Think you know your partner? Your best friend? Your mom? There is nothing like close quarters and the stress of constant decision-making to show you how strong a relationship really is.
Here are just a few things that we learned spending hours and hours and hours together in the ĎTima, the tent and too small beds in budget motels.
Respect each otherís pace. For the first few hikes, we tried to walk together all the time. Gabís slow pace frustrated Michael; Michaelís long strides quickly wore Gab out and that made her cranky. Once we realized it was ok to be at different places on the trail, treks became much more enjoyable. Michael was able to get the workout he wanted. Gab was able to stop and stare at flowers. Hikes became designated alone time for each of us, except of course, in bear country when constant chatter is a safety precaution. Speaking of bear countryÖ.
Donít use your partner as a human shield. Yes, Michael. Iím talking to you. Jumping behind your wife doesnít make the black bear on the trail go away.
Peer pressure isnít always negative. Traveling as a team allows you to try and do things you may not have done if you were alone. Anything from venturing into that strange looking local diner to hiking those extra miles before the end of the day. Go ahead. Be bold! Some call it taunting or trash-talking. We call it challenging your mate to get the most out of a trip.
Define your roles. Then stay out of the way. Whoís driving? Whoís packing? Who's double checking entrance times and fees? Whoís making sure batteries are charged and water bottles are filled?
Share. The snacks. The backpacking load. The responsibility when a situation doesnít go as planned. Pointing fingers, hoarding peanuts and making your mate carry the tent and the food are surefire ways to start a fight.
Be Decisive. Your decisions arenít always going to be the right ones; sometimes they are. Indecision is always a mess. It wastes times, frustrates your partner and could result in missed opportunities.
Have a Mascot. Or two. Meet Pluto and Medium, our loyal road trip companions. These guys are pros at diffusing stressful situations and soothing hurt feelings. We strongly recommend having a few inanimate friends accompany you to do the same. Pluto rocks out to techno music. Medium loves The Who.
Adapt. Are you a creature of habit? Do you have to have to be up by 7 a.m., eat dinner at 6 p.m. and be in bed by 10 every night? Might want to rethink this rigidity before you embark on a road trip. Weíre not saying keeping a schedule is impossible, but it is not something one can count on. Do count on being out of your comfort zone more often than not. Unless your comfort zone includes odd hours, strange beds, dirty clothes and erratic meal times.
Hey wait, that sounds like heaven.
If your mate is having a bad hair day, donít tell them. They already know.
Compliment each other. Often.
Talk. And not only when you have to keep bears at bay. Donít assume he or she knows you really want to go to that museum or take that hike or sleep in late. Even if you mentioned it a few times the day before. Make your feelings known before, not after, you reach a destination.
If your mate yells at other drivers for doing things he sometimes does himself, don't point that out! This great Road Trip Tip comes from our pal Sarah H. from Washington D.C.
Call your parents. This great tip is compliments of Michael's dad.
Have some of your own travel tips to share? We know you do! Go here and tell us. If we add your tip to www.usa-c2c.com, we'll send you a cool USA-C2C long sleeve T-shirt!
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