6 easy travel tips for couples traveling long term
Traveling long term with your loved one is a great experience, but it can be tough! I've been on the road with my partner for almost a decade. Here's my best tips for couple travel.
I think there is nothing better than sharing your passion for traveling with your significant other.
I have known so many people in my life that didn't realize their travel dreams because their partner didn't agree on chasing after them, and I always found that really sad.
In my opinion, if you are lucky enough to find a person that is special to you, that shares not only a great love for you but also a passion for travel, then you have definitely won the lottery!
But make sure to keep this in mind: traveling as a couple is not always the easiest thing, especially if you do it long term and on a budget!
You will quickly have to learn the art of continuous compromise, patience when things get complicated or stressful, forgiveness when your partner makes a mistake that has an impact on both of you. It will happen; you can't avoid it, it is simply part of the experience.
It is easy to lose your temper when you find yourself in the middle of nowhere and something unexpected gets in your way. Or to recriminate on something your partner was supposed to do, and didn't. Or just to get upset for no reason at all.
I know. I have been there. Many times!
But don't worry; you just need to know my secret travel tips for couples!
After almost ten years of traveling with my partner long-term while on a budget, I could say I have some experience in-the-field.
My intention in writing this blog is to share what I've learned along the way; the ups and downs, the lessons and revelations, and the secrets and best travel tips for couples that I've discovered through testing and living them myself.
Secrets and top travel tips for couples traveling long term
1. Time together is important, but always being together is not the best option
Before leaving for our big "one-way ticket trip" ('Viaggio Solo Andata' in Italian — now the name of our travel blog!), I was so worried: how would always being together for such a long period of time would turn out?
During your average day-to-day couple life in the place you call home, you usually spend some time together and some apart; at work, with personal friends, and so on. But when you travel as a couple, you are ALWAYS together! There is often no other option.
This can be really tiring. The first few weeks are great, but after a while you may start feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Furthermore, for some reason, socializing and making new friends is not as easy when you are a couple as when you travel solo.
How did my partner and I resolve this? Well, first, we learned that the best tip for a couple traveling together is to find social and interactive activities that force you into meeting other people and sharing your time with them.
Personally, I think the best way to do this is to use a work exchange platform like Worldpackers.
Traveling with Worldpackers gives you a lot of wonderful advantages that will help you grow both as individuals and as a couple.
First of all, you get to live with locals. Your hosts are families, NGOs, entrepreneurs, and all different kinds of open-minded, creative people with a true interest in meeting people from a different culture while sharing theirs with you. I personally believe this unique kind of cultural exchange is the best possible way to experience a destination, as you really get to experience life as a local.
Worldpackers currently offers a Couple and Friends Plan for couples and friends traveling together! The plan costs $59 and gives you and your travel partner full access to use Worldpackers experiences for one year.
As Verified Members, you and your significant other can apply to any host that accepts doubles! Just remember that it's only possible to apply for volunteer positions if both profiles are completed and if both of you fulfill the characteristics required on the position description.
While staying with Worldpackers hosts, you will try homemade food (and help cook it), share stories, go to the market, and meet your host's friends. As a couple, you will have your own time to do things together and visit the place you're in, but you'll also experience a lot of situations where you will be with your host and your partner will be out, and you'll both meet new people and often be immersed in different, interesting activities.
You will also get to know other world-packers! People from all walks of life; amazing human beings willing to give back to the country they are visiting, who are often long term travelers with incredible stories!
You and your partner will make new friends and share extraordinary adventures with them, so much that after few days you will feel like you have known them forever. And as a couple, you will feel even closer and more connected to each other, as it always happens when you are with good friends and have fun together.
2. Share everything, even burdens and problems
Another good travel tip for couples is to try and share everything.
It's very easy when you are always on the move the become a little "greedy" of your things, as they become your only possessions in the world.
But if your partner needs something, has lost or broken something, it's a good move to be supportive and share your resources.
This also goes for the burden of your backpack. For example, my partner and I always travel with camping gear, which can be very heavy. But, we share the burden! We open up the tent and equally divide the materials, or sometimes we swap who is carrying what or even switch backpacks entirely.
Also, be vocal; share your concerns! If you have a growing doubt or worry, or if you are not happy about something, speak your mind before the negative feeling grows inside of you and gets out of control. You can't afford being too moody when you lack your usual "me time" to let it go.
3. If you want something done (exactly the way you want it), do it yourself
A big reason for arguments between partners — both in day-to-day life and while traveling — is the recrimination about something that the other was supposed to do something and didn't do well enough (a personal opinion).
During traveling this dynamic tends to happen more often, and has a greater impact on you and your partner.
Booking a hostel or hotel for the night, finding a host on Worldpackers, choosing where to go next or what to visit... there are so many choices to make everyday. A bad choice made out of distraction or tiredness can have a lot of consequences.
The solution is... do it yourself. Or, better said, don't expect your partner to shoulder all the responsibilities. Hold yourself as accountable as your partner. If you're not there to double-check and support, it means you are as complicit in the mistake as your partner is, and the fault is on both of you.
As compelling as it may be, never say "I told you so!"
4. Always find your "me time"
Are there things you are used to do on your own when you were at home? Going for a run, painting, reading, listening to music... whatever it was, make sure you find the time to do it while traveling with your partner!
Always being together can be a challenge, and not necessarily a positive one.
Even after almost ten years of traveling with my partner, we are still not used to it, and we both know it's not always the right thing for our relationship. For this reason, we make sure to spend some moments and days apart and each find our respective "me time" while on the road.
You need to do things on your own, from time to time, even if for just 15 minutes.
5. You can't compromise on everything
This tip is a culmination of all the previous ones. During your travels as a couple, you will learn the art of compromise.
You and your partner will always be two different people, but while traveling, you will mostly have to live the very same life for a while.
You will have to use the art of compromise to choose the food you eat, the place where you sleep, what you visit, the activities you choose, and your general routine of what you do every single day.
Well... I take it back... you won't have to compromise on everything. It is not wise to compromise on everything you do, especially if you REALLY don't want to do something. You run the risk of feeling like you've made a sacrifice you don't want to make, and then end up harboring negative feelings towards your partner and maybe even the travel experience itself.
So, sometimes, you have to learn to say no, and let your partner go a separate way and have their "me time" for a while.
Always try to minimize arguing and keep an open mind, so that when you do re-reconnect, you have so much to talk about and are accepting of fresh perspective.
And finally... the most important travel tip for couples...
6. Never forget you are a couple, and not friends!
This is especially true when you travel long term and are on a budget. Because of all the above, because of the rapid change of your environment, because of all the adventure and stress and newness and challenges... you may sometimes lose the grip of your relationship.
After a while, you may end up feeling more like best friends than lovers.
Yes, you will spend all of your time together, you will live great adventures together, but you may not have the "cuddle time" that every couple needs. You may feel like you are losing something big, and it can be scary.
You will probably both feel this way at some point or another, and it is important to talk about it when it happens. And then take action and do something to resolve this feeling!
There is no magic solution, and each couple has to find their own. That might mean indulging in a luxury day, getting dressed up for a special dinner, or spending an entire day in bed together.
Whatever it is, do it. Try all the possibilities that come to mind. Be creative!
And remember that the most important travel tip for couples is this...
Never let your relationship "cool down", no matter how much doing so might seem natural in a particular moment or situation. It is not.
If you turn your passion for travel together into an opportunity to grow as a couple, then you will become invincible.