Springtime ushers in graduations, weddings, Memorial Day, and then the gentle glide into summer with all the travel it entails. With the flowers and warm sun often come road-trips for family gatherings and celebrations, and hopefully some much-deserved vacation time, too. If the seasonal re-birth of flora coincides with your own blossoming relationship, you and your new companion may find yourselves facing a long road trip together for the first time. There’s a lot to love—and a few common pitfalls to look out for—while spending time strapped in together.
Setting the mood:
Maybe we’re too technologically advanced for a carefully constructed mix-CD, but there’s still romance to be found in your music choice. Whether you make a special playlist or download an app to do it for you, your thought and effort will help set the tone for your ride. If you’re the driver, consider asking your co-pilot to play some music they like. It’s a good way to connect and make conversation, helping both pass the drive time and deepen your connection, all with the added benefit of enjoyable tunes.
Preparing for your arrival:
Traveling to the hometown of your new squeeze for a holiday or celebration? Even if you’ve met the family before, being on your honey’s home-turf brings new challenges. If you’re the one bringing someone special home, a little preparation goes a long way. Offer your new love some insider-tips: Is Louie at the pizza joint a little surly? Does your brother make terrible coffee, which everyone only pretends to drink? Is your niece really into coloring, but hates to share her markers? Giving your companion a few small heads-ups about personalities and the idiosyncrasies of where you’re from will help them feel less like a Balki and more like a Larry, and we think you’ll both enjoy your trip more.
Pit-stops: to pee or not to pee
Many of us have strong feelings about making good time versus making time for driving breaks, and it’s a good idea to find out where you both stand before you set out for your journey. No one wants to have an argument on the interstate, when you can’t even meet one another’s eye (seriously, eyes on the road!). If you’re a mismatch, fear not. Your relationship isn’t doomed, but how you handle each other’s needs is important. If you’d rather drive six straight hours and ensure you arrive in time for dinner, but your new flame feels more comfortable with hourly leg stretching, consider working out a compromise beforehand: maybe one scheduled stop, halfway, with a wild-card emergency break if someone decides they’ve had too much coffee.
The trope that launched a thousand sitcom jokes: asking for directions
We have Google Maps and GPS for the turn-by-turn, and those gentle voices will even speak the directions aloud, forgoing the need for an alert and map-literate co-pilot. Hopefully many potential arguments and hurt feelings can now be avoided (thank goodness). But what if you and your squeeze disagree about more than Google can handle? What if it’s not the directions, but destination itself, or the best route to take, that becomes a sticking point? In these cases, Quoted recommends a few deep breaths, a pause, and remembering that being right isn’t most important. Instead, being a supportive and flexible companion will show your new love that the relationship trumps your ego. And, if the trip takes a little extra time, or you go slightly off course, it’ll be a great anecdote for your grandkids someday.
Wrap up: Quick and Dirty Dos and Don’ts:
- Keep your road rage in check
- Go 50-50 on the music choices
- Offer to take the wheel
- Feed the driver and give head scratches (if you’re averse to driving, these are great ways to keep your co-pilot job)
- Backseat drive
- Speed; you won’t look cool if you get pulled over
- Be afraid to try your comedy routines
- Chat with your mom—really—you can catch up later
No matter if you’ve been together for one week or six months, your first long car trip together is an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of each other. The confined space and shared goal of reaching the destination offers you chances to weather disagreements, gracefully accommodate your companion, and work as a team. If you both still like each other at the end, pat yourselves on the back and squeeze each other’s road-weary hands extra tight; you may have found love.