Catherine Hiles
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How to Stay Friends During and After a Road Trip

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summer road trip
Summer road trip
Photo: Avinash Patel via Pexels

There’s nothing quite like a road trip with friends. Uninterrupted time in an enclosed space to rekindle your friendship while taking in the sights of the open road. But even the best of friends can start to clash after spending a lot of time together in close quarters. If you’re planning a road trip with your BFF and want to make sure they remain your BFF after the trip, here’s some advice to help you along the way.


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Make a plan

Before you even think about hitting the open road with friends, you need to make a plan. The Emily Post Institute recommends making sure you’re on the same page as your travel buddies when it comes to certain things.

For example, what do you want to do on this excursion? Do you want to drive straight to your destination or make stops along the way to see unique attractions? How much money are you willing to spend? And what kind of schedule do you want to keep when it comes to driving hours? Night owls and early birds don’t travel well together, so it’s important to decide in advance when you’ll be sleeping, eating, and driving.

Pick your music

If you and your BFF share the same musical tastes, choosing your road trip soundtrack shouldn’t be a problem. But if you have vastly different opinions about musical genres and artists, your fun road trip could turn into a nightmare.

Driving etiquette says that the driver should choose the music. By sharing the driving equally, you can make sure you and your friends all get a chance to hear your favorite musical acts. If one person is doing the majority of the driving, consider making a playlist that features a majority of their favorite songs with some of yours peppered in for variety.

Be a good passenger

If you’re not driving, you might assume that you can nap the time away. While occasional naps are no problem, it’s a good idea to have at least one passenger conscious to help out the driver as needed.

As the front-seat passenger, you’re responsible for supporting the driver as their navigator and snack provider. And if the driver starts looking tired, the passenger needs to help keep them alert by chatting, turning on the A/C, or even taking over the driving for a while so their friend can have a rest.

Be a considerate snacker

Those Cool Ranch Doritos taste amazing, but they have a lingering smell that your BFFs might not appreciate. When choosing your road trip snacks, make sure they aren’t smelly or messy, and bring plenty of napkins along to clean up messes if needed.

Snacks like nuts, dried fruit, and jerky will give you a burst of energy without weighing you down or grossing out your fellow passengers.

Be a kind human

It’s always good advice to keep in mind the Golden Rule (treat others as you’d like to be treated), especially on a road trip. Don’t be a jerk to your friends, fellow drivers, or anyone you meet along the way. It’s easy to be rude to people you don’t know (or even your friends on a long road trip), but it’ll only serve to upset people and make you feel like an idiot.