This question touches some issues included in the Road Trip Profile, but I want to go a bit deeper.
What makes you drive to a distant destination instead of flying?
For example, I am planning a trip from So' Cal' to central Oregon (near Bend) this coming summer. My wife would probably prefer to fly up to Portland and take a short hop to Bend from there. If that were too expensive, her second choice would be to rent a car from Portland and drive as little as possible? Why? Because she values speed and comfort.
In my case, I would rather drive. I had to think of the reasons why I prefer driving to flying. Here's my list:
Driving is usually less expensive than flying and renting a car, unless the trip were from a hub on one side of the US to another. It would be far less expensive for me to fly from L.A. to Atlanta for a few days than to drive there. For most of my trips, however, driving is less expensive. I generally go off the beaten path, and it would be much more expensive to fly from Orange County to Bend, OR than to drive.
This is the biggest reason for me. There are so many opportunities for side trips on the way to and from a destination that I can't resist taking the better ones. Oftentimes historic markers, town names, geologic features, and other things we come across whle driving inspire me to read up on and explore them.
I can learn a lot more about these United States by driving through them than by flying over them. Stopping along the way sometimes brings me new accents or expressions, food, or other things "foreign" to me as a Southern Californian. Sometimes the drives include long stretches that may seem monotonous. Even those help me to better understand the areas. Some geologic features, flora and fauna, climate, etc. in one state look similar to those in another, and I like to learn why. I also like to learn why they can be so different.
Believe it or not, I can unwind better by driving along long stretches of country roads and highways than I can by flying as a passenger. The stress and strain of commercial airports doesn't lend itself to mental recreation. I'm so worried about making my flight, getting to my connections on time, making sure my rental reservations are in, etc. that I don't reflect much on anything else. When I drive my mind can play more. This doesn't mean daydreaming or "zoning out", but rather things I see get me to thinking about all kinds of things I normally wouldn't while sitting at home. It could be seeing a classic car, unusual topographic features, animals, historic markers, signs, or other things that gets me to pondering all kinds of things not related to work and other stress-inducers.