The essential roadtrip really boils down to a few key elements. While the weather outside may have you rethinking your new year’s resolution to travel more, there is no better time than now to start thinking about a trip. It gives you something to look forward to and to plan for to hopefully make it through this miserable winter. The reason for the roadtrip exactly is something that really isn’t all too essential. It can be a visit to a buddy who moved across the state or country, a trip to see a friend’s family or just a trip to a getaway destination. Whatever the reason for the roadtrip is, there are three essential things you really want to keep in mind, the group, the stops, and the in-car entertainment.
Who you’re on the roadtrip with is a real decider of whether it is a trip that you remember for years to come, or dread the return trip of. The close quarters of a car can mean that even some of the best of friends can become too much for each other. If you have a friend or two that often needs to cool down or gets on the nerves of you or others, then you may want to try and find a way for them to sit things out. Think of how past shorter trips have gone and extrapolate from there. If it’s a core best friend or two, or maybe just your significant other, then you really shouldn’t have much to worry about. The trials of the road and the fun of the experience can make any group really come together by the time you finish that final mile.
However, the nature of roadtrips is that the groups are usually ones of necessity. Person A, B and C all have a reason that they need to go where you’re headed. While a romantic getaway or “bro’s trip” can let you pick and choose your car mates, the reality is there may be one passenger you’re not too keen on. This is what makes the other two portions of planning your roadtrip all the more essential to a great and memorable experience.
Whether it’s that one truckstop that managed to warrant a Starbucks in the middle of nowhere or the nation’s largest game of Tic Tac Toe, every roadtrip needs pitstops and to put it more bluntly, every man needs to pee. Scheduling exact pitstops is not always the way to go, it can lead to a trip that’s too planned and each stop seems more like a chore than an opportunity.
Go ahead and pick a few things along the way you’d like to see and run them by the group. You can come to some agreements and figure out a general plan, but be ready to throw it all to the wind when someone wants to sleep in one morning or traffic hits. Spontaneity is key for a good roadtrip and you can have as much fun at the most laughably small Ruby Tuesday’s as you can at the overpriced museum of glass if you’ve got the right attitude.
If there need to be any rules in a roadtrip among friends they come in here. There should be no headphones or forms of entertainment that only one person can take part in. With that being said, a surprising number of things can become a team effort when one team member is driving and another is asleep in the backseat.
Music, or whatever you plan to listen to, is key. Queue up a few of your favorite podcasts or audiobooks if that’s your type of thing. Driver should get veto power when it comes to the stereo, as they literally have your life in their hands, but aside from that music should flow from every corner of your music catalog. Find new lovable tunes to shout along to and drop in a fair amount of throwbacks to make sure the less current are in on things.
Snacks may not seem like they belong under entertainment, but they’re just as important as what you’re listening to. Everyone has their favorite roadtrip snacks, so brainstorm some ideas before you go. If you can, try and buy some rations before heading out and you’ll thank yourself, and so will your wallet, later.
The last thing to remember, especially when it comes to the entertainment is to get weird with things. Bring car games you haven’t played since you were a kid. Pack pixie stix so you can get a sugar rush at 3 am. Plan for a bit of stir-crazy boredom however you think you’ll have to. One of the greatest roadtrip realizations I ever had was that somebody had packed us a bottle of bubbles. Days in we were the most festive car to be stuck in standstill traffic, laughing our asses of.