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!
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!
“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.
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;