7 Ways to Travel as a Couple Without Killing Each Other
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It’s that time of year where couples are looking for fun and exciting ways to spend time together. Planning a trip to a popular city within the US or venturing out for an international adventure are great ways to do just that.
After throwing a dart at a map to determine the destination, anticipation builds for your romantic getaway. But what if your trip doesn’t go as planned?
The excitement of exploring as a party of two may fade once your flight gets delayed, one of you gets a stomach bug, or you turn up to a hotel room that looks nothing like the photos. Being sick, stressed or simply out of your element can bring out traits in you or your partner that could set your travels on a turbulent path.
Whether you’re jetting off for a weekend getaway or touring Europe for two weeks, every moment may not go as planned but don’t let that ruin the most important part of your trip: spending time with your sweetheart.
Before your trip gets going check out these 7 ways to travel as a couple – without killing each other.
1. Utilize each other’s strengths
Unless both you and your mate are confident that you’re both amazing at everything, divvy up your trip planning responsibilities based on your strengths.
Once you’ve decided the major aspects of your trip together, you can make trip planning even smoother by delegating different tasks. If you’re the organized one, take on planning your itinerary once you get to your destination. If your partner loves a good deal, leave them in charge of searching for the best flight and hotel rates.
When you can each focus on what you already love to do it will save time planning your trip and keep you from getting frustrated before the trip even starts.
2. Don’t get too attached to your itinerary
Think of your itinerary as more of a guide than a vow. No matter how much you plan ahead things may not always go as expected. Stay open and make the most out of your detour together.
During your travels you can discover new activities that are just as fun. If you can’t get a table at the top-rated restaurant you picked out, consider taking a cooking class instead. The change of plans will give you and your partner a new dish to whip up at home while reminiscing over memories of your trip.
Sometimes the unplanned changes in your trip are out of your control but you can make the most of out them together. Travel blogger and MTV’s Real World veteran Jamie Larson believes that a successful couple’s trip is all about being flexible:
“One great example of how my partner and I dealt with a horrible situation was our 6 week road trip across Australia that we’ve been planning for months. We found out a few days before I was supposed to fly out, that someone had stolen our vehicle for our roadtrip. This is where flexible travel comes in to play. If you have the time and means to do so, always have a plan B and C in case your first plan falls through. We now plan to travel to a country that he’s been wanting to go to for about a year now (Myanmar), then ending the trip in my favorite country of all time (the Philippines).”
3. Make your trip feel like home
Your travels may lead you through different countries with unfamiliar languages, cultures and landscapes. In foreign surroundings you may begin to feel a bit out of place which can be overwhelming. Whenever you feel like a fish out of water, find an activity that makes you feel at home.
See a movie in a cinema. You can search for showings with subtitles if you’re in a country where you don’t speak the language. Or, search for a club or live music venue that plays music you’re familiar with and jam the night away.
The comfort you’ll feel from familiar activities can lift your mood while you and your partner spend quality time together. Afterwards you’ll have a fresh outlook on exploring unfamiliar places.
4. Don’t forget the importance of alone time
Taking a trip with your other half is a great experience, but spending every minute together on a lengthy trip can leave you in need of some breathing room.
Thea Wingert, co-creator of the travel blog Zen Travellers, is used to long term travel with her husband. Currently midway through their 14 month trip around the world, carving out some alone is a great way to keep the peace.
“Always moving from place to place and needing to orient yourself in new surroundings is challenging and can make for tense moments. I find it’s best to just be quiet and give each other some space until you’re both settled and then try to find the humour in whatever may have been causing you stress before.”
While the goal of your trip is to do things together, don’t feel guilty about suggesting some time apart. Even if it’s just a 30-minute walk by yourself or opting to explore local shops while your partner grabs a few groceries.
A crafty way to spend time together while having your own space is by scheduling a spa day with different services.
The time apart will give you an opportunity to miss each other and provide new things to talk about once you’re back together.
5. Plan your budget
One of the first things you’ll do when planning your couples trip is figuring out your budget. While you’ve already set aside funds for food and souvenirs you or your partner may have the urge to splurge while you’re away.
Disagreements about breaking your agreed upon spending amount could put a strain on your trip. When traveling with her boyfriend, travel and lifestyle blogger Vy Luu advises:
“Know your budget: a lot of bickering and fighting can occur regarding budgets. So before you jet off, make sure it is clear what your spending limit is and be on the same page.”
Add a cushion to your traveling expenses in the case something comes up.
If one of you gets injured, your wallet gets nabbed or you accidentally miss your flight it won’t be quite as bad because you prepared for the unexpected.
6. Keep the lines of communication open
Identifying the real source of a bad mood can save you from fighting.
We can all relate to being tired, hangry or under the weather. If you let your partner know what you’re going through they’ll be understanding about it.
Holding in the fact that you’d rather take a nap instead of joining a walking tour can lead to a meltdown while you’re exploring. Don’t risk blowing up over the smallest little thing – speak up!
Accepting that their moods won’t always be high helps Jamie Larson and her boyfriend keep the peace, “You will see the best and worst of each other so be prepared.”
If your partner is the one who’s in a mood, ask them what’s wrong instead of getting defensive. The sooner you can identify that they’re being snappy simply because they need a snack, the smoother your trip will go.
In the case those tense moments persists Thea has a quick fix. “If all else fails try just taking a few deep breaths so you can avoid snapping at each other when times get tough.”
7. When in doubt, laugh it out
Life can throw curve balls our way, especially when traveling. Since we can’t always control what happens, laughter can be the best way to get through it.
If you uncover some of your partner’s flaws or something goes wrong, getting down about it will only make the trip worse. When it suddenly begins pouring rain as you leave dinner without an umbrella or your beloved’s snoring wakes you up or your shorts rip while on a hike – laugh about it.
Vy Luu likes to capture even the unplanned moments with her boyfriend to look back on with a smile.
“Let loose and be a (photo) sport! You gotta be prepared to take awkward couple photos – ask strangers to take them and take tripod photos! For guys, be a good Instagram boyfriend and catch her best angels. Because photo memories are the best!”
No matter what surprises come up when traveling as a couple these tips can prevent them from taking the fun out of your trip. The best part about these exciting, unexpected and sometimes uncomfortable moments is that you’re sharing them with the one you love.
Are you a seasoned pro at traveling with your sweetheart? Let us know your tips for traveling as a couple in the comment section!
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