All you need is love and … some advice for travelling together.
They (I’m not sure who ‘they’ are but you know who I mean) think there are certain things that you should do as a couple before you get married to test whether this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. The list includes using a slow internet connection, untangling Christmas tree lights, putting together flat pack furniture and travel.
I’m a huge fan of travel, whether it’s just a weekend away some where close or a huge overseas blow out, I’m in, all in, every time! Travelling has a way of broadening your mind I know it’s cliche but it’s so true. It allows you to see how others live, different cultures, landscapes and people. It also has the ability to show you so many more sides to your mate. So along with a heck of a lot of reading on the topic and my travel experiences with my darling husband, I’m come up with some thoughts and advice on travelling with your partner.
You will learn so much more about your partner – Travelling takes you out of your comfort zone, both as an individual and as a couple. It opens your eyes up to the world around you. It forces you to engage with other cultures, foods and etiquette. All of which may be scary, and new and different, and exciting and tiring and fun. It has the ability to show you how your partner deals with frustration and being tired and hungry.
One of the biggest challenges will be spending all of your time together – My husband and I are not the type of people who need to spend every minute together, in fact we start getting on each others nerves after a long weekend together. It has taken us a long, long time of both marriage and travelling together to figure this out about ourselves and to know that it’s OK. We make sure we have some down-time (alone time) when we travel, some-times it’s just having a few hours of time apart to wander around, or even if it’s just putting the headphones on and reading a magazine in another room. It stops us from annoying each other, and it absolutely works for us.
Compromise – Like relationships full stop, travel requires compromise. It requires knowing what each other wants to do and not do and then making a decision and itinerary based on making sure you both get a bit of what you want. Example, just over 10 years ago (before our son was born) we planned a 5 week overseas trip (both of us had regrets over not having done our OE when we were younger, so decided to go for it together, before we started a family) we each had a list of places we wanted to visit on our trip, so we had to compromise and make decisions so each of us got what we wanted.
Communication – Keeping the lines of communication open when travelling is essential. You need to voice your opinion, you need to be able to say when you’re not happy, talk it through and then let it go, otherwise it’s going to be a long, long trip.
Manage expectations – Take some time before your trip to talk about your expectations for the trip. How do you see yourselves spending your time, are you going to be up at the crack of dawn, and going all day, or are you going to be lounging by the pool all day?
Budget – The dreaded B word. What are you willing to splurge on, and what are you happy to save on. Do you want 5 star hotel rooms, but eat cheap street food, or do you want to spend the dollars doing all the tourist things, or just wander around town and soak up the (free) atmosphere.
Each others schedules – Are you an early riser and he prefers to sleep in? Then you’re going to have some trouble and arguments, unless you have a conversation about it and manage your schedules. This is where that magic word “compromise” comes into play, and managing your expectations.
Eat before you get “hangry” – I think this advice has the potential to save many a relationship in any situation, not just travel.
Travelling together will definitely strengthen your relationship, it will help you to accept each other as you are warts and all (and you will probably see all the warts, and dodgy tummies and stinky feet, when you travel together). You will get an insight into your partners ‘preparation style’ my husband and I have completely different ‘preparation styles’ when it comes to travel, I pack about 2 weeks ahead of time and think of every possible scenario I will need to pack for, and probably pack too much, he on the other hand packs about 2 hours before we leave, by just randomly throwing things into the suitcase, and then forgetting essentials, which we inevitably end up having to buy while overseas, which may not sound that bad, until you are scouring the streets of Hong Kong for deodrant (tip – it’s very, very hard to find)
The more you travel together the more of a team/unit you will become, you will become more efficient together, and learn which of you is better at holding the passports and who can read maps better. I always hold the passports and tickets and he deals with the suitcases.
Travelling together allows you to create fantastic life-long memories together. And you’ll have so many of those “Remember when we saw that thing in that place” conversations (that is actually how we start a lot of your conversations, but they may be more about old age than anything else)
There’s nothing quite like experiencing a new place with a loved one.