Traveling as a couple is completely different to travelling solo or with friends. You are in each others space all the time. You do everything together. Travel can make or break a couple. So it’s important to know your partner and for you to have some expectations and ground rules before you go. Tom and I have been guinea pigs and tried and tested the below to bring you our best 10 tips.
Top 10 tips for travelling without killing your partner.
1. Talk about your vision + expectations for the trip… before you leave
Planning. Some people hate it, some love it. I love planning for a trip. I get really excited and probably over plan it. Tom on the other hand pretty much rolls out of bed the morning of the flight, throws a few things in his backpack and off he goes. No matter how much or how little you book before you go, the most important type of planning is actually just talking.
It is important to talk about your expectations for the trip. What it will look like? Have you agreed on a budget? What sort of places you will stay – is it hostels and homestays or are you wanting 5 star resorts? Will you up at the crack of dawn to hike a volcano or will you by lying by the pool drinking Mojito’s? You and your partner may have very different views on this. It is important to make sure that you are both on the same page, going into your holiday knowing what to expect.
2. Learn to laugh
Yep. Plain and simple. But easier said than done. When you are on the road things don’t always go to plan. Your 10 hour, 14 seater bus has 26 people on it, 3 chickens, a rat and an old lady with a bag of raw meat and the air-con doesn’t work. You ate some dodgy street food and have been in the bathroom for 3 days. You just got hustled by a taxi driver who you paid $20 to drive you around the block and drop you 3 building up from where you got in. All true stories.
While sometimes, especially when you are tired, it is easy to get angry about these things and maybe even blame your partner who came up with the idea, its much better for your relationship and your trip to just laugh about it, have a joke and move on. Plus if I’ve learnt anything in my travels, these are usually the best stories and memories in the end.
Ah yes. Maybe the most important. While you and your partner probably share a lot of interests, you aren’t the same person. You may want to do something your partner doesn’t want to do. C O M P R O M I S E! If you drag your partner along to do couples yoga, then you need to know that you are going to get up at 4am the next morning to climb a mountain. While it may be the last thing you wanted to do, think about your partner who has just done yoga in tight pants for you. Give and take. If you both want to enjoy your trip you have to do things you both want to do. Make sure you talk and work together to find a solution where you both win.
4. Acknowledge your annoying habits
Anyone who tries to tell me they don’t have any annoying habits is a big fat liar! We all have them, myself included. While we love our significant others, there will always be little things that annoy us. Are you over or under organised? Carrying too much luggage? Always late? Do you snore? Have you not washed your underwear in 2 days? (Fella’s, c’mon. Turning them inside out doesn’t mean they are clean) Whatever your annoying habits are, admit you have them, try to work on them and if you can’t acknowledge that these things annoy your partner and apologise.
5. Embrace time out
You guys are living in each others pockets. You do everything together from the moment you wake up till you hop in bed together at night. Spending an hour, the afternoon or a day apart can do you a world of good. I like to read and write. So I usually go off and find myself a quite little spot, have a coffee and chill out. Tom is usually in bed, playing on his phone or his camera. or taking a nap. This gives us some space for a couple of hours or so when we need it. Sometimes Tom wants to hike 8km through a cave and I want to go to the markets. So we split up. Easy. Don’t think that because you are travelling together that you can’t spend time doing your own thing.
6. Dividing up travel responsibilities
It’s easy to become resentful of your partner. You are busy planning everything and they aren’t getting involved or taking responsibility. Especially if something goes wrong and suddenly its your fault. Just as easily you may be controlling all the planning and your partner is upset that you aren’t letting them be involved or aren’t getting to do anything they want to do. Make sure you split the responsibilities up. Make it fun to sit down and plan where you are going next and how your going to get there.
7. Don’t isolate yourselves
The best part of travelling is meeting new people. Though we have found when travelling as a couple, people are less likely to approach you as you are already with someone else. Reach out to your fellow backpackers. Talk to locals. Chat to the person sitting next to you on the bus/plane/train. The best nights we have had travelling were with people we have met on the road. Sometimes I just need to talk about girl things like shops and markets and bikini’s with someone who us not Tom. Haha. Don’t miss out on this because you are travelling together. Plus you’ll go crazy if you only talk to each other the entire time.
8. Ask yourself: Am I tired, hungry, or both?
Before you go off at your partner for something that is annoying you ask yourself this. Are you really just hangry? Will you feel better after a coffee or a big bowl of Pho? When you’re traveling together, you’ll be putting yourselves into situations you may never have had to deal with, which can easily lead to stress, tension and arguments. When you’re tired and hungry (maybe even a little hungover!), you can find yourself snapping at each other for no reason. Before you know it, you’re fighting and have no idea why. Never underestimate the power of hunger and fatigue on your mood. Stop and think about this and you’ll be amazed at how many arguments you save yourself from.
9. Date nights
You have them at home, so why not on the road? You get caught up in travel, especially when are moving fast. Sometimes its good to take a night off partying to go to dinner with your loved one and spend some time together. I find that even though we are near each other all the time doing the same things, we aren’t always spending quality time together. After being locked in a hostel for 3 days because you both have food poisoning, the romance dies a little. Sometimes a good old-fashioned date night can do the trick to keep the spark going.
10. Deal with fights
Ok, it’s inevitable. Even if you follow the above to the absolute tee, if your on the road long enough chances are you will have a fight. When you travel you cannot let things go on too long without dealing with them since you are always together. You have to work together as a team to resolve conflict quickly. Look for the deeper reason of why you are fighting. Chances are it’s not what the fight is really about. Communicate with each other and work towards a solution where you both win. It will make or break your trip.
Love, Jaime & Tom. xx
So where are you going?