How to road trip with your partner? Pack them in your suitcase and go! 😉 Almost as easy as this. But sometimes it gets a bit more complicated and your dream trip becomes your worst nightmare. I kind of should have named this article “how to road trip with your partner and avoid fighting” or “how to cope with a fight on the road”? Well maybe? I don’t know…
Most couples fight at some point, we just usually don’t like to admit it, especially nowadays when life must be seen through rosy filters on Insta or Snap. Now, having a fight at home is one thing… But having a fight on the road is a complete different thing. It can reach whole new levels of craziness!
Is there a secret remedy to avoid fighting? Not really, unfortunately. At least I haven’t found it. If you have, you can email me your secret!! Please, please do!
What I do know is that one of the keys to successfully road trip with your SO, is RESPECT.
RESPECT each others’ space
RESPECT each others’ things
And RESPECT yourself & your needs
Yes, it works at home as well but it takes a slightly different form when travelling and especially when road tripping in a metal shoebox i.e. a car.
So, here are my recommendations on how to handle things before and during your trip. As well as my recommendations on what to do when you hit the wall.
Before your Road Trip
The best thing you can do before your trip is to talk extensively about how you envision it.
How long you want to drive per day and who’s going to be driving most. What you want to do and see. If you have particular concerns, like “I don’t think I can sleep in a tent more than 3 nights in a row”, you should express these in advance. How tasks are going to be handled is another thing you could discuss. If you want them to take care of the tent, or do all the cooking, say it!
Defining your needs and limits in advance isn’t that easy, because you probably want to take this trip to explore yourself, to push yourself, to define new limits. But being fair to yourself and your SO, is quite important. If there is something you just can’t handle, don’t pretend you will.
For example, I can’t handle spiders! I know it, he knows it. I’m doing better and better which means I don’t scream as loud as I used to. 😉 We both know that I still need him to drop everything and to rescue me pronto, if I’m facing a monster! And sometimes if the beast is huge, I might also need a cuddle to recover from his battle. And yes, I know it makes no sense!
During your Road Trip
There are in my opinion and experience 2 main issues when on a road trip: physical space and time.
Physical space is usually limited during a road trip. You may be squeezed in a car or van, than in a tent or small hotel room, and squeezed again in a little cafe… At first, it feels very intimate and romantic. You’ll probably want to be on each other, all the time. But this feeling might wear off slightly and this could lead to ‘complications’.
Time could also become an issue. In your normal daily lives, the true is that you probably do not spend 24/7 with each others. Suddenly on a road trip, you are. It may seem like a good thing at first but it will most likely drive you nuts very soon. It’s ok! Well at least, I think it’s ok!
As mentioned above, one key to a successful road trip is RESPECT.
Respecting each others starts by respecting each others needs. Needs to rest, needs to express, needs to do certain things… If you talk about these things in advance and during your trip, you’ll increase your chances to have an enjoyable trip. Compromise on certain things but not everything.
Respect is also about respecting each others things. It may seem obvious but things can get a little complicated when in a tight space. Don’t put your dirty walking shoes on top of their flip-flops! Put your dirty laundry where it belongs, not anywhere close to their clean clothes. Top right space is yours, bottom left is theirs. Period! Yes, I’m 100% sure that the blue towel is mine. And no, you can’t eat my chocolate!!
And again as mentioned above, respect is also and maybe most importantly about respecting yourself. Take time for yourself. Do things separately. It’s OK!
Do you want examples? Here is how we find balance:
I get up first and make coffee. Breath in, breath out and enjoy the quietness of the sunrise. He gets up next, after having spent a bit of time in bed. We have breakfast, talk about our plans for the day. He goes off for a bike ride, while I do some yoga. Morning passes on quickly as I usually work a bit while he reads the news or take care of things like grocery shopping. I prepare lunch, he does the dishes. We spend the afternoon, exploring together. Diner seems to come also way too quickly. Sipping wine while chatting and reading a book is an acceptable way to end the day. A little evening stroll in our surrounding, watching the sunset or gazing at the stars, depending on the time remains one of our favorite moments.
No matter what you do and how well you communicate with your partner, there are great chances that you will face a crisis or 2 when on the road. One too many wrong turns, one too many sleepless nights… any small and seamless event can trigger such crisis. The smallest things usually do, you already know this.
How to handle such crisis?
Here is my ounce of wisdom, based on experience. Indeed, I had my fair share of crisis on the road. To be completely honest with you, I had too many experiences. Facing another couple’s crisis, has even become the thing I fear most when planning a trip. Not spiders, not car crash although that’s a biggy, but having another fight.
So those are my recommendations:
If it happens while driving, stop. It can be dangerous.
Don’t add another word, just don’t! Refrain from adding any further comment or trying to prove your point, etc. Don’t make jokes, ok?!
Part ways for a while. Go for a walk. Bad arguments lead to terrible things being said. They leave you shattered, broken. You need time to recompose, analyse and recover. You and your partner might need a different amount of time.
If you need to hit the road again, be reasonable and let the one of you who is less shaken drive.
You may need to change plans and reconsider your next accommodation. Camping isn’t the best place to try to make peace or have another fight. Maybe you should try to find a quiet place to stay at. A 2 bedrooms apartment for example! A place where you will both have space for yourself.
Once ready, try to talk about it or at least show you are ready to talk about it. Apologize. Yeah I know…
You may need to rethink your plans for the rest of your trip. Part of your fight might have been linked to the way you or your partner have planned the trip. In any case, maybe this big fight was just a fluke, maybe it was something to take seriously. You know best.
If you need to consider parting ways because the fight was extremely serious, plan smartly and stay safe.
And you know…
At some point, you’ll have to solve the problem… together. Maybe the best time isn’t during your road trip. Maybe you’ll have to fake it a little, while on the road. Well, you know “fake it till you make it” can have several meanings…
That’s it. Those were my tips on how to road trip with your partner and most importantly how to face a crisis on the road. I do not have a secret recipe to avoid fighting but I think those tested recommandations can be helpful.
Any further advice you would like to share?
Let me know