Illustration: Patrick Hruby

There’s a special romance attached to hitting the open road with loved ones onboard, carrying high hopes for a journey rich with vivid sights, great food, bonding with friends, and hiking, fishing, or sightseeing. In fact, nearly two-thirds of American families planning to travel this year—more than 56 million individuals—are expected to take a road trip, according to the American Automobile Association.

Choosing the perfect vehicle for this adventure is perhaps your most important decision, which is why Consumer Reports has dug into our proprietary vehicle testing data and reliability and satisfaction surveys to craft our first-ever Road-Trip-Worthy Score for 50 vehicles across six categories. We factored in safety, comfort, fuel efficiency, and more.

No two road trips are the same. For some, it’s a couple of hours to a cozy bed and breakfast. For others, it’s a multiday cross-country trek to visit grandparents. For the outdoorsy, it could involve camping. “Theme parks, beaches, and state or national parks are consistently some of the most popular road-trip destinations,” says Julie Hall, public relations manager at AAA. That’s why our list of vehicles includes everything from sedans to trucks.

Before you hit the road, find the right luggage for you and your family. And if part of your travels include flying, check our exclusive airline ratings before you book a flight.

More on Road Trips

Lisa Seethaler, a 51-year-old mother of two from Marlborough, Conn., is a fan of this vacation approach. “Road trips are the best way to soak up local culture, flavors, scenery, architecture, and nature,” she says. “My Toyota Sienna minivan isn’t glamorous, but it has a sunroof, great storage, and comfortable seats. The kids are happy in the backseat with a DVD player, and we often have our little dog in the third row.”

No matter what your destination, smart planning can increase your odds of avoiding mishaps, saving money, and arriving home with happy memories. In this package, we’ve thought of everything you’ll need to make that happen.

Podcast: Tales From the Road

Tips for the Perfect Road Trip

A road trip is one of life's great adventures. On the "Consumer 101" show, host Jack Rico learns from Consumer Reports expert Mike Monticello how to prepare for a safe one.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the July 2018 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.