Traveling with someone else is not easy, even if it happens to be a special someone. There are so many great rewards that come from traveling with a partner. Being able to share in all the wonders, delights, and joy that comes from a trip is completely different than having those moments to yourself. In spite of this, traveling comes with many challenges, most of which also end up being shared. It can be frustrating, aggravating, and at times, downright miserable. Maybe the bus is late after waiting in the hot sun for hours, or you haven’t been able to find food for the last two meals and the hunger pains are starting to kick in. Maybe it’s just that the overall wear of being in a different place and moving around is starting to get tiring. Whatever it is, there will be times when traveling feels like more work than play, and these times can easily carry over to our partners if we are not careful.
As the agitations marinate, even in the midst of a generally joyous experience, it is easy to argue or feel a build up in tension between the two of you. The sharing of burdens is important, of course, when it comes to traveling with our partners. However, there are ways to turn this sharing of burdens into a bond instead of an argument. If tensions are building and there is the threat of an irritable fight in the near future, try these tips and techniques to relax, remain calm, and bring yourself back to experiencing travel with your partner for what it is and can be: downright awesome.
20 Take a Deep Breath
If tensions and irritating situations do escalate between you and your partner, try taking a pause and using it for a big, deep breath. Take one, two, or twenty. Take as many as you need. Depending on how intense the emotions are, you may need to take a bit of time just focusing on these deep breaths. There is no such thing as too many. Taking a moment before responding or replying can be the difference between a minor agitation and a full-blown argument.
19 Make Space For What Is Important To Each Other
Relationships are all about compromise, an aspect that comes into play often when traveling. Inevitably, there will be differences in what you want to do, see, experience, be, or how you expect your trip to go in comparison to your partner. This is totally normal and ok. However, you need to take turns with your significant other to ensure that the traveling is a balanced partnership between the two of you. Maybe your partner got to go to that museum that you hated, but they’re willing to take that kayaking trip you’ve been dying to go on even though it’s not quite their thing. Rotating activities or interests can help keep the trip interesting, fun, and avoid building resentment. Who knows, you might even find something new you didn’t know you loved.
18 Take Time Apart
This one can be especially challenging for couples but taking space and spending time apart while traveling can be crucial to getting along with each other. It doesn’t have to be anything drastic. A morning walk alone, or perhaps waking up a half hour earlier than your partner to get some quiet time, can make a huge difference in the rest of the day. Often, we are spending significantly more time with our partners when we are traveling compared to when we are home. There is no shame, and no need to feel guilty, over giving some of that time to yourself. Taking time apart only makes the time together that much more valuable.
17 Talk About Expectations Before the Trip Starts
Things are bound to shift and change on any travel experience. Whether big or small, the unexpected becomes expected while traveling. However, it is still helpful to prepare for what you both hope will happen. Talking out the expectations and desires for an upcoming travel experience can ease fears within a partnership and make it clear what the end goal is. Perhaps this is a vacation to simply relax and spend time together. Maybe an expectation for that trip is that we will spend less time on our phones when we are together, even going so far as to suggest specific times of the day to use it. Outlining those expectations, and getting specific about what that looks like, can make it easier for you both to support each other and provide the trip you are hoping for.
16 Be Nice
Simple, really, but this one can often be so hard. Be nice and hold your partner to that same standard. Recognize that tensions will rise at times, perhaps you will even argue, but there is no reason under any of those circumstances to treat each other poorly. This will only antagonize the situation, create more tension, and take up more of the precious time that you could be spending enjoying your travels. If you don’t think you are capable of being nice in the current situation, use other tactics on this list to bring yourself back down before talking to each other.
15 Make Romantic Plans
The whole trip might have a romantic feel to it, but take time to plan something, anything, extra special for each other. Maybe you let each other each plan one thing for the other person. Or, maybe you plan one for your partner as a surprise or kind gesture, a gift to show your appreciation and care for the relationship. This is a trip together, after all. Why not celebrate each other while you’re at it?
14 Be Honest
Another item on this list that falls under the umbrella of the “always important to do during a relationship but is especially important when you are traveling together” rule. Being honest with our partners is a surefire way to ensure that the relationship is getting the care and respect it deserves. This does not have to be anything too dramatic. It might just be coming clean about the fact that you hate the food you’ve been eating and all you want is McDonald’s. Whatever it is, communicating it openly and honestly will turn a potential argument into a genuine conversation.
13 Be Aware of Each Other’s Comfort Zones & Adjust as Needed
Everyone has a different comfort zone, a level after which they are sorely in need of a change or just plain unhappy. You and your partner might be pretty level when it comes to comfort, or, it might be skewed one way or the other. Either way, you likely know those comfort zones. If you don’t, traveling is a great time to learn them. Either way, try to be aware of these when traveling and considerate in regards to planning the experience.
12 Find Ways to Show Each Other Appreciation
Showing appreciation and gratitude can go a long way when traveling with a partner. It can be in big ways, like going above and beyond to do something nice for them or plan a special day to have together. Or, it can be a simple thank you. Sometimes, taking the time to tell your partner how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate them is enough. In keeping this attitude, the whole dynamic of the experience can change into one of gratitude and kindness, even on those extra tired days.
11 Say No If You Want To
Setting boundaries are hugely important when traveling with someone else. There will inevitably be times where the paths of what you want to do and what your partner wants to do will diverge. This is not only ok but totally normal. However, the important piece of it is to ensure that you are each telling each other "no" when you feel this way. If you don’t want to go somewhere or do something, say so, and perhaps take that time to do whatever it is that is meaningful to you. This avoids a buildup of resentment and a potential fight down the line.
10 Walk Away
Even the kinds of relationships that do not contain a lot of arguing and where tensions rarely escalate can be tested when traveling. The scope of it all, the changing scenery, not sleeping in the same bed or eating the same food and feeling generally a bit more stretched can create a lot more friction than normal. When it gets too high, walk away. Try to notice it, acknowledge whatever may be going on, and take a physical break in separate spaces for a period.
9 Take Care of Yourself
Taking care of yourself ensures that you can be present and available for both your partner and the trip itself. The experience can quickly go from joyful to overwhelming and burnout if you do not take care of basic physical needs. Get enough sleep, eat as regularly as you can, and take time to relax or treat yourself before, during, and after the trip. In short, spend time on self-care, whatever that means to you. Your partner and your self will be grateful for the more pleasant you that shows up on the trip.
8 When Needed, Bring the Comforts of Home Into the Trip
When homesickness or over exhaustion strikes during traveling, there is nothing wrong with seeking the comforts of home and helping to provide that for your partner. If they like a cold room to sleep in, find the AC. If they are tired of eating local food, try to seek out a restaurant with food from home. There is no shame in needing a bit of comfort while being away. Taking the initiative when you notice that they have had enough of something can help to show your partner that you are conscious of how they are feeling and supportive of their needs.
7 Buy Presents
Often, when we are traveling alone or with others we will find a little gift to bring back for our partner. A souvenir, or something that makes us think of them. It’s a simple and sweet gesture that can be very genuine and thoughtful. The same thing can happen when we travel with our partner. It can be a surprise, maybe by pulling the old “I need to run to the bathroom” or “ head back to the room” trick then circling back and purchasing a gift for them. Or, feel free to pick something out together. Either way, it’s a bonding and grounding experience to share with your partner.
6 Admit to Your Mistakes & Then Apologize
This one is so important! We make mistakes constantly in our relationships, forever forgetting a date, leaving something behind, or saying the wrong thing. You name it, we’ve all likely been either on the receiving or the giving end of both minor and colossal mistakes in our relationships. When we are traveling these mistakes might occur more frequently or be met with a stronger reaction than normal. When they do pop up, the age-old practice is still the best one. Admit that you made a mistake and apologize for it. The sooner the better!
5 Help Each Other Keep perspective
Traveling with your partner is a gift. Not everyone is able to travel, and of those that do, even less of those get to do so with someone else. It is a privilege. When things get a bit rocky, remind each other how lucky you are to be having this experience. Check-in with each other. Acknowledge what is hard, but then work to remember how gratifying the experience of traveling together can be, and how lucky you are to share it.
4 Look Out For Each Other
When traveling, there is no one to watch out for you but yourself. However, one of the benefits of traveling as a couple is that you have someone watching your back. Take advantage of this and return the favor. Watch for potential problems, scams, or hiccups in the journey, and take the time to scout them out for your partner as well. Feeling safe, both literally and metaphorically, will ease some pressure off of the trip and cater to a more relaxing environment.
3 Listen Carefully As Much As Possible
The theme of communication is repeated in some form or another throughout this list. Speaking openly and honestly is so important when it comes to getting along with your partner while traveling. However, the other half of that, and arguably the more important one, is taking the time to listen to your significant other. Listen without distractions or judgment, and be genuine, kind, and reflective when they are sharing with you. Ask that they do the same, and there is sure to be a very different conversation than what it could have been.
2 Let it Go
Traveling is fun, exciting, and incredibly rewarding. What it is not is easy all the time. Know that your partner may be experiencing something in a different way or be facing a challenge that has not presented itself to you and take it a bit easier on them. In turn, ask them to do the same. It can help strengthen the bond between you two and end a potential argument before it starts. It is really important to be able to pick your battles, otherwise, you'll find yourself in a beautiful exotic location, and instead of soaking up the sun and enjoying the scenery, you're too busy fighting with your partner.
1 Being Prepared Is The Key
Don’t want to fight with each other? Be prepared for your trip. One of the biggest causes of stress and resulting arguments within a couple that is traveling is that something in the trip was not accounted for. Someone inevitably becomes disappointed or frustrated. If you are a couple who is usually rushing in the morning, maybe pack ahead and plan out what needs to get done before leaving. If you struggle with driving, seek out other forms of transportation so your partner is not left to do all of the work in getting from point A to point B. Whatever the case may be, the effect of preparing properly for a trip that fits the both of you is that it will be more relaxing, fun, and ultimately, enjoyable.