How to travel with your partner (without killing them)
Updated: Jan 31, 2020
We all see and follow a travelling couple on Instagram don't we? Or even just that couple next door that seem like a match made in heaven! And we all look at their flawless, loveydovey posts and wish that we could have such a perfect life (or dry heave at how embarrassingly cringey their posts about each other are - keep it for the bedroom guys!). A lot of us are guilty for glamorising our pretty normal lives on social media a wee bit, myself included. And a lot of us look at these kind of posts and wish it was us. Reality check: nobodies life is perfect. Not even our most favoured celebs, bloggers, YouTubers, the list goes on. It is often hard to remember but social media is a massive dick for allowing people to parade around and a be little bit cocky. It is also a wonderful platform for sharing awesome experiences and stories - I suppose it just depends how you choose to use it. Be yourself, or someone else?
Anyway, I went a little off track there as usual. My point is that travelling in a relationship is NOT always as easy as we show online. James and I are lucky in the fact that we are both pretty easy going and chilled out people. We don't shout or scream, and when we do argue it is normally resolved in a few hours. That is just how our personalities work together, and for us travelling as a pair work well. Of course, it is a challenge. A big one. So I wanted to cover the main and important things that James and I have pushed into our routines that I feel makes our travelling relationship work better, as well as mentioning the reality of being a travelling couple.
Travelling with anyone, whether a partner or a friend can be and is a massive commitment. You will be spending nearly all of your time together, and doing countless stressful activities as a duo (booking accommodation, flights, finances, just to name a few). Make sure you think about it and act smart. You don't want to be stuck in a position where you begin to resent your best pal!
Firstly lets be real, here are what I would call the truths of a travelling couple..
You will argue it may be an obvious fact, but do not jet off with your partner and expect to never ever argue. Just because you are in a new country on an amazing adventure doesn't mean those silly arguments and debates you have at home won't happen. In fact, they are probably more likely to happen. Travelling is not like living each other in the sense that you are more or less in it together 24/7. You are (in most situations) literally living in a peapod together, and if something does go wrong you can't just move back in with your parents. You must be prepared to sort and fight through your problems together instead of going in a huff and telling all your pals its over.
People will assume you are exclusive. Unfortunately, a lot of people see you a couple and assume that you do not need anymore company than each others. It is frustrating but it happens a lot. Nobody wants to be your third wheel, so they figure its easier just to avoid you. James and I love making new pals together or as individuals, and a third wheel is always welcome with us. We are not PDA at all which I suppose has made it easier for us to socialise as people don't assume that we are always sharing a private moment together. However, it can still be difficult and you will most likely have to make the first move and spark a conversation.
You will get asked the same thing all the time and I mean ALL the time! You guys are such a good couple. Where did you guys meet? How long have you been dating? All the classic will be pulled out of the bag. Believe me, telling people how me and James met has completely lost its shine now, it is like a well rehearsed class presentation.
You won't get much time alone. Unless you can afford to fork out extra money for a private room, hostel life pretty much guarantees no 'private time' with you partner. Of course I am not just referring to 'sexy' stuff, generally it is nice to have your own space as a couple and not feel like animals in a zoo when you are cuddling in your 12 man dorm. It can be a little annoying, but sleeping in separate bunks and not being all over each other has is fairly easy. Unfortunately however, some people do not care if you are there to witness their 'private time'. Nice I know, best bring your earplugs.
You will get to know each other in every way possible. Living together while travelling will bring up some awesome experiences. It will also bring up some less than awesome experiences. You will see each other at your worst, and I mean your VERY worst. Feeling homesick, feeling ill, throwing up after too many cocktails, rubbing moisturiser onto each others gross peeley sunburn, suffering from a long stint of Thai tummy, the list goes on. It is really just a very odd and extreme bonding method.
Now that we have highlighted just some of the things to expect to experience as a travelling couple, here are a few tips and tricks I like to think have stopped James and I from throttling each other. These probably won't work for everyone, but it is worth giving them a go!
Share daily jobs fairly
I highly recommend having allocated jobs and fairly sharing all the organising between you. Luckily for me, James worked as a chef for a year and loves cooking. And luckily for James I actually enjoy cleaning and tidying us his mess! Our job allocating works perfectly by itself. James cooks, I clean. Sometimes we switch things up, but normally we stick to James in the kitchen because I suck at cooking. Giving each other an even work load (in my opinion) reduces the possibility of a disagreement over who does what and when. Work together, it is much easier for everyone.
Give each other space
Just because you are travelling together does not mean you have to spend every single available moment together. You NEED your own space. To me, giving each other space is probably the most important factor of keeping things healthy. It could be as simple as just sitting and chilling out as an individual or even going out with friends without your other half. You are a unit together, but still entirely separate people. Having time alone is important and valuable.
Learn to be forgiving and accepting
You are going to learn a lot about each other while you travel, first and foremost weird habits. James now knows I have a bitchy comeback for absolutely everything, and I now know that James excels in leaving his clothes in all areas of the house. You may discover things that you don't like about each other, or things that will irritate the shit out of you. These little things are amplified when you are living in such close proximity to one another every day. My advice, be accepting and learn to get over it. This also ties into the point I made earlier; arguments will happen. By all means let them, but unlike at home get over them. None of your bunkies want to have to deal with you awkward silence treatment either, so make life easier and learn to say sorry. I know that you may think you're right (in my head I am always right!) but let go of your pride and learn from it.
Sharing is caring
Something that has made travelling together much easier is sharing. It may sound minuscule and stupid, but adopting a more selfless approach has kept things fair and even throughout our travels. When we booked out trip, we decided to transfer a small amount of £15 each a week into a savings account; by the time we left we had around £600 in there. We decided we would use this card for meals, food, and small activities we were doing together. I can honestly say this is one of the best tips I can give. No more arguing over who pays the bill, no more owing each other, no more uneven balances - just a simple and even top up every now and then.
Enjoy the little things
Since you jetted off, I can have a guess that things like fancy meals out and romantic hotel breaks have gone out the window? After all you have much more important thing to be spending your money on, like food and a place to sleep. Instead of forking out money for expensive date nights, enjoy the little things. If travelling has taught me anything, it is that money means very little. Okay, so obviously money enables you to travel in the first place, but hypothetically its value for me has changed. I would rather spend my evening watching the stars than staying in a swish hotel in the city. Learn to 'expect nothing and appreciate everything'. Treat every night as date night, and occasionally organise you cliche cinema date; they will feel much more luxury than usual.
So that's that! Reading this back make it sound like James and I argue all the time. We don't, in fact we hardly ever fall out, This post is simply a guide and eye-opener to how we like to travel as a couple. Catch you next time!
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