Couple travel can have its ups and downs.
As a seasoned solo traveller, I was a little bit apprehensive about taking the plunge with my partner, Theo. (Although not as apprehensive as he was, I think!)
On the other hand, I was also pretty confident that we would be okay.
The beginning of our relationship was rather unusual; I was living in Hong Kong and he was in the UK.
He visited me twice and we had a lovely holiday together both times.
Then, after 7 months of long-distance, I flew back to England and moved in with him!
We literally went from one extreme to the other. But it worked!
We were happily co-habiting and saving up travel money for a year before we bought our plane tickets and quit our jobs
Because we now knew we could live together, and we had already done a bit of travelling together, I knew we would be alright.
That’s not to say that it hasn’t been a huge adjustment. We’ve gone from living in a house together to spending almost every waking moment together. And our home is a small van that we travel New Zealand in.
We’ve both learned a lot about ourselves and each other, and about how we can keep the magic alive in our relationship.
So now, as we approach our first couple travel-versary together, I’d like to share with you some of the things we’ve learned over the past year.
(If you’d also like to see my tips for travelling solo, click here)
Some experiences are better shared
I did love exploring by myself in my solo travel days, or even with a travel buddy I’d met along the way. But there’s just something so special about sharing those incredible experiences with someone you love.
Beautiful beach sunsets, challenging hikes, mountain views, stunning road trips; they seem so much better when they’re accompanied by a hand squeeze or a shoulder to rest your head on.
And these memories are yours to keep forever.
Support is important
I have to admit, now that I’m travelling with Theo, I sometimes wonder how I ever did it without him.
Whether it’s with patience and encouraging words during one of our toughest day hikes, or a supportive pair of arms around me when anxiety strikes; he’s always there for me, and I for him.
No matter what’s going on, we both know that we’re a team and we’ll support each other no matter what. Even if we do get a little irritated with each other sometimes.
There are ALWAYS some down days when you’re travelling, whether alone or with someone else. But when you have someone there to support you it really makes a difference.
Decision making is harder
This may not be the case for everyone, but I’ve found decision making much more difficult while travelling with Theo.
We’re both so indecisive and we don’t want to decide on something that the other person might not like, so we go backwards and forwards until we both end up irritated.
At this point one of us usually throws their hands up and says “Okay, let’s just do X”, and we go off and and do something that we could have been doing 30 minutes earlier if we’d just decided on it in the beginning.
To our credit, we don’t often argue, and once something is decided on we do have a lovely time together.
But this leads on to my next point…
Time apart is good
Just because you’re travelling together, doesn’t mean you need to be together ALL THE TIME.
Time apart is good for you, and will hopefully help prevent yourselves from becoming irritable with each other.
Maybe there’s a particular attraction that you want to see and your partner doesn’t; it doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on it or that your partner needs to be dragged along like a bored child.
If you do different things that day, you both get some time to yourself and you’ll have a lot more to talk to each other about at the end of the day.
And even if you’re not out visiting places, you can still have time apart even when you’re together.
Maybe one of you is reading outside while the other is playing a game inside.
You’re different people and will most likely have different hobbies, so take some time to indulge in your own passion while your partner indulges in theirs.
Splitting costs is good for the budget
When you’re travelling solo on a budget, you will most likely be staying in hostel dorms or a cheap alternative.
However, with couple travel, the cost of a private room split between two is often even cheaper.
In New Zealand, we bought a camper van and split the cost of the vehicle itself, petrol and camping spots. This made it much cheaper than if either of us had been travelling alone.
If you can fit all your dirty clothes into one wash, you save money. If you stay in one place for a while and rent a room together, you’ll be paying a lot less when you split the cost than if you were alone.
The list goes on.
Two brains are better than one
Theo’s memory is great for many things, including remembering to check the oil in the car, bring the shopping bags to the supermarket and obscure details of a TV show he watched five years ago, but is terrible at remembering where he’s put things.
“Where’s my wallet?” is uttered daily, accompanied by an eye roll from me.
On the other hand, I’m great at remembering where we’ve been, who we’ve met and how long it’s been since we last called home, but I can never remember to charge my phone.
We compliment each other pretty well; Theo’s always got a power bank charged and ready when my phone dies, and our families get regular updates on our travels and assurance that we’re still alive.
Aside from memory, it’s also pretty great to have another brain around to come up with ideas that you never would have thought of otherwise.
Always talk it out
Let’s face it: there are bound to be a few arguments when you’re living practically on top of each other, no matter how perfect your relationship,
It’s easy to get annoyed and stop talking to each other, but I find that it’s best to cool off and then talk reasonably and rationally about the problem.
We usually agree that it was a pointless argument anyway and then we’re back to our usual selves again.
In a few days, weeks or years, you won’t believe that you even argued about it in the first place, so there’s no point wasting time fighting unnecessarily about the small things.
Just talk it out as much and as often as possible.
Although I loved travelling solo, I’m so happy with my new travel life with Theo.
There’s nothing better than curling up in the duvet together on rainy nights and watching Netflix with a glass of wine, driving to unplanned destinations together and seeing what we can find, walking on a deserted beach together in the moonlight and watching the sun come up, pushing each other to reach the summit of a mountain, and so many more unforgettable moments that just happen when you travel as a couple.
We’ve both learned so much in a year and I can’t wait to see what unfolds for us in the years to come.
Do you have any couple travel tips or stories? Share them in the comments!
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