You and your SO will recall your road trip for years to come, and you want to remember it for the right reasons. When you look back, you want to think fondly of the food, conversation and laughter you shared. You don’t want to think about the hours you spent fixing a flat tire in the middle of the Arizona desert, or the fight you had about where to eat.
That said, you can’t prepare for everything, and you may hit a few roadblocks along the way. However, you can ensure a positive experience for you and your partner by getting ahead of some common issues. A proactive approach will keep you on track, moving in the right direction as you make the most of your adventure.
What should you keep in mind? How do you avoid some of the potholes of a bad road trip? Follow these 10 suggestions.
1. Leave Your Phone Alone
You may start to gravitate toward your phone during a lull in the conversation, and that’s perfectly natural. If you’re the passenger, and you’re bored of staring out the window, it only makes sense you’d turn your attention elsewhere. Just remember that you’re sharing the car with your significant other, and it’s a long drive if they only have music to listen to.
2. Steer Clear of Sensitive Subjects
A road trip isn’t the ideal time to work through your issues. It may seem that way — with hours to spend and nowhere to be — but it can quickly take a turn for the worse if you broach a sensitive subject and get a sharp response. Suddenly, there’s no escape for either of you, and the silence will start to drag on. The last thing you want is to be like the couple who broke up on a plane ride.
3. Plan Stops Along Your Route
Where are you planning to stop during your road trip? If you’re not sure, you may want to talk to your significant other and look for rest areas along your route. The United States is full of beautiful landmarks, roadside attractions and truck stops to keep you energized and entertained. Sometimes the quirky ones are the ones you remember.
4. Take a Little Time Apart
Even the most compatible couples need some time apart. You enjoy your SO’s company, of course, but everyone needs a few hours to themselves if they’re going to survive a road trip. It’s also helpful if you have different interests, as you can plan to attend separate events and meet up afterward.
5. Get a Rental Car
You’ve grown attached to your car, and you depend on it for everything. It’s only logical you’d trust it for your road trip. At the same time, you’ll add mileage to your vehicle and possibly sustain some light damage — issues you’ll avoid if you pay a little extra to rent a car.
6. Organize an Essentials Kit
Napkins, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, Advil … what are some of the essential items you’ll need to bring along for your trip? Write down a list and visit your local pharmacy to collect anything you need before you embark. You won’t have to make any extra stops if you come prepared.
7. Keep a Map in Your Glovebox
When you’re deep in the mountains and lose reception on your phone, you’ll need to adapt. No one wants to use an enormous, old-school map, but it’s a valuable asset if you’re driving through a confusing area with a poor signal. Keep one in your glovebox to manage these mini-emergencies.
8. Determine Your Budget
Talk about money ahead of time so it doesn’t come up on your trip. What’s your budget, and how much are each of you contributing? When you work out the details of lodging, food, gas and the other necessities that will come up throughout your journey, they won’t catch you by surprise and cause unnecessary tension.
9. Create a New Playlist
You’ll spend a lot of your time talking with your SO during the drive, but you’ll eventually lapse into silence and need something to fall back on. You can always recycle your old playlists, but where’s the fun in that? Create something fresh for your road trip with songs both you and your partner will enjoy.
10. Bring a Reusable Water Bottle
Reusable jugs are usually three times the size of a regular water bottle. If you want an efficient, practical way to carry your water and coffee, invest in a reusable jug in preparation for your trip. You’ll spend far less time at gas stations and more time on the road, uninterrupted.
The Road Ahead
You’re at the beginning of an exciting journey, and you’re ready to get on the road. Before you do, review these 10 suggestions and make any adjustments you think are necessary. Soon enough, you’ll have the wind in your hair, your favorite song playing on the stereo and your SO beside you.
Photo provided by the author.