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The 6 Stages Of Your Summer Road Trip

Every method of transportation comes with its own set of difficulties. Stripping down at an airport and waiting around for hours is always a pain; traveling by train often takes double the time, and let’s not even get started on buses. 

Road trips, however, are special in their own way. We all imagine cruising down the open road with the wind in our hair and our loved ones piled in the back seat. But do the drives live up to their expectations? Rarely.

We’ve broken down all of the stages of a typical summer road trip so you can prepare for all of those bumps in the road.

1. The Honeymoon Phase

You’ve filled up the gas tank, hoarded snacks and sodas and beaten the complicated Tetris game that is packing every single piece of luggage into the trunk. Everyone is happy and awake, no one needs to go to the bathroom. Open the sunroof, and play whatever song you want. Nobody will care, because YOU’RE ROAD TRIPPIN’, BABY!

2. The Sleep Phase

Everyone has fallen asleep except for you, the fearless driver, who is doing everything possible to not doze off behind the wheel. At first you’re cautious, trying to pop open your soda can quietly and turn down the music so as to not wake your sleeping passengers. But after one person’s snoring pattern pushes you over the edge, you turn up the radio as high as it can go. After all, these people should be awake and entertaining you, right?! Right.

3. The “Are we there yet?” Phase

Shut it down as fast as possible. That’s all. 

4. The Irritable Phase

All of a sudden, this isn’t the epic magic carpet ride everyone imagined. One person’s favorite country song is not what the hip-hop fan wants to hear, and someone is hogging the last of the chips. Everyone is hungry, everyone is picky, and of course, multiple passengers are threatening to pee in the car if you don’t find a rest stop ASAP.

5. The Humiliation Phase

Everyone has accepted that there is no turning back. You all are in this together—for better or worse, in carsickness and in health. Everyone wants to make the best of this less-than-good situation, so all the wild, funny, embarrassing and just plain weird stories start to surface. Nobody can move, and nobody can escape. But you all laugh and you all reminisce, holding fast to the unrelenting wish that this drive could be shorter.

6. Arrival

So it wasn’t perfect. You may have arrived later than you anticipated, and the soda wasn’t as good of an idea as you originally thought. At least one person was angry at any given moment, and everyone had to use the restroom at different (inconvenient) points during the trip. Thankfully, it was all worth it—everyone got there, safe and sound. You and all of your passengers are closer now, and you know each other better than before (which may or may not be a good thing).