Traveling as a couple truly tests your love for one another. You aren’t usually “your best self” when you absolutely stink, are exhausted, stressed about money or homesick. But boy do you learn SO much about each other when your love is pushed to the limits.
My husband and I were only 19 years old when we went on our first long trip together. This adventure entailed a 2 month traverse across South America and there were plenty of ups and downs. You think you know someone fairly well… until you see them vomiting up their guts, peeing in the backcountry, shattered after two long days of transit, or pushed to exhaustion on a multi-day trek. During that trip I learnt an incredible amount about myself but also about my husband (who was my boyfriend of 18 months at the time). I learnt that it’s okay to look gross and feel vulnerable in front of each other, that it actually brings you closer. It showed me that we could both step up in times of need and take care of each other. It taught me to have (A LOT) of patience and kindness, even if it was the last thing I felt like doing. Over the course of those 2 months we saw the best and the worst sides of each other. There were some things that I didn’t like to see or feel, but these moments helped our relationship to grow and mature.
Looking like babies in South America, excuse the poor photo quality – we clearly weren’t photographers back then!
I have taken many more trips with my husband since that South American journey. The longest of these trips being when we road tripped for 3 months across North America, and the 6 weeks we spent together in Europe. When we eventually were married in November, 2014, I felt like I knew the real man behind those gorgeous blue eyes. I believe spending 24 hours a day together on those long trips really helped us get to know one another and grow closer.
These are some of the things I have learnt about traveling with a loved one. I am definitely not perfect and have fallen victim to all of these mistakes, but you live and you learn right?
- Go with the flow. Don’t be that annoying person who needs to have everything planned to the last second. This can be very stressful and will make the trip feel rushed. If things don’t work out as they expected, just laugh about it and brainstorm what you both will do next.
- Have some alone time. Sometimes the only “alone time” you will get is when you use the bathroom or take a shower, and these are often not even option if you are camping. Deliberately schedule some alone time. For us this often looks like one of us grabbing a coffee or going for a walk while the other person chills in the hotel, or wherever.
- Don’t forget to be nice. When you are on the go all the time it might slip your mind to say nice words to each other or show your appreciation. I think it is important to still say those things you might think the other person just “knows”, like a simply “thank you”, “please” or “I love you”.
- Acknowledge when things are tough. When everything just sucks it can help to point it out and make a conscience effort to not let it get between you. Try to laugh about it and work through it together. If you turn on each other it will suck WAY more.
- A silly car singalong will always make you feel good. Even if you have been driving for hours, crank up your favorite tunes and dance and sing until our heart is content. My husband and I often get to a “delirious” stage when we have been traveling for a while. Blasting Taylor Swift at full volume never ceases to put us in a better mood (my husband my kill me for writing that…)
- Don’t forget to bring a tripod if you want some photos together! We often get asked how we capture our travel photos together. They are nearly always taken with our camera mounted on a tripod with the 10 second timer on. You can always use selfie sticks or ask a friendly tourist to snap one for you.
I would highly recommend traveling with your loved one if you haven’t already. My husband is my favorite travel partner and I can’t wait for all of our future trips.