50

7 tips for travelling as a couple (or, How to travel with a partner and maintain your sanity)

My tips for travelling with your significant other.

He had me at hello   “I backpacked solo through Asia for two months”.

I knew that Liebling and his itchy feet were a perfect match for me early on in our relationship. On our first date, we talked about life as expats, counting extended stints in Hong Kong, the USA, France, the Netherlands, and Mexico amongst us.  By month four, we had travelled to Taiwan and Vietnam together. And by that summer, eight months into our love affair, we had gone sailing together in Croatia, visited Stonehenge and Stockholm, and eaten currywurst together in his hometown of Berlin.

IMG_1444

Now, 5 years and over 30 countries travelled together later, I don’t stutter when I say that he is the best travel companion I have ever had.  But let’s get real, travelling with a mate ain’t always rainbows and roses.  Even the most solid of couples can have their foundation shaken by a domestic dispute on the road.

So, before you get into a screaming match on your way to the Grand Canyon, I offer my tips for ensuring your holiday with your boo is a peaceful one:

1. Talk about your vision and expectations for the trip… before the trip

You may have decided on a destination but have very different ideas of what will take place once you get there.  Person A in the relationship dreams of a romantic getaway spent parked in a hammock, fruity drink in hand, while Person B wants to engage in more adventurous pursuits like scuba diving, island hopping, and water skiing.  Likewise, your plans to follow a jam-packed, super detailed itinerary may not jive with your partner’s natural inclination to aimlessly meander around a city.  So be sure to talk through your preferences and draft up a list of activities and experiences you both agree on before embarking on your journey.

IMG_6428

2. Discuss budget… and work out in advance who will pay what

Spats on vacation often stem from disagreements over finances. Your modest budget may not work around your partner’s penchant for the finer things in life, and their spendy habits on vacation may incite your ire if you’ve already decided to go halfsies. With this in mind, it’s important to have an honest dialogue about how much money you are willing to spend and how you will divvy up expenses. Liebling and I decide how much we are willing to pay for accommodation before we book, then divide food and excursion expenses by half while on the road since we more or less do/eat the same things.  My suggestion for deciding who will pay what and when? Do like me and Liebling do: elect one person to pay for everything while on the trip and have the other person wire-transfer their share of the bill once back at home.  Easy peasy!

IMG_1348

3. Give each other space

As much as you may love someone, hanging with them 24/7 is bound to be a strain at some point.  Avoid getting tired of one another by slotting in times where you get to chill out all by your lonesome.  I like to shop and Liebling doesn’t, so the suggestion of an hour or so when I hit up the market/mall solo is welcomed on both ends.  This way, I get to shop, he gets to miss me for a little while, and we both have time alone to rejuvenate ourselves.  Win-win!

IMG_4708

4. Figure out each other’s rhythms and plan accordingly

I am an early riser.  Liebling loves to sleep in.  In the beginning, this mismatch of schedules caused frustration: I was annoyed at having to wait for him to get out of bed, he was ticked that I wouldn’t let him get his beauty sleep on holiday.  Solution?  I make good use of my mornings while he gets his rest:  I surf the net, write emails, do my hair, read, pluck my eyebrows, and/or use the hotel gym.  Understanding your partner’s needs and taking advantage of the opportunities they present mean that both parties are happy.

IMG_0588

5. Eat before you get hangry (hungry + angry)

Tempers often run high when one (or both) of you is hungry.  Curb hunger (and anger) by discussing approximate meal times for the day before you head out into the world, and bring a snack that can tide you over until it’s time to chow down.  Make sure that you clearly communicate when you’re hungry and reaching your breaking point.

6. Compromise

Love is about compromise, isn’t it?  For example, while I couldn’t care less about the view out our hotel room’s window, it is very important to Liebling, so I smile and try not to grit my teeth when he asks the receptionist for the umpteenth time if it’s possible to have a room on a high floor.  Likewise, while Liebling is very easy when it comes to food, I am super picky about where I eat, so he puts up with having to walk around to look at the menus  of 8,000 different restaurants before finally settling on one.  My advice: try to keep your partner happy when it comes to the little things (without sacrificing too much of your preferences, of course).  Trust me, it’ll come back to you ten-fold.

IMG_4747

7. Kiss and make up

Despite my sage advice, you and your partner will inevitably have a blowout on one of your trips.  Then what? Not to worry, it’s the way you deal with the aftermath that counts. The golden rule: don’t go to bed upset with one another.  At the end of the day, your issue is probably a trivial one, and vacations are meant to be enjoyed with the one you love.  Kiss and make up!

While travelling with a significant other can be trying, it can also be extremely rewarding.  You have the opportunity see the world with your best friend and share experiences that will enrich your lives for years to come.  Travel with a partner can also test the mettle of your relationship and help you develop stronger ties to each other than if you had just stayed at home.  So don’t hesitate, go out and book that next trip with your sweetie!

What say you?  Have you ever travelled with a partner (or a close friend)?  Did you get along? Did any of these tips resonate with you?

 

You Might Also Like

50 Comments

  • Reply
    Katrina
    September 18, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    You two are such a handsome couple! I love looking at the pictures of where you guys have traveled together. My husband is also my travel partner, and we more or less follow these tips (especially #5 – I confess that I am unbearable when I’m hangry!!!).

    • Reply
      Oneika
      September 19, 2014 at 2:27 am

      Thanks Katrina! Funnily enough, we barely have any pictures with the two of us in them — one of us is usually taking a picture for the other!

  • Reply
    Chanelle
    September 18, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    I love this. My fiancé is my favourite travel companion. Excellent tips which are common sense for the most part. You guys are so cute together and I can’t wait to hear more about your adventures together.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      September 19, 2014 at 1:58 am

      Glad you enjoyed, Chanelle!

  • Reply
    Ad-lib Traveller
    September 18, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    Great post Oneika! My boyfriend is my favourite travel partner. I introduced him to the joys of travel and whilst we’ve had our fair share of arguments which we travel (usually because I’m hungry !) we follow the tips above religiously.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      September 19, 2014 at 1:54 am

      That is so cool that you were essentially able to give him the gift of travel! While I love rolling solo it’s really nice to experience the world with your significant other, especially when you’re on the same wavelength.

  • Reply
    Naomi
    September 18, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    I don’t know much about relationships and travelling but what I do know is that hanger is a real thing and should be avoided at all costs. I am the biggest diva if my blood sugar levels get too low so for everyone else’s good, I make sure to have snacks handy at all times!

    • Reply
      Oneika
      September 19, 2014 at 1:52 am

      Me too! Keeping a spare granola bar (or my personal favourite, an orange) can work wonders for your mood.

  • Reply
    Carina
    September 18, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    Hi Oneika,

    Those problems you described in those tips are the story of my life while travelling. Tip 4 was the highlight! My boyfriend is my best friend and it is the best travel companion ever, but obviously we have arguments during our travels about silly things and suddenly they become huge – which can be exhausting. At the end of the day we realize that was so stupid and try to make up. This post was really useful and arrived at the perfect time…we are heading Nice in nearly 2 weeks.

    By the way, I found out about your blog only this month and I have been reading it incessantly. You are true inspiration for me. Reading you blog gave me more strength to achieve my travel goals…yes, I have the travel bug and I now can’t stop travelling. So saving money to travel is a great part of our lives . Thank you so much for sharing your experiences!

    Carina

    • Reply
      Oneika
      September 19, 2014 at 1:51 am

      Hey Carina, welcome! I lived in Nice for over a year in total and know the city well! Feel free to check out my Nice/Monaco posts. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading and hope that you’ll stick around!

  • Reply
    Tara
    September 19, 2014 at 12:15 am

    Great article. I hate travelling with my husband. We are opposites with everything and there seems to be no compromise. Except of course when it comes to driving. He’s a pro in any country.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      September 19, 2014 at 1:48 am

      Oh no! Here’s hoping that your travel experiences with hubby will get a little more pleasant as time goes on! Silver lining, however: it’s a good excuse to travel solo!

  • Reply
    Lizzy
    September 19, 2014 at 12:48 am

    What a lovely couple you are!

    My partner is my favorite travel companion.We fell in love whilst travelling, which has increased our love for travelling even more! These are such great tips- especially the eating one.

    Lizzy at Nomad Notebook

    • Reply
      Oneika
      September 19, 2014 at 1:49 am

      Thanks Lizzy! Soooo important to keep yourself nourished while being active regardless!

  • Reply
    Anju@TravelingNoodles.com
    September 19, 2014 at 4:36 am

    Same goes here. My best travel mate so far has been my husband and you are correct about carving out alone time put a baby in the mix and negotiating baby sitting time or responsibilities also becomes essential.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      September 22, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      I can only imagine how throwing a baby into the mix changes (complicates!) things! I’ll have to make sure to revise this list once L and I start a family. 🙂

  • Reply
    Cristina
    September 19, 2014 at 6:00 am

    These are great tips! My boyfriend and I currently live and work in China and I think finding each other’s rhythm’s is SO important. I too am a morning person and he is a night person so I often wake up early and go out and do my own thing, that way I squeeze in my personal space as well!

    • Reply
      Oneika
      September 22, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      Cool! Where in China?

  • Reply
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)
    September 19, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    #5 is SO very critical and definitely something my husband and I have learned to deal with in our 2 years of traveling non-stop. We pretty much never start our day without making sure multiple snacks have been packed… who would have thought that some fruit and a bag of chips would be the things that not only saved our trip on countless occasions, but our marriage too! 🙂

    • Reply
      Oneika
      September 22, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      Hangriness can break up a relationship if you’re not careful… good on you for bringing snacks! 😉

  • Reply
    Heather Widmer
    September 22, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Great article! Love the Hangry analogy. Have been traveling with my husband for the past 10 months and can really relate to your experiences.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      October 2, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      Wow! Where have you been so far?

  • Reply
    Tom Edwards
    September 22, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Ohhh, I could have used these tips about a year ago. That last person I traveled with was a nightmare. We argued incessantly. 90% of the problem was money, and the lack thereof. This led to eating much less, which as you mentioned above, can turn people into angry little wolverines. I thought of killing my friend and leaving his body in the mountains… Or maybe selling him to pirates… In the end, I just smoked a bunch of cigarettes and wrote a lot of “hate mail” in my journal. hahahaha you live and learn I suppose! I have a couple other friends who I love traveling with.

    I think a lot of it has to do with just rather or not two people are compatible. Me and this last friend? Just two totally different people with totally different ideals on life in general. Which leads one of my favorite travel quotes, by Mark Twain: “The surest way to find out if you love or hate someone, is to travel with them.”

    • Reply
      Oneika
      October 2, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      Yikes!! It makes a good story though… Love your wolverine comparison!

  • Reply
    Sierra
    September 24, 2014 at 12:58 am

    You guys are legitimately living me and my boyfriends relationship traveling goals. It’s slightly more difficult to accomplish them because I live in America and he lives in Taiwan so for the past year we’ve been bouncing between those two places, for now, when our work schedules allow. We went to New Orleans a few months ago and it was our first road trip and it was definitely not the easiest thing but we made the best of it and definitely implemented some of your rules before discovering you list, so I think that’s a good sign. We’re making it all work and we plan to go to South Africa next summer so I’m very excited about these tips because we have time to meditate on them, and come up with some additional ones, before we go! Thank you for writing this and sharing your journey. You two are beautiful together and I wish you all the very best in the future and safe, happy travels!

    • Reply
      Oneika
      October 2, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      Thanks so much! All the best for your and your relationship — honestly what you’re doing sounds amazing.

  • Reply
    Kat
    September 24, 2014 at 1:27 am

    I’ve always heard that if you really want to know if someone is a good match for you, take a trip together! I love reading you wisdom and insight. Bravo!! 🙂

    • Reply
      Oneika
      October 2, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      I agree with that statement! Thanks for reading. 🙂

  • Reply
    Caroline Achieng Otieno
    September 26, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Haven’t yet traveled with friends, gave up begging my friends to come but traveled to the Balkans with my little one..I survived!

    • Reply
      Oneika
      October 2, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      Aww, how old was he or she at the time?

      • Reply
        Caroline Achieng Otieno
        March 17, 2015 at 12:11 pm

        She was seven..quite good company I must say. The old ladies were friendly to her and kept on patting her head and admiring her braids..
        In a few days time I will be off to Czech Republic and I’m already ‘missing her’ as I will go alone. She’s handy with the camera as well..:-)

      • Reply
        Caroline Achieng Otieno
        March 17, 2015 at 12:13 pm

        She had a difficult time accepting the food and preferred to eat ice cream the whole day (bad for the teeth I think)

  • Reply
    Christine
    September 29, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    I travel a lot with my bf too and those advice really hits home. I’m a morning person and he’s not and I’ve learned to live with it. I eat breakfast leisurely while he sleeps, haha.

    • Reply
      Oneika
      October 2, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      It’s all about making it work for both parties. 😉

  • Reply
    Shanny
    October 1, 2014 at 5:02 am

    Great tips Oneika! Traveling with my boyfriend and is enjoyable and not always a challenge. But depending on the country we visit, and their opinions on interracial dating or different races at all, play a big role in our arguments and awkward moments. Have you dealt with that? Any advice?

    • Reply
      Oneika
      October 2, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      Actually no! I’ve never had any reactions from locals based on the fact that Liebling and I are different races. At least not that I’ve noticed! Where have you experienced this?

  • Reply
    nadeen
    March 17, 2015 at 5:55 am

    These pictures are so beautiful! I loved your first line in this “had me at hello” lol. My fiance and I have done several trips together and many of these issues have come up such as me being the one to sleep in and request the room on the high floor and away from the elevators and wanting to see everything I can when we get to a place vs he likes to take time to relax. As you said-compromise is key and I love seeing the World with him!

  • Reply
    Claire & Anthony (@Tolovetolive)
    July 2, 2015 at 9:29 am

    Some great tips for travelling as a couple. I feel particularly sorry for Anthony (after the fact) when I get “hangry” – it doesn’t happen very often but then that is probably for the best!
    The best advice though is no. 7 – always kiss and make up! Life’s too short to hold a grudge, nothing is ever that serious and as our blog name suggests – we just try to focusing on loving each other and living life!

  • Reply
    Dahyun Claire Kim
    September 9, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Your advice is awesome but the photos really catch my eyes!!
    What camera do you use to take your travel photos?
    Do you just use your phone?

    • Reply
      Oneika
      September 9, 2015 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks!! I use a Canon 600D!

      • Reply
        Dahyun Claire Kim
        September 11, 2015 at 6:42 am

        Do you use a certain lens? I have Canon 550D but my pictures don’t seem to be as great as yours 🙁

        • Reply
          Oneika
          September 11, 2015 at 4:14 pm

          Just the kit lens (18-55mm), a 50 mm, and a wide angle 10-22mm lens!

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    September 20, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Such a good post! My husband and I usually spend the first few days of any trip getting frustrated with each other (it must be because of the newness of everything and “stress” of being in a new place) so I reckon the tip about talking about your expectations and plans before the trip is a good one – and one that I’ll be setting aside time to do when we next travel!

  • Reply
    Terri
    September 23, 2015 at 7:06 am

    It is also known that rwally help a certain wholesale business to function appropriatsly and obtain success.
    The collar bars prevent you from getting into an embarrassing situation where the shirt’s
    collars droop orr are foklded or may even get wrinkled.
    Having a reliable wholesale guide to help you navigate the treacherous waters
    oof buying wholesale products iis thhe best possible investment you can make.

  • Reply
    Art Travel Eat Repeat
    April 21, 2016 at 3:45 am

    Hahahahahahahahaha #5 cracks me up. I’m one of those people who NEEDS to eat, and my husband is one of those people who can go all day and “forget” to eat. I’ve gotten so mad at him for keeping me from my precious food. I usually yell something like, “we need to eat NOW!!!!!!”

    • Reply
      Oneika
      April 25, 2016 at 12:49 am

      😉

  • Reply
    S
    June 18, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Arrgh. I’m in the middle of a trip that isn’t going so well and am so frustrated with my partner. I don’t really care about going to plays but he scheduled three in less than 10 days. Our flight was delayed and I was jet lagged out of my mind with an 8 hour time change and didn’t get much sleep the first few nights, partly because he insisted on us going to a three hour play the first night in town (I was nodding off the whole play) and I had no time to catch up on sleep because I was traveling for work (conference during the day) which also demanded a long schedule and lots of social interaction with strangers in a professional setting. It just exhausts me (introvert here) without all the babying I had to do for his vacation desires at the same time. Meanwhile he got to swan around and do whatever he wanted for 4 days while I was exhausted and delirious on no sleep and he was imposing his sh!t on me.

    Now after the conference is over and I have time for an actual vacation on the end, I think I’m coming down with a nasty cold from lack of sleep and coming down from all the stress from work + his crap.

    At this point, I wish he had never come since I could’ve slept when I wanted and gotten through my work without interference and would’ve probably avoided getting sick on the road on my own vacation (turning into wasted and miserable vacation time which I don’t have much of to take).

    Oh, and I spent a long time planning and now he wants to change all the plans after he got here, but he couldn’t be bothered when I was putting in the effort, reading travel books and figuring out things to do before getting here.

    I really would rather be on my own this trip. I can’t tell you how much right now.

    I suppose I’ve learned that if I ever travel with him, especially to a professional event, I’m going to have to insist he’s on his own and he needs to leave me the hell alone during that part of the trip. He needs to let me do my job and get sleep and if he wants to do stuff, fine, but leave me out of it.

    I can’t stress enough your point about setting boundaries and expectations and sticking to them strictly when traveling. I wish I’d done that better this trip.

  • Reply
    8 Communication Tips for Travelling With Your Partner
    August 25, 2016 at 10:10 am

    […] over at Oneika the Traveller and her husband have a great system: one of them covers expenses during the trip and the other […]

  • Reply
    Christina
    December 7, 2016 at 8:30 am

    NUMBER 5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    So true!

  • Reply
    www.barmitzvahinvitation.org
    August 17, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    I used to be a pastor emphasis on used to be and used to go to nursing homes all the time – the best ones had resident

  • Leave a Reply