5 ways to travel as a couple and survive the process
Alesha and Jarryd are professional photographers, writers and the founders of Australia’s biggest adventure travel blog, NOMADasaurus. They’ve been exploring the world together since 2008, searching for culture and adventure in off the beaten path destinations.
12 years ago the two of us set off, alone, on our first-ever international trips. We were young, single and excited to see the world. Armed with working holiday visas for Canada, we started our travels off on our own, but quickly made hundreds of friends with other people doing the same thing as us.
About a year into our adventures, Alesha and I met in a hostel in Vancouver, immediately hit it off, and soon afterwards became a couple, travelling around Canada in a campervan and working the ski fields.
Fast forward 11 years and we are now happily married, run two businesses together, and are still travelling the world almost full time. After visiting over 70 countries, 6 continents and spending 7 of those years completely nomadic, we have become something of experts at travelling as a couple.
It hasn’t always been easy, and just like any couple, we have our ups and downs, but travelling the world together has been the greatest adventure we could have ever hoped for.
One of the most common questions we get asked is how to travel long-term as a couple and maintain a healthy relationship. Whether it’s for a month or a decade, travelling with your significant other has its own set of challenges than living and working together at home.
To help your relationship last the distance, here are some of our best tips to travel the world as a couple.
Make time for yourselves
When you are on a holiday with your partner or living at home, you will most likely book into nice restaurants, go on romantic dates and spend quality time together. When you are travelling long-term, these lovely outings often diminish as you are constantly together. Make sure you don’t let the spark die!
Treat your relationship the same way you would if you were back home. Get dressed up and go out for dinner every now and then, go for long walks in the park or on the beach for no particular reason other than to just hang out, and spend quality time with each other that isn’t about being a tourist.
Be happy to compromise with your interests
Most couples have a mutual desire to see and experience new things when on the road, and that’s what makes travelling the world with your partner so much fun – you have somebody important to you to share these experiences with!
But at the end of the day we’re all individuals too, and it’s important to not let one person’s interests start to dominate the theme of the trip.
If your partner really loves visiting historical sites, but you’d rather be checking out the street art scene, try to find a happy medium where you spend some time doing what they want, and then switch it up so you can do something that you’re interested in.
If you love history, don't just dig in your heels and demand a morning spent on a tour of a cathedral. Sit down and tell your partner why you are so passionate about it. Relay the history that got you so interested and get them excited for the same reasons you are. At the very least, this deepens their appreciation for your interests so that, even if they still don't feel the same way about cathedrals as you do, they will be more open to spending time with you exploring them.
Travelling slowly is our biggest tip for anybody looking to embark on a long-term journey, whether on their own or in a group, but if you want to travel as a couple, taking your time in places is the best way you can ensure you last the distance in your relationship.
When you’re moving between destinations every day, taking long transport and filling every waking moment with things to do, you’re going to eventually get fatigued or stressed. And when you’re feeling this way, you may end up taking out your frustrations on the person closest to you.
Rather than pushing yourself to breaking point by trying to follow a strict itinerary, slow things down and give yourself lots of time to relax in between activities.
Give yourself a week in one city instead of 3 days so you can take a day off from being a tourist to hang out with your partner, or do all of your sightseeing in the mornings and have leisurely afternoons. It will be good not only for your relationship, but your physical and mental state as well.
Spend a little time apart
When you are at home, you most likely spend lots of time apart from your partner. You might work in different places, socialise with your own friends or go to the gym separately. This time apart is healthy for your relationship, but it’s often something that doesn’t happen when you’re travelling as a couple.
When you’re on the road, it’s easy to end up spending every waking moment together. That’s fine if you’re gone for a few weeks, but when you’re travelling long-term, that much time together can either make or break your relationship.
Try to work in a bit of time apart. This can be as simple as going for walks or to attractions separately for a couple of hours, or even going to different destinations for a few days and meeting up later.
There are two main benefits to this:
1. This gives you a chance for your own alone time, in which you can reflect and be inside your own head for a while. This can be vital for regenerating energy, especially as no two personalities are the same and you might require more alone time than your partner.
2. You’ll also have something to talk about when you catch up. This is important when in a relationship as, while travelling as a couple is all about sharing experiences together, being able to tell a good story over dinner can be just as important.
Don't miss the chance to meet other people
Making friends on the road is surprisingly easy if you’re willing to put yourself out there. A simple smile and hello in a hostel or on a tour can lead to friendships that will last a lifetime. A lot of couples end up being so comfortable with each other’s company that they miss out on the chance to make new friends.
If you’re happy hanging out with only your partner, that is absolutely fine. However, don’t think that just because you are with somebody else that you can’t try to make friends with other people too.
Strike up a conversation with a stranger if you are both feeling sociable. Grab a beer, plan a hike together, or even team up to travel to other destinations. Travelling as a couple is great, but travelling with new friends as well can add a whole new dynamic and experience to your trip.
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