Traveling puts stress on you and your relationship. Add a foreign country, a new environment, and some nights of not sleeping enough and you are a left with a …time bomb, ready to explode. If you wonder how to travel as a couple…and come back as one, then let me tell you it’s not that easy.
So what in the world is there to do in order to avoid fighting?
- Be flexible: don’t add stress by setting milestones or too many sights to see. You are on vacation. You are not rushing anywhere. A good trick is to make a list of the places you must visit and focus on them, then figure out whatever else can be added. Of course, make sure both your needs are met.
- Don’t have high expectations regardless of which country or city you’ll be visiting. Things aren’t the same as you’ve seen in movies. Actually, pretty much nothing is. So expect to get lost, expect to take the wrong metro line (or choose the wrong direction), expect the delays; if everything works out smoothly, that’s awesome.
- Divide the “jobs”; things need to be done but decide who does what. If you speak the language better, just make sure you handle the talking; if he’s better at navigating a map, let him do it.
- Regardless of what happens, don’t snap at each other. Sure, you may get lost. Sure, the internet is not working; you misplaced something. Really are those reasons to fight?
- Take time to enjoy your intimacy. Beds in hostel dorms are cheap but what happens when you want to make love? It might be interesting to try not to get caught in the dorm or in the shower, but how about getting a private room in a hostel? You can do whatever you want. But please, try not to be very loud. Chances are at least your floor will know what you are doing.
- Spend quality time together. Sightseeing hand in hand is lovely and romantic, but you also need to spend some quality time when you are not stressing about itineraries and catching the right train or bus. So, plan for a night out in a pub or bar. Or maybe go dancing. Or at least plan a day without a “set plan”. Just do whatever the heck you want when you wake up.
- Allow him/her to spend time on his/her own. She might want to some shopping while you want to catch a football game at the pub. Do it! No one stops you. If you only have one room key, make sure you set a meeting time and point so that you get to the hotel together.
It’s said that someone’s real character is shown when traveling. I’d say that it’s not entirely true. Some traits aren’t displayed in normal circumstances. When you are at home, chances are you are not going to be that stressed. Or get lost.
And some general travel safety tips:
- Never keep all the money together
- Always put aside the money needed to get back to the airport/train station
- Keep some emergency cash stashed away
- Always know where your travel documents are and keep a copy of them in other places; if you have internet access send a scanned copy to your email address; you can download it from there if needed (but DO NOT assume you’ve got internet access where you’ll be going)
- Activate the roaming option on your cell and make sure you know the emergency number (112 for EU, 999 for UK)
- Buy travel insurance
- Let your family know where you are staying at and when you’ll be leaving for home
- Always have your ICU person and number in your cell
- Avoid dangerous situations at all costs; relay on your hunch
- Secure your luggage; travel locks are cheap.
Note: article written and first published in March 2011 ; edited and republished in Feb 2018 .