They say you don’t really know a person until you’ve traveled with them. There’s just something about travel that gives us our most amazing moments but also brings out our worst sides. When you miss a train, can’t speak the language and lose your luggage, for better or worse, your true colours come out. And for most couples, embarking on your first trip together is a huge milestone. You learn a lot about your partner on the road. And it’s not all roses and sunshine.
Want to have a successful trip with your partner where you both come home in one piece and still in love with each other? Whether this is your first trip together or your 14th, whether you’re headed away for the weekend or packing for a year on the road, these 10 tips will help you survive traveling together.
1. Plan a trip based on your personalities
Are you two adventurous risk-takers who love outdoor sports and dream of going skydiving together? Or are you introverted bookworms who can’t wait to explore a new museum? Whatever your personalities, make sure you plan a trip that matches that. Sit down with your partner and plan your trip out together. Discuss your expectations, your travel style and what you want out of a trip. Are you staying in hostels or hotels? Joining a tour group or DIY-ing your route? You should both be involved in making your trip what you want it to be.
2. Pack your patience
Traveling is tough. It’s tough no matter where you go, how long you go and who you go with. But it’s even tougher when you’re traveling somewhere new with your partner. So, make sure you pack your patience. Be patient with your partner – even when she’s taking forever to find the map you told her to keep in her pocket but she insisted on putting in her backpack. Be patient with the waiter – he might not speak English or his section might be slammed. And be patient with your slow moving bus – you’ll get there eventually. We promise.
The name to the game in any relationship is always COMPROMISE! So, if he goes to the flea market with you, then you can go to the natural history museum with him. If you agreed to stay at her choice of campsite last week, you get to pick it this week. Just because you want to spend all day long at the beach, doesn’t mean your partner will want to.
4. Carve out alone time
Especially if you’re on a long trip, you can’t expect to spend 24/7 together and be happy about it. As much as you love your SO, you two need some time apart in order to better enjoy your time together. Find time to do your own thing and put it into your schedule. Maybe you’ll hit the art gallery while she goes on a brewery tour. Or you’ll head down to the hostel’s happy hour while your sweetheart takes a nap.
5. Figure out your triggers
If you don’t already know, you’ll quickly learn on the road exactly what your and your partner’s triggers are. Perhaps you get super hangry if you haven’t had a snack in a couple hours. Or maybe you can’t handle heat and need to have access to AC in order to stay cool (pun intended). Or maybe a gap in your itinerary drives you bananas. Figure out what your triggers are and how you can remedy them.
6. Have extra time and extra money
A lack of time and a lack of funds are hugely stressful for anyone – and they are even worse when you’re with your partner and on the road both stressing about it. So wherever you can, give yourself extra time and extra money. Instead of pushing to make the 20 minute connection between your buses, extend it and give yourself an hour. Instead of cramming in 12 historic sites to see, pick your top six and see how far you get. Try to add more money to your budget as well so you’re not nickel and diming each other over $4 souvenir magnets or $2 hot dogs. If Lonely Planet tells you that you’ll need $30/day for your trip, budget $50 and give yourself some wiggle room.
7. Accept that things will go wrong
No trip is perfect. Your partner is going to get on your nerves. You will get lost on the way to your hostel. The restaurant you can’t wait to try will be closed. You get the idea. Understand ahead of time that sh*t happens and prepare yourself for how you will handle it. If you are expecting perfection, lower your expectations.
8. Rely on each other
You are traveling with your partner for a reason, so take advantage of it and play to your strengths. If your partner speaks the local language, allow her to negotiate the cab fare. And if you’re an awesome navigator, you should hold the map. If he has a nose for finding the best local street food, let him decide on dinner. And if you have a knack for budgeting, you should be in charge of the purse strings. Delegate your tasks based on what you and your partner are best at. Divide and conquer.
9. Try something new & treat yourselves
Trips are supposed to be fun! It’s a great chance to get out of your shell and challenge yourself to try something new. So whether that’s scuba diving, salsa dancing or a spicy cuisine, push yourself slightly outside of your comfort zone and give it a go! As well, make it a priority to treat yourselves, at least once, during the trip. Traveling is tough and it’s hard on a relationship. Give yourselves a little reward for making it through by spending a day at the spa, making reservations at a nice restaurant or booking a room with a great view.
10. Remember how much you love this person
Even when your partner is covered in sweat, wearing yesterday’s stained t-shirt and swearing at their luggage that keeps breaking – you love this person. It really helps to remember that. Because there are definitely going to be moments when you’re not feeling that lovey-dovey. So think of the awesome memories you’re making on this trip. Embrace the good moments you’ve had so far and the parts of your trip you’re still looking forward to together.
written by Riana Ang-Canning
How do you survive traveling with your partner?
What’s the best trip you two have been on together?