17 Fantastic Road Trip Tips for Couples

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We’ve written this Road Trip Tips for Couples article to cover all the essentials we think are important for you as you hit the open road and spend time travelling together.

Our ‘couple’s road trip skills‘ have become increasingly refined as we’ve travelled across many countries and continents.

We’ve been road-tripping worldwide since April 2017, travelling thousands of kilometres together.

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

Travelling in each other’s company 24/7 can be difficult. Add in tight spaces, navigation difficulties and road weariness, and your road trips can implode like a soufflé taken out too soon.

The romanticised idea of a road trip can quickly turn from all pink and rosy to dark and dire.

But with these road trip tips for couples, you’ll be more likely to experience relaxation, rejuvenation and romance on your journey.

What’s Inside: Road Trip Tips for the Ultimate Couple’s Adventure

  • Driving Personas for Fun & Stress Relief: Learn how adopting personas like Lady Penelope and Parker can diffuse tension and add humour to your journey.
  • Balancing Adventure and Relaxation: Tips on not overpacking your schedule and the importance of a flexible plan.
  • Embrace Eco-Friendly Travel: Discover sustainable practices and innovative solar-powered gadgets to enhance your road trip experience.
  • Teamwork and Shared Responsibilities: Insights into sharing chores and decision-making to strengthen your partnership on the road.
  • Staying Organized and Prepared: Strategies for vehicle organization, handling wrong turns, and preparing for emergencies.
  • Enjoying the Journey: Tips for making the most of your trip, including taking scenic routes, staying hydrated, and using navigation tools effectively.
  • Stay Healthy on Your Travels: Keep your spirits and health soaring with our simple yet nifty tips. Remember to drink plenty of water, munch on healthy snacks, and take those much-needed breaks to stretch and breathe in some fresh air. It’s all about enjoying the journey while looking after each other.

🛻 JUMP AHEAD TO OUR 17 ROAD TRIP TIPS HERE


Our Road Trip Story

But before diving into our road trip hacks for couples, let me tell you more about our ups and downs and how we know a thing or two about a road trip for couples.

Lars, my husband, and I took our first long road trip together when we drove across the breadth of Australia, from Perth on the west coast to Melbourne on the east. This was the beginning of our planned adventures.

We wild camped most nights and covered 3700 kilometres in two weeks. We certainly learnt a thing or two about each other. But, as the road trip was in our home country, we encountered very little in the way of stress.

However, fast forward to a few weeks later, and a very different story unfolded.

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

A Couple’s Road Trip isn’t Always Rosy

We arrived in Germany to pick up our hired motorhome to begin a year-long campervanning trip around Europe.

Five minutes after leaving the depot, I was in tears — and we were only on our way to the grocery store three kilometres down the road!

I had somehow misread the arrows on the sat nav (I, of course, blame jet lag; it couldn’t possibly be my navigational skills), and we suddenly found ourselves hurtling along on the German autobahn. Yes, that intense road is renowned for having no speed limit, with drivers going as fast as they like.

I don’t think Lars was too happy.

I guessed that by the raised voice he was using to ask me to find a way off said road as quickly as possible and mumbling something about me only having to get us three kilometres down the road. We weren’t used to driving on the right or a huge 7.5-metre motorhome.

Ninety minutes later, we arrived at the said grocery store. Lars had coped extremely well, only knocking down a whole street full of traffic cones with my passenger side wing mirror (they have high cones in Germany), and my sobs had subdued to only whimpers.

We were all set for a great road trip.

To say those first moments of our epic adventure were strained would be just as epic an understatement.

That was in 2017, and we are still road-tripping around the world together, always learning and connecting even more through all the trials and tribulations that road-tripping and travelling together brings.

So, read on for our top 15 couple road trip tips and essentials to get your adventure off to a good start.

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

17 of the Best Road Trip Tips for Couples

We’ve gathered 17 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 that are great for couples to add to their social media posts to help inspire other couples to travel.

1. Have a Basic Plan For Your Road Trip

What do I mean by 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 know what you want to see, but the plan allows for spontaneity.

Jump over to our Ultimate Guide on Planning a Road Trip for more in-depth details, but in general, your plan should include those items listed below.

A basic couple’s road trip plan should include:

  • Organise a packing list to ensure you have everything you need for your road trip
  • Check your vehicle is roadworthy
  • Have a spare wheel and or/ foam to fix a puncture
  • Arrange roadside assistance cover
  • Download any apps, podcasts, or audiobooks you’ll need
  • Know where you are heading each day before you continue on your road trip
  • Book your accommodation ahead for that day or know where you plan to stop
bush camper on sandy coloured road
Our ‘Bucky’ (bush camper) on our South Africa road trip

2. Getting Along with Each Other on a Road Trip

Let’s start off with one of our favourite road trip tips for couples that is a super stress-buster on a particularly long road trip… Creating a ‘driving persona’.

Let me explain…

We took on the driving personas of Lady Penelope and Parker from the Thunderbirds. It randomly came about, but we found it so useful that we now use it in all aspects of our lives as a bit of fun, and it still brings a smile to our faces.

A tense situation can be lightened by taking on another persona. For example, if Lars were driving too fast (in my ever so humble opinion), instead of asking ‘Lars’ to slow down, I would ask ‘Parker’, in my most distinguished Lady Penelope posh accent,

“Do slow down, Parker.”

It is not Lars’ driving skills I am correcting, but those of ‘Parker’ — it makes a big difference and brings some humour into the moment.

Choose a couple of characters that resonate with you and have some fun.

photoshopped lady penelope and parker as lars and shelley
You might notice a few changes to Lady Penelope and Parker’s appearance here 😉

3. Don’t Pack Too Much into Your Road Trip

One of the best tips for road-tripping couples is to not pack too much into your day. Although you probably want to see as much as possible on your road trip, you don’t want to spoil your enjoyment by running yourselves ragged.

If you do try to do too much, you won’t have time to really appreciate the places that you visit, and you’ll be more likely to get ratty and tired. 

We took a while to realise how important it was not to pile too much into our days. It took a few too many times of us running around like headless chickens and then feeling exhausted at the end of the trip before we began to assess our road trip time restrictions carefully.

It’s not an easy task, as you often don’t know how long you’ll want to stay in one place. However, planning some downtime in your schedule is even more important if you’re on a long road trip.

When we road-tripped around Ireland and our visit to Iceland, we used B&Bs, so we had to stick to a firm plan and, therefore, were less able to be flexible.

However, if you travel by motorhome or camping, as we travel most of the time, adjusting your schedule and staying longer in the places you like is easier.

💥 Looking to HIRE a motorhome or camper? We used, and highly recommend, Motorhome Republic — they have an EXCELLENT rating on Trustpilot, and their customer service was amazing.

👉 Get a Quote by clicking here

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

4. Have Healthy Snacks on Hand

Make sure you have plenty of snacks handy to stop either of you from getting ‘hangry’ — that feeling when your blood sugar drops and grumpiness sets in.

Try to keep lollies and junk food to a minimum because that’s just setting yourself up for blood sugar highs that will inevitably bring you crashing down and feeling less than chirpy.

Think nuts, fruits and vegetables, but nothing too messy. Mixed nuts and fresh fruit such as grapes, apples and bananas are always a good snack. Carrots and baby tomatoes are easy to munch on, too.

There are plenty of options to keep your taste buds tempted and your mood on an even keel.

Here are a few special options you could organise in advance to keep your road trip snacks exciting:

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02/19/2024 04:05 am GMT
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02/19/2024 04:15 am GMT

5. Listen to Music, Podcasts or Audio Books

If you are on a long road trip, having a great playlist to sing along to can break the monotony. If you have a long, relatively boring drive where you don’t need to pay attention to what’s around you, pop on a podcast or listen to an audiobook.

Here’s an awesome Road Trip Playlist on Spotify with 100 of the greatest road songs for you to bop along to in the car.

Here’s an embarrassing clip of us passing the time on Australia’s longest stretch of straight road as we crossed the Nullabor;)

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

Another of our road trip tips is to have a sense of humour on your journey. Not being afraid to laugh at yourself is always a useful relationship ingredient and a vital one to pay attention to.

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 mind (even if not physically distancing). Make sure to pack headphones so you can each have some of your own quiet time.

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

6. Sustainable Travel Practices on the Road

Adopting eco-friendly habits isn’t just a trend. It’s become a necessity for preserving the landscapes we love.

Stay at Travel Sustainable Accommodation

Consider staying at green-certified accommodations that prioritize sustainability. When using Booking.com, you may see a 🌱 Travel Sustainable Level shown based on 29 sustainable practices that the accommodation might be doing.

Use Reusable Travel Gear to Reduce Plastic Waste

  1. Water Bottles: Stainless steel or BPA-free water bottles that can be refilled, like these Water-to-Go bottles, which include a water filter. We have used these and can highly recommend them.
  2. Travel Mugs: Insulated travel mugs for coffee or tea.
  3. Reusable Straws: Collapsible or silicone straws as an alternative to plastic straws.
  4. Food Containers: Reusable food containers for snacks and meals.
  5. Utensil Sets: Portable sets of reusable utensils, often including a fork, spoon, and knife.
  6. Shopping Bags: Compact, foldable shopping bags to avoid plastic carrier bags.
  7. Toiletry Bottles: Refillable silicone bottles for shampoo, conditioner, and other toiletries.

Consider Electric or Hybrid Vehicles

If possible and it fits into your budget, opt for eco-friendly transport options like electric or hybrid rental cars, contributing to a smaller carbon footprint on your journey.

Embrace Solar Power

Solar technology isn’t just for homes or businesses; it’s a game-changer for road trippers.

Portable solar chargers are great, allowing you to charge devices anywhere under the sun. Consider solar-powered backpacks that charge as you hike or explore. Solar lanterns and torches ensure you’re never left in the dark, ideal for camping or nighttime adventures.

Even solar-powered coolers are available, chilling your food and drinks without draining your vehicle’s battery.

By integrating solar gadgets into your travel gear, you’re using a renewable energy source and also enhancing your travel experience with self-sufficiency and eco-friendliness.

7. Focus on Teamwork

This might be obvious, but some couples who have certain chores they divvy up at home might have to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in to help in matters they don’t normally have to think about.

For example, I normally do the washing at home, but on the road, Lars has to step in to act as my washing machine ‘spin cycle’ — wringing the clothes out for me when I’ve hand washed. His strength means he almost triples the amount of water expelled than my feeble wrists can manage to twist out.

💡Handy Tip: We have a Scrubba wash bag with us on our road trips now – and fill it at the start of the road trip, and as we bumble along, the clothes wash themselves in the bag. We then just rinse and hang at the other end.

It’s not only chores that need to be shared. It’s also important to ensure each partner has an equal say in the destination choices and activities you choose to do on your road trip.

” Teamwork makes the dream work”

lifejourney4two … often

8. Road Trip Games for Couples

Road trips for us normally involve camping. So, at the end of the day, we like to unwind and play a game or do a crossword together.

Both are great when you don’t have electricity and are also good to help you unravel any tensions that may have built up during the day.

One of our favourites is Dobble, a fun card game that has always been a family favourite and solving crosswords together is always a winner — teamwork makes the dream work.

While you are on the road, there is plenty of time to play games, too. Some help you get to know your partner better and delve into how their brain works, which can result in very interesting conversations.

A great road trip game for that is ‘Would you rather’. Another, which we have in the car, is A Little More Conversation, a pack of cards full of fantastic conversation starters.

👉 For more fun on the road, check out this awesome list of Fun Travel Games.

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 in our dashboard pocket

Many games are available as phone apps, such as Trivia Crack, Trivia Crack 2, Millionaire, and Scrabble.

9. Make Wrong Turns Part of Your Road Trip Adventure

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 an opportunity for adventure.

Where has this new path led you?

Has it thrown up a challenge?

If so, go with the flow and treat it as a game – a puzzle you must solve as a team. Do anything but rant and rave — or worse, blame your partner. 

The reality is that no one purposely took the wrong road, so work on your mindset and stay in a ‘happy place’.

In fact, we’ve discovered a new game – Getting Lost – where the whole idea is to randomly drive and do fun activities on the way following the card instructions, like ‘Turn down the next street starting with the same letter as the oldest person in the car“.

It’s a fun twist to the idea of Getting Lost!

With various themes to choose from, you’re sure to have some fun exploring your surroundings and ending up … who knows where!

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

10. Prepare for Worse Case Scenarios

This road trip tip is easy to do and can save a lot of angst in an emergency. Take all possible stressors out of your road trip by planning for worst-case scenarios.

Hopefully, you won’t have any of these, but if you do, being unprepared will make a bad situation even worse.

When we were motorhoming in Italy, we were involved in an accident with an Italian driver coming in the opposite direction. Nothing too serious – our wing mirrors hit. Ours bounced back into place. His flew off and broke into pieces. Well, it flew off, at least.

It wasn’t until the driver threw it several metres across the road that it smashed into several pieces. He was gesticulating this way and that, twisting, turning, jumping up and down in the middle of the road, screaming what I can only assume were Italian expletives in our direction.

My ‘ever calm in a tricky situation’ husband waited for the prickly Italian to stop bouncing up and down and exited the vehicle with an eerily calm demeanour.

Meanwhile, I was frantically trying to find where on earth I’d put the insurance details of the campervan. Did I have to call the motorhome hire depot and report the accident? Where was their number? Did we need to stay where we were? Call the police?

As the irate Italian continued to wave his arms around, I was having a mini-meltdown in the van, trying to locate information to make him stop.

Therefore, have all of your travel documents together in one place for handy access in case of emergency.

It's not the destination its the journey quote on northern lights photo

Check out our 130+ Road Trip Quotes and images to inspire and prep your mindset for your road trip.

What to Have on Hand on a Road Trip

Items to have on hand might include:

  • 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 rules of the road in the country you’re road-tripping in.

⭐️ Click here to find out about our Free 23- Page Printable Road Trip Planner, or download it below:

11. Keep your Vehicle Organised

Another easy road trip tip that will make life easier is keeping your vehicle organised.

On your road trip, you will create rubbish in the front seat, pull out jumpers and pillows and grab stuff from the back.

When you’re tired, the temptation is to shove things back into place and think that you’ll sort it later. But trust me, you’ll feel even less like doing it later.

If you are like me, mess and untidiness soon start to get on my nerves. So, still knowing where everything is and not having my feet surrounded by the trash in the front seat makes me a much happier passenger.

We keep a plastic bag in the front for rubbish to go straight into, and we make sure we take the extra few minutes each time to put things back in the right place.

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

12. Take the Scenic Route

A road trip isn’t all about getting from A to B — well, most of the time it isn’t. If you have a ferry to catch and are time-bound, then finding the quickest way there is the priority.

But, the whole point of a road trip is to enjoy the scenery along the way, so plan your route along the back roads rather than zipping along on the freeways.

You want to savour the country and soak up its vibe. That’s not going to happen while hightailing it along the highways.

On a motorway, the monotony of the tarmac, never-ending hard shoulders and whizzing traffic can lull me into a trance. So much so that I can altogether forget that I’m in a different country. It isn’t until I see signs with unfamiliar towns and cities that my mind jerks back to the fact about where I actually am.

Admittedly, the scenic route can sometimes offer up curveballs that you aren’t expecting, like bridges your motorhome can’t fit under or roads that turn into 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

13. Be Prepared to be Hot or Cold

Whether you are travelling in warm or cold weather, be ready for all eventualities.

Lars likes to have the air temperature cool in the car or van.

I feel the cold easily.

So, having a cosy throw, I can wrap around my legs when my lower extremities are at risk of frostbite from the cranked-up air conditioner makes for a happy wife.

The blanket is also useful for snuggling under the stars and gazing at the skies above for a romantic moment.

In contrast, the sun blasting in the window, even on a cold day, can be uncomfortable, so having a window shade to block the sun is useful.

starry sky and green pine trees

14. Stay Hydrated … even if it means more wee stops

Another essential lesson we learned early on was not to skip drinking water regularly. Even though you will have to stop more often, it’s better that way than to end up with a pounding headache because you are dehydrated.

It’s obviously much easier for men to stop for wee breaks, but after you’ve been on the road a while, you can become quite adept at emptying your bladder on the side of the road.

Here are my tips for the times you don’t have access to a washroom. And sometimes, the washroom might be so filthy — you’d rather be peeing beside your car.

Tips for taking a wee when you have no washroom:

Use an Urinary Device — Invest in a Freshette. I have one, and it is fantastic. I always use it, making life so much easier – especially when camping in Africa.

For example, when driving through Kruger, it’s invaluable. You need to have your wits about you, and it’s easier to keep an eye out when you are weeing while standing up.

You don’t want a lion pouncing on you mid-pee. Actually, you don’t want a lion pouncing full stop!

One of my must-have road tripping items
Freshette Travel Female Urinary Device
5.0
$23.95

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
02/18/2024 08:55 pm GMT

Just Crouch — If you open both the passenger and rear passenger doors ( with the passenger side away from the road), it creates a nice shield, so it’s not so obvious what you’re up to.

Use the passenger side car floor to rest the back of your buttocks, move your feet out of the way, relax, and away you go. Have a tissue ready to wipe and pop it in your rubbish bag. Easy peesy… Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun;)

15. Use a Sat Nav and Google Maps

 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. Also, one may give you a completely different route.

They are also handy to give you an idea of the time it’s going to take to arrive at certain destinations. We use maps.me when we don’t have an internet connection.

We often have a paper map and Tracks4Africa App when road-tripping in Africa. I am gradually improving my map reading, but I still need to turn the map around to face the direction we’re going;)

Use your sat nav/Google Maps to plan in stops on the way, making sure you try to stretch your legs, stop for a drink or wander around every 2 to 3 hours at least.

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

16. Stay Healthy on Your Road Trip

The last thing you want when on a road trip is to get sick. With COVID-19 and new variants emerging all the time, it doesn’t hurt to take healthy precautions to ensure you stay fit and healthy while travelling.

Health and Safety:

In these times, staying healthy on the road is paramount. Pack a health kit including masks, sanitiser, and disinfectant wipes. Choose less crowded destinations and consider off-season travel to avoid large groups. Regularly sanitize high-touch areas in your vehicle.

Social Distancing Strategies:

Explore the road less travelled. Seek out hidden gems and secluded spots away from tourist hotspots. Activities like hiking, beachcombing, or exploring rural landscapes are perfect for maintaining distance while enjoying the beauty of your surroundings.

Sunscreen and Mosquito Sprays

Remember sunscreen, mossie, and fly spray – vital road-trip essentials for us. We have stopped in too many places where swarms of flies have invaded, and we need to spray the camper or car to get rid of tiny midges or ants.

17. Useful Packing List to Consider for Your Couples Road Trip

Road Trip Tips for Couples — That’s a Wrap

And there you have it.

Seventeen fantastic road trip tips and essentials to help make sure you are still together at the end of your couple’s road-tripping experience!

With all the basics covered, you can look forward to exploring this amazing world together, making memories and having experiences that all become part of your bigger journey.

Let us know what you think of these tips, and if you have any more road trip tips, drop us a line or leave a comment below.

READ MORE: For more tips on travelling as a couple, whether on a road trip or not – head over to our article on Couple travel and how to get along when you are with each other 24/7!

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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.

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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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