Taking a road trip with a lover is sometimes as precarious as a first date. Say or do the wrong thing — or forget to bring a proper caseload of snacks — and you’re in trouble. While it’s clear that some things should be utterly avoided on the road — like discussing whether dating for two months makes things “exclusive” — other major tragedies in coupledom can be avoided if you follow a few helpful tips.
From a guy’s perspective, here are 10 essentials to bring along to ensure that what is intended to be a bonding experience doesn’t end up in a breakup. (Note: Your dude gets bonus points if he packs these things in the glove box or in the trunk without your knowing.)
1. Painkillers: Nothing kills conversation easier than a migraine or, even worse, cramps. We want you to be comfortable — if you’re comfortable we’re comfortable.
2. Music: An iPod with some solid playlists (don’t forget the auxiliary cord!) or a handful of mix CDs should provide the soundtrack. Hearing is one of the strongest senses associated with memory and “your song” could very well be named on the road. Also, don’t be a total music dictator — share the DJ duties.
3. A snack and drink: Yes, we understand that you’re going to have to pee every hour (thereby necessitating plenty of rest-stop stops), but trust us — the chances of finding a Luna Bar at a gas station in the middle of Kansas are slim to none.
4. Tampons: Roadside travel laws state that the gas station in the middle of Kansas will probably be out of tampons, too. And we don’t want you bleeding all over our nice leather interiors.
5. Sunglasses: A commonly forgotten item that comes in handy when the beautiful sunset you’ve been enjoying for the last three hours blazes you right in the face.
6. ChapStick or lip gloss and lotion: Just like in an airplane, the air in a car becomes dry and stale, especially if you’re driving with the AC on for 14 hours across Texas.
7. Sweater or jacket: It’s a fact that men get hotter than women, and if the sun is beating down on us chances are we’ll want the AC on. Unless your side has climate control you’ll want to be in control of your temp.
8. Camera: Camera phones are good for taking photos of things you’ll eventually want to delete, but a nicely framed, back-lit shot of you and your man at the Grand Canyon necessitates good technology.
9. Hair Tie: Sometimes the tiniest luxuries can be the lynchpin to comfort.
10. Magazine: Even captive audiences get restless.