Travelling is supposed to be a fun, exciting and enriching experience. That's what we think when looking at the photos of popular travel bloggers or postcards from the foreign countries that we have never visited before. The truth is that few travel bloggers will show you their failures and no postcard will show you a huge pile of trash not far away from Taj Mahal. The other truth is that behind most of the successful trips there is a lot of knowledge and preparation.
Travel is just like any other sphere of our life. The more time we dedicate to it and the more we do it, the better we get at it. Each new trip brings us new experiences which have the potential to make our next trips more smooth and joyful. This is why travelers need articles like this one because they allow avoiding mistakes that you would definitely do.
Among different types of traveling, we will take a look at the mistakes traveling couples make and how to avoid them. While traveling together with your significant other should be a lot of fun, for many people it turns into an unpleasant experience because they keep making the same mistakes.
Read on, if you agree that traveling is meant to be for fun and growth and not for stress and quarrels.
Romantic trips can get very upsetting if they end with $40,000 hospital bills. There are a lot of couples who don't think that accidents may happen with them and hope for the better but let's be honest with ourselves, we can't control everything that happens around us.
While not absolutely necessary, it's still highly advisable to have travel insurance every time you go abroad. Also, don't forget to have all the vital statistics of yourself and your partner written down somewhere - birth date, blood type, allergies, health insurer, medication and so on. You never know what's going to happen and it's better to be prepared.
Having travel insurance may not be sufficient to cover potential risks, because there are many insurance plans which won't help you in case something happens.
Before arranging travel insurance you need to do a research to find out what insurance companies can be trusted and what insurance plan you should choose.
Upon finding a trustworthy company, it is also advised to talk with clients who already used their products to double-check the company's reliability and find out underlying potential problems that you might have missed. And lastly, don't fall for cheap travel insurance, because in case something happens it will cover only a fraction of your expenses.
Once, I traveled with a friend who ran out of money during the first week of our two-week journey and I needed to lend him some of my cash for basic needs. It happened because he didn't make a proper budget planning and spent his money too quickly.
Imagine something like this happening while you travel with your significant other. I bet it can spoil the impression from the trip greatly. For this reason, things like this need to be taken care of in advance by both people who travel together.
Planning finances for the upcoming trip are pretty easy if you have basic financial literacy. You need to write down the forthcoming expenses including travel insurance, accommodation, airplane tickets and other transportation expenses, forecasted expenses for food, a budget for gifts and souvenirs, excursions and entertainment and all other planned expenditures.
When it is done, the number that you get should be matched with your current financial status and future profits that you will get before your trip. This way you will see if you have sufficient funds for the trip or not.
I bet you have seen this at the airport. An upset man drags his own suitcase, two suitcases of his wife and to top that has some little package right in his teeth. Experienced travelers tell us time and again that we shouldn't overpack, or our trips will get burdensome, yet so many people are deaf to hear and understand this elementary piece of advice.
The ideal scenario is to take a little backpack and a credit card. If your financial status isn't so good to travel like this, you can still leave at home many of the things you usually take.
The number one rule for deciding whether to take something on a trip or not is this:
Pack only those things which you are sure you will use, not the ones that you think you will use.
People who follow this piece of advice rarely find themselves missing something on their trip and if they do, it is always possible to buy them for a fraction of a cost.
When you have selected everything that you want to pack, carefully review it again and see if the number of items can be reduced even more. Finally, when everything is packed, weight it to see that there is no overweight.
I don't know if you heard that analogy about putting all your eggs in one basket, but it's pretty precise. If you put your eggs in one basket, all of them will break in case something happens. Similarly to this, if you keep all your money in just one place, you will be in a big trouble if they are stolen.
Just like with travel insurance, you might think that none of this will happen to you, but the experience of people shows the opposite. A couple of the people I know where robbed in Asia during the past two years. Think for yourself.
There are many ways to keep your money in different places.
First of all, it is advised to travel with neck wallets because they're always under your t-shirt which makes them safer than ordinary wallets.
Secondly, there will be two of you traveling, so each one needs to have a credit card or two and they need to be stored in different neck wallets.
Thirdly, when it comes to cash you can also wear trousers or pants with secret pockets to store money there. Sounds ridiculous? Imagine, the feeling of happiness after you get robbed and realize that you have extra cash in secret pockets and hidden credit cards.
Do you know that there's a category of people, who make a living out of ripping off tourists? In fact, there are such people almost in every country. Some will tell you that your hotel is closed and you need to stay at another place, others will try to sell you roses for $40 or paint funny caricatures of you without even asking. There are hundreds of scams and they are very specific to certain region or country. And they become especially embarrassing when you are forced to buy something just not to look foolish in front of your significant other.
Luckily we have Internet and can avoid embarrassment.
Use the power of the Internet! Do your research on scams before traveling to another country, especially if your destination is somewhere in Asia. Don't get me wrong, Asia is a great region with a number of excellent destinations, but scammers are especially artful there, so you need to be well prepared.
This research will take you only a couple of hours but will bring you numerous benefits. Knowing the most widespread scams and how to avoid them will save you a lot of nerves and money if you encounter the scammers you've read about.
Going to Paris and planning to visit the Eiffel Tower? Going to India and planning to visit Taj Mahal? Going to New York and planning to visit the Statue of Liberty? Going to the United Kingdom and planning to visit Stonehenge? This list can go on and on, but the truth is that most of the popular attractions you know are overrated. All of us have seen these beautiful places on the postcards, but believe me, they look a bit different in real life. Just like the overcrowded photo of Taj Mahal on the photo above.
No matter where you travel, there are always more to see than you think.
Whenever you go, look for hidden gems. For instance instead of visiting Empire State building in New York, it is better to go to Top of the Rock, instead of visiting Taj Mahal in Agra, it is better to travel to wonderful city of Jaisalmer, instead of overcrowded Phuket island it will be much more delightful to go to Koh Samui and instead of polluted Kuta Beach in Bali it is advised to enjoy sun of Amed Beach.
You can impress your partner greatly, if you do the research and show him or her the list of incredible places they had no idea about. In the end, both of you will enjoy it.
Trips and vacations which are supposed to be fun and exciting can get hectic if you apply the same 'I should do it all' approach that many of us are trying to apply in our daily lives and at work. Relax! You're traveling with your loved one, why making a stressful situation out of it because you can't visit 5 attractions in one day? Better visit two and enjoy being there fully.
Also try to plan the time it will take you to get from point 'A' to point 'B' accurately considering the travel method (car, bus, train etc.) and possible traffic jams.
What you should do instead of planning to visit the whole country in one visit is to be flexible and opened to the life around, instead of imaginary lives in our head.
Let's take a look at the following situation. You've planned to visit 3 attractions on the last day of your stay in a certain city, but because of poor planning or external factors out of your control, you were able to visit only one. Scenario #1: you can get frustrated and upset and spend the rest of your day stressed. Scenario #2: you can accept the reality as it is and spend a romantic evening on the rooftop restaurant with your partner. Which one do you like more?
This picture describes the meaning of this point better than a thousand words. You should understand that people have different worldviews and approach to life around the world and when you travel to another country you become that country's guest. Therefore you should respect the traditions (if you can't respect, at least follow them) of the country that you are visiting.
It's not only a sign of good manners but it is also an indicator of having a common sense because in some countries you can go to jail for certain things which are considered normal in your home country.
For instance, you can get jailed in Dubai for kissing on the beach and it is not allowed to hold hands or kiss in the holy cities of India.
In addition to doing your research on scams, ripoffs and hidden gems you should also get acquainted with traditions of the country that you're traveling to, especially if you're traveling as a couple (remember what you shouldn't do on Dubai beach?).
In Sri Lanka, it is forbidden to turn your back on the statues of the Buddha, in Turkey 'OK' sign means a gay person and in France, if you talk to strangers without saying 'Hello', they will consider you a very rude person. There are hundreds of nuances likes this and it is better to know them in order not to get embarrassed.
All of us have weak sides and strong sides. It doesn't mean that we are incomplete and we become full only by finding a couple. It means that if we find a person whose soul grooves with our, we can live a better, more fulfilled life and grow together spiritually, financially and as people in general. If your significant other can do something that you can't and vice versa you should pay attention to this and let everyone do the thing they do best.
For instance, it won't be wise to ask your boyfriend to cook if he hates it, or to ask your girlfriend to look for directions if that's her weak side.
There's a better way to live and travel.
Know your strong sides and employ them, know your weak sides and don't show them. When we're planning travels with my wife she researches the attractions, traditions, and scams of the place which we're planning to visit and I'm looking for and booking the accommodation and planning the budget. During the trip, I ask my wife to look for directions because I'm miserably bad at it and if we need to ask someone, usually I do this because she's an introvert.
And when there's something none of us would like to do, we play paper-scissors-rock game to define a victim.
I can't describe how it pisses me off to see couples in the places of outstanding beauty, not noticing this beauty because they find some silly reason to quarrel or a little thing to freak out about. Of course, it's life and everyone needs to do their soul-searching job to get rid of negative qualities like this, but seeing this happening during vacation is still a sad thing.
Understand that if you can't agree on simple things, you won't be able to live a life together and if you're always quarreling about that which doesn't matter you're firstly spoiling your own life and lives of people around you. Life is so short, how can you find the time for silly quarrels?
If you forgot your headphones on the plane or your girlfriend forgot your favorite sweater at home it's not the end of the world. Just recollect the hungry children of Africa, refugees from the Middle East or the Global Warming problem to understand how tiny our problems are.
I understand that it is difficult not to get pissed off about little things if you've been doing this all your life. For this reason, I advise you practice mindfulness meditation daily for at least 10 minutes and constantly remember how tiny our problems really are.
Your beautiful girlfriend is sitting in front of you and you're being sucked in by your smartphone? Or, you're texting message after message about how beautiful the surroundings are without actually enjoying them? While technologies certainly made our lives easier, unfortunately, many of us allowed them to enslave us.
Come on! You're visiting a foreign country that you have never seen before and you can enjoy it only while you're there. You can scroll that Facebook or Instagram news feed when you get home, can't you?
Let me do a little test for you. What was the post you liked 3 posts ago on Facebook? And what was the post you have commented on 4 posts ago on Instagram? And what was the post that you Tweeted 4 days ago? See, you don't even remember this stuff because it's not important. It's important for a second, in contrast with the new world which surrounds you when you travel.
The memories which are formed in the moments of traveling will last for years, decades and even a lifetime. Momentarily impressions gathered in social media feeds can't compete with that.
I have nothing against selfies and I love making and editing photos myself, but just like in any other area of life there's a fine limit between a normal thing and compulsive obsession. If you're making 20 photos near one tree or spending half an hour taking selfies, you're seriously missing out on each other and the world around.
There's a huge difference between seeing the world through the screen of your camera and actually feeling it.
When you get this difference the question of making excessive selfies or photos doesn't arise (of course it doesn't apply to professional photographers or Instagram bloggers who make a living out of it).
What does it actually mean, to be in the 'now'? It means being fully attentive to both the world inside and outside of you. It means not worrying about the future or getting anxious about the past.
It means living fully and freely understanding that how we feel during every moment of our lives is the choice of our making.
If you and your partner have mastered the habit of living in the 'now' you will certainly have no problems both at home and while traveling. And if you don't, you have all life ahead of you to develop it.
If there's just one thing you should understand before traveling let it be this - things will not go 100% how you planned.
You can forget something important at home, the flight can get delayed, accommodation you booked might not look as clean as it was on the pictures, Eiffel Tower may be overcrowded with other tourists thirsting to be there. Accept it and understand that it's absolutely normal. Such is life. We can't always get what we want. And in fact, it is great because we often want things which are bad for us and are running from the things that we need. Embrace life and be travel with an open mind.
I understand that it is difficult to bring love to every situation but if we want to live a happy and fulfilled life full of purpose and fun travels we need to never stop developing this important habit. I wish every one of you reading this article to be like a couple on this picture. You can tell right away that they are young at heart and throughout all the years they spent together, they still love each other.
As Mark Twain said, “There isn't time, so brief is life, for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving, and but an instant, so to speak, for that.”