How to Survive Long Car Rides With Your Roommates
There generally comes a point—usually mid-summer—when you look around your dingy office and think, “To hell with this, I’m going to go on a ROAD TRIP. Yeah, like in the movies! It’ll be great!” But then the realization dawns that you’re not some loner type who can charm a room full of strangers with just your wit. You are a nerd who spends most of your time in your bedroom eating guacamole straight out of the container.
So you turn to the people who know you best to join you on said road trip: your roommates. But how does one best survive a solid week trapped in a tiny box with the same three people?
Pick Your Route in Advance
At some point in the voyage, you will end up with that one person who feels they are some sort of human GPS and can guide you with only an outdated map and their gut. Unfortunately for you, that person is a fool and will only stress out everyone else in the car, leading to fights over which exit to take and whether or not to leave that person behind at the next gas station.
To avoid this, sit down in advance and plan out your route with everyone. Figure out your major stops and designate someone to have control on the map, lest you wish a thousand paper cuts on someone for suggesting another “amazing” shortcut.
You know who sucks? The person who needs to stop at every rest area to buy another pack of Skittles because they’re hungry again. Don’t be that guy, because that guy is the one who makes you arrive late to your destination and then whines because it’s too late for dinner.
Go to a bulk food store, grocery store or yuppie health dispensary in advance and stock up on a ton of snacks. They also make useful projectiles to throw at the person controlling the radio.
Understand What Kind of Travellers You All Are
“But my roommates and I get along amazingly! We’re all grad students and like hugging and respecting each other’s boundaries!” Well, to that I say no, you don’t know what these people are like when enclosed in a tiny space for hours. Think about it: Is there someone who gets stressed when the tiniest thing goes wrong? Is there someone who is consistently late for everything? Is there someone who likes to rob you while you sleep? Sure, you can avoid this in your apartment by leaving the room or sleeping with a bat, but all bets are off once you step into that car.
Figure out who’s high strung, prone to car sickness, and likely to commit credit card fraud before you load into the back of your buddy’s Camaro to avoid possible strife down the road.
Create Playlists in Advance
After six days in a car with people, no matter how interesting you all are normally, you will run out of things to talk about, and that’s when the fight for the radio will start. Someone will want Top 40, while another person will want CBC, and then someone will jokingly suggest listening to some incredibly grating local talk radio “as a joke, ” only to be forcibly ejected from the car.
If your car has an iPod jack or CD player, make a bunch of playlists with music that will please everyone. Find good podcasts and waste away the incredibly boring hours in the middle of nowhere listening to several hours of This American Life and openly weeping.
Make Sure Everyone Has Documentation
This is super obvious and, duh, of COURSE I have my passport, and maybe YOU may have your passport, but does your idiot friend have his? It doesn’t matter how nice and wonderful someone is; having them not realize their passport expired seven months ago until they get to the border or forgetting that they had to get another visa in advance is a buzzkill.
Double check with them before it’s too late, because at least if they realize their passport expired in 2003, you then have the option of leaving them behind.
Want to MORE road trips? Check out the July issue of Travel+Escape Magazine, available for download NOW in the iTunes App Store!