7 habits of highly annoying travel partners

2012-11-02 13:51

So, the end of the year has crept up on us again (funny how it manages to do that year after year, without fail) and suddenly holiday plans are getting scarily real. 

Christmas shopping has to get done, end of year functions arranged and final holiday plans put in place. 

For many of us, this means hitting the road with those nearest and dearest to us. A rather pleasant prospect in theory, but not always in practice. So, whether you and your partner have been together for decades or just a few days, take a look at these 7 highly annoying habits that could spoil your road trip (and the rest of your holiday!) and try to avoid them at all costs. 

1. Not having an opinion


Photo: Shutterstock

While "I don't really mind, whatever's fine" may seem like a lovely, flexible sort of phrase to use while travelling, the truth is, it does not fall pleasantly on your partner's ear. At all. Unless they're a super control freak, and in that case... good luck. But, I digress.

The point is, it's tough making calls sometimes and if your other half doesn't speak up about what they want, you never quite know if they're happy or not. 

Avoid this by: sitting down for a planning session well before you leave. Ideally each one should have a list of things they'd like to do, see, experience and people they'd like to meet or visit along the way. Present your lists to each other and fight it out reason like adults, ultimately getting to a point where you can refine your stops. 

2. Radio hogging


Photo: Shutterstock

Chances are pretty good that you and your love share the same, broad taste in music, which is fabulous... until somewhere between Springfontein and Three Sisters something ugly rears its head. 

Now, there are many ways to radio hog and they're all pretty irritating: refusing to play the other person's choice of songs, overplaying one artist/album/track, insisting on listening to the news/sport score on RSG every hour... but the one that stands out above all the rest is the continual skipping of songs before they finish. 

Yes, the road is long and yes, it gets a tad boring at times, but for crying out loud, don't take your frustrations out on the music!

Avoid this by: simply not doing it. Unless there's something seriously wrong with a track, just let it play out. Sit back, relax, look at the clouds and take your mind off it!

3. Pushing the petrol gauge to the limit


Photo: Shutterstock

Now, not to be sexist or anything, but men are often the guilty ones here. Instead of topping up before the needle sinks too low or lights start flashing, you decide to push on to the next petrol station, or the next one... just to make up time, you know. 

Admittedly, more often than not the outcome is triumphant - ending in a just-in-time fill-up stop, rather than a emergency flagging down of cars along the national road. Nonetheless, it's still unnecessary stressful to your travel companion. 

Avoid this by: keeping a close eye on the petrol gauge and being safe rather than sorry by stopping to top up, especially if you know the next petrol station is more than 100km away. 

4. Heavy conversations


Photo: Shutterstock

So, you finally have your significant other as a captive audience - no TV to turn up, or friends to invite over, or sudden household chores to get done. While it may seem like the perfect opportunity to bring up all those issues you never get to chat about, it's not. Unless you want to leave your partner feeling so trapped that they can't wait to escape the car as soon as you reach your end destination and probably end up avoiding you for the rest of the holiday. 

But of course you don't so...

Avoid this by: keeping things light as far as possible. Use these hours in the car to relax in each others company. Charm their socks off with your wit and wonder. Compliment each other, instead of biting heads off about silly things. If there are heavy issues to be discussed, wait for your destination and preferably a quiet night with wine, soothing scenery and a pretty sunset. 

5. Overplanning


Photo: Shutterstock

Planning your road trip properly is essential - working out routes and researching good places to stop is great and can only add to your experience. However, planning every minute of every day to the very last detail is nothing less than soul-killing and a real vibe killer. Road trips are all about discovery and rejuvenation, so having someone controlling each stop is almost counter-productive. Remember it's a time to reconnect with the one you love, not a Kontiki tour with a jam-packed itinerary. 

Avoid this by: Leaving room for spontaneity. If one of you spot an interesting new roadside attraction, don't let long-standing road routines and rituals (like "we always eat pies at Ou Meul in Riviersonderend, why would we want to check out the new bakery in Caledon") hold you back. 

6. Backseat driving


Photo: The idiot speaketh

Sure, help your partner out by casting an eye at the speedometer every now and then, you both know how easy it is to cruise way beyond the speed limit without even noticing... until a brown-clad man jumps out behind a bush. But do not, and I repeat DO NOT, deliver constant commentary about their driving. It's demoralizing and annoying and not at all attractive. 

Avoid this by: Unless they're about to overtake one truck, only to bash into another, bite your tongue. Even though you would maybe do things differently, it doesn't mean the other person's method is wrong. 

7. Not asking for directions


Photo: Shutterstock

Getting lost is a rather common phenomenon and one that shouldn't be regarded as embarrassing, so why not just stop and ask someone (preferably a shopkeeper or petrol attendant and not a random weirdo along the road) where to go? There really is no point in insisting that you will eventually find the way, when neither you nor the lady in the GPS know what's potting any longer.

This is guaranteed to lead to a major blow-up and lots of blame being handed round. Not a great way to start or end a holiday. 

Avoid this by: Not just following the route the GPS gives you blindly, because they often tend to lead you into dodgy places. Take a good old-fashioned map book along and study all the different roads you can take. If you still manage to miss a turn-off somewhere, either call someone who can help you or head to the nearest petrol station and ASK FOR DIRECTIONS.

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Read more on:    travel south africa  |  romance
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