Though many of us fantasize about cross-country road trips with our best friends or partners, the reality can be less enjoyable. In truth, your ideal road trip buddy may be a very different person than you expect. There are several aspects to consider if you’re specifically vetting your future travel companion, or perhaps these aspects can help you plan in advance how best to compromise.
Especially when you’re in long stretches where the road isn’t as interesting, and specifically at night when sleep could threaten to overtake the driver, conversation is a literal life-saver. When you’re in the car with a companion, it’s generally a good thing to have someone who is willing to talk with you during these times. Even if you don’t have the exact same interests, you should be able to hold a conversation with your road trip buddy. Without this essential piece of the puzzle, a car ride can be potentially very boring and awkward.
Not everyone has the same taste music, it’s a given. But, with a little bit of compromise, you’re bound to find something to listen to without completely alienating your travel partner- even if it’s an audiobook. Heck, especially if it’s an audiobook. Listening to a book if you don’t feel like conversing can create a bond you’ll carry with you past the road trip itself (GLORM!… don’t mind that inside joke outburst).
Ability to Stay Awake or Share Driving Responsibility
For me, this is exceedingly crucial because I WILL fall asleep if I’m tired and the other person in the car is sleeping. It’s just nice to know that, if you’re trying to reach a destination, you’ve got someone able to take the wheel when needed.
There’s not a lot more annoying than stopping twice as much as you personally need to, or someone not realizing you need to stop when you tell them as such. I’m usually guilty of the later, as I’ve somehow trained my body to survive for nearly 6 hours without a stop. I about went crazy with a travel companion who needed a stop every hour. It’s about knowing in advance so you don’t find yourself exasperated halfway through the drive.
Sense of Adventure
Someone who wants pure spontaneity is not going to mesh well with someone who needs every step of the itinerary outlined. Finding an ideal travel buddy means finding someone with a comparable sense of adventure. The last thing you want is to be bummed out because you won’t be stopping at that cool museum just off the road because the other person swears you have to be to the next stop in half an hour.
I talk in my sleep, some people snore. These sorts of people will ruin the night of a light sleeper. Other considerations could include the amount of light needed, comfort in sharing a sleeping space (and sometimes a bed), or perhaps even who wants the bed closest to the door.
If you work these out beforehand, you can often find compromises or workarounds (for example, one of my travel companions wears headphones going to bed so my talking never bothers her).