How do you travel the world as a couple and manage to stay together? This question is one that we get asked a lot. Being in a relationship and backpacking the world for over 2.5 years can be trying at times and can lead to disaster if you’re not careful. Just so we’re clear, we’ve been together 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year x 2.5!
You’ll find yourself in stressful situations, you’ll have no alone time and sometimes you’ll probably disagree on where to go or what to do. Then there’s the travel relationship rules in social situations, completely different from the ones at home. For some, this type of stress on a relationship it’s totally unfathomable, for us, it has been amazing.
Here’s some of our travel tips for couples:
1. The number one most important thing to remember is: you are a team. There’s no “I” in couples travel. You have to constantly think of not only yourself and the ideas you may have, but what is best for the both of you.
2. If there is something that your spouse wants to do, but you aren’t interested in it, definitely support their decision and ‘allow’ them to go. Either that, or suck it up and join in! Compromising is key. For example: Nick scuba dives, I do not. He will go out for the day diving and I will have no problem with that. It gives me time to work on my tan, read and do whatever else I want. Plus, even though it’s only a few hours apart, it makes you excited to see that person when they are back.
3. Even though you are together all the time and eating at restaurants, that is not considered dating. When at home, you would go on a special date night or have private time, why should it be different when you’re on the road? There needs to be something extra in order to keep the romance alive. Whether it’s splurging for an a/c room and having a movie day, enjoying a bottle of wine, going for a picnic in the park or spending a little bit more money and going out to a nicer restaurant. The wallet may not thank you, but the relationship will be a happier one.
4. Support and take care of one another. When travelling, you only have each other to lean on and go to for, for anything and everything. There’s no one else. For example: we always look around for one another and make sure to stay close; Nick always makes sure I’m comfortable and safe (ie: in India where men can be inappropriate!), we cross dangerous roads together and if one of us is sick, the other is there with medicines and is running around to get whatever is needed.
5. Try to leave the stubbornness at home. You’ll need to be able to apologize quickly in order to get through the day! There’s no time for arguments to be dragged on and on. If you’re wrong about something, admit to it and get on with things.
6. Eat! Arguments will for sure happen if you are hungry and grumpy. We carry a “grump sack” stocked full of crackers, fruit and nuts for emergencies.
7. Have duties designated for each of you so that one person isn’t feeling like they are carrying the brunt of the work load. Nick will run out by himself if we forgot anything, he will load the backpacks onto the bus/boat, he takes care of the money and the budgeting. I pack certain bags, keep the room clean, plan and organize all of the travel documentation and get us good seats on the transportation. We help out one another whenever possible and whenever needed. It just makes it easier to know what your ‘jobs’ are.
8. We’ve met many couples that have “days off” from one another. If they feel that they need some alone time, they will split ways for the day and meet up at dinner. Time off can be something as simple as listening to your Ipod alone, or reading a book. This can help immensely.
9. Don’t place blame. So you missed the bus; so you thought you had a hotel room booked, but you don’t; so you lost the camera; so you stepped on the laptop…whatever. Take it in stride. Take the blame together, even if it may be his/her fault.
Travelling as a couple can make or break a relationship. It can bring you closer, or completely pull you apart. You really get to know a person when you travel. If you allow each other to be themselves, compromise and learn to laugh things off, then it can be a completely joyful experience.
Luckily for us we are perfect travel companions and have enjoyed every (good & bad) minute of it. If you can travel together, you can do anything together!
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