Road trips in summertime are a long standing tradition, like baseball on the Fourth of July or hating your job. They are fun and exciting......at least for the first hour and a half. But, depending on the length of your journey, a road trip can go from a joyous summer adventure to something that makes you want to jump out of the car, even if it is moving eighty miles per hour.
Because road trips are stressful, often causing us to go from happy to cranky in ten seconds flat, they can be quite detrimental to a partnership. Driving cross country isn't exactly a clinic on making relationships work. We get mad, we get annoyed, we get tired and we take it out on the person we love.
Be this as it may, taking a road trip with your spouse or your partner isn't akin to walking into the courthouse and demanding divorce papers. There are ways to survive a road trip and even have a fun time with the person you love the most.
So, if you're interested in making relationships work while on the road, remember to do the following before you fill up the tank and buckle your seatbelts:
Have a plan: The idea of getting in a car with no destination in mind and simply enjoying the open road is seeped in romanticism......if you're twenty years old. Adults on road trips — especially if kids are involved — must have a plan, lest frustration and resentment take root. This plan not only means knowing what highways to take, but knowing where you'll pull over for gas, where you'll stop for food and where you'll sleep for the night. Your plan should also include preparation for trouble: a AAA membership, a spare tire and, for times when you have no internet access, an actual map.
Share the responsibilities: Whether traveling or at home, sharing responsibilities is a huge factor in making relationships work. On a road trip, the largest responsibility is the one behind the wheel. Some people like to drive more than others; typically, men are more apt to want to put the petal to the metal than their female counterparts. But, taking turns on a road trip keeps one person from getting burnt out. It's safer for your relationship and your fellow travelers: driving while tired is almost as dangerous as driving while drunk.
Spend time apart: Spending time apart on a road trip may seem a little impossible. "I'm just going to go hang out on the ski rack for a while.....try not to go under any low overpasses." But doing something as simple as moving to the backseat for an hour or two can make you feel as if you are having some time to yourself. This can help your annoyance factor go from a code red to nearly nonexistent.
Take a break: By far the most difficult thing about road trips is that they are mundane. You can only see so many stalks of corn before boredom sets in. They are also suffocating. You can't exactly move around a car with ease. However, taking breaks every so often — such as every 200 hundred miles — can give you a chance to stretch your legs, take a walk and feel less like a sardine packed inside a tin can with wheels.
Prepare the playlist: One of the keys to making relationships work involves taking into the desire and needs of both parties, not just one party. For road trips, this kind of compromise is usually felt in terms of tunes. He who controls the radio also controls the world. So, before you shove off, prepare a playlist that involves both of your musical tastes. This may mean music you both enjoy, or trading off — a few songs you love, a few songs your spouse loves. Because listening to music is one of the only things to do on a road trip (especially if you're driving) it can be a major point of contention. So, keep it fair and include styles you both like. Either that, or just put "Free Fallin" on repeat: that's something all Americans can get behind.
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