HUGE Disclaimer: I am definitely not an expert on this subject. Every opinion expressed here is my own based on my own experiences. What works in my relationship doesn’t mean it will work for yours!
My relationship with Casey has been built on the fact that we both love to travel. In fact, I think that traveling is what has made us as close as we are and what has made our relationship as strong as it is. Within the first year of dating, we took seven trips together. And no, I’m not talking about taking the train out to Long Island together… like actual trips.
As I write this, we are on a four hour train to Prague and embarking into our third straight month of traveling around Europe. We are taking this whole “travel together” thing to the extreme.
Obviously, not everyone reading this is going to end up traveling for 8-9 months non-stop with their significant other (or even want to), but I think that the advice below is applicable regardless if you’re in a long term relationship or just starting out, or if you are backpacking around the World or just taking a weekend road trip to the beach.
So here we go…
1. Plan the trip together
This might seem pretty obvious, but it’s more than just sitting at the computer and agreeing on flights and a hotel. Planning the trip together and agreeing upon the details not only ensures that the trip will get off to a smooth start (nothing worse that arriving somewhere and realizing the person who booked the hotel picked a really bad location), but it’s going to get both of you so excited for the trip. You’ll start talking about restaurants to eat at, museums to visit, what to pack, etc. You’ve basically created a whole new set of conversation topics for date night next week!
2. Speak up!
Maybe you’re not a museum person and he wants to spend all day at the Louvre. Or perhaps your feet are killing you from the day before and she scheduled a three-hour walking tour around the city. At the beginning of a relationship, when it’s supposed to be all sunshine and rainbows and you’re all about appeasing the other person, it can be difficult to disagree with their opinions about what to do and where to go. But remember that it’s your trip too, and if one of you isn’t having a good time, NO ONE is having a good time. So what do you do? Compromise! Maybe opt for a bike or segway tour instead of walking all day. Maybe spend some time apart (see number 4 below) and let him do the museum while you do some shopping on the Champs-Élyseés. Making sure that you’re on the same page throughout the trip makes for a much more enjoyable experience all around.
3. You’re going to argue, and that’s okay.
Hell, Casey and I got in a fight two nights ago and at the time I thought it was the worst thing that has ever happened. And you know what? The next morning we woke up and we were fine. It’s going to happen (especially on a round-the-world trip). Traveling in general is super stressful. Between delayed flights, noisy passengers, uncomfortable hotel beds, it can drive the happiest person into a fit of anger. And then you throw your relationship into the middle of it and WHAM, it can be the perfect storm. Am I doing a good job talking you out of this completely?
No honestly, fights are going to happen. That’s relationship advice 101. It’s more about learning how to react in stressful situations and how to communicate with each other. Casey and I have very different personalities when it comes to stress & how we cope with it, but through traveling together we know the triggers and warning signs and we’re learning how to avoid/manage them. (For example: I’ve learned I don’t do well walking long distances in the heat and when Casey gets hangry, we’re screwed.)
4. Alone time is wonderful
Wait what? Isn’t this entire post about how great it is to travel with your S.O.? Well yes, and let me explain. Traveling with your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife is awesome and you should do it as often as possible for more reasons than I can express… but it’s also A LOT of time together. It doesn’t matter if the trip is few days, a week, or a month long- you are with one other person all.of.the.time.
And honestly, that’s just not natural for someone like me, a self-diagnosed “social introvert”. What exactly is a social introvert, you ask? I love hanging out with my friends and going to social events like parties, work functions, etc. But I love love LOVE my alone time. I need alone time like I need air.
And when you’re falling asleep and waking up next to someone day after day, sharing a small apartment, and doing everything together, it can be exhausting. Honestly.
So every day, take some time for yourself. Get up early and go for a run, grab a book & read by the pool for an hour or two, listen to some music or watch a movie. Do anything but hang out together. Seriously. Your relationship will thank you for it and you’ll be that much happier to hang out later.
5. Travel together!
I can’t express this enough. Like I said at the beginning, a lot of the success of our relationship (other than the fact that we’re both really awesome people), I base on the fact that we got to know each other and our personalities through traveling as a couple. We have made countless memories by exploring new places together and they are memories that I wouldn’t trade for anything.