Surviving Your First Road Trip as a Couple

couple kissing with the golden gate bridge in the background

Going on a road trip with your significant other is an incredible, solidifying bonding experience. Surviving your first road trip as a couple is something else entirely. You may love your partner, but the prospect of spending hours alone in a car with them can be daunting. You’ll learn things about them you never knew; for many couples, the experience can put a strain on the relationship. 

Follow along in this guide for tips and tricks on surviving your first road trip as a couple.

Have a plan in place

The best advice for surviving your first road trip as a couple is to go with a plan. This doesn’t just mean having a plan for landmarks, bathroom and rest breaks, and time spent at museums and shops. These are important, of course, and a trip planner app and dashboard-mounted GPS can help you there. Having a plan also means anticipating how you will deal with issues that come up between you during the trip.

Beat money problems with a budget

Money, for example, is one of the most common reasons why couples fight. Sit down and work out a budget that’s amenable to both of you. Take the budget with you on your trip so you both can refer to it on a daily basis. This a good way to avoid arguments and is a responsible way of making sure you don’t overspend. It’s also good to agree on whether you’ll make any financially or physically large purchases. Take into consideration the limited space in your vehicle and the need to have money on hand for emergencies.

Make a list of things you two might disagree about, talk it out in advance, and verbally show agreement. Letting your partner know you agree with them and are conscientious strengthens your relationship. It also encourages them to be agreeable and create favorable compromises.

Remove obvious obstacles

You should have a good idea of what sets your partner off and what they don’t like. A good way of not triggering them is to remove the obvious obstacles to their (and your) happiness. Hunger, for example, makes people irritable so it’s a good idea to pack your vehicle with snacks. Similarly, if one of you takes medication on a regular basis, set an alarm to remind you to do so.

woman leaning out of car window, wind in hair

Find some space

To survive your first road trip together as a couple, find a way to create separate spaces for each other. Your spaces don’t have to be explicitly marked as such. Agreeing the backseat will function as a separate quiet space can be a great way of starting the venture positively. It also removes the worry that one person is sitting in the backseat because they are annoyed or angry.

Making sure you travel in a large enough vehicle also helps with the creation of separate spaces. Your old Prius may save fuel, but it might be cramped for two people traveling with luggage and other accessories. A newer version or another eco-friendly car may be better. If you’ll be doing a lot of road trips, you may want a vehicle that is roomy and fuel efficient. You can trade up, rent or borrow someone else’s.

Discussing separate spaces is also something you should do in collaboration with your partner. Doing so alone might appear to them as if you’re assuming something about them.

Remember why you’re making the trip

Just as important as taking time away from each other is spending intimate time together outside of the car. Make sure you’re still doing little things to show your affection for one another. You might leave notes for them to wake up to, or plan a surprise romantic dinner. By leveraging your road trip to get closer to your partner, you add value to the journey overall.

Celebrate surviving your trip

After surviving your first road trip as a couple, reward yourselves! A successful road trip can be a milestone for you two as a couple, and you two should recognize that. Reflect on all the good times you had, and make light of the little disagreements. Talk about ways to improve on your next big road trip as a couple.

About Haley Kieser

My name is Haley and I am originally from Arizona. I have lived also lived in Minnesota and South Dakota. Among my favorites are being outdoors, traveling, Arizona sunsets, Midwest greenery, craft beer, and the Green Bay Packers.

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