Traveling As a Couple – 11 Easy Tips for Happy Travels

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

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.

traveling as a couple in India
Traveling for a year as a couple in Asia started our Couples Travel Blog

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.

1. Compromise

couple traveling the world together | dave and deb in Ireland
Traveling Europe as a couple was magnificent

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

female travel - deb dogsledding
Deb suffering while dogsled training for Yukon Quest

When we first started traveling, I was afraid of everything and Dave was fearless. I dreaded hearing about what he wanted to do next.

But now that the years have passed, I’ve done everything from diving with great white sharks, to flying a stunt plane in New Zealand and going on epic overland treks.

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.

2. Communicate

travelling together in China | dave and Deb share a kiss
We argued earlier this day, but forgot about it once we were at the Great Wall of China

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

dave and deb traveling couple

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

about dave and deb blue lagoon

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 

tips on travel for couples | pushing boundaries
Loving the Experience

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!

Maybe whitewater kayaking is a little over the top, but what about giving a guided whitewater rafting trip on some small rapids a go?

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

best trips for couples are when you can communicate
communication is key for successful travel as a couple

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

travelling as a couple tips

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 - romantic beach at sunset
Romantic trips are important when traveling as a couple

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.

struggles of a travel couple

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

tips for travelling couples - 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

travel as a couple | The Planet D

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

couples travel blog | the planet d

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

travelling as a couple dave and deb

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

couples who travel together stay together

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.

traveling as a couple tips for couples travel

And you’ll find after your travels that you are closer than you ever thought you could be.

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

25 thoughts on “Traveling As a Couple – 11 Easy Tips for Happy Travels”

  1. You couldn’t be more right! I’ve also noticed my partner and I are two Hulks when we travel, and for such small things it’s ridiculous to tell! 😛 Thanks for allowing me to learn from your experience.

    Reply
  2. I’ve never really thought of jet lag being one of the culprits to arguments but it’s SOOO true. I think my husband and I argue the most the first few hours of arriving somewhere since we’re so worn out. We’re heading to France this week so perfect timing to read – just sent it to him too. 😉

    Reply
    • Glad we could help. Jet lag definitely plays a part. it took us a good 6 or 7 trips in a row to figure it out. we noticed a pattern each time we flew (all in a short span of time) and realized, hey, we’re jet lagged every time!

      Reply
  3. Saw me and my husband here! But it’s through a long distance relationship instead of travel. We have figured out that we have to have an adjustment period of both of us living together for a few days. Then we get on an even keel and relax with each other as usual. We are going on 4 years living in different states due to medical issues. It’s coming to an end and we have been talking about starting to travel a lot more. Most of the travel we have been doing is just to visit each other. I’m subscribing to your site for more ideas on where to go. Thanks!

    Reply
  4. Wonderful insight and thanks for sharing your tips and experiences. Being a couple has many challenges, being on the road together creates a whole lot more! Often no room to escape, cabin fever and the oppression of being too much in someone’s company is going to lead to boiling points.

    I agree that little moments of time apart and always hugging it out in the end will make things a whole lot easier.

    Lovely article Deb.

    Reply
  5. Good tips! =) I’ve actually found that my problem is exactly the reverse! we bond and hold together very well while travelling but can get upset with each other easier as soon as we get home.

    I realized it was exactly like you said, the jet lag, tiredness, plus the fact that because we’ve been with each other 24-7 previously, we like to have a bit more space to unwind when we get back.

    So we’ve solved it by me going on another trip (solo) as soon as we get back from a together vacation! =) Helps that my work has me flying out most of the time anyways

    Reply
    • Great advice! It definitely works in reverse too. Coming home can be tough on a relationship. you’ve just had this amazing experience and then you come home to the post travel blues together. Thanks for sharing. So awesome that you can turn around and go on another vacation. Love it!

      Reply
  6. This was great to read! I have been wondering how other couples handle the stress, fighting, and arguing that seems inevitable when you spent 24/7 with someone. After traveling solo the last few years my transition into “traveling as two” has definitely been an adventure in itself!

    Reply
  7. Deb, You certainly make some good points. We find that knowing each other’s rhythms helps as well as just saying, “I’m feeling crabby.”. It’s allowed! Also, we do have tiny spats all the time, which helps dissipate any build up! Great post!

    Reply
  8. Oh man, I can definitely relate to this. I think it’s hard not to bicker with anyone that you’re spending a week non-stop with. I think the go,go,go of traveling takes it toll on anyone, then the bickering comes easier. I make sure we try and get enough sleep, plus the snacks to ward off my hanger are key!

    Reply
  9. What a great article, I really like it. I’ve also been travelling a couple of months with my boyfriend and it was, indeed, sometimes quite difficult. Really practical tips you got there. Thanks for sharing:)

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  10. Great observations guys and congrats on 23 years together! Its crazy just how sleep deprivation can impact your personality, I know I am not fun to be around after a long haul flight. Consequently we try and give ourselves at least a day of down time before scheduling anything that requires us to be on top form!

    Reply
  11. Some really useful tips here. I think being able to compromise and talking things out are the most important tips for a relationship, whether you are on the road or not. Congrats on making 23 years together, not many couples can say that.

    Reply
  12. Wow, I could not love this post MORE!!! My partner and I are a travel blogger couple as well, and we plan on tackling this topic in a future blog, but how can it ever compare? 🙂 Your advice is SO spot on, and I love how honest you were. Just because we may be living our dreams, as you said, doesn’t mean life stops. And you have to keep working on strengthening a relationship at all time. Just LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! You’re an inspiration! And congratulations on 23 years. I hope we can have the same kind of beautiful love and adventures together for years to come!

    PS: How long have you been travelling together?

    x Amy

    Reply
  13. I never put the connection together with jetlag and irritable conversations, but it totally makes sense. Being tired like that sucks. I say this as we just had a “moment” going through security at KL airport at 6am after 2 days of travel. I also have been thinking about the romance part of things. I told Eric that I wanted to travel to some all inclusive beach resort somewhere, to just escape, recharge, relax. He laughed, asking me whether I needed to escape my tough life living in Bali?? And, I said yes! A real vacation…and time together to appreciate one another.

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  14. Our biggest tip is to carry snacks (mostly for me). The slightest hunger pang sets me off. Granola bars and fresh fruit are always in my pack!

    Reply
    • Yep, carrying snacks and not putting off stopping for lunch has made a big impact on how my husband and I travel. We both get cranky when hungry, but he can go all day without eating and then inhale a kebab at dinner, whereas I need to eat more frequently or else I’ll tire out.

      Reply
  15. Great tips! We’ve been on the road constantly for about 16 months now and it is really important to take time out as a couple. We especially enjoy housesitting as we get to stay in nice homes and have pets to calm the old travel nerves. Its a great way to escape the life of hostels and couches that do get in the way of a relationship. We also try to never make big decisions when hungry – it never ends well! LOL
    We look forward to to making it to 23 years together – congrats guys on making it this far and beyond!

    Reply