5 Tips on Traveling As a Couple

| by Jason | 19 Comments » | Travel Tips

Top Restaurants in Cali, Colombia

Enjoying Dinner at El Solar in Cali, Colombia

Celebrating Valentine’s Day while traveling with your significant other reminds us how important it is to treat each other as loved ones and not just traveling buddies.  It’s not easy spending every living moment with each other and still remembering to be romantic occasionally.  Traveling as a couple will test the strength of your relationship, something I suggest doing before you venture out on a 3 or more month journey.

Having a significant other, or spouse and living at home can be a challenge in itself, but that doesn’t even begin to compare to traveling with someone.  For those that have not done long-term travel, it may seem like an extended vacation, but it’s not.  It’s a new lifestyle, that still requires some planning, effort and patience.  Articles often tout the many benefits of traveling solo, and there is good reason to do so.  You can go where you want, when you want, how you want.  Basically, the same benefits of being single.  However, you can’t easily share those experiences.  Photos can’t even begin to capture what we see with the naked eye, the goosebumps felt on our arms or the sound of wind or animals surrounding us.  I always think of the movie “Into the Wild” when I imagine traveling alone.  Everyone has their own preferences, but I confidently know, mine is to travel with Aracely.

1. Don’t Test a Relationship On the Road

Peru Border Crossing

Border Crossing into Peru from Ecuador

This is not the place to test your compatibility. Be confident of your relationship, before planning your long-term travels with them.

2. Discuss Travel Preferences

Camping Torres del Paine Patagonia

Aracely not enjoying cold freezing rain in Torres del Paine Patagonia

If one of you enjoys traveling in local buses and broken down roads in order to have a local experience, make sure the other does too.  Are you an adventurer seeking high peak climbs or would you prefer to relax on a beach.  Can you tolerate a communal dorm room, or you do prefer your privacy?  Are you willing to experiment with food?  This is probably one of the most important topics to spend time discussing.  You may not have the same desires, but you have to come to a compromise before departing from home.

3. Budget & Spending Behaviors

Lima Peru Sushi

Aracely

Agree on what you each intend to spend and stick to it!  Even in your stable lives in suburbia, one of the top reasons for divorce is financial disagreements.  Understand how your desire to see certain places or do specific activities will impact your budget.  I like to spend money on beer, Aracely would rather enjoy a nice meal, but we both are okay with it.

4. Inviting Friends & Family

Traveling With Family

Some friends we met traveling, Aracely

Often when traveling long-term a friend offers to join you, or maybe even a Mother-in-Law!  Expect to receive a few self-invites and know whether or not you have agreed to have company.  Granted, a Mother-in-Law may not have been discussed.  When traveling with friends or family the travel decisions, sleeping arrangements and transportation arrangements all become more difficult.

5. Dedicated Together Time

Movie Package

Watching Iron Man 2 in a movie theater in Salta, Argentina

Your probably wondering, “Don’t we have together time all the time?”  My answer is, “Not the kind of together time I am referring to.”  Much of our time is spent planning, eating, traveling and unfortunately waking up early.  I know, I didn’t think I would have to wake up early either, but most buses and adventure activities start early in the morning.  As travel bloggers and on-line consultants, whenever we get free time, we do work.  In order to stay lovers and not just travel buddies, dedicate some personal time with each other, just as you might do at home.

New Years Eve in Ecuador

New Year Celebration in Ecuador

As I mentioned in the opening of this article, it’s important to know when to be a travel buddy and when to be a lover.  It’s easy to forget the second role, always getting caught up in the busy planning and traveling chores.  It shouldn’t just be Valentine’s Day when we decide to enjoy a nice dinner and hit the sack early, but Valentine’s Day can be a reminder to do that.  It’s not only more difficult because we are often busy, but it’s a challenge because we are together constantly.  There isn’t much escaping for some personal time, especially in our case.  As we travel in Latin America, I am entirely dependent on Aracely’s Spanish speaking skills.  The only escape I can do is walk around the block.

You will be together constantly with your significant other while traveling, but not the kind of together that brought you together.

Just a friendly reminder for you and ME TOO!

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Tags: backpacking, couples, rtw, Travel Tips

Written by Jason

Co-founder of TwoBackpackers.com. Jason has been traveling, writing, taking photos and creating adventure videos since 2009, when he departed on his first year long travel backpacking journey. Jason is a full-time blogger and social marketing guru trying to find the way. Visit my website

19 Responses to “5 Tips on Traveling As a Couple”

  1. Audrey says:

    Great advice! We backpacked around Europe for a month before our wedding and the joke was that if we could survive living together 24-7, then we could probably survive marriage. We know several relationships that were made or broken on the road. It’s not easy all the time, but it’s also so fulfilling being able to share all those experiences with the one you live.
    .-= Audrey´s last blog ..Gringo Monologues: Conspiracy Theories in the Valley of Longevity =-.

    • Jason says:

      It’s incredibly awesome to be able to share all these experiences with your partner. It’s even greater for me, because I hate to be alone, lol.

  2. Michaela Potter says:

    Michael and I had very different traveling styles before we met each other. I was a die-hard backpacker and he did more resort-type of vacations. Our first trip together was to surf camp in Costa Rica (something I planned before we met). My one requirement for him coming was he had to get a backpack - no wheelie bags!

    Up front he knew what he was getting into with me and luckily it’s worked out great when we travel! Plus we’ve been able to introduce each other to places and experiences that we wouldn’t have done on our own.

    I’m sure this will be a Valentine’s Day you guys will remember forever!
    .-= Michaela Potter´s last blog ..Peru Needs Our Help =-.

  3. Kyle says:

    Great advice! I especially agree with #1. In fact, I think long-term travel is harder on a relationship than being at home. Of course, if a couple can do it successfully, though, it can definitely strengthen a relationship.
    .-= Kyle´s last blog ..Innocuous Sign or Commentary on Modern Love? =-.

  4. Shim says:

    I think #5. Dedicated Together Time is a great point. After a year and a half on the road together, separating the time we’re a couple from the time we’re a team can be complicated. Even though we’re together constantly, setting aside time for dates, a romantic dinner, or a night out keeps our relationship and our long term travel plans on the right path.
    .-= Shim´s last blog ..Scuba Diving at Playas del Coco =-.

  5. Sarah says:

    I love the fact that after travelling with my partner we’ll always have those shared memories. When either of us is feeling down about how far away our next travels are we can always reminisce about the amazing experiences we got to have together. In my opinion travelling together is a ‘make it or break it’ relationship moment.

    • Jason says:

      I probably can be a make it or break it situation. For me, I have always preferred to share experiences with someone. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t travel if I couldn’t travel with someone. That’s just my preference. I feel like there will be no one else to understand what I experienced. And most the things we see can’t be explained to someone that didn’t experience it.

  6. Adam says:

    That all sounds like good advice. Coming to a mutal comprimise is especially important.
    My wife and I learned an especially hard lesson on our honeymoon in Puerto Rico when we did a night time Kayak adventure, and almost were ready for a divorce..both of having trouble with our lefts and rights, meant our kayak was going in circles..we can laugh about it now though..oi
    Anyway, we have now come to the understanding that I do the physical stuff and she likes to hang out on the beach.
    .-= Adam´s last blog .. =-.

    • Jason says:

      Hey Adam, well most importantly you know each others preferences and can now respect that. Luckily, Aracely and I have very similar preferences, it makes things pretty easy. Sounds like that one night was a bugger, but now a funny moment in history.

      • Adam says:

        Yes, we are glad we went, we not only have a good story, but we got to see the bioluminescent plankton in the bay off of Fajardo..

  7. Andreas says:

    You will have a lot of strories to tell to your kids.Into The Wild: Great book, great movie, it jsut inspires me , just like you guys.

  8. Heather says:

    Great post! I see a lot of couples traveling and always wonder how they work it out. My husband and I travel and live abroad as a lifestyle, but we´re always curious about the people that do it who may not have been together long. It really does test your relationship!

  9. anca a says:

    Very to the point article; it’s obvious you’ve done this together for some time and this is your cup of tea :)
    For very “fresh” couples I believe a travel together is the best test ever. And the quickest way to find out how much in common you have with your partner - it’s even more effective than living together because there are more situations which reveal how you are and how you react together.

  10. Kim says:

    These are spot on tips. Great post I would also add that you should keep in mind that you will fight. Just remember that it doesn’t mean your relationship is over. You’re both being tested mentally and physically. Make allowances for each other! :o )

    • anca a says:

      A little fighting is not such a bad thing after all from time to time. It just spices things a little bit. As long as t remains little. :)

  11. Jason says:

    That’s funny, but that is exactly what happens in that show.

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