Rules of the Road Trip

So it’s summer, and that means no shortage of weekends out of town. Odds are that some lucky young professionals (YPs) are planning on driving a few hours away from the city this weekend for a break away from the urban madness. There are, however, a few things to keep in mind when embarking on a road trip with friends this summer if you ever want to be invited again – whether for a few hours north of the city or a day-long journey to an out-of-province music festival. 

Know when to stop talking
There is nothing worse than the person who won’t shut their mouths for two minutes during the entirety of the car trip. Not only will persistent chatter disrupt fellow passengers who may want to take turns sleeping off the drinks the evening before, some enjoy the pensive nature afforded by a car. Take it down a notch; you have all weekend to chat. Another big no-no: talking on the phone in the car. In a car, there is no escaping the presence of others.

If you need to be reminded to pee before the journey, you’ve got a problem. Even so…
It’s one of the first lessons we learn and the first thing you ask small children before a long car trip: “did you pee?” Go before you leave and at every rest stop – or try to even if you don’t have to. If you know that your bladder is not your strong suit, keep that in mind with your level of fluid intake. 

Rotate the middle seat
The middle seat sucks. Those who grew up in families of three children know this. It sucks even worse for long journeys. Don’t be a jerk and hog a window seat for the entire time – take turns with the middle seat. Otherwise, be prepared to deal with a miserable friend as multiple hours cramped between two others in the middle is enough to ruin anyone’s mood. 

Don’t bring your entire closet
Road trips, especially ones where the car is already packed with people, are not designed for the over-packer. The trunk and backseat is likely going to be cramped already with excess bags. Leave the suitcase at home and opt for a carry on. Be considerate of your fellow passengers and the lack of space allowed with a car. Ask yourself whether everyone would have space if they all brought bags the same size. 

Be smart with your choice of snack
Friends with snacks are always well received, but make sure that the snack does not come with an accompanying carpet cleaning bill for your friend’s car. Pack things like licorice and veggie sticks, while (though it should be obvious) staying away from things like potato chips, muffins and popcorn. 

Use music to your advantage
If the said chatterbox won’t shut up, turn the music up; he or she will hopefully get the hint (and not shout louder over the music). Put on a mix of music that sets the tone for the trip. One thing: don’t sing along at the top of your lungs to every song like you are alone in your bedroom getting ready for a night on the town.

Enjoy your trip, stay safe and remember to observe the rules of the road – both in your driving and your in-car etiquette.