Tips For Traveling as a Couple: How Not to Kill Each Other

Tips For Traveling as a Couple


Jules and I do not have a normal relationship by any means. We spent 2 years together before I even visited his home country or met any of his family and friends. We essentially moved in together within a week of becoming ‘official.’ The majority of our relationship has been spent on the road. Needless to say this have been quite an experience.



“Taking an hour, an afternoon or even day or week apart can be so beneficial to maintaining a healthy relationship”




Neither Jules nor I had traveled with significant others before; in fact we’d both spent most our trips traveling solo. Traveling as a pair, especially at the beginning of our relationship, was a bit of a learning curve. Suddenly we were spending every waking (and sleeping) moment together. We quickly learned everything about each other- personality quirks, stress triggers and what really made us tick. And even though adjusting to each other’s habits was challenging, we also began to see why traveling as a couple is such a rewarding experience. We’ve shared memories from the highlights of our trip and shared frustration during travel mishaps. After 3 years of traveling as a couple, I think we’re fairly qualified to give advice on the subject. Here are our best tips for traveling as a couple without killing each other!


Tips For Traveling as a Couple


Take Time Off From Each Other

This is our best couple travel tip and the one thing that can really make or break your experience. Taking an hour, an afternoon or even day or week apart can be so beneficial to maintaining a healthy relationship. This may seem like common sense, but often it’s easier said than done. After spending 24 hours a day together, it can start to feel like your turning into one person. Eventually separating for even short periods of time can feel weird and lonely.

Regardless if you’re feeling sick of each other or not, it’s crucial to spend some time apart. This prevents future chances of blowing up at each other at the top of the Angkor Wat or some other inopportune time. Jules and I recently spent a week apart while I went to a yoga retreat. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous to be off on my own again, but felt a refreshing burst of independence afterward.


Learn to Compromise

When you travel on your own you have the freedom to do pretty much whatever you want, when you want. You can change your itinerary on a whim. When you’re traveling as a couple however, most of your travel plans become joint decisions. It can be difficult to give up the reigns, especially if you’re used to traveling alone. Compromise and flexibility are key. It may seem petty, but even keeping track to remember whose turn it is to choose the next destination can be helpful. And always remember that it’s not the end of the world if you split up and experience different locations!


Tips For Traveling as a Couple



“Even the most adorable character traits can get annoying after an exhausting 36 hour bus ride through the bumpy countryside of Peru”




Patience is a Virtue

Inevitably, you’re going to get on each other’s nerves. Even if you follow our previous tips for traveling as a couple, there are still going to be times when you just want to wring your partner’s neck. Maybe you’ve heard that cute laugh of theirs, the one that made you fall in love with them, just one too many times. Even the most adorable character traits can get annoying after an exhausting 36 hour bus ride through the bumpy countryside of Peru.

And that’s okay. It’s totally normal. In fact it would be probably be weird if you didn’t get on each other’s nerves every once in a while. That doesn’t mean you should immediately throw in the towel and book flights to separate corners of the globe. Just breathe. Be patient, just as your partner is patient with you when you’re doing your adorable/ annoying whistle rendition of “Singing In The Rain” for the hundredth time.


Tips For Traveling as a Couple


Have a Trial Trip

Before you and your partner start booking tickets for your year-long adventure around the world, think about doing a trial trip. Particularly if you are a relatively new couple. Traveling as a couple reveals all sorts of things you didn’t know about each other. Your partner is going to see you at your dirtiest, smelliest, crankiest and most agitated. They’ll see you when you have bags under your eyes after barely sleeping for 3 days. They’ll see you when you get food poisoning and when you’ve had a little too much bootleg gin.

You’ll find out what qualities in each other make you compatible and which don’t. Before putting your relationship through the ringer, give it a little test drive. Take a week long road trip or go out of the country for 10 days. See how you jive making decisions together, dealing with complications and keeping to a budget.

Traveling as a couple presents challenges and will undoubtedly push your relationship. But remember that those bad experiences will push you to grow as a couple like never before and the good ones will create memories for just the two of you to share for (hopefully) the rest of your lives.


Got any other trips for traveling as a couple? What have your experiences been like? Drop us a comment below or find us on Facebook and Twitter!


And if you’re still undecided about traveling as a couple, check out a couple of extra articles to see what best suits your style;

The One Thing I Wish I’d Known Before Backpacking Solo

Choosing the Best Travel Companion: Solo, Couple or Group?

40 Comments

  • Emma | banquetsandbackpacks says:

    Plus if you survive long term couple travel I think you could survive anything in life together

  • rebecca kroegel says:

    Lovely to have found someone to travel with! Congrats on such a happy life together.

  • Shaleen says:

    I definitely needed to read this. Have been considering travelling with my significant other for the first time and got nervous thinking of how it would turn out, way before actually travelling with them. Thanks for your tips. 🙂

  • Jenia says:

    We kind of knew this before — but we really internalized this part once we started to travel together long term: Communicate! We all get hangry, crabby, tired, and annoyed at life, or our significant others…but it’s so important to communicate well, and overcome those obstacles 😉

    • Definitely, however sometimes communicating is the last thing you want to do with your partner about a 35 hour bus ride crammed into a seat too small, watching the same poorly dubbed movie on repeat 15 times haha. But you’re completely right, communication is key!

  • Sally says:

    Great ost. travelling as a couple is definitely more challenging than travelling solo 😉

  • Julie says:

    Thanks for this! I will be traveling for two weeks to Europe with my bf for the first time. It’s a very tight itinerary (we both work so couldn’t get more days) and just planning it has been a little frustrating. This experience is new to us since we both haven’t traveled before and thinking about not knowing what we’re doing is really making me anxious. I’m all sorts of excited but also worried, so I will try to keep this post in mind!

    • No worries Julie, we hope the trip goes well! Two weeks is a good amount of time to test the waters and see how it goes. It’ll be a different experience, that’s for sure, but if all goes well it’ll bring you together like nothing else! Forget being worried, time to get excited!

  • Sheila says:

    We have been traveling as a couple for three years now, and we agree with you on all points. We do have our own disagreements from time to time, but the happiness and bliss outweigh those. Nothing is more special than sharing those lovely (and sometimes bad) moments with your loved one.

  • Great post! My husband and I just got back from 9 months on the road. We try to do all of the things you’ve mentioned and find we can always laugh things off at the end of the day. Travelling together is definitely one of the best relationship tests. 🙂

  • Here’s my tip: If you’re prone to the ugly results of low blood sugar when you’re hungry (hangry) always have an emergency stash of nuts or a granola bar to prevent the inevitable fight that will happen. Seems to happen more often when travelling. My husband is a saint.

  • A favorite tip of mine – surprise each other during travel 🙂 It’s sometimes very hard to achieve it, given you are together 24/7, but take your time, search for a romantic park or statue and open a box of chocolates you got secretly, make a romantic breakfast, kiss your half passionately in front of many people – small things make a big difference.

    • Great tip! Surprises are so much fun 🙂 For our anniversary, when we were in Mexico, Jules made a piñata full of candies stuck to pieces of colored paper with memories from our time together! It was the best surprise ever!

  • This is a really good post. We have been traveling for the better part of the last 3 years and we definitely take time out from each other. Some days we will just do our own thing for the entire day. That is very important.

  • caryl says:

    Great tips! Living, working, travelling together 24 hours a day, 7 days a week can be intense! After 16 years of being together in ‘normal’ life, we left home together to travel full time and even we have had to get used to this phase of our relationship. It can be hard to re-define your roles but (as we haven’t killed each other yet) I think we’re managing it 😉 Totally agree with you about just getting that little bit of space every now and then.

    I love travelling as a couple, probably because I love the person I’m travelling with. It’s awesome going on such an amazing adventure and having someone there to share it all with you.

    • Nothing can compare you to 24/7 life. No matter how long you’ve been together. Good work for not killing each other haha. Space makes all the difference. It’s nothing personal, i just don’t think anybody is supposed to spend that much time with someone for so long a period. And definitely agreed about traveling as a couple!

  • Annie Tong says:

    Hi Christine,
    Really enjoyed reading your tips, a couple that travels together stay together! well said 🙂 me and my hubby have been together for 14 years and believe traveling does make your relationship stronger!

    Happy travels ox

  • Great tips! My husband and I didn’t get a chance to travel too much before we got married, so we’re really focusing on getting out there and exploring for a few years before we decide to have kids. This year is a little more low key with smaller trips since we paid for our wedding, but I’m excited to travel abroad together and I’ll have to keep these things in mind! 🙂

    • Ok so at least you’re married now, so you’ve gotta to stay together even if traveling doesn’t work out haha. Smaller trips are a good way to start, always good to test the waters 🙂 Enjoy!

  • lyn barden says:

    I think traveling together is a great test of friendship and compatability. Your advice to try a short trip first is a really good idea. Some good tips! Congrats on working it all out.

    • Thanks Lyn! Trying a short trip is definitely a good idea, unfortunately we didn’t really have that chance so we were just kind of thrown into it, haha! But yes, traveling is a very good test of friendship!

  • lyn barden says:

    Traveling together on a short trip is a great idea definately for starters, if you can’t survive that you know your in trouble. Congrats on your traveling relationship and working it all out. Great tips.

  • Eric says:

    Love this post! This came at the perfect time as I’m doing a trip with somebody I started going out with just over a month ago. I’m definitely doing a trial trip to Vancouver, BC for the weekend as I think that’s the best way to get to know each other. It’s the ultimate test from what I’ve seen as I’ve traveled solo many times as well as with many other friends and some haven’t always been so pleasant. I’ll definitely keep these tips in mind on this upcoming trip!

  • Great tips! We also have a similar list on our website because it’s really important things to remember! I think meeting other couples and making new friends is great too so it’s not just the two of you together all the time. We had been married 4 years before leaving to travel so it really seemed like all our independence was gone. We had to find a new style in our relationship to deal with being together 24/7. It was one of the best things we could have done in our marriage and have been loving every minute even though we’ve had to learn a lot during the process!

    • Yeah you certainly learn a lot in the process. We’er kind of in the opposite situation, because we met while traveling so have never had the chance to trial it haha. We just jumped straight in, and thankfully all went well. But it definitely does require a unique style and we’re so happy it has worked for you guys! You really do just go from strength to strength after long term travel together 🙂

  • Great post guys.

    My girlfriend & I met in Costa Rica, and immediately starting traveling together – 2 years later here we are! Needless to say, I find your story interesting & relate to it on more levels than one!

    I particularly find the tip to spend time apart, whether that be an hour or week, extremely beneficial & necessary for me not to murder my girlfriend in the middle of the night (just kidding, kinda ;-).

    Given the fact that we also speak different mother tongues, and I am committed to learning Spanish fluently (she already speaks English fluently), we have struggled with that dynamic as well. I have been so committed to learning Spanish, that at times I have refused to switch back to English & multiplied the miscommunication.
    Immersing yourself & speaking a new language at all costs is necessary to make progress, but shouldn’t be done at the expense of your relationship! I guess that’s my 2 cents for traveling, and in this case, bilingual couples – don’t let your language goals endanger your relationship goals! Guys, that means learning to lose arguments in 2 languages hahahaha!

    Anyways – thanks for your honest thoughts. We’ll be following along from now one!

    Cheers

    • That’s awesome to hear you’ve got a similar story to us Ford. So we’re not the only crazy ones haha. Well, maybe we’re both a little crazy. Time apart is probably our biggest one for sure! Thanks for the language/communication tip, that really must be an interesting dynamic. Good on you for making such an effort, and being big enough to give in with two language haha.
      Look forward to following your story as well 🙂

  • Lovely post! I must say, we really struggled travelling together. We are still together but it has definitely had a knock on our relationship. We are different in many ways. The biggest challenge for us was to adapt to each other’s speed. He is more of a slow relaxed traveler – whereas, I’m always on the move and want to cram in as much as possible. Haha. We definitely do settled life better than travelling together….

    • That’s an interesting perspective, thanks for sharing. Traveling together is all about compromise, but it doesn’t always work out. Identifying the issues is a good step to avoiding drama though. Maybe you guys can start in the same location and then you jet ahead for some stuff, while he flies to you later haha? Good luck 🙂

  • Rachel says:

    We couldn’t agree more on your points in this post! While we were camping for a month, Robert would be sketching while I read a book. Sometimes you can’t truly have time apart, but it’s good to still have activities you can do on your own.

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