road—trip-checklist-dirtbagdreams.com

Road Trip Checklist for You and Your Adventure Partner

I love a good checklist. 

Here’s one you and your potential summer adventure partner should go through before you decide to spend the summer together. 

This list is intended to be used by people who are looking to move into a small space for an extended period of time. This could be a couple who is dating and moving into one vehicle, or this could be friends who will be caravanning together for a summer vacation. Either way, it is intended to help you outline your basic needs, and be able to work together when you are relying on each other more heavily than ever before! 

Please be kind to your partner and remember, this is supposed to be fun! 

Understanding Basic Needs

Before you do anything else, you have to have a good grasp on your basic needs. I like to think of these as Sleep, Food/Drink, Self Care, and Emotions.

Let’s tackle these in order of importance (at least for me)

Sleep

his is where it all begins for me. Make sure to take responsibility for taking care of each other at night! Your adventure buddy will be no fun if they are too tired to adventure.

road—trip-checklist-dirtbagdreams.com
  • Where are each of us sleeping? 
  • What modifications to our current setup do we need to make for that to happen?
  • Do you snore/talk/walk in your sleep?
  • Do you sleep hot/cold? 
  • Do you have any sleep needs that I don’t know about? (Ex: Must be pitch black, need lots of pillows, likes ambient sounds) 
  • What time do you like to go to sleep?
  • Do you have any nightly rituals that are important to you? (Ex: listening to a podcast, journaling, calling your mom)
  • What time do you like to wake up? 

Food/ Drink

Eating is super important. I get cranky without food, but I get nauseous when I eat eggs. Do you know what your partner’s food needs are? 

  • Do you drink coffee? Tea? Something else?
  • How do you like to make it? 
  • Do you have any food restrictions I should know about? 
  • Do you have any allergies I should know about?
  • What meals do you like to make for breakfast/lunch/dinner?
  • How are we splitting the cost of food?
  • How are we splitting responsibility for making food?
  • Do you drink alcohol? 
  • If so, how are we splitting the cost of alcohol? 
  • How are we splitting responsibility for filling up drinking and cleaning water? 
  • How are we splitting responsibility for disposing of waste water?
  • How are we splitting responsibility for dishes? 
  • How are we splitting responsibility for disposing of food waste? 
  • Are there any other food/drink needs you have that I should know about? 

Self Care

How can you encourage each other to take care of each other’s physical needs? 

  • How often do you like to shower when adventuring? 
  • How are we going to make sure we each bathe to our comfort?
  • Where are we going to brush teeth/wash face? 
  • On our adventure, where do we use the bathroom? 
  • Do we need wag bags? (The answer should always be yes!) 
  • Do we know people who will be willing to let us shower/use the bathroom at the place where we are going? 
  • Does it cost money to shower where we are going?
  • If so, how are we splitting the cost of that? (Ex: a gym membership)
  • Is there anything I should know about your self care routine that is relevant to me? 

Emotions

Stay connected, practice empathy, and practice setting reasonable boundaries. 

  • How do you like to be supported? (Ex: words of affirmation, acts of service, a big hug) 
  • How much alone time do you need? 
  • How will we ensure each of us gets the alone time we need?
  • How do you feel comfortable asking for the things you need? 
  • What is a boundary you have that I might not know about?
  • How do you like to address conflict?
  • Do you trust me? 
  • Why?
  • Is there anything I should know about your emotional state before we leave? 

Transportation

Skip this if you’re taking separate vehicles

  • How are we splitting driving responsibilities? 
  • How are we splitting gas?
  • Vehicle maintenance?
  • Repairs?
  • Do either of us have AAA insurance? 
  • This vehicle will assume some wear and tear, how will we handle that?
  • At the end of this road trip does the owner of the vehicle expect it to get cleaned? If so, how are we going to be responsible for that?
  • Are there any quirks about your vehicle I should know about? 

Tips and Tricks

One of the most important things to remember when living in a small space with someone, is that you need to be constantly cleaning. It’s an unfortunate side effect of the lifestyle.

Taking good care of your limited items, and keeping everything in its place, will really help you to stay organized and avoid bickering and mess. I personally go insane when my van is messy. Keeping the van clean has become a way for me to cope with the sometimes chaotic nature of living in close proximity to someone while adventuring. 

Keep the space clean and I promise your trip will go a lot more smoothly!

A Good Checklist is Not Enough

This checklist is meant to act as a guide, but it is not a complete list. You should always be practicing empathy and healthy boundary setting with your adventure partner. If there is anything important to you that you need to communicate to your partner before (or after!) your trip together, you should feel free to do so. 

Partnerships are built off trust, and trust is a delicate thing that must be managed and taken care of. Keep in mind that as you learn more about someone, you learn more about what works for you two—and what does not. 

These items are not dealbreakers, they are just new pieces of information. 

Best of luck to you and all your adventure partners! And happy summer! 

Photo credit: Kaya Lindsay

About the Gear Tester

Outdoor Prolink Pro

Kaya Lindsay is the social media coordinator for Yosemite Facelift. She is also a writer and photographer with a passion for rock climbing and the outdoors. In 2016 she converted a Sprinter Van into a tiny home and has been traveling around the US & Canada to pursue her passion for rock climbing ever since. You will most likely find her in a parking lot or coffee shop, camera in hand, planning her next adventure. Connect with her on Instagram @OneChickTravels

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