There’s no better way to experience America than to jump in a car and venture out across the country for a good old-fashioned road trip. But never make the mistake of hitting the road with whoever happens to be standing around. Selecting the right group of friends to accompany you on this adventure may require some tough decision-making, in order to ensure a good time is had by all. So before you start planning an itinerary, make sure you check out this list, and have a clear understanding of the types of people you want on your road trip, and the people you don’t. Otherwise, you could be in for a long ride!

 

People You Want

 

Someone you can talk to.  What’s worse then driving several hundred miles in a car by yourself? Driving that same distance with someone who can’t carry a conversation during all, or at least part, of that time! Seriously, there is nothing worse than being stuck in a car with someone who has nothing to say. So having a good conversationalist on board, if definitely something you want on your road trip. On the other hand, you probably want to travel with someone that annoys you easily, or never shuts up. In this situation, your best bet is to recruit a trustworthy friend you feel comfortable talking to, who shares some of the same interests (and tastes in music) as you do.

 

Fun friends. Road trips provide an opportunity for you to get out of your town or city and explore what this nation has to offer. Whether it’s enjoying beautiful scenery, stopping at quirky tourist attractions, or eating in restaurants you ordinarily wouldn’t, having the type of friend that is equally as eager to explore the terrain with you is the kind of person you want to take with you on your road trip.

 

A mechanic. Having your car break down out on the road is a fate most people would not wish on their worst enemy. But having your car break down when you are 500 miles from home, and 20 miles from the nearest gas station, is akin to being up a creek without a paddle! So if you have a friend, relative, neighbor or acquaintance who has some basic mechanic skills, invite them along for the ride! Do this, and the next time you’re on the road and your engine starts to overheat, or you get a flat tire, your friend/mechanic may be able to salvage a quick fix, and you can avoid having to cancel your trip.

 

People You Don’t Want

 

Gossips and tattletales. Part of the appeal of going out on a road trip is the fact that you probably won’t know many people once you get to where you are going. For many people, this provides a much-needed opportunity to let loose, get crazy and act wild (just think of all the mid-western tourists you see in Vegas). But how can you do that if you have to worry about the members of your travel caravan gossiping about your antics and reporting back to people at home? Again, you may have to make some tough decisions about who to leave at home, but in the long run gossips and tattletales are definitely people you don’t want on your road trip.

 

Friends with kids. Someone once said “kids are great, when they’re not yours,” and when it comes to taking a road trip, nothing could be more true! Have you ever been stuck in a car with a screaming, crying, whining, or worse yet, sick baby or child? If not, thank the heavens and pray you don’t ever find yourself in this predicament. Part of the fun of a road trip is the in-car experience, but this quickly dissipates when you want nothing more than to be out of the car, and away from that kid! So the next time you’re deciding who you do and don’t want accompanying you on your next road trip, take the all-important kid factor into account.

 

Cheapskates. There is a difference between being poor and cheap. But you will be wise to avoid friends who possess the latter of these attributes when deciding who to take on your next road trip. Road trips often require passengers to pool their resources to help pay for food, gas, hotel/motels, and other essentials of the road. But if one member of the pack is constantly trying to skip out on the bill or not pay their fair share, you could have a problem. So to avoid the occurrence of financial arguments and hard feelings on your road trip, just make a point not invite the cheapskate in your group.

 

 — J. Morgan