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There a saying, “couples who travel together, stay together.” Going on a trip with your significant other provides a great opportunity to grow as a couple as you experience new things together. However, as anyone who has ever travelled with their loved one can attest, while travelling as a couple can be really enjoyable, it can also be fraught with challenges.
As August nears close, many of us will be embarking on vacations and weekend getaways with our significant others in hopes of squeezing out the last bit of summer vacation time. So, how do you travel with your partner and keep your relationship intact? Before you hit the road, I’ve consulted with a few experts for their top tips for couples travelling together.
Whether you just started dating or have been married for years, here are a few expert tips for travelling with your significant other.
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate
When you are out of your normal comfort zone its easy for misunderstandings to arise. Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the adventure couple behind the hit travel blog theplanetd.com. Having travelled to over 100 countries on all 7 continents during their 20-plus years of marriage, Dave and Debra say that when it comes to travelling as a couple, communication is crucial. “Too often couples hold things in or try to play nice but that ends up blowing up in the long-run. If you are upset or frustrated about something, talk through it. If you hold things in, it will just build to a point where you will end up exploding over something completely unrelated.”
2. Be willing to forgive
Unexpected things will happen when you are travelling, which can bring about conflict. Dave and Debra say that its important that you adopt a forgiving attitude when travelling with your partner. “Don't hold a grudge and don't bring past arguments up. You are going to be together 24/7 and if you can't move on after a disagreement it is going to be a very long vacation.” Conflict is natural and affects even the most seasoned travel couples. “We have huge fights on the road, but once we've screamed, yelled and got it out of our system, we forget about it and move on. We can be in a heated discussion one minute and then laughing about it the next,” say Dave and Debra.
3. Its OK to play it safe
Fuelled by their passion for adventure travel, Dave and Debra began their careers as travel writers by taking off together for months at a time to exotic locales in Central America, Southeast Asia and Africa. However, if the idea of trekking through the Himalayas or exploring the deserted beaches of Vietnam with your partner doesn’t get your juices flowing - that’s OK. If you’re nervous about travelling with your partner, Kimberly Moffit, a therapist and Relationship Insider for Match.com, says that it’s OK to play it safe on your first trip. “Either start with a shorter time away or choose an itinerary that’s stress-free. An all-inclusive resort is a great first option because everything is taken care of for you and there are usually no additional expenses once you arrive,” she says.
4. Be mindful of your own travel triggers
Are you a bad flyer? Do you need to eat at regular intervals or you turn into a zombie? Does sleep deprivation turn you into a total grump? These are what Kimberly refers to as “travel triggers.” Travel triggers are real and we all have them. As she shares, “32% of Canadians say they are worried about getting annoyed with their partner while on vacation.” When it comes to mitigating conflict while travelling, Kimberly’s advice echoes Dave and Deb’s: It all comes down to communication. “Communicate your own idiosyncrasies before going to avoid disagreement,” she says.
5. Don’t forget that you’re on a romantic getaway
As Kimberly likes to point out, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re on a trip with your partner. Look for the opportunity for romance wherever you go. “Take a break from being a tourist and indulge in a few romantic moments, whether that’s a nice dinner by candlelight or visiting a particularly beautiful view. Romance shouldn’t go out the window just because you’re in a new locale,” she says.
6. Pack your sense of humour
Dave and Debra’s final tip for couples? Bring along a sense of humour. As they explain, “Often times planes will be delayed, boats will be missed, and hotel rooms will not be what you expected. You have to be able to go with the flow.” When you’re travelling together for long periods of time, it can be stressful. Dave and Debra point out, when you start to feel the stress, “you have nobody else to blame when things go wrong, so you tend to take out your frustrations on your partner. Sometimes we'll be upset about something and then realize the absurdity of the situation and end up laughing about it instead.” Dave and Debra like to remind us that laughter is key. “It makes the problem easier to handle and usually when you are feeling light and relaxed you can come up with better solutions to a difficult situation.”