There’s nothing like running away with the wind in your hair and the open road stretching endlessly before you. Although there’s much to be said for travelling solo, long hours on the highway can get a bit lonely. It definitely doesn’t hurt to split the cost of gas, food, and accommodation, either. To find the Thelma to your Louise, you’ll need to choose a companion wisely. After all, you will be sitting with this person inside a small box for several hours out of the day, if not 24-7.
Have a Similar Interest (or two)
Part of the beauty of travelling is interacting with people with many different backgrounds and interests. Yet for long term travel purposes, it’s better if you have some common ground with your road trip buddy. Unless you enjoy hours of intense political debate in an enclosed space, be sure that you see eye to eye when it matters most. Think about what you want to get out of your journey as well. If you are driving through Australia for three weeks of surfing and bushwalking, you’ll probably want to pass on a companion with zero interest in the great outdoors.
Talk about your Budget in Advance
Money has a way of screwing up all types of relationships, including those of the travel variety. It’s essential to discuss your budget before you’re out there on the road. Your budget will affect where you stay, the types of activities you’ll be taking part in, where you can eat, and how long you’ll be able to travel. It’s best to approach the journey with a similar budget in mind.
Take a Trial Run
If you’re not sure whether your college roommate is really going to be the best companion for a month-long tour up the West Coast of Latin America, why not try a shorter trip together first? Even a weekend away with someone can tell you a lot about their travel style and your compatibility.
Keep it Open Ended
Your travel buddy doesn’t necessarily need to follow the full itinerary from beginning to end. In fact, your road trip might be more interesting if you have a few different travellers for each leg of the journey. Consider looking at carpooling or rideshare listings sites to find like-minded travellers who are willing to split the fuel costs for a day or two and then move on.
Maximise your Space
Even with the most laid-back companion with an endless fountain of entertaining stories to share, you’ll want some peace and quiet on the road. It helps to choose a car that gives you enough space to spread out from time to time. A campervan or SUV is ideal, from a classic VW bus to a rugged Nissan Patrol. Yet even in a tiny Ford Fiesta, you can section off areas of personal space and create boundaries.
Above all, communication is important for any road trip relationship. If you’ve discussed your feelings on hitchhikers, roadside romance, and truck stop cuisine in advance, you’ll be far more likely to roll with the punches when you’re out in the middle of nowhere.
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