My husband and I have made a career out of travel together as a couple.
As couples travel and relationship bloggers, it is actually our job to go away on romantic getaways, stay in ritzy hotel rooms, and drink champagne on scenic balconies. Ah, the life!
However, you might be surprised to know that it is not all sunshine and roses. Despite the fact that travel is part of what we do for a living, this does not mean that we are immune to the typical stresses of traveling as a couple. In fact, sometimes combining work and travel actually creates additional problems (but that is a story for another time).
No travel can present obstacles for even the most seasoned of travelers.
I tell you all this to show you why I consider myself an expert in the realm of couples travel. In addition to traveling for our blog, Two Drifters, we have also experienced an array of couples’ trips of all kinds. From our honeymoon in British Columbia and living in a campervan in Australia to road tripping in England and taking more typical romantic weekend getaways in New England we have run the gamut of trips.
We have fought, we have made up. We have had fun and made amazing memories.
Because of this, I think I am fairly qualified to dispense some advice: how to travel together and be your best when traveling with your partner.
Tips for Travel Together
Whether you are adventuring with a spouse, vacationing with your boyfriend, or camping with your fiancée, these tips will ensure you have a relaxed, happy, and laid back trip.
1. Compromise from the start
The first piece of advice for traveling couples is something that could top any list of relationship tips. Compromise compromise compromise. In any partnership, compromise is key, and your couple’s getaway will get off to a good start if you set yourselves up to compromise from the beginning.
Even in the planning stages, be sure to discuss your expectations for the trip in detail. You should know the kind of trip the other person wants and share what you are looking for from your trip as well. Then, find ways to meet in the middle, before you even get on the plane.
This time spent communicating and compromising ensures that you do not set off with one of you expecting to lounge together on the beach and the other prepping for an adventurous jungle trek!
2. Chill your expectations
Speaking of expectations be sure to keep them manageable. It is so easy to embark on a getaway for two and expect it to be life-alteringly romantic. Unfortunately, setting your expectations too high can often lead to disappointment, if your trip does not turn out as fabulous as you had expected. In addition, sometimes over focusing on something (like making a trip super romantic) can actually cause the opposite to occur.
While you will probably have a great many romantic moments on your trip, remember that bickering and challenges happen as well. These elements are normal and all part of the balance of traveling as a couple. Expect both the highs and lows and you will have a much better time appreciating the entire experience together.
3. Have the boring money talk
You probably already know that money is a leading cause of conflict among couples. To avoid packing up your financial stresses alongside your sunscreen and swimsuits, be sure to have a money discussion beforehand.
You should discuss what your priorities are on this trip. Is this a budget or luxury trip? Will you dine out for every meal? Order alcohol? What about other expenses like massages or guided tours? These all should be talked about prior to departure so that the two of you can be on the same page.
Our pro tip: always budget extra for your trip together, if at all possible. This will avoid the stress of pinching pennies and will allow you the necessary wiggle room when you decide to order that fancy bottle of champagne or that inevitable souvenir.
4. Learn how to deal with stress
Here is another one of those couples travel together tips that applies to everyday life: learn to manage stress. You are going to experience some kind of stress on your vacation, most likely. Stress is everywhere, even on a tropical island or in an enchanting European city.
It is hard to truly get away on a holiday without at least a little bit of drama. Delayed flights. Missing luggage. Getting lost on the way to the hotel.
However, if you take these events with a grain of salt (and a heavy dose of humor), you will sidestep the consequences: sour moods and petty arguments. Learn how to deal with stress with grace and aplomb, and you will find that those minor—or even major—travel inconveniences do not take away from a wonderful trip with your partner.
5. Don’t schedule every moment
When Nathan and I travel together, we have to force ourselves not to schedule every single moment of the itinerary. While there is so much we want to see and do in each destination, this kind of jam-packed schedule is a recipe for burnout. In fact, some of our best travel memories were unplanned or happened because we diverged from our planned itinerary.
Make time for unstructured time. This is so important for your mental health, your energy levels, and especially for your relationship. You will have many more opportunities for romance and closeness if you are not constantly on the go. Take time to just take it easy and simply be together. I promise this is one tip that will make your trip a whole lot better.
6. Spend (a bit of) time alone
It might sound counterintuitive, but Nathan and I actually do recommend taking a bit of time apart on any couples trip. This does not necessarily mean days or hours, but taking an hour that is purely yours is incredibly rejuvenating. This is a good way to compromise if the two of you are interested in different activities or sites, and it is also a terrific method for having that all-important “me” time. Suffice it to say, when you come back together, you will feel refreshed and ready to have some adventures pour deux.
7. Put your partner first
At the end of the day, travel (whether it is long term or a short vacation) is still real life. I would urge you to continue practicing being excellent to your partner, something you should be doing every day no matter where you are.
When tensions or conflicts arise during travel together, one simple way to solve things is to act as selflessly as possible. (PS: We talk about this and more in our post on real relationship goals if you would like to read more). Acting selflessly means putting your partner first. This might mean that you need to make a compromise where your partner’s needs and wants are those that get the priority. On a once-in-a-lifetime trip, this might be a challenge. But the secret is, both of you will be working towards being selfless toward one another, so in the end, everybody’s needs and wants will ultimately be met. You are on a team and everybody wins in the long run.
Author: Amy Hartle is a couples travel and relationship blogger at Two Drifters which she has created alongside her husband Nathan. When not off on worldwide adventures, Amy lives in New England, where she can be found doing what she does best: sipping on maple lattes, petting dogs, and reading books.