Whether it’s a week-long jaunt or you’re backpacking a year away, the experiences we have when we travel can be truly life-changing.
The people, the places and the searching of the soul are often enough to leave a legacy in the mind that lasts forever, but when we decide to go with our nearest and dearest, it can add a few fresh flavors into what should already be a recipe for success.
There may be a few bumps along the way – as with most aspects of a healthy relationship – but if you follow these simple steps, you can maximize your chances at creating the trip of a lifetime.
When we go traveling, a lot of us do so on a budget, and when you travel as a pair, often that budget needs to go a little farther.
That being said, eating lukewarm cup noodles in the grimiest hostel this city suburb has to offer grows old pretty quickly, so it’s important to treat each other in the ways in which you were accustomed at home.
Always make time for a (quality) romantic meal or a night of 5-star pampering. Include it in the budget, or hell, just put it on the credit card. You’ll pay it off when you get back to the real world.
Sure you decided to go traveling together, but that doesn’t mean you have to live in each other’s pockets for the entire duration of the trip.
The importance of space in a relationship can not be underestimated and while the idea of spending day after day of quality time with the person you love may seem like a dream come true, you can’t change your interests and nor should you; and you shouldn’t expect your partner to either.
The joys of a whole day in the Musée d’Orsay to one person are akin to visiting a back-street dentist to another, so don’t be afraid to do things on your own from time to time. Your experience will be all the richer without someone moaning about how having teeth pulled would be less boring than this.
With all that in mind, when choosing where to go, be sure to pick a place – or places – that are of interest to both of you.
Doing one or two things separately is fine – even recommended – but what is the point of going away at all if one of you is going to spend the whole time at the beach while the other heads to the hills for a spot of hiking?
You may well have been together for a number of years and still be the best of buds, so use your individual strengths and likes to plan some things then compare and compromise with your partner for the happiest end result.
Adapt to the Unexpected
Whether or not you lived with your partner before the trip, and no matter how inside-out you think you know them, it’s probable that you will see several different aspects of their personality that simply hadn’t surfaced until you decided to jet off together.
Traveling can be stressful, complicated and tiring, but it is also eye-opening, powerful and liberating, and seeing how your lover deals with these emotions and situations – both the positive and the negative – will probably allow you to see them in a whole new light.
Prepare yourself for the possibility of someone so familiar behaving in an unfamiliar way and embrace the fact that there is even more depth to their character than you ever imagined.
Be Open to the Word of Mouth
In many aspects of everyday life, our experiences are heavily influenced by the people who play a role in them, and this is perhaps best highlighted in a traveling situation.
For the sake of your shared experience, it is important to be open and welcoming to new people, as the conversations you have and the advice you receive almost always enrich your experience on the road.
Nobody is going to approach the couple who isolate themselves from the rest of the group and show no interest in socializing. If this is you, you need to stop being jealous of other people giving your partner attention and open your arms, your mouths and your minds to the influences the bit-part players have on the final cut as a whole.
American writer Art Buchwald once said that ‘the best things in life aren’t things’ and the experiences you have, the stories you tell and the memories you share are just a few of the incredible advantages of traveling with the person you love.
It may not always be easy, but if done properly and with care, it can form the kind of bond that keeps relationships on the straight and narrow forever.