Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Travel on a Budget: Stop Fighting in the Car

Boyfriend and I have been traveling nearly every weekend this summer/fall visiting the National Parks and we've created a pretty good system. But, that doesn't mean we don't want to kill each other sometimes.

In my last blog, I mentioned that it's almost necessary to have a partner. Still, that's a different person with different tastes and feelings. And you're trapped in a car with them and their farts for hours and sometimes days.

How do you do it?

The Stereo
One of the earliest and easiest fights to solve is control of the stereo. Now, most issues default to the driver's choice. They are on the road. They don't need distractions. They need to stay awake. Many people use this rule to cover the CD player/radio/AUX cord issue. This is fine if you switch off driving evenly, but if you're partner is like mine, it means listening to his songs and CDs the majority of the trip.

And that just won't do.

Instead, Boyfriend and I found common ground. We both like comedy and, when there is reception, we play different comedy channels through Pandora. When our phones have no service, we switch to music. He gets to play a song or even a whole CD. Then I get one.

Feed the Driver
Bring lots of extra snacks and water because you're not you when you're hungry, apparently. Make sure it's in an easy to reach place so you can also feed the driver when they request.

It's going to happen. Do the courteous thing and roll down the windows closest to you. This means put down the driver's side window and the driver's side backseat window if you're the one driving. Opening all the windows tends to blow the smell around rather than suck it out.

Go to the Bathroom
Speaking of bodily functions, go to the bathroom at every stop. If you're getting gas or a snack or someone else is using the bathroom, go. Like your parents would say: just try. Because no one wants to stop in 30 minutes when it finally hits you to go.

Pull Over
Similar to the last one: take a breather when you need to. Stop at scenic overlooks or parks. Stretch your legs and back. A little, unhurried walk can revive you.

Awake or Asleep?
If your partner needs you to be awake, do your best to stay that way. Tell them stories, read the latest news articles from Yahoo or what have you. Talk about controversial topics (e.g. politics, religion, the news) only if you know it's a topic you both AGREE on. This way the discussion will still be passionate but not lead to long silences or someone doing the drop and roll out of the vehicle. Play games. See the list below.

Sometimes, your partner will want you to sleep so they can listen to their music, have the road to themselves (i.e. no backseat driving), or so you can take over in a few hours. In those instances, curl up in the back with a blanket. The driver should always have control over the A/C.

If you're all out of music or cell service or stories, then to the past to play childhood games.

  • I Spy
  • License Plate Game
  • 20 Questions
  • Hangman
  • Alphabet Game
  • Never Have I Ever
  • Would You Rather
  • Madlibs
  • MASH (Mansion Apartment Shack House)

Remember that the other person is stuck with you just as much as you are stuck with them so make it easy. Ask if your partner needs anything. Keep complaining to a minimum. Find mutual ground when it comes to things like speed limits or bathroom breaks or convenience store snacks. Your road trip is an adventure so have fun.

What complaints do you have about your driving with your partner?

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