Road Trip (trope)

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Tropes and genres
Related tropes/genresTravel, Touring
See alsoGay Mutant Road Trip, Up All Night To Get Bucky
Related articles on Fanlore.

A Road Trip is a common trope in media involving characters traveling long distances in some sort of confined vehicle. Nominally named after the real world practice of traveling in a car for long distances, typically through several states (in America) or several countries (in Europe), the "Road Trips" tag on AO3 also includes fics that feature space travel for Science Fiction fandoms and general journeying for Fantasy fandoms. Even in modern fic, the mode of transportation can differ, with other vehicles such as trains or buses used where they fit the canon. In particular, Music RPF fandoms have a long history of tourfic that generally involves buses. Road trips may involve a clear destination, an attempt to find something or someone, an escape plan, or some other purpose just as in real life. The focus of the work is usually on the trip itself, what the character(s) discover along the way, and the development of relationships, whether gen or shippy.

This trope is relatively common in media of all types. Fannish uses of the trope are informed by broad pro media use.


On AO3, the fandom with the most works tagged Road Trips is Supernatural,[1] which makes sense because the entire show is essentially one long road trip and Eric Kripke has been quoted as saying Supernatural is about telling "stories in the format of this Route 66: Great American Road Trip"[2] which is reflected in the importance of the Impala. S9E10 of Supernatural is even called "Road Trip" and has its own associated tag on AO3.[3]

After Supernatural, Marvel Cinematic Universe is the second, fourth, and fifth highest fandoms[1] because of the MCU-specific road trip trope Up All Night To Get Bucky.[4] Over half of the MCU fic tagged "road trip" are also tagged with "Captain America (movies)" and many of them feature the Up All Night To Get Bucky trope. Crossover roadtrip fic is also quite popular with a decent number of fic tagged as "The Avengers (Marvel Movies)" being crossovers with various non-MCU fandoms.

The other top fandoms are Teen Wolf at #3, BTS at #6, Voltron: Legendary Defender at #7, One Direction at #8, Arrow at #9, and Harry Potter coming in at #10.[1] Of those, VLD's fic are the only ones where "road trip" is a slightly more mutable concept as many of them are set in space, rather than being more traditional "road trips." The popularity of road trip fic in the other fandoms is likely due to the popularity of road trips as a whole, but its popularity in Arrow is directly related to the fact that Oliver and Felicity go on a canonical road trip at that end of season 3.


Because the trope is so common in both canons and fanworks, individual fandoms have developed specific sub-tropes centered around road trips.

Notable Fanworks

Please limit the examples in these sections to works where the road trip is the primary setting.



Fan Videos


Links & Resources


  1. ^ a b c "Road Trips" tag on AO3. Accessed 10 Dec 2019.
  2. ^ Q&A: Supernatural creator Eric Kripke. Posted 10 Jan 2008. Accessed 10 Dec 2019.
  3. ^ "Episode: s09e10 Road Trip" tag on AO3. Accessed 10 Dec 2019.
  4. ^ "Up all night to get Bucky" tag on AO3. Accessed 10 Dec 2019.
  5. ^ Recruiting Mutants - Wolverine Cameo Scene | X-Men First Class (2011) Movie Clip. Posted 17 Sept 2019. Accessed 10 Dec 2019.
  6. ^ "Gay Mutant Road Trip" tag on AO3. Accessed 10 Dec 2019.