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How to Pick the Perfect Road Trip Partner

By Sarah Baird


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There are very few things that can make a road trip go sour faster than having the wrong travel companion. While sometimes we can’t pick the people we’re stuck driving with for hours on end, if given the choice, it helps to think both practically and (somewhat) scientifically. Behold, the three best types of people to take on a road trip—and the three that will make the journey from Planes, Trains and Automobiles look decidedly calm.


1. The Technical Guru
Whether this person is a car-repair wizard, navigational maven or simply reliable enough to work all apps properly without handholding, it pays to have someone who is at least a little tech savvy riding shotgun.

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2. The Enthusiast
Sometimes, road trips are best organized around a common theme or interest. In this case, it’s imperative that someone is along for the ride who shares (or exceeds) your level of enthusiasm for the topic at hand, whether it’s Oregon wineries or the Mississippi Blues. This person will most likely be a great researcher for your trip, too.

3. The Long-Haul Trucker
This person has either a) watched Convoy too many times or b) could take up a second career as a truck driver if their current gig doesn’t pan out. They love driving and can do it safely and reliably for hours (and hours) at a time, ensuring you’re not the pilot the whole time.

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1. The Worrier
Is there enough air pressure in the tires? Do you think we’ll make it to the next gas station? Am I getting a rash? Did we accidentally run over a coyote? You’ll be ready to drop them off on the side of the road.

2. The Bathroom Attendant
This person—for whatever reason—seems to have the bladder the size of a jelly bean. This will begin to wear thin almost immediately.

3. The Strong, Silent Type
Unless you’re really looking the road trip to be a solo adventure with another warm body present, you’re going to need someone who completely understands the art of chit chat versus quiet time. The companion with the permanent mute button is worse than a Chatty Cathy because even the most talkative among us have to sleep, eventually. The silence? It’s forever.

Ready to go? Here are our picks for an All-American road trip.

Sarah Baird is a writer and editor based in New Orleans. Her second book, a Short Stack Edition about summer squash, will be released this month.