of those surveyed], 44 percent, felt the stress of trying to plan it and put it together. That's why Hampton created a hotline so they could come up with different ideas and ways to help people figure it out. Ways to plan, ways to get through difficult situations in a comedic, light-hearted way and this was just a great idea. Helping people with their road trips makes it a happy, entertaining vacation.

Alfonso and Angela Ribiero
Alfonso and Angela Ribiero
| Credit: Getty Images

T+L: Are you a big planner when it comes to road trips or do you wing it?

I am a planner that is very, very capable of deviating from the plan. My attitude is planning where you’re going and how you are getting there is how you start, but always recognizing that if you are going to make it fun, you have to make it loose. You can't be so hardcore that you are having a good time that you go somewhere planning to be there for two hours but if you are bored in an hour, leave! Don't be like, 'We have to stay.’ Be able to flow. If your kids are done and you still have another two hours to your hotel find a closer hotel.

T+L: What are some of your tips for having fun in the actual car?

The real key is music. My whole crew loves listening to music. But that's all about planning. So we will create a travel playlist on the phone or iPod so we've got music that everybody enjoys, but not everybody is going to love it. So we play games (I Spy, spotting things on the road) and that keeps everyone engaged at the same time and you're seeing America at the same time.

We also know it is very important to make the pit stops. Take a stop, stretch your legs, go see the sights. If you plan that into your trip you may not make them all but you will see places you'd like to go.

T+L: What is your go-to music for a road trip?

I've got a whole list of songs. In the survey we found that the number one style of music is rock music, but I am an R&B fan. I've gotta have my R&B playlist. If we're going to a really beautiful part of the country though, I want some Celine Dion. She's pretty good!

T+L: Do you always do the RV for a road trip?

We'll rent an RV but for most of our road trips, but we'll also use one of our own vehicles. I actually own a van and it is actually specifically for my road trips. Everyone is like you keep coming up with more stuff! I have a conversion van. I've got eight TVs in it and the Xbox and all of the players in it and the limousine lights on the roof. They are all captains chairs. It is a pretty cool van though lately it seems to just sit in front of the house, but it is my road tripper! If I don't have the RV, I drive this. And I am always the driver — a 10 passenger van with a 12-foot tall roof. I can actually walk down the aisle and stand straight up. Y'all didn't know about this?!

T+L: Did you ever have a major road trip mishap?

Since I'm a New York CIty kid and not a full outdoorsy guy, grilling and building a fire was not something I was good at. I would have been better in the hotel. When you put a little too much gas on the fire, you know? I looked up how to do it on YouTube but clearly I watched the wrong video. It probably should have been on America's Funniest Home Videos.

T+L: What do you wear on road trips?

I always have sweatpants and something loose and light and easy. When you are driving you just want to be comfortable. Your comfortable shoes, not your new shoes, it's not about being fashionable, it's being comfortable.

T+L: How are you at packing for a road trip?

I am a very organized packer. Packing the car up is my job because I know what they can bring cause I know how much is going to fit in the trunk space. I’m gonna drive but if I can't see out the back, it is not a good idea. I have packed cars up to the ceiling but that's what a road trip is about. You can bring everything you need!

T+L: Any final tips?

Make sure when you are planning your road trip you're ready to have fun. Just tell everybody the goal is to have fun. And being light and loose and making sure that everyone is trying to be as agreeable as possible.