Travelling with your significant other will give you some of the best experiences of your life. However, it isn’t without its challenges. Because as we all know after this past year, being stuck together for what feels like forever can put some strain on a relationship. And all the different stresses that come with travel certainly don’t help matters either.
But if you’re planning on going backpacking with your partner once it’s safe to do so, please don’t let this put you off! Robin and I have travelled all around the globe over the past few years, and neither of us have been driven to insanity (yet). As long as you use the essential tips in this article, travelling as a couple will feel like a breeze.
Be sure that it’s what you both want
This first tip may sound pretty obvious, but it’s one that a lot of couples don’t think about. Travel is one of the things I love most, but I understand that it isn’t for everyone. I can easily see why some people would prefer a week or two of sun and sea from the comfort of a hotel rather than a month or two of shared bathrooms and grimey hostel kitchens.
So if you get even the slightest hint that your partner hasn’t been bitten by the travel bug, talk to them about it. As much as you want to go travelling and share the experience with them, neither of you will enjoy it if one of you is uncomfortable the entire time. And remember, there’s nothing stopping you going travelling without them! Take a trip with some travel-loving friends, or if you’re feeling brave, go for a solo adventure!
Make sure that you’re ready for it
There’s nothing that can truly prepare you for your first time travelling together, but one thing that makes it a whole lot easier is spending a good amount of time with each other beforehand. If you’ve only been together a month or so before you decide to take to the open road, I truly commend your bravery. But jumping straight into the deep end doesn’t always work out for the best.
Robin and I had lived together for half a year, and been together for almost four years before our first trip — and we still found it a lot to adjust to. Of course, every relationship is different. If you truly believe that you’re ready after a short period of time, why not try travelling on a smaller scale beforehand? It’s a great way to get a taster of what to expect, and you can use it to figure out whether you’re ready.
Be apart together
When you’re traveling as a couple, it’s easy to feel like you’re constantly in each other’s pockets. It’s completely normal to want some time apart, but it can feel impossible to avoid each other. So try to learn how to be apart together. A great time to do this is when you’re on a long bus or train journey. You might need to spend some of the journey figuring out logistics, like how you’re going to get to your accommodation. But for the rest of the journey, take some time for yourself. Bring a book, listen to some music, watch a film — whatever it is you need to do to recharge.
It’s also a great idea to do this if you feel riled up. When it feels like every single thing they do is rubbing you up the wrong way (don’t worry, we’ve all been there), take some time out to do your own thing. After spending a bit of time out of each other’s hair, you’ll be in a much better mood and start to feel excited for the rest of your trip.
Both take time to do the things you want to do
Even couples who seem to share what seems like every single interest with one another will find different things that they want to do whilst travelling. If there’s something that you want to do, just do it. If your partner doesn’t want to do it, that’s fine. Remember, you don’t have to do every single thing together! There are loads of activities that you’ll want to share together, so it’s absolutely fine to take some time to do your own thing. Plus, your significant other certainly won’t find it difficult to stay entertained!
Whenever we go travelling to a country with a coastline, Robin always takes surfing lessons. I absolutely hate the idea of surfing — I know I’ll somehow find a way to knock myself out with my own surfboard. So while he does his thing, I do mine — swimming, reading, exploring the local area… or more often than not, lounging on the beach with a drink in hand. We both end up having a great time, and I get to hear about all the different ways he embarrassed himself in his most recent lesson — it’s a win-win!
Don’t bottle it up
Sometimes people find it easier to hide their frustration and let the little things slide. But when the little things build up further and further, eventually they’re going to snap. Being able to travel is an amazing privilege to have. But there are plenty of stressful moments too — getting lost, missing your train, or the dreaded missing passport scenario (which we have mercifully avoided so far!) When the little frustrations build up you’ll end up snapping, which will only make the situation even more stressful.
So if there’s something niggling at the back of your mind, open up about it. Whether it’s something big like you feel they haven’t been pulling their weight, or something small like spending too much time on their phone, don’t be afraid of speaking up. Both of us have been guilty of holding these frustrations in until we snapped, and it’s always ended up being the worst part of our trip. So speak up, get the awkward conversation over with and let yourself get back to enjoying your amazing adventure.
Accept that you’ll fall out
No matter how much you try, you will end up having a fight. It’s not fun and it’s not pretty, but the chances are that it needs to happen. Because as we already know from the last tip, keeping resentment inside is never a good idea. So things might get ugly sometimes, and you may need time to cool off. But when you look back on your trip, that’s not the stuff that you remember.
Not long before the picture above was taken, Robin and I had a fight. Looking back now, I have absolutely no idea what it was about. But I do remember finding the most amazing cafe I’ve ever eaten at about 5 minutes later. So don’t fret about having a big fight — it happens to all couples who travel. Just focus on resolving the issue, and continue with your amazing trip.
This tip isn’t difficult — you will 100% have the time of your life. Travelling is such an amazing experience, and having someone to share it with will create a bond for life. You’ll make memories to treasure for a lifetime — there’s absolutely nothing else like it.
What are your essential tips for travelling as a couple? Let me know in the comments down below!