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I realize it’s a little early to share my road tripping relationship advice, but since a major road tripping holiday will be upon us Saturday, I thought it would be gracious of me to prepare you all for the joys of the open road before then. In all of the things you have to consider while going on a road trip–stops/rest stops, potty breaks, getting gas, road hazards, staying awake, up to do vehicle insurance and repairs–etiquette can be lost in the mix. However, if you’re traveling with another person, observing a few rules of etiquette can save you a lot of headaches and awkward/angry exchanges. Here are a few areas that I’ve identified where it pays to be courteous:

  • Departure: Make sure that you are packed and ready to go 24 hours in advance. If you are meeting someone somewhere, arrive on time so the trip can proceed in a timely manner. Try to buy all necessities beforehand or once you reach your destination instead of taking side trips to get them that prolong the journey unnecessarily
  • Car cleanliness: No one wants to be in a car crunching soda cans and chip bags underfoot, nor do they want to have to let the windows down to disperse the funk in this traveling hot house. If you’re the driver, please make sure the car is clean and fresh before the roadtrip. Also, keep a couple of plastic bags to handle the accumulated fast food wrappers and soda cans until you can throw these away.
  • Converse: Use your entrapment trip to discuss what’s going on in each other’s lives, relive fun times, or make plans of places to go/things to see on your trip. Perhaps this is the perfect opportunity to talk some things out, seeing as though you both have to stay in the car while it’s moving.
  • Entertainment: Trying to pick mutually agreed upon listening fare can be a difficult one, especially if you are at the mercy of the old fashioned AM/FM radio. It’s only marginally better with an iPod or SiriusXM satellite radio. You have a more continuous place to find music without changing channels, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to find something that you both don’t mind listening to. I’ll have some suggestions on a road playlist later this week.
  • In arm’s reach: If you’re like me, there are certain things that you like to keep within reach while driving. For me, this includes my purse, along with CDs, snacks, various hygiene products. This can be a problem when you have a front seat passenger. You will need to be able to organize yourself so that you have everything within reach but your things aren’t encroaching on your passenger’s space.
  • Pumping gas: In my world, I never pump gas when I’m riding with anyone, especially males. I just can’t see getting out of my car while a man is sitting in there. I’m spoiled silly that way. If everyone is of the same sex, you can take turns, have the passenger pump, whoever doesn’t pay for the gas pumps, or Dad always pumps.
  • Allow enough time for bathroom breaks, snack restocking, meals, stopping for gas, and getting lost.
  • The passenger navigates if necessary.
  • If you are in the front passenger seat, you are responsible for helping the driver, whether it’s putting a straw in his soda, navigating, regulating the back seat, checking blind spots, counting change for the toll road, or holding a sandwich.
  • Food: Make sure that when you plan to stop for food, each restaurant has choices available to suit the dietary needs and restrictions of all passengers.

Of course, keeping the peace isn’t the only component to a successful road trip. Stay tuned for another installment tomorrow!