Imagine this…you’ve spent months plotting and planning the perfect escape for you and your partner. You’ve done it all; booked with Bidvest Car Rentals, sussed out the best hotels, and drafted a pretty thorough itinerary of both of your favourite destination activities and attractions. You pack your bags, catch your flight, pick up your car rental and then it happens: a whopper of a fight ensues!

Nothing quite sours a romantic toad trip or exhilarating adventure quite like constant bickering and hurtful comments can. If you’re ensconced in coupledom and love road tripping, this one’s for you…

Kick the Habit of Road Trip Fighting by Being Prepared

Road tripping is exciting. For some it can be life changing. For others, it can be a dream that’s suddenly plagued with the nightmare of conflict and arguments.

It’s really no surprise that couples argue when they’re on the road. If you have been worried that it only happens to you and your other half; don’t be. Rest assured that there are millions of other happy raod trippers who have fallen victim to disagreements on the road. So what’s the solution? How do some couples seem so calm, collected and relaxed on the road, when it seems that all you and your partner want to do is yell it out, scream, and shout?

The trick is in being prepared for a trip. There are a few relationship saving hacks you can commit yourself to that will eliminate the need or desire to snipe, comment, attack, or antagonise on the road (it will work on your partner too, don’t worry!).

Before we take a look at our top tips for saving your relationship while on the road, let’s look at why couples might start to fight on a road trip.

The Psychology Behind Road Trip Fights: Why Do Couples Fight on a Road Trip?

First off, anyone can get into a travel-induced argument. You could be an argumentative kind of couple that argues anywhere, or you could be a couple that’s usually quite chilled and relaxed – arguments really don’t discriminate. The issue isn’t really about the state of your relationship (although sometimes it can be). It’s more about the situation itself. Let’s take for instance the driver. The driver needs to be hyper-vigilant, while keeping eyes on the road and being continuously aware of possible dangers. In many ways, the driver is on edge (he or she has to be) and emotions are harder than usual to regulate. This may cause the person driving to respond differently to new situations, comments, and scenarios. The driver may experience heightened stress levels.

Much the same, the passenger is under a certain amount of situational stress. The driver, who they are usually close and connected to, is engrossed in the activity of driving, not responding as they would normally, and seemingly distracted and “short”. This can leave the passenger feeling ignored, disconnected, insecure, or vulnerable.

Then there’s also the simple fact of feeling as if the driver is in total control. That can be a problem for some.

Push these two sets of emotions together and you have the perfect recipe for an argument – usually over something silly or completely inconsequential.

Nip Road Tripping Arguments in the Bud

There are numerous things that can spark an in-car fight. It could be the stress over the GPS not working(or the fact that you’re not familiar with how the GPS itself!), lost cell phone signal, hunger, discomfort and tiredness – the list goes on.

Below are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of a fight ruining the ‘zen’ vibe of your trip. Try them out– you won’t be disappointed.

  • Download offline maps. Nothing primes a fight more than getting lost, especially when stress levels are already high. Many couples use a GPS system, which can often be unreliable or have outdated maps. Others use apps like Google Maps. If you are worried about driving through out-of-signal areas (and you should be), download offline maps of all the areas you are visiting. This means that your maps will work even if you don’t have cell phone reception or internet access. When your partner starts to stress over getting lost and losing signal, whip out your off line maps and save the day!
  • Sync up before leaving home. Couples that don’t plan a trip together often fall into the trap of arguing. Make sure that you are both on the same page (read map) before you leave. Make sure you know what each other’s trip objectives are, go over the route together, and discuss the places you would like to see. If you are both on the same page, there’s very little room to argue about the actual day to day activities and the route of your trip.
  • Have a safe word. This might seem a bit out of the ordinary, but most of us can tell when a fight is starting for reasons unrelated to what the fight subject matter ends up being. For instance, two travellers on a long drive through a pot-hole infested area of the world, with dwindling water supply and at least one of them suffering a bad headache, is a recipe for a fight. What starts out as crankiness can end up in an argument over how one is feeling neglected in the relationship or how the other never takes the trash out. You can avoid arguments escalating from physical discomforts to personal attacks by discussing the potential for this to happen before the trip. Having a funny code word really helps. If you realise that the argument is based on something unrelated, and is causing a personal fight that can only cause damage, simply say the word to create awareness between both parties and then take a moment to regroup and relax. Have a laugh, agree that it’s fuelled by crankiness, and focus on enjoying the actual experience.
  • Make the confines of the car a weary traveller’s oasis. Being in a car for many hours can be fun, if the setting is primed for it. As an example: if you are the type of person that doesn’t like a single thing to be out of place, and the interior of the car is an absolute mess, it’s bound to serve as a trigger for an argument. To avoid this, prepare the car for the trip. Think about a few things take along. What are your favourite snacks and comforts? Do you have a favourite pillow? What songs/playlists do you and your partner both agree on, and love? Would you prefer coffee (pack flasks) or energy drinks (think of getting some dry ice for the trip to keep drinks cool)? Whatever you think of that might keep the situation pleasant, calm, and comfortable –organise it before your trip.
  • Be realistic about travel distances. You will undoubtedly want to jam as much travel time in as possible when you pick up your Bidvest Car Rental and hit the open road. Unfortunately, this can turn into a road trip disaster. If you try to cover too much distance in one day, it will just lead to crankiness and you will miss out on enjoying all the little stops and sights along the way. Don’t spend all your daylight traveling hours driving – make some time to explore, rest, and enjoy each other’s company outside of the car.

Plan Ahead, Book Your Car Hire, Hit the Open Road!

Don’t let the fear of a road tripping argument deter you from planning your next escape. Commit yourself to preparing properly for the trip with your partner and the risk of an in-car fight can be greatly reduced. To check out the latest Bidvest Car Rental deals or to compare rates with other car hire bands, use our search feature above. Happy road tripping!