Dave and I have been traveling as a couple full-time for a solid 10 years. And before that, we took a lot of extended vacations and long term travel adventures.
The first time traveling together can be overwhelming. I’ll never forget our first trip to Thailand. Back then we were on the verge of splitting up. But a five-week trip changed all that.
I’m not saying it was easy, but when you travel as a couple, you really can grow closer and have a stronger relationship.
10 Tips for Traveling as a Couple
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Couples travel can be difficult for many people but we wouldn’t travel any other way.
We are able to share life-changing experiences together, we get to reminisce about quiet moments we’ve had abroad, and we get to share tears, joy, and the elation that comes with long term travel and adventure.
We find that traveling as a couple has turned us into more well-rounded human beings.
By keeping our minds open to each other’s suggestions, we end up exploring things that we never would have tried in the first place, and we end up liking things that we never thought we would.
“We’ve been able to travel together, see the world together and create memories that will last forever as we grow old together.“
But being together 24/7 is not easy.
How to Travel as a Couple
Traveling as a couple can test your relationship and some people end up breaking up after traveling together. We don’t want that for anyone!
We know how wonderful a relationship can be. We have been happily married since 1996 and by traveling together, we have had more fun and excitement in our lives than we could ever imagine.
But we have found that if we follow a few of these simple travel tips, we can survive and thrive when we travel as a couple.
This is always our biggest piece of advice that we give people who want to start traveling as a couple.
We have found that a lot of couples are not even willing to do this on a short vacation. How can someone survive traveling for months at a time without making any compromises?
You have to be willing to give and take when traveling as a couple.
Traveling together can’t be one person dictating where you are going and what you are doing.
Maybe you hate museums and your spouse hates sporting events. You don’t want to spend your time on separate vacations so give in a little.
Maybe you could go to a sporting museum like the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. You both get the best of both worlds.
Or, let’s face it, you love each other. Would it be so bad to suck it up for a few hours to go to a football game with the one you love but then the pay off is that you both go to the Museum of Modern Art the next day?
If you give and take and do things with each other (with the odd day or two to go your separate ways), you’ll have an amazing time.
Besides, you may find out you like it!
Our Travel Couple Story
When we first started traveling, I was afraid of everything and Dave was fearless. I dreaded hearing about what he wanted to do next.
Because I did things that Dave was interested in, I am now a person who loves adventure.
If I didn’t step out of my comfort zone and join Dave on adventures, we’d never be where we are today.
And my reward for trying something new? Dave would join me in a couple’s massage. Now he loves luxury and pampering just as much as I love adventure.
Communication really is the key to surviving a relationship at any point, let alone as a travel couple.
We find that when we travel, we need to communicate much more than we do at home.
When you are home, you are in your comfort zone and it’s easy to take each other for granted. When traveling, you are going to find that you are more vulnerable and more aware of each other’s actions.
I think that the success of our relationship is due to how well we communicate. We never play mind games and we talk about everything.
Sure, we could play dumb and ignore the signs, but the truth is we are all open books if you pay attention.
“Most people ignore the problem, hoping it will go away.”
Let’s face it, we all react differently to situations, and while one of you may be completely enjoying an experience, the other may be hating every minute of it.
Read the Signs
The key is to not ignore how the other person is feeling. If you are at a festival or on an adventure that is maybe uncomfortable or scary for your spouse, pay attention.
You may be completely fascinated by it but have a look to see how your partner is doing? It’s pretty easy to read the look on people’s faces when they think nobody is watching.
Talk to them and let them know you understand. A little empathy goes a long way.
No matter what, that person will feel better because you took the time to listen, and they probably won’t be so uncomfortable or upset anymore.
But if you ignore them hoping they will just “get over it”, you will both come out of the situation angry with each other.
- One of you for feeling that the other person ruined the amazing moment for you.
- And the other for thinking that you didn’t care about their feelings.
Just save yourself the hassle and communicate. Then you can move on.
On the Flip Side…
3. Speak up
If you hold things in and don’t say anything, it is going to build up and you are going to explode. If you aren’t enjoying yourself, say so!
I’m not saying be nit picky at every little thing. I’m talking about letting the person know when something is wrong.
If you let things slide while traveling together, it will come back to get you, and you will end up resenting one another.
It’s important to let each other know when something is wrong. However, it is also important not to focus on the negative when traveling.
Nobody is perfect and we are all going to make mistakes, but when things reach a point where you need to say something, say it.
Chances are the other person won’t even know they were upsetting you in the first place.
4. Know Each Other’s Boundaries
It is good to know what is too much for one person.
When traveling as a couple, you have to be aware of each other’s fears. Bunjy jumping is a little too much for me so Dave did that without and then we went paragliding together.
Don’t force something on each other when you know that there is no way the other is going to give in.
Compromise is one thing, but pushing someone beyond their comfort zone is another.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be open to trying something new!
Over time, you will probably be able to get each other to try almost everything, but take baby steps at first so you don’t scare the adventure right out of your spouse!
5. Be Willing to Argue
As a couple, if you can’t fight with each other, you can’t survive traveling together.
We have had some epic arguments on the road, but we get over them quickly. I’m talking epic yelling matches.
Travel can be frustrating, exhausting, and overwhelming. It can be magnified when traveling as a couple.
You are stuck with each other for every single moment of the day. And when tensions run high, you only have each other to take your frustrations out on.
Things are magnified when you travel as a couple
Sometimes you can argue over nothing when traveling. It can simply be because you have been traveling for 24 hours and you are exhausted. Or it can be as simple as you are hungry and on edge.
So what do you do? You take out your frustrations on the nearest person, which just happens to be your husband, wife, or partner.
Of course, you are going to fight. You will blame each other when things go wrong and you will get on each other’s nerves at times. Be prepared for that. Things could get ugly. But if you are ready for it, you can handle it.
The biggest mistake when traveling together is to hold it all in.
6. Don’t Hold a Grudge
It’s good to have a fight and let off some steam, but have the argument, get it over with, and then move on.
We never hold a grudge, and we always talk things through no matter how long it takes.
Once we forgive, we move on.
Bringing back past mistakes is childish and only leads to frustration. There’s nothing worse than throwing a past mistake in your loved one’s face. That will only leave your partner wondering when you will bring something up again.
If you don’t want to let it go, then don’t accept the apology and talk things through until you can move on.
Even if it means a bit of time apart or sleeping on it. Yes, we said sleep on it.
We have gone to bed angry many times and woke up wondering what all the fuss was about?
Our Epic Travel Argument
I remember once in Kanchanaburi, Thailand we couldn’t find the place that we wanted to stay on the river. We were in the middle of travelling for a year as a couple and things were getting tense.
We walked forever with our packs in the heat, and we eventually ended up on a lonely road lost in the middle of nowhere.
We were so mad at each other that we had to walk 100 meters apart. We couldn’t stand to be around each other, but we had to keep each other in sight because we were lost. So we kept our distance and wallowed in our anger silently.
We always still have a good laugh about that fight. And we don’t even remember what we were fighting about!
7. What are your Triggers?
Traveling as a couple can be difficult on a relationship, but we’ve found that by simply understanding why you are acting the way you are can have a make things easier.
What are your triggers?
It took us a long time to realize that Jet Lag played a huge roll in many of our arguments.
Jet Lag Is Our Trigger
Jet lag is not only hard on the body it can play with your emotions.
Dave and I noticed a pattern that for the first 3-4 days after landing in a new destination, we would argue over everything.
We were irritable and frustrated with each other for no reason.
We had never been this way before and wondered why we were so angry with each other. Until we noticed a pattern.
A few days after our arrival at a destination when we finally relaxed we would get along again.
Once we understood our pattern, we could control it.
- We made a pact to never make any important decisions during the first few days of landing in a new destination.
- We made sure to give each other a break when it came to our emotions during the first few days of being in another country.
- Whenever we were irritable or frustrated, we took a moment to decide whether we were really and truly upset or whether it was the jet lag talking. Most of the time, it was jet lag.
The moment we knew about our jet lag problem, life became much easier.
8. Make Time for Romance
When traveling as a couple, we always set aside time for romantic dinners, and a splurge on a nice hotel or spa day.
Even during our most frugal travel days, Dave and I always found money in our budget to stay at an upscale hotel for a couple of nights.
Staying in tents and small guesthouses can be a great adventure, but couples need romance too.
There is nothing better for bringing passion back on the road than enjoying a luxurious room while ordering in room service and spending quality time together free from distractions.
We make sure to always set aside Dave and Deb time. It’s kept our marriage strong strong for 24 years.
9. Set Expectations
People put a lot of pressure on making their vacations perfect.
Just because you are on vacation, it doesn’t mean you are on vacation from life.
There is a chance that things will go wrong and that people will make mistakes.
If things aren’t going as planned you still need to treat each other with respect. It’s important not to point fingers or lay blame.
10. Hugs go a long way
When things go wrong, give each other a hug. Dave and I have found that a simple hug can make things better.
I know that my temper can run higher than Dave’s, and often when I’m fuming mad, he’ll say to me “come over here and give me a hug.”
He won’t take no for an answer and once I give him a hug, I start laughing and realizing that I was frustrated over nothing.
11. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Being Pals
Body contact is important when traveling as a couple. So often we forget that we are a romantic and passionate couple traveling together.
It’s easy to simply become ‘pals’ on the road. And that is the sign of trouble. The worst thing a couple can do when traveling together is to start acting like friends.
Remember, even though travel can sometimes be difficult and you are busy sightseeing or running around seeing everything on your bucket list, you need to take time for each other and act like a couple.
There is a big difference between traveling with friends and traveling as a couple. You need intimacy and comfort. You have a deep bond that you need to nourish.
If you find that you have focused too much on travels and not enough on each other.
Slow down. Take a break and add romance.
12. Have Patience and Acceptance
Dave and I have been traveling together for extended periods since 2000.
Some of our first trips were tough. And there were times we wondered what we were doing? Can our relationship survive this?
There was a time when I locked myself in the bathroom because we didn’t have another room to go to in the middle of the night, and there were times we were so mad at each other, we couldn’t look at each other.
Remember, travel couples are going to fight and you’re going to annoy each other.
We found that when traveling long term for the first time, we needed to get over a hump.
There are stages to traveling as a couple. Yep, there’s the honeymoon stage, the annoyance stage, the I can’t stand the sight of you stage and then there is acceptance.
Work through it and you’ll come out the other end stronger than ever.
If you slow down when traveling, take the pressure off one another, and are aware of each other’s feelings and actions, traveling as a couple can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.
Save to Pinterest for future inspiration for traveling as a couple.
And you’ll find after your travels that you are closer than you ever thought you could be.