I thought that my relationship had been through all the tests, but when I decided to travel long-term with my partner, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Despite some of the hardships (way too many hunger induced fights and the occasional spat over where to go next), spending every waking moment with the same person every day for several months forms a special kind of bond that is worth every bit of struggle. Traveling with your partner can really bring your relationship to the next level. After 8 months on the road together, I think my partner and I have got this couple travel thing down. In this post, I share some of my best tips to avoid killing each other on the road!
Set Expectations Before Hand-
Make sure that before you take off on your grand adventure, you and your partner have had a conversation about your expectations for the trip. You don’t want to arrive at your destination ready to hit the beach, only to find out that your partner isn’t a big beach bum. Maybe one of you really prefers to relax while traveling and the other wants to see it all. Or perhaps one of you thrives on trying new things and meeting new people, while the other really likes to stick with their old favorites. It’s important to talk about these things before you leave.
You might end up having very different vacation styles, and that’s ok! Knowing this before hand can help you figure out how to make the trip great for both of you.
Which leads us to the next tip….
Be Fair & Compromise-
There is nothing worse than being on a trip and feeling like you are stuck following someone else’s itinerary. As mentioned, everyone has different travel styles and different interests, so be sure to take that into account when planning your trip.
For example, I love temples, museums and historical sites. I could literally spend hours wandering them if you let me. My partner, Joe, like most normal people, hits his limit after an hour or two. We have worked out a compromise where we never skip a museum or historical site I really want to see, but the next part of our day is spent on whatever activity Joe wants.
This way we both get what we want and neither party feels cheated. It also allows us to share experiences with each other that we might not have had if we had come alone! This is one of the hardest parts of couple travel but once you’ve got it down, you’re golden!
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff-
When you travel, it’s a known fact that things will go wrong. You will misplace something. Your bus will be late. You might even get food poisoning.
Laugh it off, pick yourselves up and keep going. It’s not worth getting worked up over. It’s easy to get upset and throw blame around when things go wrong but remember that you and your partner are a team. It’s not that big of a deal that your partner forgot to book the hotel for the night. If it can be easily solved, it’s better for all involved to get it solved and just let it go.
Of course, little mishaps like this can easily be avoided if you listen to the next tip and…
Spending the time to figure out who will be in charge of certain things before you leave can save you some massive headaches.
Take the time to decide who will book hotels and who will research things to see. Make sure that each of you knows who is most comfortable asking for directions and who is better at following said directions. Who is in charge of picking the restaurants? Will one of you hold on to all of the money and important documents?
Knowing these things beforehand will stop any “But I thought you would take care of that” fights before they happen!
Seriously, put your phone away and be present in the moment.
We spend way too much time paying attention to what is going on in the digital space, that we often aren’t present in our own experiences. We’re all guilty of this. As a blogger, I’m especially guilty of this. I find myself checking email or taking pictures at dinner when I should be spending that time really taking in my experience with my partner.
But we travel to enjoy somewhere that isn’t home. Stop looking at pictures and statuses of what is happening back home and be present in the moment. Make memories with your partner that will last longer than any Snapchat story and mean more than any Instagram like.
Putting down your phone isn’t enough. Being present in your conversations and really listening to your partner will make traveling together 10000% easier.
“But I always listen to my partner…”
Hate to break it to you, but no, you probably don’t.
You may think you are listening, but you’re probably not really listening. This is something I’m guilty of doing ALL OF THE TIME but I’m working on it. I can’t tell you how many times Joe has been like “So remember how we talked about that?” and I just honestly can’t recall that conversation at all. It’s because I was there, but I wasn’t really listening.
Seriously, we all think we are listening but half the time our minds on what we want to add to the conversation next or on a completely different topic entirely. It’s important to really listen to your partner, especially when doing crazy stuff like traveling the world together!
When you travel long term with a partner, the things you talk about are everything from where to meet up if you get separated to that strange person you met last week. But it’s the little hints that you need to really pay attention to. If your partner has mentioned in passing more than once that they could really use a nap, then that probably means they want to take a break, even if it sounded like a joke.
This piece of advice may sound silly and simple, but really stopping to listen when your partner speaks can really help avoid any mishaps or fights on the road. This has helped me avoid many a tired or hangry fight.
Bonus tip: Pack snacks! It’s a proven fact (by me) that 99.9% of fights happen because one-half is hungry.
Check in Frequently-
Make it a point to check in throughout the day with your partner. Are they still enjoying themselves? Is everyone on the same page about the day’s itinerary?
Checking in frequently can stop any arguments before they happen. When I travel solo, I do what I want when I want, depending on how I feel. I found one of the hardest things of couple travel was reading my partner’s mood and feelings. Instead of guessing, it’s much easier to just ask! Knowing your partner is happy and having a good time will only make your trip more enjoyable.
Socialize With People Other Than Your Partner-
Couple travel can get surprisingly lonely, especially if you are traveling long-term! Make sure that you and your partner take the extra step to meet and interact with other people when traveling. Speak with the local at the fruit stand or strike up a conversation with that other couple at the bar.
Sure you are on this trip to spend time with each other, but meeting and interacting with interesting people will just give you one more thing to bond over! Joe and I have made some amazing friendships on the road and it has only made our relationship stronger.
Lastly, and most importantly, enjoy this time with your partner. Couple travel can be challenging but it can also be amazing. It’s all what you make of it. You’ve chosen to go on an adventure with them, so make the best of it.
Make amazing memories and take in each and every moment!
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