It’s a fact: back roads are scarier at night. Especially if they’re gravel roads in the mountains that lead to abandoned pine groves, and you drive down them with your headlights off after midnight.

For my friends and I, our expedition to see the stars one night/real life horror movie experience is just one of the fond memories we have from our summer road trip together. We all set aside a weekend before college and drove up into the Colorado mountains, where we stayed in a family friend’s cabin and explored the backwoods and ski slopes. After walking around the tourist town of Breckenridge, we got Italian ice and contemplated getting spontaneous tattoos. Even though we used our better judgment to reject that idea, we shared lots of laughs back at the cabin, whether we cooked meals, talked around the campfire, and played board games.

I still look back on that short time with fondness because of the simplicity of it. The responsibility of planning and organizing a trip on our own bonded us together in the small ways- from getting lost on back roads to trying to figure how to grill hot dogs. Even in the things we failed at (like waking up for a sunrise hike), we made so many memories we can look back and laugh at.

That’s why I would recommend that everyone, at some point, should try to go on a road trip with their best friends. That being said, there a few details you should remember that make the trip even more fun.

  1. Don’t Plan- It’s important to work out some of the major details like food, transportation, and lodging, but leave plenty of unstructured time throughout the day. My favorite memories are from times when my friends and I decided on spur of the moment activities and things actually went differently than I planned them.
  2. Involve Everyone– Make sure that everyone has a part to play in the details of the trip. Have a different friend plan the route for each day, or be responsible for the day’s meals. That way everyone is invested and you get a better variety of ideas with everyone’s creativity.
  3. Try Something New– A road trip is all about getting out of your comfort zone. Choose the local restaurant over fast food, or the quirky shops over the tourist attractions. Make your trip different from everyone else’s!
  4. Record the Memory– Do something special to remember your trip by! Take lots of pictures, buy matching souvenirs with all of your friends, or make something together that you can all take home and cherish. Not only will it help you remember the trip, but you will also be reminded of the friendships you strengthened in the mean time.

It’s true- road trips can have a reputation for being boring, tedious, and exhausting. But add a group of best friends into the mix, and they become hilarious and memorable getaways. Enjoy the freedom, and don’t forget to get lost at some point along the way.


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