I've taken a lot of road trips in my life. I've mostly had a really awesome people with me on road trips, but once in a while, someone is a dud. Here are six tips I have for being a great road trip buddy.
Taste in Music:
One of my favorite parts of any road trip is music. After hours of endless driving, music is a welcome and necessary cure to the monotony of being in a car. In more isolated areas, radio stations can be limited, so it is important to bring back up. An excellent road trip partner will know how to choose the right music for the moment: no Belle and Sebastian at 3 a.m.
The best road trip partner has researched the route before leaving home. They can read a map, identify basic landmarks, and pay attention to road signs. They keep up to date on the thirty-five pages of directions from Google I printed out and stapled together in order. Most important of all, they know GPS’s fail.
I tire of trying to find one rock station in AM radioland. When we're in between destinations, a good road trip partner will be able to keep conversations going. Whether they are stories about the time one guy ate twinkies for a week and threatened to kill you or the one about eating a raw deer heart, a well-delivered story keeps me from paying too much attention to the fact my road trip partner doesn't know how to drive and my butt has been numb for two hours.
Can Cook, Identify Excellent Food or Bask in the Joy of Motel Six’s Bounteous Vending Machine Selection:
I love finding new and interesting roadside restaurants. While not every place will be a win, a good road trip partner should be able to identify a place which won’t serve me e.coli. Did they discover a bar hidden in the redwoods with an excellent Irish coffee? Can they turn leftover asparagus and gourmet salsa into a delicious dinner over a campfire? Excellent! It doesn’t serve to be picky on the road. Who doesn’t love Mrs. Amos’s cookies while waiting for the drying cycle to finish?
Flexible and Ready for Adventure:
Unexpected events will happen on road trips. I've experienced the range from a one-foot gash in my tire to impaling a bat on my windshield wiper. A good road trip partner will be able to handle challenges and remain calm.
Not only the ability to handle the unexpected is important, but instigating adventure. While there are times I have a specific destination in mind, it is the turn down the random road which brings the best discoveries. If it weren't for suggestions from a friend, I never would have discovered borax mines in Death Valley or an isolated black sand beach on California's Lost Coast.
Tolerate Endless Hours Alone With You:
When I'm on the road for a long time with someone, the lack of space gets stifling. A good road trip partner is someone who I can be around for hours on end without wanting to tear my hair out. And when you really can’t stand it anymore? You’re able to go off alone and it’s okay.