Nothing will test your relationship much like travel. We have interviewed more than 50 couples on the Travel Couple Podcast that would agree with the last statement. Quite a few of those couples, us included, have done a road trip together. Just themselves. Together in a vehicle. For hours on end. This will test your relationship like no other.
Having been on a few road trips ourselves and interviewed many other couples who have also done the same for much longer than we have ever done, we figured it would be beneficial to create a road trip tips for couples post that would round up all of the great advice that we have received and the experiences that we have been through.
There is a lot that needs to be factored in to a successful road trip with your significant other. If you have never been on one, much less traveled together, perhaps you would be better off taking baby steps towards your first road trip.
Nonetheless, however you want to begin your road trip and no matter your destination, a road trip will really help you learn more about one another and either break you two apart or draw you closer than ever before.
Road Trip Advice for Couples
Our road trips together are the most memorable. Oh the times I drove hours upon hours through South Africa while Natalie slept in the passenger seat. Good times.
But in all seriousness, road tripping is one of our favorite things to do while traveling. Being able to travel at your own pace and to have the freedom to go wherever you want and do whatever you want is the best part about having your own vehicle or renting one.
There is a lot of thought that goes in to deciding to road trip your country or a country that you are traveling to. Making sure that you are properly prepared and you both understand what to expect with the trip is extremely important. Ultimately this will be a great relationship test in problem solving, planning, and most of all communication.
Start with Smaller Road Trips
Prepare for Your Road Trip
Communicate Your Road Trip Expectations
Plan for the Worst, Hope for the Best
Research Fun Things for Couples to do on a Road Trip
Traveling is difficult. There are a lot of unforeseen circumstances that will occur throughout your travels and you need to conquer them as a couple. Check out our advice for your first trip as a couple post should you be deciding to travel together for the first time.
Road tripping is going to be even more difficult, especially if you are doing a long-term trip together. If you have never done this before, make sure you start with smaller and shorter trips. Make sure that the two of you are actually compatible before leaving for a one year road trip through an unknown country that will have the two of you clawing at each other’s throats.
Try drawing up a plan to go to wine country, a string of nearby cities, or a trip to the next major city during a weekend or long weekend. See how the two of you work together, plan together, and problem solve together. Starting in a familiar place will be less stressful on the two of you and will help prepare the two of you for a longer road trip in an unfamiliar place.
This is the greatest piece of advice shared on our podcast by other couple travelers, but we did not follow this advice before going on our first road trip. However, we had traveled together to six different countries before deciding to do a two week road trip through South Africa.
During these trips we learned from one another and were able to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses when traveling. This brings us to the preparation portion of the road trip.
Beyond preparing the items that you need to bring with you for your road trip, you should be working to prepare your route, destinations, pit stops, and accommodation.
This is where you need to collaborate and / or assign tasks with one another to ensure that you have thought about where you are going and how you are going to get there. This becomes a little bit more involved than if you were just planning an itinerary somewhere. Now you need to plan out the route that you are going to drive and stops along the way.
Will you be driving an RV and sleeping in the parking lots of businesses that allow this? Will you be sleeping at camp sites or would you prefer to have a nice mix of hotels and roughing it? This is what needs to be considered when thinking about your accommodation. Having an app that can provide you with campsites and places that allow you to sleep in their parking lots is always helpful.
Do you know that your route has gas stations along the way or will you need to pack a can to fill up when you need to in order to have some back. Is your route safe? What do you need to be aware of when you are driving, especially at night time? Do you know the rules of the road? Do you need an international driver’s permit? Are you actually allowed to drive in this country?
All of these questions need answering and they will all have different answers depending on where you are traveling to. Make sure you have your route planned out on a physical map as well as your mobile device so that you have two options to choose from should something happen to one.
Preparation is the key to any successful road trip.
Each person will have their own expectations when traveling or road tripping. Make sure that you communicate these expectations before you hop in the vehicle and realize that one of you does not want to drive at all leaving it entirely to the one partner to drive.
There are a lot of questions you need to consider based on your expectations which is why we recommend that you try shorter road trips before graduating to a longer trip which will indeed be more taxing.
What do you want to see on your road trip? What stops do you want to make? Who will do the driving? Who will take care of the directions? How many times per day do you need to stop? What will you be eating on the road trip? Will you be okay having snacks during the day if you need to drive a lot? Are you okay with sleeping in a parking lot? Are you okay with sleeping in a campground? How many days are you okay without using a shower? Would you prefer to stay in AirBnBs? What are we going to do when we are in the car for hours upon end with each other? What will we talk about?
These questions are good starting points to your road trip, but you should continue to communicate with your partner before and during your road trip about your expectations and anything that has changed. This will really be beneficial to your relationship and set you up for success in the future.
What if you get a flat tire? What happens if your vehicle breaks down at night in the middle of nowhere? What do you need to do if you get into an accident? Do you have insurance? What is your insurance company’s phone number to contact once you get into an accident?
We have a printed piece of paper in our glove department that steps us through what you need to do if you get into an accident. This helps us not forget anything important by going through the steps and what we need to do, especially in a situation where you may not be thinking clearly.
Whenever we travel, we have our insurance company’s phone number with us at all times to call should there be an emergency. Remember that you need to call your insurance company as soon as there is an accident. If there is a hospital visit involved, they will tell you which hospital to go to.
Do you know how to change a flat tire? Perhaps it would be beneficial for you to practice before hitting the road should there be a problem. Also learning where the windshield wiper fluid goes is extremely important.
If your car breaks down at night in the middle of nowhere, what are you going to do? Make sure you have a plan for this. Bring charging ports into the car with you so that you can charge your phones in case of emergency. If your battery dies in the car and your phones die, you are likely walking or waiting for help. In the winter, this would not be ideal so make sure that you have a charged phone just in case.
Ultimately you need to have plans put in place for the worst case scenarios and to hope for the best. Likely these worst case scenarios will not come to be, but it is always important to know what you are doing if they ever do. Also, make sure both of you know these things. You never know what could happen and if one person is unable to do the thinking, then the other person should be able to pull the weight. This is the benefit to traveling as a couple and not solo.
There are a lot of fun things for couples to do on a road trip to fill their time. It is not all about one person driving and the other sleeping. It is about making the most out of every moment that you have together.
You can listen to audio or plan some road trip games for couples along the way. Though these games would not necessarily be the most engaging of games, as one person is driving and you are not likely to be pulling out Hungry Hungry Hippos to get a game in quickly. However, it will help to get to know the two of you a little better and have some laughs along the way.
Things like podcasts and audio books are great resources to play if you are tired of the same music playing on the radio and want to learn something. You can plan a podcast for the destination you are at to learn more about the country or city. There are also a lot of road trip games for couples to play as well.
- Would You Rather is a great game to play to learn more about one another by asking if the other person would rather insert something they would or would not want to do or insert something they would or would not want to do.
- I Spy where you look for something around your and state “I spy something that is insert color or shape.
- Twenty Questions where you think of a noun and the person has twenty yes or no questions to guess what it is that you are thinking of.
- Letter Game where you say a word and the last letter in that word needs to be the first letter of the next word that the other person needs to say. To make this more difficult you would think of a category like “Celebrities” or “Animals”.
- Car Game where you state a color of car, make of car, or license plate number or letter and every time you see that you call it out and get a point.
Think of Some Road Trip Conversations for Couples
Besides playing games, the two of you can use this road trip to really have some great conversation together. You can think about your future or your next trip together. Plan a bucket list and think about where you see yourselves in five, ten, or twenty years.
Check in with each other about how you are feeling. One couple we interviewed on the Travel Couple Podcast would ask each other, “on a scale of one to ten, how do you feel?” at the end of a day. This would be a good conversation starter about how they felt either positively or negatively and help clear anything up that needed to be.
Talk about what you think of the road trip, the country, interactions with locals, food, culture, anything about your current trip and how you could compare it to your past trips together.
I do not think I need to tell you how you should start conversations with your significant other, but if dead air makes you uncomfortable and your are out of conversation starters, here is a list of road trip questions for couples you can start with:
- Where do you see us in the future?
- Ask about past.
- Reminisce on memories together or separate.
- What do you want to accomplish in life?
- What do you want to accomplish on this trip?
- Where do you want to travel to next?
- What is on your bucket list?
- If you retired today and you had enough money to do anything, what would your life look like?
- If you were insert dire situation here (ex. stranded on a desert island, stuck in the wilderness, etc.), what would you do?
- If you were stranded and could only have one item, what would it be?
Have Fun and Make Some Memories
Traveling and road tripping is all about the memories that you will make and be able to share together for many more years to come. It will challenge you beyond what you are used to and the two of you will need to overcome the obstacles that are presented to you.
You will be with each other for a long time and in close proximity for hours on end. You want this time together to be enjoyable. You want it to be something that you can remember fondly of for the rest of your lives.
This is why if and when an argument presents itself, you need to work together to move past it as fast as you can. This does not mean sweep it under the rug and pretend it did not happen. This means coming up with a strategy to really work through an argument and fix it.
We have found that giving each other a chance to talk for a few minutes without the other one interrupting has been really beneficial to our communication when in an argument. Instead of using words that place blame on the other person, use how you feel based on the situation. This makes sure the other person does not need to defend themselves, but also clarifies how they made you feel.
Having some quiet time with your own thoughts instead of raising your voices at one another is also another good strategy. Take a twenty to thirty minute break from an argument if it does not seem like it is going anywhere. This allows the emotions to calm down and for the two of you to think clearly.
Make the most of your time together and move past arguments as soon as you can. This will ensure that you will have a road trip that you will both look back on positively and you will want to repeat this again in the future.
As we said, road tripping is one of the most challenging things to do together as a couple when you are traveling. There is not a lot of time away from each other. You will be confined to a small space just inches away from each other for hours on end.
This is why it is crucial to plan, communicate, and enjoy this time together. Make the most of the time that you have and make some amazing memories together. Do not let a petty argument get in the way of enjoying the limited time that you may have at a destination and really take the opportunity to learn more about one another.
This will be a great challenge for your relationship.