Travel and Leisure — May 23, 2016 at 5:00 am

5 Questions to Help You Discover Your Road Trip Soulmate

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You’ve got tons of friends you like shredding waves with, but road tripping takes a special kind of commitment. Finding the right person to share the adventure with can be a challenge. These soul-searching inquiries will help you make the best match for your next on-the-road surf trip.

Do You Share a Vision?
You should be clear from the start on what you expect from this trip. If you both want to be go-with-the-flow vagabonds, living out of the van, eating cheap taquitos and making camp reservations from day to day, you’ll be a great team. But if one friend wants the itinerary stops all specified way in advance while the other wants to just ramble, it’s going to be tough.

Agree on at least a few spots you both want to surf. If everybody’s on board, you can change things up once you get rolling, but it’s nice to have at least a loose plan.

Money can be an issue, so make sure your budgets line up.

How’s Your Vehicle Knowledge?
Making sure you’re on the same track when it comes to unexpected events is important. Between yourselves, make sure somebody’s got a few basic mechanic skills. If you blow a tire on an isolated stretch, you’ll want to know that somebody in the car is capable of swapping it out for the spare. (While you’re at it, make sure the vehicle you’re sharing actually has a spare tire.)

Make sure the vehicle you’ll be taking can hold everyone’s boards and other gear safely.

Major bonus if at least one rider has a roadside assistance plan to cope with any serious issues.

Are You a Speed Demon or a Laid Back Cruiser?
Some folks are all about making good time. (Surf all of Southern California’s best spots in a week? Challenge accepted!) The allure of the road is watching that speedometer needle rise. Others like to hop on the bumpy old highway that time forgot, getting totally lost, finding hidden coves to explore, and enjoying every minute. If your shotgun rider is longing to rev the engine and you just want to putter, the trip could potentially turn south.

If you can’t match your styles, try a compromise: each driver gets to pick the destinations (and vehicle speed) during their turn at the wheel.

How Flexible is Your Timetable?
The joy of exploring the country in your own vehicle is having the freedom to control your own travel destiny. It’s important to build wiggle room into your scheduling so you can experience the spontaneous side trips and even change course entirely if it suits you. But when one passenger has exactly three days to spare, you’ll have to edit your stops and detours much more carefully.

What Are Your Favorite On-the-Road Tunes?
If you wind up sharing your vehicle with a metal head when country twang is more your thing, that carefree highway could wind up seeming more like the highway to hell. Lucky you if your second in command shares your passion for the blues, but if not, find the common ground in your tastes and arrange a schedule for playing highway DJ. If all else fails, everyone loves to karaoke Bohemian Rhapsody.

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