Tips on Traveling as a Couple

You may have already heard that traveling as a couple can make or break your relationship. This is because you are going to be spending time with each other almost 24/7. Perhaps the closest you get to spending a lot of time with your partner is after you get married.However, if you really think about it, even in marriage, the day is broken up by work. When travelling you are going to be spending time side by side, day in and night out.

Why travel together?

LJ and I have quickly discovered that holidays together are way more fun than holidays apart. Besides being a couple, he is also my best friend in the entire world. Over our time travelling as a couple, LJ and I have developed a hive-mind. We make decisions seamlessly and pickup on each other’s mood throughout the whole trip. Granted, this did not come easy.

When we began travelling, we did not have the luck of getting tips and advice. We just winged it. You might think that you could too and it will work out A-ok but I would highly caution against that. Our relationship was really put through the gutter at times and even though we got out closer and stronger – we would not relive some of those experiences. I did mention the hive-mind that we developed. What does a hive-mind look like when traveling as a couple? Well, we are able to make decisions throughout our trip without needing to consult each other. We know what type of accommodation, activities and food we want. We know exactly what the other person would choose if they were in that situation.

a couple by a swimming pool

Tips on travelling as a couple

Know Your Travel Style

Before our roadtrip across Canada, LJ and I had endless discussions as to what we wanted to do while on the trip. I wanted things planned to a T, while he was more of a ‘lets go with the flow’ fellow. At the time, I thought his method was a little too reckless and completely lazy. I fought against my inner voice and decided to trust him with the entire trip planning. Oh boy! It was a tremendous success. Before hitting the road with your partner, here are two questions to ask;

  1. Are you a spontaneous panner or do you go with the flow?
  2. What type of activities are you looking to do?

These questions will help you plan your trip better and pick a location that is suited to both your needs. After all, not everyone wants to be laying down on a beach somewhere in Bali or traversing the Everest. It is important to;

  • Choose a destination that you are both keen on
  • Ensure that the destination offers activities that you both want to try
mixed couple playing in the water
Photo by Briona Baker on Unsplash

Pre-Travel as a Couple

So what happens when you cannot find what you enjoy doing or figure out your travel style. You could take a quiz here or you could pre-travel. Pick a weekend trip to a destination not too far from home. This will help you further understand how you travel and your partner’s travel style. Remember that the more you travel together, the easier and more fun it becomes. Things that used to bother LJ and I back then barely get any attention these days.

Pre-traveling as a couple will also allow you to learn about your various strengths while on a trip. For example;

  1. LJ is the better driver while I am better at navigation.
  2. At some destinations, LJ is a better communicator as he knows the language.
  3. LJ has better orientation than I do, we had to get a bit lost while hiking to know this.
  4. I am a better planner than LJ. While on our roadtrip, I would focus on finding things to do and places to park and sleep. One app that saved us a ton was iOverlander, a non-profit app that is completely volunteer run.
couple with a dog camping
Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

Beware of Hanger

Quite often when travelling, we get so immersed in all the new adventures that we forget to refuel our bodies. Our trip to Hell’s Gate was one such adventure. I went bike riding and explored parts of the park on nothing but a bag of chips. Now I do not need to explain to you what hanger does to someone. We were out in the middle of the park with nothing to eat and to add fuel to the fire – it started raining. Ha! I slowly started getting grumpy and really upset. Not only does hanger make you easily agitated but it also makes you miss out on the fun stuff. LJ and I had to go back the following day to enter the gates of hell because my mind was only focused on food. Having some snacks on stand-by is a killer way to beat hanger.

traveling a couple planning and budgeting
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Have the Money Talk

Let your trip be guided by the lower-income partner. It is very important to decide who will be paying for what and how much money each of you is willing to bring in for the trip. This is not a fun conversation but it will ease a lot of pressure of your trip. One method LJ and I like to use is that for all our travels is – one of us pays for everything and then the other refunds once the trip is over. It helps us keep track of our spending as well as keeping our cash secure.

If you can, open a travel account together. This will ensure that the rest of your money is safely locked away in the event of hacking and theft.

Should the higher- income partner insist on pricier experiences, they should cover the difference in cost.

Having a budget of how much you will spend everyday is also super important. LJ and I had a travel budget during our roadtrip but we did not have a daily budget. When it got to the last few days of our trip, we had almost completely exhausted our trip budget. One cool app to help your budget better is Trail Wallet. Ps: It is designed by Simon and Erin, the travel couple behind Never Ending Voyage.

Pack Items in Each Others Bags

On our first trip together, I got to Vancouver but my bags did not. I had to wait about a week to get my bags delivered to me. While the airline was kind enough to pay for the items I had to buy while my bag was being tracked, it was very inconvenient to shop for items in a foreign country.

Through that experience LJ and I came to learn the value of a carry-on bag. Not just any carry-on, this one. As well, ensure you have an outfit or two in each other’s bags incase one bag goes missing. PS: This is my fave thing about traveling as a couple, more space for me ahah!

traveling as a couple packing bags
Photo by ConvertKit on Unsplash

Get Insurance

This comes as a no-brainer. During our trips we have been fortunate enough to not need insurance. I have always used Allianz while travelling. Every time I have had to get insurance, they have walked me through every bit of what I need and made me a package tailored to my needs. Besides having medical and repatriation cover, Allianz also covered; emergency evacuations, lost/stolen luggage as well as missed and delayed flights.

PS: When my bags were lost, Allianz were willing to send me some money as I waited for the airline to find them. I did not take them up on this offer but it was great to know that they had my back.

Surprise Each Other

While a trip in itself is a nice gesture, having surprises planned along the way really takes it over the top. It shows your partner that you are thinking of them throughout the trip and it makes them feel special. While we were at Peeking into Hell’s GateHell’s Gate, LJ wanted to surprise me with a trip to the Geothermal Spa, sadly it was closed due to Covid. However, the gesture made me feel really special. Later that evening, we could not agree on what to do the following day. The conversation was much easier to navigate as LJ had filled up my ‘love tank’. Ha! He is really smart.

Some surprises you can plan while on vacation include;

  1. A trip to the spa
  2. Breakfast in bed
  3. Spending time doing something they love that you might not like as much. Eg: going hiking with him or going shopping with her
  4. A handwritten letter delivered to them during a meal
  5. A gift you saw that reminded you of them
traveling a couple spending quality time together
Photo by Jeremy Banks on Unsplash

Try Something New

It is easy to get stuck in your comfort zone while travelling as a couple. LJ and I like to fully immerse ourselves in activities that a location offers, no matter how terrible we are. Whether it is going on a trampoline park and not landing that flip – true story, or riding a tandem bike, there is definitely a new adventure for everyone. Some of our funniest and most memorable experiences have come from trying out new things. Here are two noteworthy memories;

  • The Tandem Bike – After playing around with who should be at the front, we finally agreed that LJ should lead. What started as a scary experience ended up bringing us closer. You get to learn a thing or two about trust when on a tandem bike. LJ is about a foot taller than me. This means that I could not see where we were going and all I had to do was pedal and hope that we do not fall into the ocean.
  • The Escape Room – I had never heard of escape rooms until LJ mentioned them. Basically an escape room is a game you play with either your partner alone or a bunch of more people. You get locked in a room and have to unravel the clues to get to the end and have the door unlocked. For next time, we would love to do this game with other people.
same-sex couple
Photo by Nancy Nguyen on Unsplash

Plan Some Alone Time

Even though you are traveling as a couple, it is very important to have some alone time. This will allow you to enjoy the destination by yourself and do things specific to what you want. You may want to head to a carnival for the day while your partner might prefer a day laying in bed. Instead of arguing about it, convert the day to an alone time day. You get to go to the carnival and they get to lounge in bed. Win-win.

Statistically,while traveling as a couple, about 1 in 10 couples will break-up because of spending too much time together. It is not really natural to spend time 24/7 with someone for an extended period of time. Having alone time will make you miss each other even more and it will allow you to have your own independence while on a trip.

multi-racial plus sized couple

Fall In Love and Take Photos

LJ and I have fallen in love multiple times while travelling. We fell in love zip-lining, trying out new foods and spending cold winter nights cuddled up in our camper van. Take time to truly immerse yourselves in your destination and each other. Many couples would agree that they found new ways to fall in love with their partner whilst on vacation.

As well, document your trip as much as you can. You could always buy a tiny memory card or hard drive to store all your memories from a trip so as to clear space on your gadgets. Looking back at our photos, we realise that we have photos of each other but rarely do we have photos together. Have a tripod and practice taking photos with it. Tripods are a super cool way to take photos while traveling as a couple. Ask people to take pictures of you or get creative with the positioning of your camera.

Lens Buddy is a super great app for this. You can set a timer interval for taking photographs. That means, you can place your camera on the tripod and ask the app to take a photo every 5 seconds until you click stop. Way better than running to click the timer after every photo.

traveling as a couple taking pictures

Ditch the Plan

Things may not always go your way, sometimes better things show up. While traveling as a couple, you should both be ready to ditch your plans and go with the flow. Maybe there is a festival you only heard about recently, why not check out? Or a super cool restaurant? As well, you could also shred your passports (haha jk). Sometimes while travelling, couples find a destination that they absolutely fall in love with. Why not just work towards permanently relocating there?

Thats it from me on tips for traveling as a couple! Have you travelled as a couple before? What tips would you have for other couple travellers? Save this article for later or share it with a couple that’s about to travel. I would love to hear from you as well.

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