A few months ago, I wrote about a couple finding romance on a road trip when all they really expected was one person helping the other. As it turns out—and this is not entirely a surprise to me—couples think that taking road trips together strengthens their relationship!
Romance site YourTango worked with the fine folks at Ford Motor Company (if my next car isn’t a Packard or DeSoto, it’s a Ford Mustang…or a ’57 Fairlane Skyliner…do you think Ford would spring me a Mustang if I took it across the country, photographing it in iconic American places?) to survey over 1,000 people; of the 91% who’ve taken road trips together, 84% think they improve the relationship.
Most obviously, a road trip presents couples with a lot of quality time together, often in new environments that offer a great deal of opportunity for fun and conversation. This is of course most especially true on old US highways like 66, 40, and 30 as well as old state routes—where you’ll find all sorts of things to spark conversation, from old diners and family bakeries to abandoned motels, barns, and great kitschy sites like The Blue Whale of Catoosa or enormous tributes Paul Bunyan and Babe (found all over the nation, though I’m most familiar with and affectionate toward the pair at Castle Rock in St. Ignace). This is all the better if you’ve the time to hop out of the car and enjoy these places with your feet on the ground, or perhaps pop into a local shop of some sort. Great, crazy, or bad, you’re bound to be chatting with one another about it!
According to Ford’s survey,Togetherness on the road presents an opportunity for quality time among couples in all sorts of ways.Sixty-three percent of respondents agree or strongly agree they are affectionate with their partner while driving; they hold hands or share a kiss at a red light. Fifty-seven percent say driving is a good time to discuss important topics with their spouse or partner.In fact, respondents said their three favorite ways to pass the time are:
- Talking and catching up with each other (63 percent)
- Blasting our favorite music (60 percent)
- Getting some quiet time and taking in the sights (37 percent)
Additional survey findings include:
- 56 percent say the best driving conversations focus on the present – sights, news, other drivers, followed by 19 percent who say the best discussions involve the future: marriage, kids, home buying, etc.
- 35 percent of couples surveyed have been on eight or more road trips together
- 68 percent describe their road trips as “fun-filled” or “relaxing”
Even if the weather turns sour, as it did on our second Route 66 trip for over 100 miles (though rain seems appropriate—however frustrating—at a place like the Blue Whale), you’ll still find yourself having a great time—just as you should with your best friend in the world by your side. We have such wonderful chats while on the road together, Hubby and I. Not only that, it’s difficult to deny the great fun of exploring places like John’s Modern Cabins together…even if you do pick up a tick or three. (Ooops. My doctor was none too pleased to hear this. The ticks attacked despite my wearing hiking boots and socks pulled up to my knees!)
Don’t think, by the way, that your road trip must be a week-long journey; it can be over a weekend, or even just a jaunt around your area any given afternoon. Much as I love the big, long, photoshoot roadtrips I often take for my business, the shorter ones within 100 miles of home are just as fun, yielding just as many fun and exciting finds. A quick look around the internet, particularly those of local visitors’ bureaus, can yield great ideas, as will a visit to a local hotel to pick up a few brochures. Often there are truly delightful things waiting in our very backyard.
More than once, I’ve had folks express surprise upon learning I usually go on my photo shoots of America with my husband—they seem to think couples can’t stand one another in the car for days on end! To be honest, though, I’m just as surprised when they react this way; I can’t think of anyone else with whom would I rather spend a week or more at a time in the car, seeing all sorts of new and exciting things, than my husband.
Then again…American interstates, miserably dull as they are, tend to be what most people use for road trips; no wonder they think a road trip with their spouse equals misery. The super-slab can turn even the most cheerful people bitter and crabby. Therefore: Don’t take the interstate. Just don’t. Interstates make everyone sad and they are NOT good for your relationship…much less encouraging romance. Don’t do it.
Feel free to ask me any questions, as I’ll be happy to do my best to help—and don’t forget sites like Retro Roadmap, Roadtrippers and Roadside America for planning ideas if you’re into kitsch. If you love visiting historic homes and places, another hobby of mine, your best starting point is the state’s tourism website (for instance, —believe me, they want you to find spots of great historic significance and will often offer enough to leave you bubbling over with anticipation.
Well, what are you waiting for? Get to planning!