How is traveling as a couple
“I don’t want to be “Tied Down” to someone. I want to be Set Free with someone”
If you’re thinking of traveling with a partner for the first time, you’re in for a few surprises. I’m not talking about spending weeks in resorts and 5 star hotels, but rather experiencing life outside your comfort zones in foreign countries and unfamiliar languages and cultures. These are testing moments for most couples whether they’ve been together for years of just weeks.
Neither Linda or I had spent much time abroad with a partner before. We both love to travel and it just made sense that why not do it together. I didn’t quite know what to expect, even more since having just met but, we head a great connection and were both super keen to start exploring more countries.
So, after quite some time on our own journeys throughout the world solo, we would now be spending every waking (and sleeping) minute together – 24/7…
The true colours come out and start to show after only a few days together on the road. We quickly learnt everything there was to know about one another – what makes us tick, adjusting to each others habits, stress triggers, patience levels and so on.
But, honestly, I didn’t think I would ever travel with a partner. My solo adventures were what I thought to be some of the best moments in my life. This to a certain extent is still true, but, since traveling and sharing so many more amazing memories with a partner, it’s now hard to even compare the two experiences.
Travel is not all glamor, the reality is not always what you see on blogs, Instagram, Facebook, or other social media platforms. Relationships are hard work, so it’s to be expected that traveling as a couple is extremely hard work. However, it can be easy and be the best time of your life. I’ve learned more about Linda, our relationship and myself than I ever could have in any other situation.
Here are just a few of my tips for travelling as a couple from our experiences on the road:
⁃Be patient; go with the flow. Things will go unexpectedly wrong at the worst times. Try to roll with the punches. Learn that some things can not be controlled and in return will require a lot of patience. Delays happen, and things may not turn out as you’d imagined. So, don’t stress, if you can laugh it off it will be a much smoother ride,
⁃Communicate; be open and honest to each other about what you want out of the trip and be ready to compromise. You both can achieve your goals. Communicate these needs as often and as early as possible. Your goals could be as simple as a restaurant or museum you’ve always wanted to visit or a dive spot you just can’t miss,
⁃Compromise; most of the decisions will be made as a couple. The freedom of decision making as a solo traveler is no more. Be flexible and considerate of each others needs. Also don’t be too greedy – separate needs vs wants,
⁃Expect to see each others best and worst; you will always learn something new about your partner when traveling together. Emotions will run high at many stages of the trip. You will see all sides of your partner – sensitive, angry and embarrassing moments will happen. Successful couples soon enough get to a point where they will accept each other for who they are. You will learn how to live with your lover through all conditions: stomach bugs, broken bones, not showering for long periods at a time, moments of hunger, stolen and lost travel items, all kinds of accidents and shameful moments. But in the end you will have funny stories to tell and laugh abut together,
⁃Talk about money often; agree clearly up front how the finances will be handled. Set a budget comfortable for both of you and review this every few days. A good tip I picked up from Linda was to keep track of every dollar we spent in the notes app on our phones. We’d sit down every few days after counting our money left in the wallet to see if it equaled what was written down. It became a bit of a completion to see who was closest with the correct amount remaining in the end,
⁃Embrace doing nothing; make room for downtime to relax and not worry about when the next bus is leaving or where your next meal will be. It’s sometimes hard to sit around doing nothing and feel like you aren’t wasting precious time, but, this will have a positive impact on your trip 10 fold. Enjoy the quiet times to ease the pressures of stress from constantly moving around,
⁃Make a bucket list; discuss big ticket items you really want to do. Fortunately Linda and I have similar tastes when traveling so for us this was easy. The only extra thing that I wanted to do was to climb a volcano in Guatemala. I almost went solo but in the end Linda agreed to come join me for the trek. It was an awesome experience made even better sharing it with someone. Even though she later vowed to never climb another mountain again. I am ok with that.
But, my number one tip is, to be in the moment. No matter where you are or what you are doing. Try not to plan ahead too much. Don’t rush. Slow down. Embrace the times you miss that bus or get caught walking back to your hostel in the pouring rain! You might even stumble upon the best beach you’ve ever seen or discover a new favourite restaurant. Enjoy and don’t take yourselves too seriously. Look at the bigger picture. Your time on the road might be over before you know it and you could be sitting back at a desk in your 9-5 gig. Make the most of it. You never know if you will be back in these places again together.
I’ve heard of many other couples on the road who found it tough traveling, but I also met many others like us who only ever had mostly good and memorable experiences. I’m lucky that we could form an effortless connection and with this compliment each others passionate travel styles. So for us, travelling together was such an easy choice to make. Travelling with someone special is truly a unique and rewarding experience. I know I wouldn’t trade my travels with Linda for anything.
Photograph by Lovalinda