Tips for a Long Term Road Trip With Your Best Friend for the First Time
It’s not uncommon for many people to forget about the logistics of going on a road trip, choosing instead to focus on the freedom and fun of being on the road. But the truth is, there are many moving parts (literally and figuratively) to going on a road trip, from choosing the right RV insurance (like Good Sam ESP, which caters to mobile homes), to creating a budget that works for both you and your friend.
You may have heard of road trip and travel horror stories where a set or pair of friends stopped being friends because they simply weren’t compatible with one another on the road. Traveling with a friend—just like living with them—allows you to learn much more about them than you knew before. If you’re traveling with your best friend for the first time, here are a few tips for ensuring a successful road trip:
Discuss Your Trip Goals
Before you even begin the planning process, it’s important to have a conversation about your goals and trip list wishes. This ensures both of you are on the same page in terms of destination, budget, and types of activities you want to do. It would be difficult to discover that you prefer the “budget backpacker” approach to travel, while your friend likes to err on the luxury end of things. Discuss your standards and what you hope to get out of the trip early on to avoid a clash of differences later down the road.
Split Pre-Trip Tasks
If one of you does more pre-trip planning than the other, it can start to quickly feel like one of you is less invested, which can lead to some early resentment. Communication is so important prior to a trip. Both should talk often about the planning process. For example, you’ll want to map out destinations, determine costs for any necessary visas, pre-book lodging, purchase insurance, etc.
Split your researching and booking responsibilities to ensure both of you put in an equal amount of work prior to leaving. Of course, there are some situations where one person prefers planning while the other doesn’t; in this case, play to your strengths, but talk to your friend about when it’s acceptable to step back or take the lead.
Make a Budget & Keep Track of Spend
Prior to your trip, sit down together and make a budget of what your road trip will cost. Make an estimate for gas, food, lodging, recreational spend, and unexpected expenses (a buffer of money can help you avoid a disaster; you never know when you’ll need extra maintenance or repairs).
Take advantage of mobile applications when it comes to making a budget and keeping track of spend. For example, Gas Buddy tracks prices of gas across different states, while iOverlander locates free campsites if you’d like to pitch a tent.
You also want to keep track of spend using some of the best budgeting apps out there, and using apps like Venmo or the Cash App to pay one another pack when necessary. By tracking your budget, you can avoid overspending, and can also ensure that you and your best friend are sharing costs equally.
Apologize When Necessary
No travel trip is perfect. There will almost always be bumps along the road—again, literally and figuratively—that get in the way. Sometimes, you’ll get frustrated by the bad weather, or your friend will become irritated if they’re too hungry. You and your best friend might handle inconveniences differently; one of you could very well be more optimistic than the other. This is fine, as long as you have the self-awareness to understand when to apologize, as well as how to be forgiving. An apology goes a long way, and everyone has a bad day here and there.
Don’t Forget About the Positives
By now, you can head a few warnings when it comes to traveling with your best friend. However, throughout the pre-trip planning, the occasional bad days, and the long hours on the road, it’s important to remember the positive aspects of your trip. Every once in a while, conduct a quick “gratitude check.” After all, you’re building lifelong memories with your best friend, and not many people can say the same. You can learn so much more about one another, make new friends, and celebrate that experience together.