Are You A Passenger Princess? And Is That a Bad Thing?

Being a passenger princess is a lighthearted way to avoid driving a car. Let's take a look at this trend and see how it affects our car buying decision, our safety, and more.

Land Rover Range Rover Passenger Princess
If you're jealous of your rear-seat passengers, we wouldn't blame you. Photo: Land Rover

Or Are You Team “I’ll Take the Wheel?”

A Passenger Princess might be the car version of leaving your moisturizer and tampons in his bathroom: You spend enough time there that you’ve comfortably made the space your own.

The idea of women putting a makeup bag in the center console and a Stanley cup in the cup holder has been dominating my FYP feed lately. Click the #passengerprincess tag and you’ll see women taking it further, adding a lighted makeup mirror, comfy slippers and cozy blankets. You may also see fur mamas passenger princess-ing the rear seat for their pups or thoughtful partners outfitting the passenger seat for a treasured co-pilot.


Replying to @christinaaking I’m just gonna be a passenger princess 4eva✨ #kayandtayofficial #couples #relationships

♬ original sound – ✨Kay and Tay✨

“Passenger Princess” is the trend of people, usually women, who have embraced a lifestyle centered around being passengers rather than drivers. Some are serious about not owning and operating a car, and some are divas who always want the front seat.  The Passenger Princess lifestyle ranges from chauffeured rides with your significant person to relying on ride-sharing services. One thing is for sure: the passenger princesses prioritize comfort, convenience, and a unique perspective on modern transportation.

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Tweens and teens love being driven, just as passenger princesses do. Photo: Maria Smith

How Did Driving Culture Evolve to This Point?

We’ve seen a major shift in the idea of owning a car – or even having a driver’s license. When I was 16 and first allowed to drive legally, owning and driving a car was seen as a symbol of independence and freedom. Getting your driver’s license was a coming-of-age story.

I was lucky; my parents gave me a car for my 16th birthday. It was pre-owned and old, but it was all mine! I remember feeling so free, not having to rely on my parents for rides.  It was my first step into adulthood and independence. It was also my initiation into the diverse world of automotive. Driving defined your dating life, extracurricular activities and social status.

@tori.gerbig Dont mind me and just being a passenger princess always #passengerprincess #spoiledwife #husbandandwife #married #girlygirl #dayinmylife #millenial #wifey ♬ The Way I Live – Baby Boy da Prince

But with more people living in crowded cities, traffic congestion and environmental concerns, younger people are reevaluating the necessity of owning a car. The big trip to the DMV on your 16th birthday for many just isn’t important. You can even see the trend in school parking lots  – they don’t seem to be as crowded as they once were.

This cultural shift is not just for teens. The Passenger Princess lifestyle is popular with women in their 20s and 30s who would rather ride than drive. Many of these women are forgoing car ownership and, in some cases, choosing not to drive at all.

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Even automotive journalists are passenger princesses at some point. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Why Are We Seeing More Passenger Princesses?

I think that new technology innovation plays a pivotal role in the rise of the passenger princess trend. The widespread availability of ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft has made it easier to summon a vehicle at the touch of a button. This accessibility has allowed us to relinquish the responsibilities of driving and instead focus on other aspects of our lives during transit. Whether it’s catching up on work, reading a book, applying makeup, catching up on emails, or just enjoying a moment of downtime, the passenger princess prioritizes her time and comfort over the act of driving.

Moreover, the passenger princess lifestyle extends beyond just ride-sharing. Luxury chauffeur services have become increasingly popular among those who want a more tailored and upscale experience. From sleek black SUVs to limousines, these services cater to women who seek a heightened level of comfort and style during their journeys. It’s not just about getting from point A to point B; it’s about the experience of the journey itself.

@kaychelled Im just a girl 😪 @Dasan Onyx Frazier ♬ original sound – Kaychelle

Is Being a Passenger Princess a Selfless Act of Eco-Consciousness?

The environmental impact of the passenger princess trend is a noteworthy aspect. With a focus on shared transportation, the trend aligns with sustainability goals by reducing the number of individual vehicles on the road. By opting for ride-sharing or chauffeured services, we contribute to more efficient use of resources and a decrease in overall carbon emissions. This environmental consciousness adds an extra layer of appeal to the passenger princess lifestyle for those who are environmentally conscious.

As with many other top trends, they shine bright on social media. Platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube shorts have played a significant role in popularizing the passenger princess trend. Influencers and celebrities showcasing their chauffeured experiences on Social Media contribute to the trend’s visibility and desirability. The curated images of individuals enjoying the luxury of being a passenger create an aspirational lifestyle that many want to emulate. This social media-driven aspect has turned the passenger princess trend into a cultural phenomenon, influencing how people perceive and approach transportation.

Passenger Princess
The male equivalent of a passenger princess is a passenger prince. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Is There Anything Wrong with Being A Passenger Princess?

While the passenger princess trend has its merits, it’s not without its criticisms. Some argue that it perpetuates a culture of dependency, as individuals become reliant on external services for their transportation needs. I wonder if the “art of driving” has gone out the window alongside teaching cursive writing to elementary school students.

There are also concerns about the safety and labor practices within ride-sharing companies. We have all heard horror stories about women traveling alone at night, getting into the wrong Uber, or feeling like they may become a victim of a crime at the hands of their driver.

It’s essential to consider these factors as a woman who relinquishes control to another person (oftentimes a stranger) who is behind the wheel.

On a lighter note, at its social media roots, the Passenger Princess trend leans toward an over-the-top and often exaggerated take on being in the passenger seat.  We see fancy Stanley cups and iced coffees dominating all of the cup holders, leaving the driver with no beverage holder. We see the princess adjusting the temperature to HER comfort level.  And every self-respecting passenger princess knows that SHE alone controls the radio.
Mazda Cx-70. Photo Connie Peters
Connie Peters and I loved the Mazda CX70, but only one of us can be a passenger princess here. Photo: Connie Peters

Do YOU Think You Could Be a Passenger Princess?

From embracing ride-sharing services to opting for luxury chauffeur experiences, the passenger princess trend reflects a changing mindset regarding personal mobility. Whether driven by convenience, environmental consciousness, or the desire for a curated lifestyle, the passenger princesses are redefining the norms of transportation in the modern age. As the trend continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how society adapts to and embraces this new way of getting around.

As for me, I like being in control behind the wheel, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.  While it’s nice to share driving duties on long trips, I’ll still be the one controlling the AC and choosing the tunes on the radio.

I also know how to write in cursive.

Whatever your reason for not driving, voluntarily being a passenger represents a unique shift in the way we approach transportation.  But be aware that if it continues to gain popularity and dominate social media in the future, it’s definitely more than a trend.

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Jana Askeland is a Carolina girl who grew up around cars. Her dad was in the car business, and... More about Jana Askeland