Travelling as a couple can be tough sometimes. Spending 24 hours a day with someone is enough to put a strain on any relationship, let alone if you are boyfriend and girlfriend. The romance completely goes and you learn a lot about each other in more "intimate" circumstances shall we say – particularly each other’s bodily functions when travelling Asia!
When you travel together there are lots of things that you can disagree on, and these are all pretty different to what you would argue about at home. For example, instead of arguing about who is going to cook/wash up/clean and tidy the flat, you argue about which hostel to stay at, which restaurant to eat in, which country/city to go to next and how your budget is going.
We’re lucky enough to be one of those couples that rarely argues when we’re at home anyway, so this trip was a good test of our relationship. We have been travelling together for a year and four months now and okay we might have the odd fight, but we’ve learnt how to travel together and not annoy each other. We’ve put together a few tips on how to travel with your partner amicably.
We might sound like couple therapists here, but honestly finding compromises is a great way to ensure you both get exactly what you want out of your time travelling the world. Before you leave, make sure you’ve got a rough plan of the countries you want to go to. If there’s lots that you can’t agree on, each make a list of your top three countries you want visit and plan to go to the top two, top four or top six if you’ve got the time and budget. If you agree on all the places you want to go, great!
2. Be Flexible
Travel plans never go 100% how you planned. Things go wrong (it happens!) or you end up loving or hating a place so you stay there for a longer or shorter time than you originally planned. The key thing here is to remember to be flexible. If you are unable to visit one country due to budget or time it doesn’t matter. That country will always be there and you’ll just have to make plans to visit it another time. Make sure you don’t take this frustration out on your partner and concentrate on the amazing places you can visit, not the ones you can’t.
Again we feel like couple therapists saying this, but make sure you communicate to your partner if you’re unhappy in a country/city, or if you don’t like the hotel/hostel you are staying in. Honesty will go a long way when you’re travelling and telling your partner these things will mean that you are both happy in every stop on your adventures.
4. Stay in hostels
When we went travelling for 3 months in 2012, we had enough money that we didn’t need to stay in hostels, so we stayed in nice private rooms in hotels. However, on this trip we did not have the budget and we knew that we would need to meet new people so we’d have someone different to chat to. As we said before, 24 hours a day with the same person can get tedious and even though you’re having these amazing experiences together, there comes a point where you run out of things to say to each other. Especially if you’ve been together as long as we have! Staying in hostels was the best thing we could have done on this trip because not only did it allow us to have different people to talk to, we actually made some lifelong friends too.
5. Spend some time apart
You’ll find that you spend most of the time together when you’re travelling as a couple. And even though you’ll be meeting other people and chatting in big groups etc, sometimes it’s nice to spend some time apart doing your own thing. I think most girls will agree that occasionally it’s nice to spend some time on your own or with other girls, and often guys will need some guy time with other lads they’ve met. So we suggest having a girls or lads night out where you spend some time apart from your partner and enjoying doing the things that you can’t necessarily do when you’re with your other half. Girls - chat about clothes, makeup and hair products with other girls (you’ll need some way to feel girly whilst you’re travelling. And guys - chat to other lads about sports or funny nights out you’ve had or whatever guys talk about. (You can tell it’s Natalie that writes this blog can’t you!?) After spending some time apart you’ll appreciate each other more and may even enjoy your new experiences together even more.