It isn’t a huge surprise that travelling as a couple is totally different to travelling solo. After all you’re having to cope with your significant other pretty much 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. ‘How do you travel the world as a couple, and manage to stay together’, is a question we get asked all the time from our readers. We’ve been travelling as a couple for nearly three years now, and of course there have been bumps in our relationship whilst on the road, but we’ve never experienced a real ‘disaster’, which can happen to many people who are travelling as a couple.
If you’ve never been travelling as a couple, you’re in for a massive surprise when you finally do, which is definitely not a bad thing! We don’t mean a trip from Sydney to Cairns. What we mean is an extended trip, where you find yourselves in countries neither of you have ever been to (or visited a long time ago), hearing a language for the first time that you don’t understand, and partaking in activities you’ve never tried.
You’ll most certainly find yourself in stressful situations together, you’ll have little or no personal alone time and sometimes you’ll disagree on where to go or what to do next. We’ve had times where one of us wants to hike up a mountain while the other is only interested in lounging by the beach and soaking up the sun.
For some, this type of stress on a relationship is too much, many relationships fall apart as a result of travelling, but for us, it has been amazing and in so many ways it’s brought us closer together.
Here’s some of our top tips for surviving as a couple on the road:
1. Talk about your expectations and your must-dos before the trip – You may have decided on several destinations to visit, but you both may have very different ideas of what you will be doing once you’re there. For example: One may dream of a romantic getaway spent lying in a hammock, cocktail in hand, by the beach. Whilst the other may want to engage in more adventurous activities like scuba diving, hiking, and exploring the local culture. So be sure to talk through your preferences and draft up a list of activities and experiences you both agree on before embarking on your journey.
2. Be open about your budget and work out in advance who pays for what – Arguments whilst on the road often stem from disagreements over finances and budgeting. Your personal frugal budget may not work around your partner’s lust for the finer things in life, and their habits on splurging on vacation, especially if you’re deciding to split the budget 50/50. With this in mind, it’s important to be honest with one another about how much money you are willing to spend and how you will divvy up expenses. We use an app called Finances to note down who’s paid for what, and what are monthly expenses are. You can also just plan and decide how much you’re willing to pay for accommodation before you book, what airlines you’ll fly, and then divide food and excursion expenses by half while on the road since you more or less do/eat the same things.
3. You are a team – This is SO important to remember, even when you may want to tear each other apart, there is never any “I” in travelling as a couple. Remember to not only think of yourself, but also your partner and what is best for both of you when making that decision.
4. Compromise – Love is about compromise, right? For example, while I personally couldn’t care less about watching planes land from a beach, Yannick loves taking photos of this, so I smile and of course encourage us both to visit the beach, providing we’re not their for hours on end. On the other hand, I love scuba diving, I will go out for a whole day of diving, and Yannick has no problem with this. It also gives him time to do things that I don’t particularly want to do. Plus, even though it’s only a short time apart, it makes you excited to see that person when they come back. My advice: try to keep your partner happy when it comes to the little things (without sacrificing too much of your preferences, of course). Trust me, it’ll come back to you ten-fold.
5. Eat properly otherwise you’ll get ‘hangry’ (hungry + angry) – Tempers often run high when one (or both) of you are hungry, I’m very guilty with this one. Prevent hunger (and anger) by discussing approximate meal times for the day before you head out exploring your travel destination, and bring snacks or even a “grump sack” (bag full of crackers, sweets and fruit for emergencies) that can keep you at bay until it’s time to chow down. Make sure that you clearly communicate when you’re hungry and when you’re reaching your breaking point of being ‘hangry’.
6. Give each other personal space once in a while – As much as you may love your partner, hanging with them 24/7 is bound to be a strain on any relationship at some point. Avoid getting tired and petty with one another by agreeing on times where you get to chill out all by yourself. I like to shop and write blog posts, whilst Yannick goes on a run or takes a nap. This way, I get to shop, he gets to miss me for a little while, and we both have time alone to rejuvenate ourselves. Win-win! If you don’t want to be without each other for that long, time off can be something as simple as listening to music alone, or reading a book.
7. Don’t blame one another if something goes wrong – So you’ve missed your flight or the bus to the airport, you thought your partner was taking all the photos when they thought you were, it’s pouring down with rain and your backpack is soaked. The last thing you want to do is blame each other, take each issue by a pinch of salt and think ‘it could have been worse’. Take the blame together, even if in your head you know it was his/her fault.
8. Leave the sassy-ness at home – No one wants to travel with a sassy queen/king. If something goes wrong, even if it isn’t your fault you should be able to apologise or accept the apology straight away and move on. There’s no time for arguments to be dragged on and on and for each of you to be mad with one another, as feelings can run high whilst travelling as a couple. If you’re wrong about something, admit to it and get on with things, don’t be sassy.
9. Divide up travel responsibilities – Splitting up tasks early on can make travelling with your partner far easier and much less stressful than a disorganised approach, giving you time to focus on the thrills and experiences rather than the mundane and nitty-gritty aspects of long-term travel. You can save a lot of time and frustration if you assign planning jobs when organising your onward travel. For example: You won’t be worrying about who was suppose to look after the hotel key, or who book the hotel for the next few nights or who packed the malaria tablets. But while splitting up jobs and taking on different roles all helps to make travel easier, there’s one job that you should still both need to do together: making decisions.
10. Keep the romance alive – Even though you are together 24/7, eating at restaurants, going on excursions together, it isn’t really considered dating. When at home, you would most likely go to the movies, have a special meal out or a weekend away together. So why should it be different when you’re travelling as a couple? There will need to be a little something extra in order to keep the romance alive. Whether it’s splurging on a luxury hotel room for a couple of nights, having a lazy movie day in bed, enjoying a bottle of champagne in a nice restaurant or doing an activity you both have dreamed of doing. Your bank statement may not thank you, but the relationship will be definitely be a happier and more stable one.
11. Support one another when they’re having a hard time – Most likely you will be homesick, feeling unwell or you’ll just be having a bad day at some point on your travels. When travelling, for the best part you only have each other to lean on, for anything and everything. For example: Yannick always makes sure I’m comfortable and safe, and if one of us is sick, the other is there with medicines running around to get whatever is needed.
12. Kiss and make up – Despite the above tips, you and your partner will most likely have a major blowout on one or a few of your trips. You may storm out of the hotel room and at that moment in time you seriously are considering booking a flight home. Then what? Do not worry, it’s the way you deal with the aftermath that counts. The golden rule: don’t go to bed upset or mad with one another. At the end of the day, your issue is probably not a serious one, and if it is talk to your partner, understand each other and see why this has escalated into such a huge argument. Travelling as a couple is meant to be enjoyed with the one you love. So remember to kiss and make up and forget about it.
Travelling as a couple can honestly make or break a relationship. For many it can bring you closer, or for some it can completely tear you relationship apart. If you thought you knew your partner well before travelling with them, you’ll see a whole other side to them when you’re on the road. If you allow one another to be themselves, you compromise each other, be honest and learn to laugh things off, then it can be a completely joyful and life changing experience.
Please don’t be put off by this survival guide, book a trip with your boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancé, husband, wife, or whatever you call your significant other and go have the time of your life! Face the challenges and grow from the experience together.
We have been together for 3 years and we luckily for us we can confidently claim that our travels are our fondest memories and we have enjoyed every minute of it. We have done some incredible things together these past few years, but a strong majority of our conversations are about our travel experiences. Life is all about memories and experiences and if you can travel together, you can do anything together!
Want to plan your next trip together?
We use World Nomads for all our travel insurance needs, and wouldn’t travel without them!
We always use Hostelworld for booking Hostels when on the road, they have the widest choice across all destinations.
For Hotels we use a variety of platforms depending on where we are wanting to go:
- Agoda if we’re wanting to travel to Asia.
- Priceline.com for great deals through bidding.
- Trivago for comparing booking sites.
- Airbnb when we want to save money and have an apartment to ourselves. Click here for £30 off your first Airbnb stay!
- Hotels.com as you receive 1 free night after you have stayed 10 nights!
READ NEXT: OUR FAVOURITE DESTINATIONS FOR COUPLES
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