Traveling as a couple can be exactly like you hope it will be. Just follow the tips in this guide, and you’ll be having fun as a traveling couple ASAP!
by James Deutsch, Travel Writer | James Deutsch is a writer and content strategist with a passion for travel. Always on the move, he bounces between the west and east coasts, pursuing his love for writing, music, and finding unique knick-knacks and gifts.
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Traveling is a joy, but the experience is made even more memorable when you have a partner to share it with, and if you take the time to plan ahead, you’ll have an adventure that both of you can enjoy.
Traveling as a couple should double your fun, not add to your stress—and this goes for trips with a romantic partner and trips with a friend. Read our ideas on how to make a couple’s trip more fun!
Align Your Travel Goals & Destination
One travel conundrum that many couples have issues with right off the bat is simply picking where to go! You and your partner might have different ideas for what destination makes the perfect vacation. Perhaps you long for a day at a tropical resort doing absolutely nothing, but your partner wants to go to a big foreign city and get lost in the rambling streets.
If your wishes align and you both want to go to the same place, that’s great. But if they don’t, it doesn’t mean you two are incompatible – it just means you’ll both need to make some compromises and sacrifices to make each other happy.
Plan ahead to make sure each of you does something that fits your interests. If you go out of your comfort zone and try each other’s wishes, you might even end up learning something about yourself or your partner along the way.
Here’s how a destination list comes in handy: if you can’t decide where to go, make a list of each of your top destinations – states, regions, or even countries. If none of them align, start over. As soon as you find a matching place, that’s your next destination.
If you really can’t compromise on the location, then another compromise you can make is to take one vacation in their dream location, and the next vacation in yours. If you’re going to Kyoto this summer, you’ll still have Dublin to look forward to next year. There’s always a way you can travel together and both be happy.
Be Flexible – And A Little Spontaneous
For most people, travel is all about discovering new experiences they couldn’t find at home. You can do all the planning you want (and we recommend you give yourself at least a rough plan to prevent stress!) but at the end of the day, something in your new environment is going to catch your eye and you’re going to want to derail.
Do your research and get an idea of where you want to go, but don’t make the plan so strict for you and your partner that you can’t take a spontaneous diversion. Add gaps in your schedule so you can take a breather or wander into a curious shop.
You should always allow for a little spontaneity when you travel, especially if your trip is romantic – who knows when you might find a dreamy spot that brings you two closer?
Track Where You’ve Been Together
If you’re traveling with your partner often, you should keep track of where you’ve been! This is a sentimental activity you can do together with your partner throughout your relationship, and it’ll create a keepsake that you’ll cherish for a lifetime. This can take the form of a photo album (leave room for captions), a scrapbook (if you’re crafty), and/or a personalized travel map so you can visualize where you’ve been (or where you want to go) around the world or within a specific region.
Tracking where you’ve been with a physical keepsake will make each trip even more special. Preserving your travel memories together is a couples activity that’ll be fun for you both, before and after the trip has ended.
Get the Right Gear
Are you doing some serious backpacking or going on a long-haul flight? If so, you’ll regret just winging it with stuff you have lying around the house. Make sure you have the right gear so you can have a good time!
If you’re going on a big flight, make sure you have items like:
- International adapters
- Portable chargers
- A comfortable bag or backpack
- Travel sized toiletries
If you’re going camping or backpacking, don’t forget other items like:
- A high quality backpack, of course
- Proper hiking shoes
- Portable tents
- Comfortable sleeping bags
- An air mattress for two
- And maybe some fun matching outdoor gear for couples!
Get Out of the Touristy Spots and Support Local Business
People who live in your target destination know a lot more about what’s enjoyable there than you could find in a guide book. Do some research and find out where the locals eat and play, then get out on the less beaten path. What’s the use of going to the exact same chain restaurant you could find at home?
If you go out of your way to try a place that’s popular with the locals and not the tourists, you’ll be getting a much more authentic experience in your destination. You’ll also be supporting local business, which is a great thing both at home and abroad. Additionally, you’re also very likely to save money by eating locally. Tourist prices can be extravagant, and you could spend four times the amount on a meal that’s not nearly as good or authentic.
When you’re traveling, solo or with others, nothing ever goes perfectly to plan. Whether it’s a late train, a bad hotel, or wrong directions, something is bound to go awry. When this happens, it’s very important that you’re patient not just with the situation, but with your partner.
It’s a bit like putting together IKEA furniture. You can plan all you like, but a table leg can fall off without warning – you simply need to expect the unexpected. When the frustration happens, remember that you and your partner are on the same team to solve the problem. Even if they were the ones who accidentally booked a motel in the state of Georgia instead of the country, you need to have patience. It happens!
Traveling with a partner is a wonderfully effective exercise in cooperation and mutual problem solving. If you can get through travel troubles, your relationship can survive just about anything. You’ll have more fun together when you embrace the wild and unpredictable side of traveling, too.