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11 Quick Road Trip Tips For Couples (For a Stress-Free Trip)

Jack, author at The Road Trip Expert, skiing in Canada

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Are you looking for road trip tips for couples? 

If so, you’re not alone. Going on a couple’s road trip with your partner isn’t always a smooth experience, even if you have a fabulous relationship most of the time.

Don’t worry; this article is here to help. 

The following are my go-to road trip tips for couples. They’ve saved my relationship a few times in the past, and they can save yours too.

road trip tips for couples infographic

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Road Trip Tips For Couples

By reading what follows, you’ll learn some handy road trip tips for couples that you can use to keep everything ticking over happily.

The aim is to give you advice that you can use to avoid frustration, arguments, and meltdowns that can leave you in frosty silence.

Read on for 11 of my most helpful tips…

11 road trip tips for couples
Time for a stress-free road trip…

1. Don’t allow directions to start a fight

We, humans, are at our best when we know where we’re going and how to get there. When we’re lost, tired, or stressed – that’s when tempers can fray.

If your partner is anything like mine, getting lost can lead to all kinds of unpleasant arguments.

Fortunately, in the 21st century, there’s a mind-blowing technological solution: 

Satellite Navigation.

Navigation apps

Remember, you don’t need navigation tools built into your car: a simple smartphone will do. You can pop in the directions and get step-by-step instructions on how to find your destination without needing to check a map at all.

What’s more, certain apps will give you real-time updates, meaning you can avoid things like road closures and traffic jams that can flummox older systems.

You can see a breakdown of all the best navigation apps in this article on the best route planner apps.

For reference, these are my favorites: 

Google Maps Logo
Waze Logo logo

2. Fill up on gas when you hit half full

Running out of gas is never a pleasant experience. 

The last thing you want is to find yourself stranded on some random road in the middle of nowhere, on the phone to an emergency pickup company. Waiting for emergency fuel to arrive is tedious, stressful, expensive, and, you guessed it… leads to arguments.

To avoid this, always fill up as soon as you dip below the half-full mark on your fuel gauge. 

Sure, it might mean a couple of extra trips to the gas station, but so be it. 

At least you won’t be pulling your hair out at the side of the road, raging at your partner, and paying hundreds of dollars to roadside rescue.

Pro tip: use your sat nav to check for the nearest gas station on your route. Most modern apps come with a “find gas station” feature. Use it.

3. Focus on productive conversation – Not your phone!

Nothing is more annoying than one partner driving while the other is on his or her phone.

It’s distracting, rude, and a missed opportunity to spend time together. 

A road trip should be about building your relationship, not texting other people (especially other girlfriends and boyfriends).

Put the phones away and get into the spirit of being on the open road together as a couple, enjoying the freedom that adventure brings.

driving our van on a couples road trip
Driving our van through Australia

4. Don’t bring up difficult conversations

Productive conversations are good on road trips; difficult conversations are not.

That’s why avoiding sensitive topics is one of my most sacred road trip tips for couples. 

While discussing difficult issues is a critical way to move relationships forward, you’re better off saving them for situations in which you both have breathing space – NOT when you have to share several days in a tin can no larger than a queen-sized bed.

Tip: Check out our road trip questions for couples if you need some inspiration to get the conversation going.

Jot them down for later

If challenging topic ideas come to mind during the trip that you want to discuss with your partner, write them down in your phone or journal and save them for when you get home. 

You want your holiday to be a positive experience – something that you can look back on favorably in the future – not the time you spent giving each other the silent treatment.

5. Load the car with snacks

You might have to go several hours between stops on a road trip. 

Inevitably, therefore, there will be times when there is no roadside diner or shining city on the horizon where you can grab a bite to eat.

And hanger causes arguments!

I know I can be a right meany when I’m hungry.

When blood sugar starts running low, what would otherwise be trivialities can suddenly become massive issues, worthy of fully-fledged shouting matches.

Here’s my advice: 

Always, ALWAYS, keep snacks in the car with you. 

Nuts are particularly useful because they can survive hot car journeys, are healthy, and help to regulate blood sugar. You can also try packing the car with fruit.

6. Arrange activities to do separately

Hold on a minute: isn’t spending time together the point of going on a road trip with your partner?

The answer, of course, is “yes,” but with an important caveat: 

You don’t have to be together every waking minute.

As far as my road trip tips for couples go, this is a big one. 

Try, if possible, to arrange the occasional separate activity during your vacation. The time you spend apart will help you both feel refreshed and excited to see each other again, enhancing the time that you do have.

Enjoy some different activities

Doing separate activities can actually help to enhance your experience of the road trip overall. 

For instance, I’m always drawn toward adventure activities whenever I go on a trip, like snorkeling or mountain biking. 

My partner, however, would much prefer to go for a walk or visit an art gallery. 

By doing the odd thing separately, you can wind up enjoying your road trip much more than if you did everything together.

spending time apart AND together is one of the best road trip tips for couples
It’s healthy to spend time apart AND together

7. Invite your friends along for parts of the trip

No – you don’t have to bring friends along with you for every second of the adventure, just a few sections.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Make a list of people who live along the route that you want to take or who would be willing to come with you
  2. Book an RV or a van that’s large enough to accommodate everyone
  3. Create a road trip plan that rotates your time between having extra people with you and being alone as a couple

You’re all set!

8. Do something fun to deal with those long highway miles

Here’s one of my favorite road trip tips for couples: do something fun to make those long, boring miles on the highway a little more engaging.

There are lots of fun things for couples to do on a road trip. Here are some ideas:

  • Create a classic playlist and sing along to your favorite road trip songs
  • Listen to one of these podcasts for long drives (choose something interesting for both of you)
  • Pick one of these audiobooks for road trips and listen to it a chapter at a time, interspersed with local radio.
  • Come up with twenty questions you’ve never asked your partner before
  • Pass the time with a game (memory games are the best)

Just make it fun for both of you!

9. Make date nights a part of the itinerary

If you’ve been together for any length of time, you know that date nights are vital for keeping things fresh in your relationship.

Combining date nights with a road trip is easier than you might think, especially if you’re traveling from city to city.

Take a look at the cities that you’ll pass through on your route and then use Google Search or Maps to find local, relevant venues. You could go for a meal, visit a museum, see a movie, or even spend a warm summer evening strolling through a park.

Most importantly, do something that switches things up a bit. If you’re going somewhere that’s famous for something, then indulge in it. Vegas casinos, anyone?

Best resources for finding things to do

GetYourGuide | Google Trips | Roadtrippers | Travel Blogs 

10. Find ways to support each other

Going on a road trip requires more mental energy than you might imagine.

Booking accommodation, arranging gas station stops, and finding food can all take their toll.

It’s vital, therefore, that both partners pull their weight.

Here are some of the ways that my partner and I like to support each other on the road:

  • Sharing the driving
  • Letting things go, even if we don’t like something that the other has said
  • Being as flexible as possible, stopping on the way for breaks
  • Finding places to eat on the smartphone
  • Throwing the odd compliment into the conversation

Be sensitive

Remember, disagreements can ruin a trip. 

Try, where possible, to be sensitive to the needs of your partner. 

Both of you should be looking out for the best interest of the other, finding opportunities, where possible, to make the journey more enjoyable.

Whatever you do, don’t punish your partner if you feel that they’ve slipped up in some way. 

Let it go.

Supporting each other is one of the most helpful road trip tips for couples

11. Plan your spending in advance

Couples fight about money more than practically anything else. 

No article on road trip tips for couples, therefore, would be complete without a discussion on finances.

Plan your spending in advance. 

I can’t stress this point enough. 

If you don’t, you could find yourself running out of money fast and having to eat Cheerios for the rest of the trip. Yippee.

Both of you need to sit down and think about how much your adventure is likely going to cost.

How to approach costs

The best way to approach your estimated costs is to itemize everything. 

Start by working out how much your fuel will cost. Find the length of your trip and divide that by the mileage of your vehicle. Then multiply that by the cost of a gallon of gas to find the total fuel price for the trip.

Next, think about food. If you’re eating out, check the menus of restaurants in advance.

Also, factor in the cost of things like day passes and tickets to venues you might attend.

If you’re not staying in your vehicle overnight, then check hotel accommodation prices in advance. Where possible, book and pay ahead of time, so you’re not scrambling around for money on the trip itself.

If you’re hiring a vehicle, factor that into your costs too.

Finally, keep a bit of money aside for unforeseen costs. You’ll be surprised how often things can go wrong on the average road trip, leading to arguments about money.

Road trip tips for couples – Your turn.

So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this list of road trip essentials for couples. 

It’s saved my relationship a few times out on the open road, and it can save yours too.

Which was your favorite tip?

Or do you have any other road trip tips for couples?

Either way, leave a comment below and let me know!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. This means I earn a commission if you make a qualifying purchase, but this is at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting The Road Trip Expert.

Jack, author at The Road Trip Expert, skiing in Canada

Jack Mecklenburgh


Hey, I'm Jack. Travel is my passion. I particularly love to load up the car with camping gear and get out into nature. I love outdoor sports, and if I can combine them with traveling, I'm a happy happy man. My road trip highlight was driving an old sedan 6000km through South America. I enjoy sharing road trip tips I've learned from my adventures and writing travel guides on places I've visited. In over a decade of travel, I've visited dozens of countries and spent time living abroad in Canada, Australia, Spain, and Réunion.

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