You know that phrase “traveling as a couple makes or breaks your relationship”? Even though going on a trip with your loved one sounds super romantic. Yet, it isn’t always easy. That makes sense because when you travel, you are together practically 24 hours a day. You get to know your partner through and through, but you’re also confronted with traits that you may not like.
Since a few years I have been traveling the world together with Jan. Even though we now know each other through and through, it isn’t common for us to spend day in, day out together. We also have those annoying, sometimes difficult moments now and then. Our journeys may always seem perfect on the blog and social media, but it isn’t always all fun and games. By traveling together so much, there are some important tips that we know will help us avoid and get through those annoying, sometimes difficult moments. Below I will share our 10 best travel couple tips for an unforgettable vacation.
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My experiences traveling as a couple
I still remember my first trip with Jan, as if it were yesterday. We had only been together for a month, so our relationship was still very young. We went camping for a weekend in Luxembourg. I really enjoy camping, but not when it rains. Unfortunately, we had a bad weather the whole weekend. So I was immediately put on trial. I remember that in the mornings I walked silently cursing from the tent to the sanitary through the rain. Besides that, I’m also a real planner, but I hadn’t prepared anything for this trip. I wasn’t sure what Jan liked and didn’t want to bombard him with a fully mapped out route. The bad weather and unpredictability caused a lot of frustration for me. Of course I didn’t want to make a bad impression on our first weekend getaway and I didn’t show any of this.
During this trip I got to know Jan better. I found that he liked many of the same things. Even though there was no itinerary, we did something fun every day such as visiting castles, hiking and even kayaking. In the evening we went for romantic dinners and made it cozy in the tent. All in all, it was a very nice first travel experience together.
Now our journeys are a bit different. Jan is my number one partner in crime when I travel. We know each other through and through and complement each other aswell. My traits that I thought would deter Jan are now being used strategically. I no longer have to hide them at all and can travel without frustration. Of course, this, meanwhile six-year process, didn’t go without a struggle. By traveling together a lot we have learned what we can do to avoid and get through bad or difficult moments.
Phraya Nakhon Cave in Thailand
The most important thing when traveling as a couple is of course taking each other into account. That may sound obvious, but it sometimes is more difficult than you think. It starts with the preparations until the very last moment. And unlike in everyday life, you are traveling together 24 hours a day. Taking each other into account is therefore extremely important to ensure that your trip runs smoothly. Below you’ll find our 10 couple travel tips to have an unforgettable vacation.
1. Pick the perfect destination
The first important decision you have to make as a couple is to pick a good destination. There’s no point in choosing a destination that you know your partner won’t like. Choose something that you both can relate to, or for a varied tour where there is something for the both of you.
Jan knows, for example, that I would not like to be locked up in an all inclusive resort in the middle of nowhere for 7 days. When I travel I want to see and discover things. I can’t spend hours on a towel staring at a pool. Jan however, sometimes likes to sunbathe. So when we want to travel, we usually choose a versatile destination or a tour in which we can both find what we want.
For example, in 2019 we would like to spend our summer in the United States and visit various National Parks. Unfortunately, we didn’t find any plane tickets within our budget. When I came across cheaper tickets to Miami, I knew this wasn’t a destination that would appeal to Jan. But taking Miami as the starting point for Deep South road trip made it a perfect destination we could both relate to.
2. Create an itinerary together
Finding the perfect destination is just the beginning. After that, it’s time to create an itinerary. It’s important to involve eachother during this process. It may well be that neither of you are planners and that you decide what to do from day to day. Then it’s extremely important that you can communicate well with each other about this. I will come back to this topic later.
As you have probably already noticed, I’m a real planner. When Jan and I choose a destination together, I ask him to find out what he would like to see or do there. When mapping out the route, we put both our bucket lists together and try to integrate this into one itinerary. Because we want to see a lot, we sometimes have to make a sacrifice. Fortunately, Jan and I have a lot of the same interests. It’s easy for us to come to a compromise.
Besides having the same interests, we are also very different in this domain. I like to follow the itinerary and suffer a bit from FOMO (fear of missing out). If something changes in the schedule, I sometimes experience stress. Jan is more calm in that area and is more likely to accept unexpected changes. As a result, we have gradually found that it is easier not to plan too much or, in my words, to “schedule free time”. So that everything remains feasible and there is enough time to realize everything without rush or stress.
3. Dividing tasks
There are a number of tasks involved in preparing for a trip in addition to creating an itinerary, such as arranging the travel documents, managing bookings, ensuring that you take the right material and equipment, packing the suitcases, … As a new couple, everyone will probably do this for themselves, but if you live together, there is usually a division of tasks.
An important tip here is to take each other’s strengths into account. For example, I am usually responsible for the planning and storage of travel documents. Jan is better at packing everything that has to do with electronic devices needed for photography, computer, … He also ensures that they are definitely charged. In this way we have fixed range of tasks so that we don’t cause each other unnecessary stress with the responsibility for duties that we are less good at.
4. Open en positive communication
This is perhaps the most important tip of the 10 and not just for traveling as a couple, but relationships in general.
Living with someone 24 hours a day for a longer period is not easy. Even if you know each other through and through, small irritations can always arise. That is why it is important that you also communicate with each other about this. Be constructive and positive when you do this and don’t break each other off. This also allows you to act preventively and outsmart major arguments.
Although I kept my frustrations to myself during our first weekend away in Luxembourg, I am a very open and direct person. When I feel comfortable with someone, you will certainly notice this. Jan is actually a more private person. Sometimes I can be very direct, which makes things come across much harder than I really mean and Jan can sometimes keep irritations to himself for a long time, which suddenly bursts the bomb. Because of this, we really had to learn to communicate correctly with each other.
If I occasionally work too intensively with planning, Jan will now point this out to me much more quickly. When we talk, we always remain constructive and give each other feedback. Most importantly, we both feel good and happy.
A topic that causes irritation for many couples is finances. Nothing is more difficult than worrying about money on your vacation. Therefore, agree beforehand how much you are willing and able to spend, and how you may divide the costs. A handy app is spiltwise.That’s also a great app to use when you travel with friends.
If you’re traveling on a budget, be sure to check out these tips about how to save up money on food during your travels.
Just because you travel as a couple doesn’t mean you have to do everything together. When you have limited time at a certain location and you both want to see something without having to sacrifice it, you can perfectly decide to each go your own way and then meet again. I like to stroll around local markets and buy souvenirs. This is less Jan’s thing. He prefers to taste a local beer in an authentic bar. After that it’s amazing to see each other again and share our experiences.
Me-time can be a part of little moments as well. For example, taking a long bath, or going out for a drink, while each is busy with his own thing. Just because you’re going somewhere together doesn’t mean you can’t take time for yourself.
6. Trying new things together
The best thing about traveling together is trying new things together. Usually we always choose a destination that we haven’t yet visited. This way we can make new memories together. But also when traveling it’s nice to get out of our comfort zone and try new things. We spontaneously decided to go to Umbria with only a small backpack. In Myanmar we hiked from Kalaw to Inle lake and stayed overnight with a local family. We floated down the Santé Fe river in Ginnie Springs together. We went zip lining over the Tara canyon in Montenegro,… These are all unforgettable moments.
That’s why we like going on press trips together so much. On these trips a program is usually mapped out for us with activities that we wouldn’t think of in the first place. This way discovered the city of discoveries and the region of surprises in the Netherlands, but also the beautiful island of Malta and the most hidden gem of France, Vallée du Loir.
7. Taking pictures
When traveling as a couple you’ll make many wonderful memories. One way to immortalize these beautiful memories is to photograph them.
For us this is of course a big part of our travels as we want to create amazing content for you. Our photos are also very often staged to get a nice picture.
That doesn’t mean that you have to get your camera and tripod out during every fun moment, but even a cool selfie with the mobile phone can evoke just as many memories (even more) than a staged photo.
The nice thing about this is that you can enjoy those wonderful moments over and over after the trip, either by scrolling in your mobile phone, in a self-made photo book or by prints on your wall.
8. Time for romance
Just like time for yourself, it’s also very important to make time for romance now and then. Especially when you are in a relationship for a longer periode of time, romance is often overlooked.
You can do this by planning a romantic getaway at a romantic destination. In daily life, Jan and I have little time for each other. We both have very busy jobs. So a romantic weekend getaway is an absolute must for us. The most romantic destinations we have already visited are Paris, Cinque Terre, the region of surprises in the Netherlands and road trip along the most romantic villages in Rhineland Germany. But a staycation or day trip in our own country such as Brussels, Ghent, Bruges and Damme turned out to be quite romantic as well.
You can also integrate some romance into a longer holiday at any time. This can range from a romantic dinner with a beautiful view, enjoying a local wine or cocktail in a romantic setting, staying in unique accommodations, admiring a beautiful sunrise or sunset or looking for an adrenaline rush together. One of my most memorable romantic moments is ziplining side by side over the Tara canyon in Montenegro. Nothing more romantic than declaring your love while dangling across the river, right?
We already know that laughing is healthy, but it also creates a great atmosphere! And that is of course what you expect when traveling as a couple. Try not to lose patience in unforeseen circumstances, but to keep the humor in it.
Laughing together is important and also helps to remain positive in less pleasant situations. For example, Jan hates posing for photos. We always try to come up with funny scenarios so that it remains fun for him as well.
Don’t forget to check out these 100 amazing couple travel quotes. Perfect inspiration for a great instagram caption.
One of the most important elements that should certainly not be missing on your trip is very simple: enjoyment. Even if you want to see, experience and experience a lot during a trip, just don’t forget to enjoy the moment in the here and now.
An important tip here is to put things into perspective. Sometimes things don’t go the way you want, you can’t visit a place, the weather conditions are bad, you haven’t been able to take the perfect picture (for the content creators among us), it wasn’t as you expected, … don’t remain worrying about it. It’s a shame indeed, but don’t let this affect the rest of your trip. Think of all those beautiful moments that you have been able to experience and enjoy those.
I’m aware that these tips for traveling as a couple seem obvious, but I know from personal experience that they are easily overlooked. I hope that as a couple they will offer you something to hold on to or help you to fully enjoy your trip together.
Would you like more inspiration about romantic destinations. Check out my favorites travel guides about the most romantic places I have visited below.
What are your experiences traveling as a couple? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!
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