There comes a time in most relationships where the two of you are ready to take it to the next level. No, I'm not talking about moving in together, getting a puppy, or tying the knot, I'm talking about travel! Most couples have set off on a romantic getaway and if you haven't before, you should be aware that travelling with your partner can be the make or break of the relationship. Leaving the comfort of your own home and setting off on an adventure will put any relationship to the test and be the birthplace of where each person's true colours will really be on display.
Travelling abroad will surely put you both in situations you've never been in before. Maybe it will be the first time you've spent 2 weeks straight with each other or the first time you've had to overcome the problems that travel can bring, together. Regardless to say, these experiences will test you both and if done right, bring you closer together than ever. However, if done wrong, travel can be a total disaster for even the strongest of relationships. So, before heading off on your ideal romantic getaway for two, be certain to not make the following mistakes and instead learn how to make any couple travel trip go exactly the way you want it to go, perfectly.
34 Mistake: Falling into tourist traps
If you are trying to impress your partner at every stretch of your travel journey you will be bound to fall into the worst tourist traps. If you're planning to wine and dine at the most popular places in each city, you will encounter big budget breakers. Trying to have an espresso next to the Eiffel Tower? That will cost you 4 times the usual coffee price. Taking a Gondola ride through Venice? It will last 30 minutes and cost you 80 euros. Some think it's worth it, some think it is just a tourist trap! Nearly every tourist trap is out there to get couples sucked in with the expectation of picturesque romantic experiences but if you are trying to save a dollar or two, don't go anywhere near these popular tourist hot spots.
33 Solution: Do the research
Instead of paying three times the price for dinner in popular tourist places, do your research before heading out of your hotel. Look into researching the neighbourhood and authentic restaurants that are popular with the locals. Taking your time to get a little further away from city hotspots will take the stress of overpriced goods and allow you and your partner to do nothing but enjoy your experience. Having an authentic experience within a city will always be more memorable and special than sitting in a restaurant with 50 other tourists, where's the charm in that!?
32 Mistake: Arguing about the little things
Arguing whilst travelling with your partner can happen, just like any other time in your relationship. Many couples let the stress of being in an unknown city and an unfamiliar environment get the best of them and it can cause tensions within the pair. It can be small issues such as getting a little lost, or not being able to agree on a restaurant for lunch, or maybe one wants to go adventure and one wants to relax by the pool? These are totally normal discrepancies that can often put stress on your travels but the trick is to not let these small differences get to you both.
31 Solution: Knowing each other's strengths
A much better way to handle the little challenges on the road is to know and understand each other's strengths and weaknesses. If your partner is really good reading a map, whilst you are really good being open and asking locals for directions, work with that. Don't expect your partner to be perfect at everything and never feel like you should be either. Likewise, if you are really good at haggling for the best price but your partner dislikes it, take the lead in that aspect of the voyage. Just like at home I am sure you share the responsibilities and travel should be just the same.
30 Mistake: Forgetting about romance
Long-term travel can sometimes be very tiring and after a few weeks on the road, romance can be easily sucked out of the trip. Many couples get so used to being together all days and every night, seeing each other doesn't feel so special any more. You're not into the 'Friday night is date night' mentality of when you're back home and it can be easy to forget to make special time for one another. Sometimes couples don't even realise they've lost all of their romance in the fast-paced movements of their travel routines and it can cause big issues.
29 Solution: Having date nights
So, you're used to eating out every day because you don't have a kitchen to cook, and you see each other 7 days a week so you're used to each others company... it doesn't mean you still can't go on dates together! It's really important for maintaining a healthy travel relationship to take special time for one another. So what if you eat dinner out every day, tell each other, 'today is our dinner date' and make it as special as you can. Maybe you get a little more dressed up for your partner or plan on spending a little more money on a nice bottle of wine or instead of dinner you have a picnic together. Whatever it is, make a point of it being a special night just for the two of you.
28 Mistake: Having valuables too exposed
Theft is the last thing any traveller wants to deal with but a problem that is all too common amongst many tourists. Having a wallet stolen, or a passport lost, can cause big problems within a relationship on the road. People can start playing the blame game and arguing about the incident, and even sometimes losing important documents can mean the end to a trip altogether. One, or both, of you getting pickpocketed can be a problem for any travelling couple and we advise you to take many precautions to stop this from happening on your next trip.
27 Solution: Buy anti-theft bags and separate valuables
The best way to avoid theft is to ensure you purchase an anti-theft bag before leaving home. These bags keep everything safe inside with no pockets that can be accessed from the outside. Also make sure you don't leave your wallet or phone in any jacket or pant pockets and always be aware of the people around you. It is another good idea if you are travelling with cash to hide it in different bags and pockets rather all in the same spot just in case the bag goes missing. Lastly, lock all passports and other valuables in a hotel safe each time you leave.
26 Mistake: Planning an over-ambitious schedule
Looking at a map on your kitchen table is a lot different from actually being on the road. It can be very easy to get carried away when planning a travel schedule. Without actually being in a country and realising the real distance between each city can sometimes leave couples planning an over ambitious trip. Although it could be possible to see 10 countries in 4 weeks, it will not be worth it. If you are packing in too many cities or too many activities into one trip you won't ever be able to stop and take in your surroundings before getting up and leaving again. This is a very common mistake and a big no-no.
25 Solution: Think less is more
When planning your trip together, the main word to have in mind is flexibility. If you fall in love with Prague and want to stay a week, yet you've booked a train out tomorrow, what will you do? The best way to ensure a smooth travel is to think less is more! Choose fewer countries and give yourself more time to explore each one. Seeing less also gives you more time to do more in each place. This will have you leaving each city feeling like you've actually had time to get to know it, learn from it, and feel something from the time spent in that city.
24 Mistake: Getting sucked into scams
The number of scams you can be faced with when travelling can seem endless, and it frequently seems to be couples who are more likely to fall for them! When trying to impress your partner by buying them an emerald in Bogota, if the price is half of what it should be worth, you're probably being scammed. If someone is trying to sell you both a ticket to a tourist attraction on the side of the road and has no proof they're working for a travel agency, they're probably scamming you. A taxi driver that isn't in an official taxi car... again, a scam. Do you see the pattern here? If it's too good to be true, it probably is. Don't fall for it!
23 Solution: Plan in advance to say no
Sometimes giving too much attention to those trying to sell you something can mean being trapped talking for way longer than you want. If someone is trying to sell you a rose and you and your partner are looking at each other all love-eyed and smiling, the vendor will think you're going make a purchase and they won't leave you alone after that. A good way to push past this mistake is by talking about it together beforehand. By simply agreeing to each other, although your love is strong, you're not going to say yes to a rose each time you sit down for dinner and someone tries to sell you one. Your sharp and quick responses to vendors won't have them lingering for hours.
22 Mistake: Spending too much time together
Do you and your partner spend every minute of every day together back home? If not, when you're travelling don't feel like it is normal or compulsory to be together 24/7 either. It is very commonplace for a couple to get very used to spending too much time together whilst travelling. Your partner will be out for five minuets and you may feel like you've lost an arm. You will become so close you may not like the idea of spending any time apart, but spending too much time together can become too much for any travelling couple and can lead to silly arguments which you won't want.
21 Solution: Don’t forget alone time
It is crucial to any couple travel to remember some alone time. Sometimes it is really nice to do your own thing for a day and feel like you have your own personal space. If one day comes and you really want to check out a museum, for example, but your partner isn't that keen, it is absolutely okay to go and do it alone. Although it might feel strange being on your own for a few hours at first, spending a few days over a long trip doing something alone that you really enjoy will keep the relationship feeling healthy and happy over a long period of time.
20 Mistake: Overpacking
Start with packing your bag. Then take out half of what you packed and leave it behind! It is too common for people to go travelling and think they will need a different outfit for every occasion but this is never necessary. Overpacking leads to bad backs, bad moods, and an overall bad time! You and your partner will be hauling around heavy luggage, paying extra baggage fees and probably paying too much for taxis instead of being able to carry everything on your own backs.
19 Solution: Travel with carry-on
The easiest way to a relaxed and stress-free couples vacation is to travel with carry-on only. Not only will carry on backpacks be easier to carry around with you, it also means no waiting for baggage arrival at each end of the flights. This can save you both a lot of time and also runs the risk of your luggage getting lost which also can be a drama very worth avoiding. You and your partner will be so thankful to spend more time free of movement, and minus the aching backs big luggage can give you.
18 Mistake: Stressing when things don't go right
Travelling to an unfamiliar place leaves plenty of room for things to go wrong. When your day doesn't quite go to plan it can cause a lot of stress between anyone involved in the situation. Maybe your bank blocks the use of your card, you get completely lost finding your hotel, your luggage gets lost, or your flight is delayed. These are always possibilities of such things happening whilst on the road, yet worst thing to do is let them get you down or come between you both.
17 Solution: Laugh when things go wrong
Travel mishaps are common for us all and the best way to deal with anything that doesn't quite go to plan is to simply laugh about it. But chances are that you can't change it. It is best that you both learn to see the positive in any situation, even if it isn't the one you planned. Getting lost can be stressful but stopping to enjoy a new surrounding you never would have seen before is a great way to handle the circumstance. No matter what the situation there is always the possibility to see a positive and if you both can see that you'll be grateful and laughing no matter what happens.
16 Mistake: Sitting at opposite ends of the plane
Have you ever been seated rows apart from your partner on a flight or seen the sad faces of the couples on the plane who aren't able to sleep on each other's shoulder? It sucks! Being seated far away from your partner can be a crappy way to begin a couples retreat and really make a long haul flight that more un-enjoyable. It is definitely a mistake many have made and if the person sitting next to you doesn't want to swap, it's something that cannot be changed the last minute.
15 Solution: Check seating before the day of flight
The easiest way to combat any seating confusion is to get organised before the day of your flight. By logging into the airline website and viewing the seating arrangements online, you will be able to see your seats and change them if they aren't side by side. This is usually free of charge given there are seats available in the same section of the plane. If you do forget to do this online before you arrive at the airport, it is always worth asking someone when you check in if they can put the two of you together.
14 Mistake: Refusing to compromise
Although you and your partner might have many similar interests, no two people will want to do exactly the same thing every single time. There countless options of things to do and see whilst travelling and choosing between them all can be difficult to decide on. Sometimes it can be as simple as where to go for breakfast or even choosing between a walking tour or a Segway tour. If one person gets their way every time issues will always start to arise. Couples can tend to get bitter when their partner continuously refuses to compromise on site seeing and travel activities and this is definitely not the best attitude for a couple travel trip.
13 Solution: Be compromising!
Although your perfect idea of visiting Sydney was to climb the Harbour Bridge, if your partner is scared of heights, it might not be the best bonding activity and you will need to compromise. No matter where you are, the two of you will usually have to compromise things you want to do for the happiness of your partner, and if they're compromising back for you, there should be nothing wrong with negotiating on an agreement. Who knows, deciding to do an activity you really didn't want to could show you something you end up really loving and your partner will be more loving for it too!
12 Mistake: Not meeting new people
It is all too easy to think couple travel is only between the couple although that's a common mistake too many people make. If you think you and your partner can't sleep in hostels, or do a pub crawl, or join in on a local activity because your trip is all about 'you' time, think again. If you choose to exclude yourselves from the opportunity of meeting new people on your travels, you'll never get a full experience of any country. It's great to have alone time but it's very important to have social time too.
11 Solution: Get to know the locals
It can be very easy to want to spend romantic nights in and forget about being social whilst travelling but one of the best things about travel is the people you meet and the memories you make with them. Be sure to spend a few nights going out and starting new conversations with people. Try to attend some activities where you can meet the locals or even expats from your home living abroad. Having your eyes open to meeting new people and saying yes to social activities will make your trip more memorable than you could imagine.
10 Mistake: Getting sick at the same time
Travel sickness is the worst, and if you've been caught ill whilst abroad you'll know exactly what we are talking about. No comfort of your own bed, your local doctor isn't in reach, and if the pharmacist doesn't speak English everything gets a little more challenging. The problem with travel sickness and couple travel is that most of the time when you are trying to look after your partner, you're going to catch it too. This would be ok if you can both take the next day off work but when you are travelling as a duo you really need someone to be healthy and switched on and able to get any help you need. Getting sick at the same time in a foreign place is not how you want to spend your trip.
9 Solution: Give each other space
As much as you may want to look closely after your sick partner if someone falls sick whilst travelling, this time you need to give them space. Travelling as a duo with two men down can end up being really difficult to get anything done. Of course, whoever is healthy can go and get any medicine needed but it is very important to let your partner recoverer on their own to ensure you don't get sick too. Leaving them for the day to rest and giving each other space will be the safest bet you have an ensuring any infection doesn't spread and the recovery is fast so you can both get up and get going onto the next adventure.
8 Mistake: Ignoring problems
Travel can make you feel brave and strong but if you're experiencing a problem, ignoring it isn't good for anyone. In many cases, couples feel like they can't express their problems to their partner when travelling because they don't want to ruin the fun or good mood. If you are exhausted and don't want to climb that mountain to watch the sunset tonight, you don't have too. Just like any time within a relationship it is always better to express your problems when you have them instead of letting them brew inside and it becoming worse for the future.
7 Solution: Communication
Communication is one of the most important parts of a successful travel couple. Being open to speak freely about how you think and feel whilst travelling can be a life saver for any couple abroad. If your partner is being too bossy and you want a turn at leading, say it! Or reversely, if you are sick of making all of the decisions, step back and let your partner take the reins. No matter what the matter is, open up the communication and things will be a lot easier for you.
6 Mistake: Argue about plans
Deciding on plans can take months before the trip, and hours whilst you are in it. Some plans can be easy to agree on, some may change last minute and some may go completely wrong. No matter what the problem is, arguing about it will only make things worse. Too many couples can waste precious travel time arguing about plans instead of trying their best to make a plan that suits them both. Planning is a huge part of travel and if you're arguing about them all, the trip will just turn into a disaster.
5 Solution: Make plans ahead of time
A great way to ensure minimal arguments happen due to planning, is by planning in advance! Talking through what you both want before you are on the road is a way better idea than getting stuck in the middle of a trip and trying to decide last minute what you want to do. Take the time to sit down and really discuss every option within each city and see what plan each of you want to take. Do this as early as possible to give yourselves enough time to iron about any differences before heading off.
4 Mistake: Get stuck in a boring routine
It may come as a surprise, however, it is very possible for travel to become a monotonous routine. Like regular relationships, travel relationships also go through periods of excitement and periods of boredom. Like anything you do over and over again, travel can too become your regular everyday routine and when travel becomes your norm, it can cause relationships to lose their spark. It's typical to feel bored in a long-term travel trip with your partner but that doesn't mean you can't do things to get the spark ignited again.
3 Solution: Plan fun experiences
Never forget that once you leave this trip you are returning home to a life that may not be as exciting as a life on the road. It is so important to stay in the present and take advantage of every situation whilst on the road, no matter how long it has been. A great way to break out of your travel routine is to plan new experiences you haven't done yet. It might be hiking a mountain, seeing a museum, white water rafting, or snorkelling,the list is endless. Always remember to never take your surrounding for granted and make the most of an exciting opportunity to keep the travel ignited.
2 Mistake: Failing to budget and overspending
Money issues can be the centre of most issues for a lot of travel couples. If someone is constantly paying for the other or contrarily, someone is choosing to spend all their savings on personal shopping, for example, money can really start to become between the two of you. Forgetting to keep a tab of who is spending what can also lead to issues so beware to keep receipts or a note of each person's spendings.
1 Solution: Keep track of money
To ensure money doesn't get the better of you both whilst travelling, it is best to sort out a solid money plan. If someone is paying for accommodation, let the other pay for their half in food and experiences. Or alternatively, you can take the expenses day by day, today you pay for everything and tomorrow your partner does. Being open and honest if you feel money isn't being spent evenly can quickly dissolve any future issues. Sit down together and plan out who is paying for what and when and if you stick to that you're likely to not incur any problems.
References: enroute.travelink.com; gapyear.com; hostelbookers.com; twodrifters.us; thesavvycouple.com