No RVer likes to see roadblocks. A roadblock may mean taking a detour, anxiously traveling an unfamiliar route, or experiencing a frustrating delay in your ultimate arrival time. Communication roadblocks between you and your travel partner can also cause angst. Unlike a physical roadblock, it’s best to address the communication roadblock rather than detour around it. You don’t want the communication roadblock to become a habit.
Living in a small space, like an RV, can test anyone’s communication skills. Add traveling and maintaining the various RV systems to the challenge of tight quarters and you’ve got a perfect recipe for communication challenges.
The good news? You can navigate through communication roadblocks. In fact, just recognizing these barriers is a positive first step and can provide the motivation you need to find a way forward.
Three common travel communication roadblocks
I don’t know about you, but when we first began our RV adventure, stress was the last thing on our minds. Both my husband and I anticipated perpetually sunny skies, smooth roadways, and uninterrupted travel plans. That lasted about as long as the time it took for us to leave our driveway and simultaneously clip our mailbox.
Stress can be a huge roadblock when it comes to communication. When under stress, even the most loving travel partners may quickly resort to blaming, “awfulizing” the situation (blowing things out of proportion), and even name-calling. (Yipes!)
When confronting a stressful situation, it may be helpful to take 3–5 deep breaths (in through your nose and out through your mouth). This kind of intentional breathing helps engage the part of your brain responsible for processing information. It also helps calm the fight-or-flight response. Once calm, you have a much better chance of positive communication. (We’ve tried it and know it works!)
Lack/overabundance of information
RVing has its own unique terminology. If one travel buddy knows the lingo while the other doesn’t, effective communication can’t happen. A perfect example is when my husband first asked me to look in the basement for the grill. Me: “Basement?! We’ve obviously been on the road waaay too long today!”
Too much information can also be a communication barrier. Like when I explained the propane/electric refrigerator settings to my husband. And again, when I tried to explain why a small fridge fan circulating air on the “fins” was a good thing.
The best remedy to the roadblock of too little or too much information is to ask questions. Not knowing everything there is to know about an RV is not a character flaw! Sometimes talking about the various systems, procedures, and challenges that come with RVing clarifies the topic for everyone.
Listening is an important part of communication. When ill, tired, or preoccupied, it’s difficult to listen to your travel partner. Tuning out, for whatever reason, will prevent communication from happening. Ever attempt to back into a camping site when your “spotter” isn’t paying attention? If so, you understand the importance of listening when someone is attempting to communicate.
We usually think that communication is “talking,” but real communication also includes listening and responding thoughtfully. It might help if you maintain eye contact while communicating. Or turn down the radio or TV. Or put down your cell phone.
Try to respond to what your travel partner has said by rephrasing and saying it back to them. This will help clarify any misunderstandings and help the other person know that you are really listening. It’s okay to postpone an important conversation to a time when you and your travel buddy are well-rested and feeling well.
Avoiding communication roadblocks while RVing is so important. Learn to recognize and avoid the roadblocks so that you can better enjoy your RV adventures together.
When do you find communicating most challenging while RVing? Tell us about it in the comments.
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