My wife is a blessed soul for putting up with my constant obsession with traveling to the mountains. We always camp (unless it is ski season) and travel on a budget which means sacrifices have to be made from our day-to-day lives back at home. In summer months we overland in my Jeep Wrangler so space is limited for packing all the creature comforts but the ride is always really comfortable. For winter ski trips we fly-staying indoors of course-but always on a budget as well. Here are six tips I’ve learned after racking up over 20 thousand miles driving and flying this past year with my wife to bang around out West.
Learn these critical six words as soon as possible: Proper-Preparation-Prevents-Piss-Poor-Performance. The 6 Ps. True for any venture in life you wish success but even more true when traveling with a woman. During the planning stages of your trip, no matter the venue, make sure you take into account what your significant other “needs” in her day-to-day life at home then try and accommodate that in the mountains the best you can. Women are pretty simple creatures when you break them down to the basics and can be very forgiving provided the effort was made to care for them. They like to feel safe, comfortable, and familiar in their endeavors and it's never too early to start thinking about these three traits.
Do your homework and research to know the area you are traveling too and what to expect when you arrive so when your woman starts asking questions you will have solid answers. Women want to know the plan and what to expect so for God’s sakes make sure you take the time to prepare your travel plans accordingly or there will be Hell to pay. For example; my wife can handle about 10 hours of Jeep travel in any given day and less than that if we are 4-wheeling. All that jostling around on the trail wears her out faster than shear boredom of driving across the desert. So I plan my routes accordingly and don’t push my travels quite like I would in college heading to Florida on Spring Break.
It’s easy for dudes to get wrapped up in their environment and forget there is a woman in tow especially when we get excited about whatever venture we are doing that day. A woman’s mood can change in a matter of minutes so pay attention to how much she is talking, smiling, or laughing at any given moment. Asking questions translates into uncertainty. So take the time to answer her queries and be patient. She might not feel as comfortable on that high-altitude day hike as you do or might be scared that you're about to drive your Jeep up on a rock cliff. Always pay attention to moods. A happy woman is a talkative woman. Gauging mood first thing in the morning is a great indicator for how to plan the day’s activities. Listen to her. If she is complaining about being sore from spending the previous day ripping black diamond runs from bell to bell you might want to think about a late start and hitting the long easy groomers no matter how good you may feel. If she’s complaining about being cold, find more blankets even if you have to go buy them. If she’s complaining about the air mattress not having enough air then fill it. Whatever the concern, stay on top of the situation and fix it right away. These issues can fester during the day if she thinks you’re not paying attention.
Women hate to be rushed. Nowhere does this apply more than when traveling and it doesn’t even have to be in the mountains. Traveling in general for women is a slower process than for men and that’s okay. It keeps us in check and allows us to take the time and appreciate our environment. So, get used to it right off the bat that she is probably going to take twice as long at the bathhouse as you. Or that she is going to need a few extra rest breaks on that day hike or want to take a long lunch after a morning of shredding the POW even though it is pounding snow and you can’t wait to get back out on the mountain. Take your time. It shows her you care and that you are paying attention to her needs.
Budget travel is a great way to travel often and enjoy many different destinations but in that budget you need to make plans to take your woman out for a nice dinner to break up the trip. I remember ski trips with the guys where we ate ramen noodles and burned hamburgers on the grill and were totally happy. Women: not so much. They can handle this for a few days in a row but if you are planning a week long camping trip and expect to eat fireside everyday this is probably a huge mistake. No matter if it’s a ski trip, camping trip, or extended float trip, you need to take a break from the normal routine and find a nice place to have a normal meal. Trust me; it will do wonders for your woman’s mood and ultimately your travel experience as they are both intertwined. Look at it this way: it gives you a break by having a nice server wait on her for a meal and reap the benefits later after you hit the hay. Women love to have things done for them. It’s in their DNA.
I’ve found that women can take a lot of the unexpected and unknown you get while adventure traveling in the mountains but one thing they can’t take is not being clean. And that is a good thing. They may be good for a day or so of just cleaning the important parts but you need to make sure they have access to a shower more times than not. Hygiene seems to be a bigger issue with women than men and I’m not just talking about brushing your teeth. I mean shampooing hair, smelling pretty, having a clean face is very important to women and I suggest that camping in well-equipped campgrounds with clean facilities is a must. You don’t need to do this every night but like the dinner rule you need to make sure your women has access to the creature comforts of a clean bathroom every 2 days tops. Never under estimate the importance of clean-white towels and extended bathroom time. This rule can apply to winter ski trips also. Pick your digs wisely.
Like I mentioned earlier that a woman’s mood can change in a minute and sometimes circumstances associated with mountain travel are simply out of a dude’s control. You could get caught in a torrential down poor leaving all your gear soaking wet or get stuck on a chair lift for an hour in the bitter cold. Just focus on trying to remedy the situation ASAP. A wise man won’t let the unexpected setbacks rattle him and will let his woman work thru her sour mood while he focuses on fixing the problem in earnest. As long as you are making the effort, she will notice and appreciate it. This is especially true when it comes to directions. If she’s the navigator and misses a turn or can’t find the Starbucks; do yourself a favor and pull over and look at the directions yourself. Just be nice and show patience. She will love you for it.
Adventure traveling to the mountains with a woman can be the most rewarding way to travel provided you remember the 6 P's,show some patience, and blow off the little stuff. So, keep it real and have fun.