There are many joys to traveling with a partner. Me and my girlfriend have been traveling for just over seven months now, and have never looked back. The bond that grows when seeing some of the most spectacular sights in the world together, or having a once in a lifetime conversation with others makes every bit of a trip worthwhile, not to mention traveling as a twosome actually helps to save quite a bit of money.
So those are the great times. Of course, there’s the potential for the sunny skies to not look so bright, and for one’s wits to be very much at an end, but avoiding the kind of animosity that a trip of any kind offers to ensue is much easier than you might think. Here’s how to exchange potential tears for smiles and for memories to start off as rose tinted as you wish them to be remembered.
Visit places you’ve both always wanted to see
Usually people are with each other for a reason; their similarities. There are thousands of destinations to choose from around the world, so the best advice I can offer up is to start with those that suit you both. Find places to visit or attractions to see that both parties agree on. Maybe you’ve both always wanted to go on a safari? Or to visit London for a week. Now is a good opportunity to tick off your mutual bucket list items. Then worry about the things you want to see individually later on.
Get together for a weekend over a coffee and your phone, tablet or laptop and do some brainstorming. When you’re both going to be free in the year and a top ten of places or sights you both really want to witness, etc. Once you’ve got a mini plan together, you can start mulling over the details.
Open your mind to what your partner wants to see
So you’ve seen all you want to see, or you’re in a location of a lifetime and your partner also has another bucket list item they want to tick off which doesn’t happen to be on yours. Why not open your mind to their suggestion? At the very least, you’re seeing something new, and at the very worst it’s an afternoon or day of something you didn’t particularly enjoy.
The same can be applied the other way around. Maybe you’re in a country you’re unlikely to visit again, and you have a bucket list attraction within proximity. Your partner, if they’re really interested in your happiness or excitement, should be more than happy to go along with you and wonder upon your happiness at finally seeing this once in a blue moon activity.
Take a day away to explore things that interest you
If the above really doesn’t sit right, and you or your partner just can’t stand the thought of going to see the attractions each of you has lined up, why not split up for half or a full day and take the time to enjoy your own company? If you’ve been traveling for a little while, you’ll both no doubt be refreshed by the chance to explore your own thoughts and interests fully for a few hours, and can then return to one another at the end of the day, or at whatever time, have some food and a drink and discuss the wonderful events of the day.
Do activities that challenge both of you
What’s better than accomplishing something? Accomplishing it with your other half. Plan out a challenge or two on your trip which you can both achieve together. You’ll need each other for both emotional and physical support, and it’ll offer the chance to bring you both even closer together in the moment.
Me and my partner recently hiked a volcano in Guatemala, which was hands down one of the toughest experiences of our lives, and just being able to push each other when at our physical and mental limits gave the extra boost that both of us needed, particularly at 4:30a.m. the next morning to reach the summit.
The Feeling of Elation When Reaching the Summit of Acatenango Before Sunrise
Appreciate the little comforts
Taking a moment to remind yourself that taking transport for eight hours by yourself can be a little depressing will help you appreciate how much better traveling with someone you love is over traveling alone. These little reminders during the times when you might be able to see an argument or disagreement coming your way can help to diffuse any bubbling up of tension.
Enjoying the Little Things – Like Free Onboard Drinks
Communicate issues while traveling
Nothing new here. A lot of potential fights can be avoided by simply talking and letting go of any feelings of annoyance or niggling frustrations. On any trip, chances are you’ll be even closer than ever with your partner, and certain habits might frustrate you more than if you were at home where you can get away by going to work or meeting friends, etc. It’s good to have a chat sometimes. You might even learn that you’re just being over-dramatic and should maybe take a step back and realize how small the problem actually is. When problems are left to fester, that’s when things can be blown out of proportion, and bigger and deeper issues can start to form.
Be open to meeting other travelers
Traveling as a couple sometimes creates an imaginary obligation to stick with your partner and not go full blossom into social butterfly mode. As in any situation, humans are meant to interact with others; learn things about them and their lives, and why they’re taking their trip or have chosen the same destination as you.
Bonding With Other Travelers at Base Camp on Acatenango Volcano, Guatemala
Me and my partner always find a renewed sense of closeness with one another when we’ve spent a few days with other travelers. At the very least, it’s someone new to bounce stories off of and a potential contact for a future destination.
Bond over learning the language and embracing the culture
Part of your reasons for visiting a place is its culture and language. When traveling alone, it’s sometimes a bit more daunting to jump into the situation as you haven’t got anyone to laugh with if you mess up. On the other hand, traveling as a couple you can sometimes build a bit of a wall to learning, as it’s less of a necessity if you always have someone from home by your side. Break down those barriers as a couple, and bond over trying to learn the most phrases or order the most drinks. Maybe challenge each other to finding the most culturally relevant activity possible, and rank yourselves along the way. The winner buys dinner, etc. Traveling is supposed to be a fun and enriching experience no matter where you go.
Get each other little gifts
There are thousands of trinkets, good luck charms, and country specific things for sale around the world that finding something fairly unique and at any budget level is pretty simple. Even if you’re sharing funds for the trip, why not when you nip off to a street food vendor, grab a local snack for your loved one; or head into a local shop, come back with a little something as a spontaneous souvenir. It’ll serve as a great little keepsake of the trip, and also keep things interesting while you’re away together.
Street Food in Bogota
Support community projects
Seeing how other people are less fortunate on this planet can bring home just how fortunate we are to have the things we do have and to have the people who are in our lives. There are numerous community projects all over the world, helping those who’ve been dealt a dodgy hand in life, and a little bit of support for these initiatives goes a very long way indeed. Offer up a few precious hours of your trip, and you’ll both be humbled and come away more appreciative of one another than ever.
Truly, traveling with someone you get on with on a deep level will never be too testing. It might offer up the odd hurdle, but with simple techniques for remembering who you’re with and why you’re with them, you’ll both be jumping them without a struggle.