So, your ready to travel with your significant other. You’ve taken road trips together, weekend getaways, and full fledged family vacation. Now, you’re ready to take off on a big adventure. If you really want to test the strength of your relationship, travel the world together. Spending months beach hopping with your loved one sounds easy right? What could possibly go wrong.
Turns out, a lot. Traveling long term with someone you love is not easy. It’s a huge adjustment being in each others space almost 24/7. Not to mention in some very stressful situations. Here are my tips on how to travel with your partner and come out the other end thriving:
1. Be Kind, Communicate Fairly
I can’t stress enough how important effective communication is. The first month of our 5 month trip together was ROUGH. Not communicating our feelings and needs led to built up emotions exploding in each others faces. Often. We had to relearn how to talk to each other. After figuring out how to better express our needs, the rest of the trip was much smoother and we came out of it stronger than ever.
Ask, listen, compromise. Is your partner in a funk and they won’t say why? ASK! Hey babe, whats up? What do you need? A little attention goes a long way.
When we were in Tonsai, Thailand Aaron was in a mood. Instead of asking why, I just got upset. It was my second time in Tonsai and I was so excited to show him this special place! Turns out, what’s exciting to me is not going to be as exciting for him. I’m a climber, Aaron is not. This is a climbers paradise but for someone who’s not a climber or a beach bum there isn’t that much to do. I could have stayed longer but we left a bit early and moved onto something Aaron would enjoy more.
Recognize when your partner is “in a mood”. Sometimes I wake up in 100% bitch mode and it doesn’t turn off. Sometimes Aaron’s grumpy for no reason. We try not to take it personally and try not to make important decisions on these days.
Be the rock when your partner needs you and make sure they do the same for you. Two people angry or upset about nothing will get you nowhere but angry at each other. Your partners motorbike broke down (again)? Don’t panic with them. That’s not helping either of you. Tell them everything is okay and take charge of finding a mechanic.
2. Take Time Apart
Don’t spend every minute of every day together.
I can’t tell you enough how much our problems could have been solved by taking a few days apart once in a while. Even just taking a couple hours apart is a must!
You don’t need to do everything together. Your partner wants to grab a happy hour beer but you want to stay in and read? Great! You don’t need to hang out every second of the day.
Go separate ways for a bit. We took separate volunteer positions in Thailand and joined back up a couple weeks later. We plan to incorporate more solo travel adventures into our future travels. Whether that’s taking a few days apart of a whole month!
For God’s sake don’t go hangry!
Don’t try to make decisions hungry. It’s hard enough getting to a new destination when your tired and dirty and just want to find somewhere to stay and take a shower. Get off the bus, get some food, and jump on hostelworld or booking or airbnb, whatever, while you fill your stomach.
I personally can’t think at all when I’m hungry so Aaron will take charge of decision making for me
Having someone to share the ups and downs of traveling is incredibly special. I love solo travel, but there’s something about looking at each other at the end of a long day and reflecting on all that you’ve done. Relationships are work. Traveling will expose any holes in even the strongest relationships. Be kind to each other, have fun, and hopefully you come out the other end better for it. Do you have any tips for not killing your significant other while traveling? Are there any travel relationship successes or failures you’d like to share? Add your thoughts in the comments below.