Are we there yet? NO! Are we there yet?… This is an annoying question that’s as old as children have been in vehicles. It’s quite adorable…ONLY WHEN SAID BY CHILDREN! An adult companion with childish behavior, toppled with other exasperating circumstances, can ruin an awesome road trip. I have come to understand that it’s the little things that really get to people. Bad habits like leaving the toilet seat up or eating with your mouth open.
Learning how to be a good travel companion can keep your trip (and your friendship) on a good route. So, before planning an “are we there yet?” as an icebreaker, here is the companions guide to an awesome road trip.
Partake in Planning
Without a plan, things can go haywire before they even begin. However, planning can be a tedious task. As a companion, you must partake in planning the trip. Importantly, the companion is the co-pilot and will eventually be asked to take charge. So it is your duty to know what the main person knows. You must also share your opinions about the trip. Not sharing, or worst never having an opinion, puts all the responsibility for planning and executing the plan on the main person. If things go wrong, that person may feel bad. Your responsibility is to know the plan if you were asked to join the trip after the plans were made. Then voice your opinion. If things are not mutual from the planning stage, you can always humbly decline the invitation. Better to keep your relationship active than to go on a potentially disastrous road trip.
Related: Useful Tips for your Trip
Split the costs
As a travel companion, you do not have a free ride. As a travel companion, you are either there for the obvious, companionship, or you are there for financial support. Or both. The companion is to contribute resources to the trip. Splitting the cost doesn’t require you to help pay for everything equally, but it must be based on a mutual understanding of what you have to contribute and what is needed. You must inform your companion if you can split the cost equally. If you can contribute food, pay for gas, accommodations or tickets, let it be known and FOLLOW THROUGH. And for peace sake, don’t forget your wallet. We all know that excuse.
Alone time is critical
You are not expected to do everything together on a road trip. Who wants to hike when the alternative is to use an ATV (all-terrain vehicle)? The point is, have a good time no matter if you are apart or together. This will allow each person to have their fun and make the overall trip more enjoyable. When apart, remember your travel companion. Pick out something from your experience you think they will like, a rock, seashell, local cuisine or gift from a store. Each person will have more than an experience to share with the other when they regroup. Being apart can also be healthy for your journey. A little breathing space, if not for yourself then for your companion. It can be quite refreshing to take a nap by yourself, or just to take in the beauty or wonder around you.
Prepare to drive
If you have a driver’s license, ensure the car rental company lists you as a co-driver on the rental. Most if not all rental companies allow for this when booking a vehicle. This task must be done in the planning stage, even if the main person wishes to drive all the way. That is also why I said to know the route when partaking in the planning. You cannot predict the outcome of the trip, hence, prepare to drive. Furthermore, you are not being chauffeured by your companion or there to place your feet on the dash and look cute. Even if the main person does not ask, you can at intervals ask to drive. If the main driver looks weary or is intoxicated, insist that on driving, that is if you are not weary or intoxicated yourself. Being prepared to drive is a generous attitude and it will keep all parties safe.
Driver Drives and Passenger relaxes
Although you are not driving, you are prepared to drive. Hence, as a passenger and companion, you can relax. It will make you and the person driving feel more comfortable on the trip. It can become tedious for a driver sitting in a car for hours listening to complaints, being given driving advice or unwanted directions. At the same time, be as entertaining and lively as possible so the driver may feel awake and comfortable. Do not let that intolerable inner child comes out every 5 minutes asking, “Are we there yet?” This is a test of true companionship and also the companion’s time to shine.
The driver chooses the music
As a personal advice and as mentioned in other articles like 10 Ways to Be a Less Annoying Travel Companion by Ed Hewitt, the driver chooses the music. To me, this is more a rule of law on the road. The person driving should be the one who picks the radio station, chooses the song or program to listen to. As a companion and passenger, your job is to change the track or station upon request. Hence, you may have to adjust your likings to that of your companion. I mean, you wouldn’t be on the trip if you didn’t have some similar tastes. Dissimilar tastes can cause entertaining arguments and you may even learn something about your companion you didn’t before. However, be careful sharing your views as they might become insulting.
This is a general travel companion’s guide to an awesome Road Trip. Hence these tips are useful if you are the main party or just the tag along. For example, if you are the main planner, ask your tag along to partake in the planning or ask them if they can contribute to needed resources. When everyone is involved then everyone will ensure that they have fun.
Finally, a friend of mine asked that I included a guide that asks a companion to fart with the windows down, so here it is. If you have any other guide for travel companions on a road trip, please free to leave them in the comment sections.