21 Fantastic Road Trip Tips for Couples: Your Ultimate Guide

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Ready to hit the road? Here’s what you need to know:

Embarking on a road trip with your partner is an exhilarating adventure filled with shared discoveries and cherished memories. Are you ready to explore scenic landscapes and navigate new cities together?

However, travelling in close quarters can test even the strongest bonds. How will you maintain harmony when the road gets bumpy?

Since 2017, we’ve journeyed thousands of miles together, mastering the art of joyful travel in the confined space of our vehicle. Let us share our top tips to ensure your road trip is as smooth as your love for each other.

Road trip Travel meme

Our experiences have led us to gather invaluable road trip tips for couples, ensuring your travels are memorable and harmonious. Travelling extensively and spending every waking moment together has taught us lessons about love, patience, and the importance of a good laugh.

Collage of lars and shelley (Lifejourney4two) with similar selfies in each with just heads and background
Perfecting the ‘just heads and a hint of background’ selfie since 2017. It’s our signature style – who needs the full view when you’ve got our grinning faces to light up the scene? 😄📸 #SelfieGameStrong #TravellingHeads

Join us as we unveil our top road trip tips for couples, including strategies like adopting fun personas to diffuse tension and finding joy in the unexpected.

These road trip hacks for couples have enriched our journeys and strengthened our bond. We hope these tips for travelling together will do the same for you.

What’s your most memorable road trip moment? Share with us in the comments below!

Along tarmac roads, gravel roads and roads seemingly made of boulders. Over sandy tracks, roads submerged in water and roads that were clearly goat tracks, and not actually roads at all.

Lifejourney4two

Page Contents

Road Trip Tips For Couples in a Nutshell

Embark on Your Adventure: Drawing from years of travelling together, we’ve crafted these practical and fun road trip tips to help you and your partner create unforgettable memories, just as we have. Ready to hit the road?

Lars and Shelley on a boat laughing with fjord and mountain the background
Sharing a moment on this beautiful fjord in Norway ©Lifejourney4two
  1. Embrace Fun Driving Personas for Stress-Free Road Trips: Lighten travel tensions by adopting playful personas.
  2. Collaborative Road Trip Planning: Work together to map out your journey, balancing both of your interests.
  3. Effective Communication Tips for Couples on Road Trips: Maintain open lines of communication to enhance your travel experience.
  4. Attentive Travelling as a Couple: Pay attention to each other’s needs to ensure a comfortable trip.
  5. Balancing Together Time and Personal Space: Find the right mix of joint activities and individual relaxation.
  6. Quality Time for Deeper Connections: Use travel as an opportunity to strengthen your bond.
  7. Interactive Games for Road Trips: Engage in fun games that help pass the time and bring you closer.
  8. Essential Road Trip Planning: Cover all basics from vehicle checks to itinerary planning for a smooth journey.
  9. Optimise Your Travel Itinerary: Avoid over-scheduling to fully enjoy each destination.
  10. Smart Packing Strategies for Road Trips: Pack efficiently to ease travel stress.
  11. Vehicle Organisation Tips: Keep your travel space tidy and organized.
  12. Entertainment Options for Long Drives: Curate playlists and download audiobooks to keep entertained.
  13. Health and Safety on the Road: Prioritize well-being with proper health precautions and a safety kit.
  14. Eco-Friendly Travel Practices: Adopt sustainable habits to minimize your environmental impact.
  15. Budget Management for Couples: Plan your finances wisely to avoid stress.
  16. Adapting to Road Trip Surprises: Stay flexible and open to unexpected changes and adventures.
  17. Emergency Preparedness for Road Trips: Be ready for any situation with a well-prepared emergency kit.
  18. Managing Jet Lag Effectively: Take time to acclimatize to new time zones to start your trip energetically.
  19. Exploring Scenic Routes: Choose less travelled paths for more intimate and breathtaking experiences.
  20. Using Navigation Tools Effectively: Utilize GPS and maps to navigate efficiently and avoid getting lost.
  21. Documenting Road Trip Memories: Capture and cherish your travel moments together.

This streamlined list of road trip essentials for couples provides an at-a-glance guide to optimizing your road trip, ensuring both fun and functionality as you explore new places together.

Which of these tips are you most excited to try on your next road trip? Let us know in the comments below!


🛻 JUMP AHEAD TO OUR 21 ROAD TRIP TIPS HERE


Our Road Trip Story

Embarking on Our Australian Adventure

Embarking on our first major road trip across Australia, where you can learn more about how Lars and I quickly learned the intricacies of travel as a couple, we faced minimal stress in familiar territory.

road trip camping - tent car in amongst gum trees
Our Road Trip Across Australia ©Lifejourney4two

A Test of Patience and Humour in Germany

However, the real test came weeks later in Germany.

Just minutes after picking up our motorhome in Germany—read about our nerve-wracking first drive—a navigation mistake had us unintentionally speeding on the autobahn. This stressful initiation had me in tears and Lars managing a road filled with high-speed challenges.

Learning and Growing Together

These experiences taught us vital lessons about patience, humour, and teamwork, which have become the foundation of our road trip tips for couples.

From handling unexpected situations to enjoying each other’s company in confined spaces, we’ve gathered invaluable insights to help make your couple’s road trip as joyful and smooth as possible. This ultimate guide will give advice on how to enjoy road trips.

Lars and Shelley  sat in front of bush camper in South Africa
Still happy road-tripping years later 🙂 This is us overlanding in South Africa ©Lifejourney4two

21 of the Best Road Trip Tips for Couples

But wait, there’s more!

We’ve gathered 21 of our best tips for couples on a road trip together. These come mainly from our own experiences but also include tips mentioned by fellow road trip couples we’ve met on our travels.

They include how to get along with each other on a long road trip, how to slow down and enjoy the journey and many of the basics you need to think about in planning and preparing for your couple’s road trip.

You may also be interested in checking out our collection of travel captions which are great for couples to add to their social media posts to help inspire other couples to travel.

1. Embrace Fun Driving Personas for Stress-Free Road Trips

Let’s explore one of our favourite road trip tips for couples, which has proven to be a super stress-buster on our long journeys: Creating a ‘driving persona’.

Why Adopt Driving Personas?

During our year-long motorhome trip through Europe, we discovered a unique way to lighten tensions—by adopting the personas of Lady Penelope and her trusted driver, Parker, from the classic TV show Thunderbirds.

These characters became more than just a travel hack; they became a fundamental part of navigating challenges on the road.

Parker and Lady Penelope from Thunderbirds
Lady Penelope and Parker from the Thunderbirds

Lady Penelope and Parker in Action

Whenever tensions rise—say, if I think Lars is driving too fast—I don’t just ask Lars to slow down. Instead, I channel my inner Lady Penelope and say in my poshest accent, “Do slow down, Parker.” This approach doesn’t just correct ‘Lars’ driving; it addresses ‘Parker,’ making a big difference and bringing some humour into the moment.

The Benefits of Humour

These playful interactions diffuse tension and remind us to bring light to stressful situations. A simple “Deep breath, Parker” or “You’ve got this, Parker” can instantly bring a sense of calm and perspective.

How It Works

Adopting these personas removes the ‘personal’ from the situation. Neither of us feels targeted, and there’s no direct fault assigned. It’s all about non-confrontation, and it works perfectly for us.

For instance, when navigating unfamiliar roads, slipping into our Thunderbird characters helps us work together seamlessly, just like the well-oiled international rescue team they are.

Making It Part of Our Journey

It began spontaneously on one of the early days of our Europe road trip and has since woven itself into the fabric of our daily lives. These personas have even appeared in our wedding vows and pop up in our everyday interactions.

Why It’s Effective

This playful approach is more than just a quirky travel trick; it’s a testament to the power of humour and creativity in keeping our bond solid and resilient, no matter where the road takes us.

😜 Meet our Alter-Egos: Lady Penelope and Parker!

photoshopped lady penelope and parker as lars and shelley
Notice the similarity?

Our secret identities? Meet Lady Penelope and Parker, our travel alter-egos who are practically our clones! Like us, they embrace every adventure with a dash of daring and a sprinkle of style.

Who is Lady Penelope?
A lady of great intellect and quick wit, characterized by her adventurous spirit and disdain for the mediocre. She embarks on missions to uncover hidden gems and inspire others through her global adventures.

And who’s Parker?
He’s the rock-solid sidekick with a loyalty card for every timezone. Always ready to steer the journey, Parker keeps things moving smoothly, no matter the bumps in the road.

Sometimes, we embody Lady Penelope and Parker so vividly we forget who we really are! It’s all in good fun, though. Adopting these personas spices up our travels and often leaves us wondering, “Are we still Lars and Shelley, or have we transformed into our dashing alter egos?” It’s a thrilling adventure every time we hit the road! 🤣

So, next time you spot us having a laugh or navigating a tight spot, you’re probably catching a glimpse of Lady P and Parker in action—our very own versions of us, just with cooler names!

Have you ever used a fun persona to handle travel stress?

Maybe you’ve transformed into a calm captain or a cheerful navigator on your journeys. Share your stories with us in the comments below—we’d love to hear how you keep the journey fun!

2. Collaborative Road Trip Planning

Our journey as a couple on the road began with an open-hearted conversation about our travel aspirations and dreams, setting the stage for a life-altering adventure together.

This discussion led us to a monumental decision to sell everything we owned and embark on a shared adventure that would redefine our lives.

With our combined list of dream destinations in hand, we embarked on our first exciting travel plans together.

Effective communication becomes the compass of our partnership, guiding us through the intricacies of road navigation and ensuring every journey is a joy, not a challenge.

Discussing your route preferences, daily driving limits, and what each of you hopes to experience ensures that the journey is enjoyable for both.

Deadvlei-with-a-couple-of-trees,-Sossusvlei
So pleased I didn’t miss this: Deadvlei at Sossusvlei, Namibia ©Lifejourney4two

For example, I was initially reluctant to include the Sossusvlei sand dunes in Namibia when overlanding Namibia, but it turned out to be a breathtaking highlight of that trip.

Conversely, Lars was sceptical about stopping at the Keukenhof flower show in the Netherlands, but again, it ended up being one of the most memorable experiences of our Netherlands trip.

These shared experiences have taught us that travelling as a couple is about more than just seeing new places; it’s about exploring and embracing each other’s interests, often finding joy in the most unexpected moments.

Lars and Shelley at Keukenhof surrounded by a tulip display
Discovering joys in unexpected places: Lars and Shelley at the blooming Keukenhof Gardens, Netherlands ©Lifejourney4two

What destinations have surprised you on your travels? Have you ever been reluctant to visit a place only to be completely enchanted by it? Share your experiences with us!

3 . Effective Communication Tips for Couples on Road Trips

Why is Effective Communication Crucial for Road-Tripping Couples?

As Lars and I have travelled the world, whether in our car, motorhome, or 4×4 with rooftop tents, we’ve learned just how vital ongoing communication is.

Sharing our feelings and understanding each other deeply helps us navigate different destinations and strengthens our bond, especially on long drives.

Interestingly, a study by the Journal of Travel Research underlines the importance of shared experiences:

  • Stronger Relationships: Couples who partake in activities like road trips tend to have stronger relationships.
  • Quality Time Matters: The findings revealed that those who share quality time and communicate effectively during trips tend to have better relationships at home.
  • Enhanced Bonding: Specifically, shared vacation experiences lead to more flexibility and stronger bonds between partners.
  • Key Takeaway: It’s not just taking vacations that matters, but how you spend the time together plays a key role in enhancing relationship quality.

Here’s how we keep our communication clear and continuous on the road.

Expressing Feelings as They Arise

Addressing any tension immediately is crucial on the road. You can’t simply retreat to another room to calm down when confined to a vehicle.

Living with unresolved issues can make a long road trip unbearable. That’s why we make sure to clear the air quickly, ensuring that any discomfort or annoyance is discussed and resolved, keeping our journey pleasant.

This simple practice of expressing ourselves openly ensures that small grievances don’t become larger conflicts. It’s not about assigning blame but ensuring we enjoy every mile of our journey together.

Shelley and Lars hiking the Aletsch Glacier
Navigating the icy paths of the Aletsch Glacier, where clear communication was as crucial as our next step ©Lifejourney4two

Improving Couple Communication on Road Trips

Here’s the secret…

Communication on road trips needs to be more than just talk; it must be meaningful and supportive. It’s about more than listening—it’s about truly understanding each other and being there through highs and lows on the road.

Whether we share a moment of joy over a beautiful sunset or support each other through a challenging flat tyre situation, how we communicate can significantly enhance our travel experience.

Throughout our road-tripping adventures, effective communication has proven essential for managing travel logistics and maintaining a loving relationship.

On the road, where plans can change at a moment’s notice, talking openly and adapting together is key.

These shared experiences and heartfelt talks make our journey as exciting as the destinations we explore and strengthen our bond, making every mile more memorable.

What strategies do you use to keep communication clear and effective on long road trips? We’d love to hear your tips!

Shelley and Lars wearing head torches and stood by an entrance to a cave
About to embark on an adventure into an underground cave on our Greece Road Trip … little did I know I was about to crawl into a spider fest! ©Lifejourney4two

4. Being Attentive to Each Other’s Needs on Road Trips

When you spend long hours on the road together, tuning into each other’s emotional cues becomes crucial. Your vehicle is your shared space, and it’s important to be perceptive about your partner’s feelings.

Recognizing Stress Signals

It’s essential to watch for signs that your partner might be stressed or upset. Sometimes, it’s the little things—a quiet demeanour or a certain look—that indicate they need extra attention or care.

Comfort Zones

Being aware of each other’s comfort zones is key. For instance, I often find myself more out of my comfort zone than Lars. He knows how to encourage me just enough when I need a push but also recognizes when to pull back.

When we tackled the climb to Kjeragbolten in Norway, he encouraged me but respected my fear of heights, never pressuring me to step onto the boulder.

And although I did make it onto the boulder, well…almost, I half-stepped out and then froze, it was a moment I’ll never forget—nor repeat!

Lars and Shelley stood near the boulder wedged between two cliffs at Kjeragbolten
The infamous Kjergbolten – the boulder wedged between two cliffs that people stand on ©Lifejourney4two

Trying New Things Together

Trying new things together, even if they are not your cup of tea, is all part of the adventure.

Another example is when we were driving the infamous Sani Pass in Lesotho. It was an experience Lars loved, but I did not enjoy it as much. He was eager to return, but knowing how much I disliked it, he chose not to for my sake.

This kind of understanding and compromise is what makes our road trips together both challenging and rewarding.

hilux at SAni pass
Driving the steep Sani Pass in Lesotho, Africa, in the fog! ©Lifejourney4two

The Importance of a Hug

A hug is incredibly powerful, particularly when words fall short. During our travels, we’ve found that a big hug can often break the tension. For me, a hug can trigger a flood of tears, bring on laughter, or sometimes a mix of both. Lars also appreciates a hug; it often encourages him to start expressing his feelings.

It’s our way of reassuring each other, “We’re in this together.”

Lars and Shelley Romancing it up in Venice on a gondola
Romancing it up in Venice ©Lifejourney4two

5. Balancing Together Time and Personal Space

After exploring the nuances of quality time and connection, it’s equally important to recognize the balance between togetherness and personal space.

While travelling together strengthens bonds, respecting each other’s need for individual space is crucial in nurturing a healthy relationship.

Importance of Alone Time

Spending every moment together during a trip can sometimes be overwhelming. Allowing each other some alone time, even in small doses, is essential. This could be as simple as one person taking a leisurely walk alone while the other enjoys a book by the beach.

These moments of solitude are vital for personal rejuvenation and can actually enhance the enjoyment of shared experiences.

Finding Individual Moments

When we were camping in Botswana, the unfenced campsites in the African bush meant it was impossible to wander off alone for safety reasons.

Instead, we found our personal space by engaging in quiet activities like reading or listening to podcasts with earphones.

Even while sitting side by side, these activities allowed us to enjoy moments of ‘me time,’ transporting us to different worlds without leaving each other’s side.

Lars and Shelley picking Blackberries
Walking and finding the joy in little things … like picking blackberries! Excuse the red faces – it was hot! ©Lifejourney4two

6. Quality Time for Deeper Connections

For Lars and me, travelling is more than just a way of life; it’s our way to reconnect. Whether it’s a tranquil walk along the beach, sharing a moment of laughter over a travel game, enjoying a coffee in a quaint café, or watching the stars at night, each moment is an opportunity to strengthen our bond.

Many trips can become jam-packed with activities, making it easy to rush from one attraction to the next without taking the time to truly connect.

That’s why we cherish the simple things—like snuggling up inside our camper to solve a crossword puzzle together. Though seemingly small, these moments are incredibly special and form the heart of our relationship.

Lars and Shelley making snow angels in the snow
Having fun making snow angels in the snow ©Lifejourney4two

It’s More Than Just Passing Time; It’s About Connection.

Sharing new experiences and exploring new places naturally develops our bond, but the little moments deepen our connection. In these quieter, unscripted times, we appreciate each other’s company and our journey together.

Pause and Reflect

When was the last time you enjoyed the pure joy of being with your partner, fully immersed in each other’s company, free from outside distractions? These moments are the ones that truly enhance our shared journey.

Shelley and Lars on a boat with the sunsetting behind them
Enjoying the sunset on the Okavango (also known as Cubango) River, Namibia ©Lifejourney4two

Tips for Strengthening Bonds While Travelling

  • Embrace Tech-Free Moments: Schedule times to disconnect from technology, allowing you both to be fully present.
  • Surprises Go a Long Way: Simple gestures, like a surprise snack or a spontaneous detour, can add a spark of joy.
  • Engage in Varied Conversations: Beyond travel talk, share stories, dreams, and thoughts, enriching your understanding of each other.

7. Interactive Games for Road Trips

Road trips often involve long stretches on the road, which is the perfect opportunity to unwind and engage in fun activities together, making every moment memorable—even the quiet ones at the campsite.

Unwind with Games and Puzzles

At the end of a day spent exploring, nothing beats the simplicity of a good game or a challenging crossword puzzle. These activities are perfect for off-grid camping nights and help smooth over any tensions from the day.

Our Favourite Picks

One of our go-to games is Dobble, a fast-paced card game that’s a hit in any setting and also Codenames Duet a fun strategy game. Working through a crossword puzzle together can be surprisingly soothing for a more contemplative challenge.

Explore Each Other’s Minds

Road trips are also great for delving into each other’s thoughts and preferences. Try playing Would you Rather?? or use the conversation starter pack from A Little More Conversation to uncover new facets of your partner’s personality.

Keep It Light and Fun

Remember, the aim is to have fun and learn more about each other, not just to pass the time. Embrace these games as tools for enhancing your journey, offering both laughter and new insights.

Digital Options

For tech-savvy couples, countless games like Trivia Crack, Millionaire, and Scrabble are available as phone apps, providing endless entertainment on the go. We also play Wordle every day – a fun ritual every morning.

⭐️ Find More Games

For a broader selection of travel games, check out our list of Fun Travel Games for two players. You’re sure to find something that will make every road trip unforgettable.

the conversation cards pack can be seen in the zip compartment of our dashboard cover by the windscreen
The “A Little More Conversation” card pack stashed in our dashboard pocket ©Lifejourney4two

8. Essential Road Trip Planning

Before you start your road trip, you need a basic plan.

One in which all the fundamental requirements are met but one that can also be flexible. It is one in which you know your direction and what you want to see, but the plan allows for spontaneity.

For more in-depth details, see our Ultimate Guide on Planning a Road Trip, but in general, your plan should include the items listed below.

A basic couple’s road trip plan should include:

1. Check your vehicle is roadworthy

Ensuring your vehicle is in good condition is paramount for safety.

2. Have a spare wheel and/or foam to fix a puncture

It’s crucial to be prepared for common vehicle issues like punctures.

3. Arrange roadside assistance cover

Knowing you have support in case of vehicle breakdowns gives you peace of mind.

4. Book your accommodation ahead for that day or know where you plan to stop

Securing a place to stay each night avoids last-minute hassles and ensures you have a safe and comfortable resting place.

5. Know where you are heading each day before continuing your road trip

Planning your route daily helps you manage time efficiently and avoid getting lost.

6. Download any apps, podcasts, or audiobooks you’ll need

This is important for navigation and entertainment, making the journey more enjoyable.

7. Organise a packing list to ensure you have everything you need for your road trip

While essential, this is something you can adjust as you prepare, unlike the more immediate needs related to the vehicle and accommodations.

Each of these steps contributes to a smooth and enjoyable road trip experience.

bush camper on sandy coloured road
Our ‘Bucky’ (bush camper) on our South Africa road trip ©Lifejourney4two

9. Optimise Your Travel Road Trip Itinerary

It’s tempting to see and do as much as possible when embarking on a road trip, especially as a couple. Have you ever felt overwhelmed by a packed itinerary?

However, one of our key tips for you as a road-tripping couple is to resist the urge to cram too much into your day.

Overplanning can lead to exhaustion, reduce enjoyment, and increase the likelihood of friction between you and your partner.

Learning from Experience

During our travels through Ireland and Iceland, and on our extensive road trips across South Africa, and overlanding Botswana and Namibia , we learned the hard way that a packed schedule can take a toll.

On our 7-day Ireland road trip itinerary, despite the allure of its stunning landscapes and rich history, trying to see so much ground left us too knackered to appreciate the places fully.

ars and Shelley stood by bridge adorned in flowers eating icecream
Enjoying a well-deserved ice cream break on our hectic Ireland road trip ©Lifejourney4two

Similarly, when we spent two weeks road-tripping around in Iceland, we found ourselves overwhelmed by the end of each day, too tired to fully enjoy the breathtaking vistas that awaited us.

We’ve come to realize that less truly is more. A lighter schedule allows you to appreciate each destination more deeply, reduces stress, and enhances your overall experience.

If you’re staying in B&Bs or hotels where your itinerary might need to be more structured, consider building buffer days to rest and explore leisurely.

Conversely, if you’re travelling by motorhome or camping—our usual mode—it’s easier to adjust your pace and extend your stay in places that capture your heart.

Lars and Shelley stood by a blue icy lake
Jökulsárlón Lake is a glacial lake in Iceland ©Lifejourney4two

Striking the Right Balance

It’s not easy to know how long you’ll want to stay in one place, so planning some downtime is crucial. Allow yourselves the flexibility to linger over a leisurely breakfast, take a spontaneous detour, or simply enjoy a quiet afternoon.

These moments often lead to some of the most memorable experiences of a road trip.

💥 Planning a Road Trip? Consider hiring a motorhome for ultimate flexibility. We’ve had excellent experiences with Motorhome Republic — their superb service and the freedom it offers can transform your trip.

Motorhome parked on a road on our Greece road trip
Parked outside the Apollo Ruins on our Road trip through Greece ©Lifejourney4two

10. Smart Packing Strategies for Your Road Trip 🧳💑

Smart packing is crucial for a stress-free road trip with your partner. It’s not just about what you pack but how you pack. Our curated list of essentials ensures you have everything you need without cluttering your travel space.

These items are selected to enhance your comfort, safety, and enjoyment on the road.

Packing Essentials

Safety and Maintenance

  1. First aid kit 🚑 – Essential for handling any minor injuries on the road.
  2. Car Registration/Insurance Docs 📄 – Always good to have on hand for any road checks.
  3. Torch/Headlamp 🔦 – Useful for nighttime stops or emergencies.
  4. Plastic Bag for Rubbish 🗑️ – Keep your travel space clean and tidy.
  5. Sanitary Wipes and Hand Sanitiser 🧼 – Keep hands and surfaces clean.

Electronics and Entertainment

  1. Camera, Battery Charger, Memory Cards 📸 – Capture and save all your precious moments.
  2. Car/phone adaptor charger 🔌 – Keep your devices charged and ready to use.
  3. Phone with Relevant Downloaded Apps 📱 – For navigation, entertainment, or dining recommendations.
  4. Headphones 🎧 – Noise-cancelling can help you enjoy music or audiobooks without road noise.
  5. Kindle/iPad 📚 – Enjoy reading or streaming without carrying books or magazines.
  6. Phone and Electronics Chargers 🔋 – A must-have to avoid battery drain.

Comfort and Convenience

  1. Hat 🧢 – Protect yourself from the sun while exploring.
  2. Sunglasses 🕶️ – Essential for driving and outdoor activities.
  3. Water Bottles 💧 – Stay hydrated on the go.
  4. Hot Water Flask ☕ – Keep your drinks warm, great for chilly mornings.
  5. Small Cooler Bag 🧊 – Keep snacks and beverages cool.
  6. Window shade 🌞 – Protect from the sun and keep your car cool.
  7. Fluffy throw/blanket 🛌 – For cozy naps and extra warmth.
  8. Day Backpack 🎒 – Carry your essentials for day trips.
  9. Picnic Hamper 🧺 – Enjoy a romantic or relaxing meal outdoors.
  10. Picnic rug 🌳 – Sit comfortably and enjoy your surroundings.

What Are Your Packing Tips?

What packing hacks have saved you space and stress? Any unusual items you can’t travel without? Share your tips in the comments below!

Lars and Shelley with white furlined capes on
Getting ready to enter the Ice Bar before our night in the Ice Hotel in Sweden ©Lifejourney4two

11. Vehicle Organisation Tips 🚗

Maintaining order inside your vehicle during a road trip isn’t just about neatness; it’s about making your journey smoother and safer.

As the miles stack up, so will the items in your car—from snack wrappers in the front seat to jumpers and pillows pulled out for a quick nap or extra warmth.

Why Organisation Matters

  • Safety: A clutter-free car reduces distractions and makes it easier to find essential items quickly.
  • Convenience: Everything in its place means less time searching and more time enjoying the journey.
  • Stress Reduction: A tidy environment promotes a calm and relaxed atmosphere.

Practical Tips for Vehicle Organisation

  • Designated Rubbish Bag: Keep a plastic bag for rubbish in the front to manage waste effortlessly.
  • Use Organisers: Invest in seatback pockets and under-seat bins to keep essentials tidy and within easy reach.
  • Document Folder: Store important documents, like insurance papers, in a designated folder for easy access during checks.
  • Daily Tidying: Take a few minutes each morning to restore order before you hit the road. Your future self will thank you!

Real-Life Example

  • Routine Check Success: On one of our road trips, our organisation system turned a potentially frustrating search for insurance papers into a quick and easy task, saving us time and stress.
-finished-Isuzu tub
Organising your travelling space makes any road trip or camping trip much more enjoyable ©Lifejourney4two

Check out our detailed Isuzu Fit-out article for more about how we kitted out our Isuzu Dmax for camping in Western Australia.

12. Entertainment Options for Long Drives

If you are on a long road trip, having a great playlist to sing along to can break the monotony. Consider popping on a podcast or listening to an audiobook, for stretches of road that don’t require much attention.

Road Trip Entertainment Suggestions

  • Road Trip Playlist: Here’s an awesome Road Trip Playlist on Spotify with 100 of the greatest road songs you can bop along to in the car.
  • Personal Experience: Here’s an embarrassing clip of us passing the time on Australia’s longest stretch of straight road as we crossed the Nullarbor.
    One true sign of love is that your partner puts up with your shenanigans even when it’s really the last thing he wants to be doing, especially on camera.
Long Road trip Car Karaoke

Listening to music is one thing, but I find that if I listen to a podcast or an audiobook, I miss what is happening around me because my mind is so engrossed in the story or conversation on the podcast.

If you’re not a brilliant multitasker (like me), only use audiobooks and podcasts for boring parts of the road trip while driving.

However, they are also particularly useful for ‘me’ time. You can escape to another world, away from your partner, in your mind at least (even if not physically distancing). Make sure to pack headphones so you can each have some of your own quiet time.

Pro Tip

📚 Sign up for a 30-day free trial of Amazon Audible here

13. Health and Safety on the Road

Embarking on a road trip is an exhilarating adventure, but it requires more than just a full gas tank. Here’s how you can ensure both you and your meals stay safe and healthy, helping you to enjoy every mile of your journey.

Essential Health Precautions

  • Health Kit: Always carry hand sanitiser, disinfectant wipes, and a comprehensive first aid kit. Regularly clean high-touch areas inside your vehicle to keep germs at bay. We always make sure to have these items handy, ensuring a clean and safe environment inside our car.
  • Safe Eating: Choose reputable eateries to avoid food-related illnesses. Packing your own meals can be a safer and healthier option that saves time and money. Lars and I prefer to pack our meals, especially when travelling in regions with variable health standards.
  • Breaks and Stretching: Plan stops along the way using your sat nav or Google Maps. Stretch your legs, stop for a drink, or wander around every 2 to 3 hours to stay refreshed.
  • Environmental Protection: Remember sunscreen and insect repellent. Keep a sunshade handy to protect against harsh sunlight.
  • Hydration: Stay hydrated to prevent headaches and keep alert. It might mean more bathroom breaks, but feeling good is worth the extra stops. We learned early on that skipping water to reduce stops is a mistake.
  • Healthy Snacks: Eat healthy snacks like nuts and fresh produce. Avoid sugary snacks that can lead to energy crashes. We always make sure we have a good supply of snacks to keep the ‘hangry’, at bay!

Comfort and Convenience

  • Restroom Plans: Having a plan for clean restroom stops is essential, especially in remote areas. I use a Freshette, a game-changer that allows for quick and discreet stops without relying on unsanitary public restrooms.
  • Climate Comfort: If you prefer a cooler car while your partner prefers it warmer, keep a cozy throw handy to maintain comfort for both. This small adaptation makes a huge difference in our travel comfort. The same blanket is also handy for romantic stargazing nights under the open sky.

By incorporating these health and comfort strategies into your road trip planning, you ensure that your journey is not just about the destination but about enjoying a safe and pleasant travel experience from start to finish.

One of my must-have road tripping items
Freshette Travel Female Urinary Device
5.0

And here is another of my travelling gems! Particularly when on safari and camping.


I've tried a few She-wees, and in my opinion, this is the absolute best.


Pros:
  • Easy to use
  • Sturdy and made to last for years
  • Retractable tube for easy storage
  • A flexible extension tube so flow can easily be directed.
Cons:
  • No other colour options
Buy on Amazon here
Lars and shelley sat laughing with field of tulips behind them - laughing together is one of our travel tips for couples.
Travelling together and having fun ©Lifejourney4two

14. Eco-Friendly Travel Practices For On The Road

Adopting eco-friendly habits isn’t just a trend; it’s essential for preserving the landscapes we love.

Stay at Travel Sustainable Accommodation

Consider staying at green-certified accommodations that prioritize sustainability. When using Booking.com, look for the 🌱 Travel Sustainable Level, which indicates the accommodation’s commitment to sustainable practices.

Use Reusable Travel Gear to Reduce Plastic Waste

  • Water Bottles: Stainless steel or BPA-free water bottles, like these Water-to-Go bottles which include a water filter. We highly recommend them.
  • Travel Mugs: Insulated travel mugs for coffee or tea.
  • Reusable Straws: Collapsible or silicone straws as an alternative to plastic straws.
  • Food Containers: Reusable food containers for snacks and meals.
  • Utensil Sets: Portable sets of reusable utensils, often including a fork, spoon, and knife.
  • Shopping Bags: Compact, foldable shopping bags to avoid plastic carrier bags.
  • Toiletries: Use reusable containers and natural products, such as those in the Wild Range—I use and love them.

Consider Electric or Hybrid Vehicles

If possible and within your budget, opt for eco-friendly transport options like electric or hybrid rental cars. This helps reduce your carbon footprint on the journey.

Embrace Solar Power

Solar technology is a game-changer for road trippers:

  • Portable Solar Chargers: Portable solar chargers allow you to charge devices anywhere under the sun.
  • Solar Lanterns and Torches: Solar lanterns and torches ensure you’re never left in the dark, ideal for camping or nighttime adventures.
  • Solar-Powered Coolers: solar-powered coolers chill your food and drinks without draining your vehicle’s battery.

By integrating solar gadgets into your travel gear, you use a renewable energy source and enhance your travel experience with self-sufficiency and eco-friendliness.

motorhome parked on a green hill with mountains in the background
Our motorhome – our home for our Europe trip ©Lifejourney4two

15. Budget Management for Couples on a Road Trip

Want to know how we do it?

Money matters can often become a source of stress for couples while travelling. Setting a realistic budget and sticking to it is crucial to prevent financial strains during your journey.

Here are some strategies Lars and I use to manage our finances effectively on the road.

Budgeting in Action: Lessons from Iceland

During our road trip in Iceland, we quickly realised the importance of managing daily expenses due to high food costs. We saved significantly by choosing accommodation where breakfast was included and preparing simple meals like cheese and ham sandwiches for our lunches.

This approach kept our spending in check and allowed us more flexibility with our travel budget.

Travelling Economically

We always travel on a budget, so we often search for the best deals on accommodations and activities rather than setting a strict daily budget. This approach allows us to make decisions that align with our financial goals while enjoying our adventures to the fullest.

Savings with TrustedHousesitters on Road Trips

Using TrustedHousesitters has been a game-changer, saving us over $100,000. This service has enabled us to extend our travels and enjoy experiences we might otherwise miss due to cost constraints.

It’s a perfect example of how embracing alternative lodging options can significantly reduce expenses while adding unique experiences to our journey.

▶ Related: 🐕 🐈‍⬛ Read about the ups and downs of house sitting here and why we love it so much.

Our Top Money Saver
Find Pet Sitters & House Sits Worldwide | TrustedHousesitters.com
5.0

💡Our top tip for cheap travel -TrustedHousesitters - free accommodation in return for looking after pets and home. Take a look and use our 25% off discount code at checkout: LIFEJOURNEY25

How do you manage finances on the road? Do you have a budgeting tip that’s made a big difference for you and your partner?

16. Adapting to Road Trip Surprises

Travel isn’t just about the destinations; it’s also about navigating the unexpected twists and turns along the way.

The art of compromise and flexibility becomes essential, helping you adapt to changes that inevitably arise during your journey, whether it’s a delayed flight, a sudden change in weather, or an unexpected global event.

The Adventure in Wrong Turns

One of the main causes of tension on a couple’s road trip is taking the wrong turn or the navigator giving the wrong instructions. From the outset, change your mindset about these ‘wrong directions’ and see them as opportunities for unexpected adventures.

  • Embrace the Journey: Where has this new path led you? Has it thrown up a challenge? If so, treat it as a game—a puzzle you must solve as a team. Do anything but rant and rave—or worse, blame your partner.
Lars and Shelley stood by the Kruger sign
Exploring Kruger National Park, South Africa ©Lifejourney4two

Real-Life Flexibility

Our experience in South Africa is a prime example. A five-week house sit in Prince Albert was unexpectedly extended to five months due to the pandemic. This unforeseen change led to an extraordinary opportunity – staying in a private bush camp in Klaserie Nature Reserve next to Kruger National Park. There, surrounded by African wildlife without fences, we experienced the true essence of flexibility and adventure.

Embracing these moments with flexibility and understanding can transform potential disappointments into some of your most cherished travel experiences.

Embrace the Unexpected

Originally, what seemed like the worst disruption to our travels—the COVID-19 lockdown—turned out to be a serendipitous twist in our adventure.

We ended up in the serene seclusion of a private bush camp, a unique experience we never anticipated but deeply cherished. Remember, it’s not about a flawless journey but the shared experiences and the stories you’ll tell later.

Turn Wrong Turns into Play with Getting Lost

In fact, we’ve stumbled upon a delightful game called Getting Lost, designed to turn navigation into a fun and unpredictable adventure. The game includes a set of cards that prompt spontaneous detours, like “Turn down the next street starting with the same letter as the oldest person in the car.

It’s a playful twist on embracing the unexpected! With various themes available, you can tailor your adventure to any setting or preference, ensuring each journey is filled with surprise and delight.

This game challenges you to see where the road might lead when you let go of the itinerary and embrace spontaneity. Who knows what hidden gems you might discover?

Three different versions of the game Getting Lost - road trip version, camper version and Australia version showing the cards and the little suitcase holders
Getting Lost Game – the aim of the game? Have fun

17. Emergency Preparedness for Road Trips

Planning for worst-case scenarios can eliminate stress during your road trip. Hopefully, you won’t need to deal with emergencies, but being prepared can make a bad situation much easier to handle.

Real-Life Example: Motorhoming in Italy

While motorhoming in Italy, we had a minor accident. Our wing mirror hit another car’s mirror, and while ours bounced back, the other driver’s mirror flew off.

The driver was extremely upset, shouting and gesticulating wildly. Lars, my ‘ever calm in a tricky situation’ husband, waited patiently before stepping out to talk to him.

Meanwhile, I was frantically searching for our insurance details. The chaos made me realise the importance of keeping all travel documents together in one place so you know where they are and are easy to hand. .

Moral of the story: Keep all your travel documents in one place for easy access in emergencies.

What to Have on Hand

Ensure you have these items readily accessible:

  • Passport
  • Drivers Licence
  • Vehicle registration
  • Vehicle insurance
  • Emergency telephone numbers
  • Travel Insurance Details (we use World Nomads – getting a quote is easy here)
  • The emergency numbers for the country that you are in

 It also helps to know the road rules in the country you’re road-tripping in.

⭐️ Click here to learn about our Free 23- Page Printable Road Trip Planner, or download it below.

Road trip planner with car at front

Free Road Trip Planner

    We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

    18. Managing Jet Lag Effectively Before a Road Trip

    How to Manage Jet Lag:

    • Rest Before You Go: Ensure you are well-rested before your flight.
    • Adjust Sleep Schedule: Gradually shift your sleep schedule to match your destination’s time zone a few days before departure.
    • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water during the flight to stay hydrated.
    • Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine: These can disrupt your sleep patterns and make jet lag worse.
    • Get Sunlight: Spend time outside during the day to help reset your internal clock.
    • Take Short Naps: Limit naps to 20-30 minutes to avoid interfering with nighttime sleep.
    • Use Sleep Aids Sparingly: If necessary, use sleep aids or melatonin, but consult a doctor first.

    After a gruelling 32-hour flight from Australia to Germany, Lars and I were eager to kick off our European motorhome adventure. Unfortunately, we underestimated the toll that jet lag would take.

    Our first day was marked by confusion and stress as we tried to navigate foreign roads. Lars wrestled with the unfamiliar left-hand drive motorhome while I struggled with a new GPS system.

    Miscommunication led us onto the Autobahn, where the fast-moving traffic only compounded our fatigue and frustration. Not the best start to our Europe adventure!

    This harrowing experience taught us a crucial lesson about the importance of acclimatising to a new time zone. We now make it a point to rest and recuperate before diving into our travel itinerary, no matter how excited we are to start exploring.

    This small change has significantly reduced stress on arrival days and made our initial experiences in new countries much more enjoyable.

    Ensuring we are both refreshed and ready from the moment we start the engine has transformed the start of our road trips, allowing us to enjoy our adventures fully from day one.

    19. Exploring Scenic Routes on Your Road Trips🌄

    While road trips sometimes necessitate speed, especially if you’re racing to catch a ferry, they’re not just about rushing from point A to B.

    When time allows, opt for the back roads over freeways to truly embrace the scenery and soak up the local atmosphere.

    Taking the scenic route lets you experience the essence of the country far beyond the monotony of motorway travel. On these quieter roads, you often encounter the heart of a place, from quaint villages to breathtaking viewpoints.

    fall coloured trees on the side of a road
    The scenic route is the best route on a road trip

    However, be prepared for unexpected challenges—like low bridges or narrow lanes—that could turn your leisurely drive into an unexpected adventure. Consider using navigation tools like motorhome-friendly GPS Sat NAV that account for vehicle restrictions to avoid such pitfalls.

    Admittedly, the scenic route can sometimes offer unexpected surprises, like bridges your motorhome can’t fit under or roads that turn out to be walking paths!

    But that’s all part of the adventure.

    It might not feel like an adventure at the time, but you will be laughing about those memories for years to come.

    narrow road surrounded by a bank of trees
    Narrow road in the back roads of Bosnia-Herzegovina ©Lifejourney4two

    We often use both the sat nav and Google Maps as a backup because sometimes one of them might have a hissy fit—it happens! Each might suggest a different route, which can be a plus: sat navs are great for real-time traffic updates, while Google Maps often offers several route options.

    They are also handy to give you an idea of when it will take to arrive at your destination. We also use maps.me when we don’t have an internet connection, which is crucial in remote areas.

    When road-tripping in Africa, we always have a paper map and the Tracks4Africa App. I’m gradually improving my map reading, but I still need to turn the map around to face the direction we’re going! 😉

    Handy Tips for Using Navigation Tools

    • Sat Nav and Google Maps: Use both for real-time traffic updates and multiple route options.
    • Offline Maps: Download maps.me for navigation without an internet connection.
    • Paper Maps: Always have a paper map for backup, especially in remote areas.
    • Tracks4Africa App: Essential for road-tripping in Africa.
    • Check Arrival Times: Use navigation tools to estimate arrival times and plan your journey efficiently.
    • Real-Time Traffic: Sat navs provide real-time traffic updates to avoid delays.
    Tracks 4Afria Map book in its cover unzipped and in between the seat and handbrake space of our car
    Our Tracks4Africa map handy beside my seat in our 4×4 Hilux ©Lifejourney4two

    21. Documenting Road Trip Memories

    Preserving cherished memories through photographs and videos is a beautiful memento of your travels and allows you to relive those moments together in the future.

    While Lars and I often get absorbed in capturing breathtaking scenery and wildlife, we also cherish the pictures we take together, which remind us of our amazing experiences.

    Perfecting Our Signature Selfie

    We’re still trying to get better at this! It’s become our signature style to perfect the ‘just heads and a hint of background’ selfie. Who needs the full view when you’ve got our grinning faces to light up the scene? 😄📸 #SelfieGameStrong #TravellingHeads

    Collage of lars and Shelley selfies for travel tips for couples
    We really do excel at our signature style of just heads and a hint of background! ©Lifejourney4two

    Finding the Balance: Capturing Memories Mindfully

    While capturing these moments is important, it’s equally crucial not to get too caught up in obtaining the perfect photo. Sometimes, it’s perfectly okay to be in the moment, experiencing it fully without the lens of a camera.

    For those interested in enhancing their travel photography skills, we’ve shared some tips and insights based on our experiences, whether general travel photography, capturing the essence of a road trip, or focusing on wildlife during a safari.

    These guides can help you capture your adventures beautifully:

    elephant in the chobe river eating a waterlilly
    The reason why we forget to take photos of ourselves! ©Lifejourney4two

    Before we go, remember our alter egos, Lady P and Parker. Let’s leave you with our code of conduct—for an extra chuckle!

    Written contract with a portrait shot of Parker

    Road Trip Tips for Couples — That’s a Wrap

    Before you go…

    As we wrap up this treasure trove of tips for couple travel, remember that the essence of a successful journey lies in embracing each other’s quirks, communicating openly, and finding laughter in the unexpected.

    Every detour and misstep has taught us the importance of patience and empathy, transforming potential roadblocks into opportunities for growth and joy.

    Like our Lady Penelope and Parker personas, travelling together is all about bringing creativity and humour to every situation. It’s not just about the places you explore; it’s about growing closer, creating unforgettable memories, and enjoying the journey, bumps and all.

    So, pack your bags, grab your partner, and set off on an adventure that’s as rewarding as it is exciting. Every experience is a chance to strengthen your bond and enrich your shared journey.

    Ready for more adventure tips?

    Check out our road tripping page for more detailed guides and tips to enhance your next journey.

    And don’t forget your free printable road trip planner!

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    Road trip tips couples pinterest pin

    Planning Your Travels?

    These are the travel resources we recommend and use when planning our trips.

    For a more thorough list, visit our Travel Resources page here.

    Photo of author

    Shelley

    Shelley, a former primary school teacher with a law degree, and her husband Lars co-own Lifejourney4two. Their adventure began in Perth, Australia, and has since taken them through Europe and Africa in motorhomes and bush campers. Shelley's travel guides combine practical advice with engaging stories, mirroring their shift from 'One Day' to 'Day One'. Together, they aim to inspire others to embark on their own travel dreams.

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