Amos and I have spent every single day together since December 2017. That’s a year and a half that we’ve spent with each other 24/7. We’ve explored 60+ countries together and have made countless memories. A lot of you have asked how we’ve been able to do that without getting tired of each other. Believe me, it gets difficult at times. It gets rough sometimes, but I honestly wouldn’t trade it for the world. Those rough moments have been worth every single memory that we’ve made together and I can’t imagine traveling with anyone else besides Amos. Traveling can really test a relationship. You learn more about your partner and your relationship through traveling than you do at home. Here’s my survival guide to traveling as a couple – without fighting too much and wanting to hurt each other.
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1. Pick a Destination You’re Both Interested in
You have a list of places you want to visit and so does your significant other. It’s important to visit a country that you both have a mutual interest in. Otherwise, one of you will be miserable and the other one will be having a great time. Write down ten countries you want to visit and have your significant other do the same. If you have matches, you’re good to go. If not, make another list and keep doing this until you find a destination that you both want to visit.
2. Set a Budget
I can almost guarantee that most traveling couples feel the most amount of friction when it comes to money. Without planning and doing your research, travel can be expensive. Plane tickets, hostels, hotels, meals and activities can add up. Before you go on your trip, set a strict budget that includes accommodation, food, activities, transportation and souvenirs. This will help you avoid the money topic and minimize arguments in this area.
If you keep your money separate and you plan on sharing the cost of the trip, you need to discuss this area more in-depth. For example, the higher earner would rather stay at a hotel and the one with a lower income would rather stay at a hostel. If the higher earner decides to stay at a hotel and it’s not budget friendly for the lower earner, the higher earner should cover the difference. It’s better to figure this out earlier on before having a huge blowup.
3. Use Your Talents to Your Advantage
We all have strengths and weaknesses and it’s wise to delegate tasks accordingly. Amos is better at finding flights than I am and is more patient during that process. Therefore, he books all of our tickets. I’m better at finding hotels so that’s my responsibility. I’m directionally challenged so Amos navigates us around our destination. One time, I walked in circles on the same block for ten minutes. Since then, Amos fired me from the navigational duties. I don’t blame him. I’m better at languages (unless it’s Spanish – Amos is a pro at that) and striking up conversations with locals so that’s what I do. This is a partnership. Don’t let one person do all the planning. Divide tasks accordingly to your strengths.
4. Go with the Flow
Things are going to go wrong during your trip. Your flight might get delayed. The rain might ruin the photo shoot you were trying to have and the list goes on. Don’t sweat the things you have no control over. I’ve personally struggled with this during my travels and I’m still learning to be better when it comes to this. Instead of having a sour attitude, try to remain positive. Some of my most treasured travel memories stem from when things didn’t go according to our plan. Learn to roll with the punches and move on.
For example, we booked a hotel in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan through Booking.com. For some reason, we got a notification two nights before we were checking in that our reservation had been canceled. We immediately decided that this was out of our control and that we would maintain a positive attitude despite how crappy the situation was. We got online and started looking for other hotels, but the hotels in our price-range were all sold out. We couldn’t afford any of the other hotels that were available. We then called Booking.com and explained the situation to them. They put us up in the nicest hotel in town at no cost to us to make up for the inconvenience. See, it pays to go with the flow and not get upset about things that are beyond your control.
5. Compromise, Compromise, Compromise
This is one of the most important things to do when it comes to traveling with your partner. Traveling with your boo isn’t going to work out too hot if you’re both unwilling to compromise. When we were in Italy, I wanted pasta and Amos wanted pizza. We were both dead set on having what we craved. The best pasta shop in town didn’t serve pizza and the best pizza joint didn’t serve pasta. We were both a little salty at each other, but we compromised. We went to a less well-rated place and we both got what we wanted. It’s a silly example, but you get what I mean.
6. Get on Board with Each Others Packing Plans
No lie, most of our arguments during our travels have stemmed from this. Amos is pro backpack and can’t fathom the thought of having a suitcase. I’m the complete opposite. I loathe backpacks. I actually traveled with a backpack for the past year and three months. I started using a suitcase lately and it’s been a game changer. Get to know each others packing preferences and just roll with the punches here. Let your partner pack however and whenever they want and you do you.
7. Start by Going on a Weekend Trip Together
If you’re not sure you’re ready to travel internationally with your partner yet, start off by taking a short weekend trip somewhere. If you can’t manage to survive this weekend trip without too much stress, you’re not ready to travel long distances with each other yet. Don’t jeopardize your relationship by traveling when you’re not ready to.
8. Take Time Away from Each Other
You’re going to get tired of each other and sometimes you won’t be able to stand to be in the same room as your partner. It’s okay to take time away from each other. Alone time is super important. It allows you to hit the refresh button. Plus, absence makes the heart grow fonder. When we were in New Zealand, Amos went white water rafting one afternoon and I went ziplining while he did that. We both enjoyed our time away from each other doing the things we wanted to do and we were so happy to see each other again.
9. Don’t Be Selfish
Let’s say you’ve already been to Rome and your partner hasn’t. Don’t be selfish and skip the Vatican because you don’t want to stand in that horrendous queue and deal with the herds of tourists again. Take your partner to see this monument and make new memories. You’ll look back and be thankful for these moments. Amos has been to Brussels multiple times and he’d already seen the Pyramids in Egypt. When I went for the first time to see the Pyramids, he pretended like this was the first time he was visiting too and participated in all of the tourist activities with me like it was his first time. It was so sweet and those are some of my favorite travel memories with him.
10. Don’t Engage in Arguments When You’re Hungry
When traveling, it’s easy to get off schedule when it comes to eating. I can be a brat when I’m hungry. I get super cranky. I’ve instigated arguments with Amos while being hangry and after I ate, I felt so stupid for arguing about something that didn’t really matter.
11. Plan a Surprise for Your Partner
It’s easy to fall into a routine when you’re traveling long term with your partner. It may sometimes feel that the excitement is gone because you’re with the person all day long. Remind your partner how special and amazing they are by planning something special. You can take them to a nice dinner or you can treat them to a nice activity like a sunset and dinner cruise. When we were in Tbilisi, Amos bought me a bouquet of beautiful sunflowers because they’re my favorite and wrote me a sweet note. Small things like this go a long way.
12. Try New Things Together
Don’t say no because something seems a little odd. Definitely use your judgment and stay safe though. What I mean is don’t say no to something just because you’re unfamiliar with it. It’s fun to try new things together and it brings more excitement to your relationship. For example, we went street food vendor hopping in Vietnam. Every Vietnamese dish besides Pho and Banh Mi was foreign to us. We didn’t even know what we were eating half the time, but we had so much fun trying new dishes with each other and bonding. That’s one of my favorite travel memories too.
13. Go on Dates
If you’re traveling with your partner long term like us, going on dates is super important. We get into a daily routine. We’re almost like robots sometimes. Take some time for both of you without any distractions and have a romantic date night. Go wine tasting. Go out for dinner. Go ice skating. Just do something fun and focus 100% on your partner. We have a date night every Friday evening where we go out for dinner and enjoy a bottle of wine with each other.
14. Learn How to Take Care of Each Other
When traveling long term, one of you is bound to get sick. We all have different ways we want to be treated when we get sick. I want to be left the heck alone whereas Amos wants to be pampered and babied. Be there for your sick partner and learn how they want to be treated. If the healthy partner doesn’t know how to take care of the sick one in the way they want to be taken care of, it makes matters worse. Don’t forget to protect yourself from medical expenses when traveling abroad.
15. Remember That You’re on Your Partner’s Team
When things go wrong, it’s easy to view your partner as irritating and difficult. Always remember that you’re on the same team as them. They’ll make mistakes and you’ll make mistakes. Learn to look past those mistakes as fast as you can and move on. For example, Amos booked us a disgusting hotel room in Italy. There were holes in the walls and we felt super unsafe. I was soooo angry at him for a few hours. I simmered down and got on Team Amos again. One time, I almost made us miss our flight to Australia because I was taking my sweet time checking out books at the store and strolling through the airport. Amos was so frustrated with me, but he was Team Disha all the way. When I asked him what he would have done if the gate closed on me, he said he would have been angry at me but he would have waited for me. Isn’t he the best? How’d I get so lucky?
16. Always Communicate with Each Other
What I mean by this is to check in with each other periodically. At the end of the day, we check in with each other to make sure we had a good day and we go over some of the highlights and pitfalls from our day. It’s important to hash out anything that went wrong so we’re not carrying that negativity into the next fresh day.
17. Let Go and Have Fun
Be yourselves and relax. Enjoy each others company. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing this whole travel with your partner thing wrong. Fall in love with your partner all over again. We’ve fallen in love with each other all over again several times – when we saw the Eiffel Tower light up, when we watched the sunset in Greece as we drank our wine and more.
Do you travel with your partner? What are your tips for a smooth and fun adventure with your significant other?
I hope you found my tips helpful for traveling with your partner. Don’t forget to pin this post for later!
Disha is a travel and lifestyle blogger who has visited 85+ countries with South Africa and the Maldives being her favorites. She gets butterflies sharing her travel and life experiences through words. She loves freedom, sunflowers, and long walks on the beach with her husband. She’s obsessed with helping others live a life they don’t have to escape from. Lastly, she makes travel more accessible, inclusive and attainable one trip at a time.