How to Road Trip With Your Significant Other, From a Couple That Does It For a Living
Traveling on the road gives you the freedom to explore territory that can be hard to access in any other way, but trying to navigate new roads with another person can get challenging.
On the one hand, road tripping as a couple makes the journey more engaging and easier to manage, but on the other, being together 24/7 in confined spaces can get tough. This is why it's essential to know the tricks of the trade if you're planning to hit the road with your partner.
Travel + Leisure spoke to Cameron Seagle and Natasha Alden, a couple that has been traveling the road full time and documenting their journey on their blog The World Pursuit for over three years.
Below are eight of their top tips on everything from keeping the romance alive to the tools you'll want to bring along for the ride.
Take Rest Stops
“One of the biggest things you have to remember is people make mistakes and you can’t take it personally,” Seagle told T+L. So, the duo says, it becomes easy to argue when you’re on the road trying to navigate foreign streets.
To counteract this, the couple makes it a point to regularly pull over, using their photography as an excuse to take some time apart from one another and unwind before getting back in the car. They also recommend coffee shops as a great option to get some personal time.
Let others join in
Inviting people along for a portion of your journey not only adds a fresh element but can also help you save on fuel costs.
“It gives you new conversations, which is the best part about it. This way you’re not just with the same person and get to make some new friends along the way,” Alden said.
Being on the road doesn’t mean you have to skip out on dates. In fact, it’s a crucial aspect for keeping the spark alive throughout your travels, according to the couple.
“It’s really easy to fall into this monotonous routine of doing the same thing again and again since you spend all day with each other, and it can often be easy to forget that you need to take time to enjoy each other’s time together and your relationship,” Seagle said.
That's why the couple looks for cities along their route good for activities like movie nights and dinners, while more remote territory can serve as prime grounds for hikes with one another. Since they tend to travel on longer, multi-month trips, they'll often book a stay in a city for a few days to give them the chance to unwind, reset, and take part in activities they'll both enjoy before jumping back on the road.
Schedule out your tasks
Having another hand when it comes to lengthy road trips can be essential, especially when taking adventure-driven excursions, the couple says, but you shouldn't focus on individual tasks too much.
“I do a lot of the driving, but I don’t necessarily assume I’m handling that aspect of it and that she is always navigating; people tend to forget that you’re working as a team which is what leads to fights about who was responsible for what,” Seagle said.
This means staying alert even is something is considered your partner's job. For example, while Seagle will do most of the driving, Alden makes it a point to avoid sleeping so she can provide company and stay alert in case he needs help with anything.
Use the right tools
From planning their trips to staying in touch on the road, the couple has certain sites and apps that serve as favorites.
To find cheap airfare for planning an itinerary, the duo turns to Skyscanner’s everywhere search, which allows you to look up top deals around the world based on your available dates.
For navigation purposes, the pair goes with Maps.me, an app that lets you access detailed maps with turn-by-turn navigation even if you don't have internet. The app is available on both Android and iOS.
“It’s a great tool if you’re looking to drive through areas that aren’t cities since it shows you a lot of the other factors you can expect on the road that you wouldn’t find on a normal map, like bush roads,” Seagle said.
You can also download maps when connected to the internet to use offline through Google Maps, which the duo does, in addition to using Google hangouts to make free calls to friends and family in the U.S.
Do your homework on rentals
Once you decide where you want to go, you’ll want to figure out how long you can rent a car in the area for. Sometimes – as was the case for the duo during a year-long trip in Africa – it can actually be cheaper to buy a vehicle and resell it to local operators as opposed to renting.
It can also help to know the type of vehicle locals are used to working with in the area in case you have any issues during your trip.
“We Bought a 1999 Toyota Land Cruiser, which was ideal since Toyotas are common cars to see in Africa and everyone knows how to work on them,” Alden told T+L.
If you’re considering using a local branch of an international rental company, Seagle recommends looking into the reviews because each branch can operate differently. Finally, Alden warns that travelers should do their due diligence when it comes to choosing a rental company if they want to avoid scams.
For example, excess charges for damages can go up to the thousands in some foreign countries like Greece and Croatia, Alden found, which is why she recommends you look into the fine print of agreements and take photos of the car before driving off the lot so you don’t get charged with damages you were not responsible for upon return.
Get a credit card that covers rental insurance
Having the right credit card can allow you to tap into a slew of savings and advantages when traveling, including savings on car rentals.
Seagle and Alden often travel with the Capital One Venture Card, which gives you travel accident insurance, an auto rental collision damage waiver to cover damages or theft, and zero foreign transaction fees.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred provides auto rental collision damage waivers, zero transaction fees, and double the points on travel and dining at restaurants around the world. The duo will also use the Barclaycard Arrival PlusWorld Elite Mastercard to get double the miles made on each purchase.
Start your own business on the road
Both Seagle and Alden quit their jobs when they made the decision to travel full time, starting a blog that has become their main source of income. Because creating your own business on the road can be tough, the duo says dedication through the difficulty is essential to succeed.
"Develop your own unique voice and be prepared to work really hard at it," Seagle said. "I describe it as a marathon because you have to keep plugging away and keep trying because the first year to a year-and-half you're not gonna get anywhere," he said.
The two said they spend more time working on their website than they spent on their full time jobs, but how and when they get to do it has changed completely since being on the road.
"It's not about the hours at that point though, but having the freedom to work where you want when you want," Seagle told T+L. "We've gotten to ski on the Alps during the day and work on our blog at night."