There comes a time in every relationship when you must pack up the car and hit the road for the first time with your significant other. Whether you’re heading up north for the weekend or traveling coast to coast, your first road trip together is an important event; after all, it’s an opportunity to get closer and learn about one another. It’s also a test to see if you can handle inevitable disagreements and work as a team along the way. But what is the best way to get started? You should know what to expect and plan ahead.
It’s a classic tale: he wants to “figure it out as we go” and she’s more interested in maps and schedules. To avoid a cinematic road-trip fight, discuss all of this as a team before you leave to make sure you are on the same page. Is your road trip more about the journey or the destination? Are you on a time crunch? Find a happy medium: if you have to be somewhere by a certain time, how about a direct drive on the way there, and then take the scenic route with on the way back? If it’s a quirky experience you’re after, plan to visit as many odd roadside attractions as possible. Or if you’re both sports fanatics, drive through awesome American sports towns on your way from point A to point B. No matter which route you choose, just make sure it’s one you’ll both enjoy.
Depending how long you’ve been with your S/O, you may not be at the point when you’re comfortable discussing finances. However, when you travel together (specifically when you’re on a road trip together) there needs to be a conversation about money before you get in the car. Are you splitting everything 50/50? How are you going to track the expenses and who has paid for what? Although you might feel uncomfortable bringing up the topic, remember that money issues can weigh heavily on a relationship, so it’s better to get everything out in the open and plan the financials together.
This is crucial. We all have our music hangups, especially in the car and especially on road trips. If you and your partner have similar musical tastes, choosing your road tunes will probably be easy and fun. But if you and he or she have no common musical ground, it’s going to take a lot of patience and open-mindedness (both before the trip and in the car) to make this happen without someone copping an attitude somewhere along the way. Before the trip: suggest that each of you make your own ultimate road trip playlist, then get together and compare; sure the lists may be on complete opposite sides of the scale but at least you’ll know what you’re up against. You may find that you both included “Life is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane, which might just spark an idea for a shared playlist. In the car, take turns and don’t be a hog.
As you continue planning your road trip, just be sure to communicate with one another about your objectives, expectations and any concerns you might have. And hey, if everything works out and you still like each other by the end of it, hold on because you’ve found true love.
This is a post from Erin Cline, who is a creative writer, content editor, volunteer opinion-giver and provides freelance comic relief.