Couples who travel together, stay together...right? In some cases, traveling can absolutely take your relationship to the next level by breaking down the barriers that normally take years at an accelerated rate due to close proximity and new surroundings. A couple who communicates well, has similar interests and is excited to try new things can thrive when they’re abroad together.
But sometimes spending extended periods of time with one person you think you know can bring out a whole new side you’re not the biggest fan of. If you haven’t been open with one another and clear about your wants and needs, this intense time together could completely break your relationship.
As with a relationship in everyday life, the key to successful couples travel is respecting the other person’s opinions and needs, being willing to compromise when you can’t come to a unanimous decision and communicating your feelings in a calm, kind way. If you can do these things at home, you can definitely achieve them on the road as well even though it may take more of a conscious effort at times. But there’s no hiding relationship problems when you can’t take a break from each other for weeks on end and if there are underlying issues that you’re not addressing, travel has the potential to bring them to light extremely quickly. These are 15 red flags to look for while traveling with your significant other, and 10 signs you guys are super in sync.
25 1. Red Flag: You Can’t Agree On Anything
If you arrive at your destination and suddenly realize you and your significant other have completely different interests in terms of what activities you’re going to be doing on this trip, that’s a major red flag. If one of you is more interested in visiting historical sites and the other only wants to head to the beach, there’s been a serious miscommunication somewhere along the way as to why you were going on this trip in the first place.
If you can’t make compromises and make spending quality time the priority, maybe it’s time to reevaluate.
24 2. Red Flag: You Blame Each Other When Things Go Wrong
No matter how much advanced planning you do, things will inevitably go awry at some point on your travels, especially if you’re going for a longer period of time.
Whether you miss a flight, can’t find your hostel or misplace your cash, how you treat each other in the tough times speaks the loudest.
If you’re finding reasons to blame your partner for these situations you might need to take a look in the mirror and ask yourself why? By the same token, if you feel you’re being unjustifiably blamed for plans falling through, are you really happy with someone who treats you this way?
23 3. Red Flag: You Have Different Ideas Of What’s Within Your Budget
It’s important to identify the style of travel you’ll be doing well in advance of your departure. Are you backpacking on a shoestring budget or are you taking a full blown vacation with unlimited drinks and VIP beach access? There is a huge range on the travel scale and if you come from different income brackets, you and your significant other need to establish how much you’re going to spend while traveling, ahead of time.
For the person on a tighter budget, it’s not going to feel very good if they’re eating less or sitting on the sidelines watching someone shell out for an extra good time, and vice versa, someone who thought the budget was higher is going to be disappointed if they find out on arrival they won’t get to do what they thought they came for.
22 4. Red Flag: You’re Easily Embarrassed
If you’re spending every minute of the day together for a couple of weeks or maybe longer, you’re going to need to get comfy with your partner pretty quickly. There’s no hiding things like flatulence from an upset stomach or an alarming sunburn in all the wrong places when you’re bunking together.
If you don’t feel like your partner is accepting these things that you have to deal with in life or you feel bad about yourself because of them you need to ask yourself why that is. Is it because you feel embarrassed but don’t need to, or because their reaction is unkind? Either way, if you can’t relax and be your true self there’s likely a bigger issue that needs to be addressed.
21 5. Red Flag: You Can’t Let The Little Things Go
Spending every second together 24/7 can either make or break your relationship. It’s normal to be irritated by someone’s usually inconsequential habits when you can’t get away from them for any length of time, but if you’re finding the need to pick at these things or are being berated yourself, it’s a sign for sure.
Loving someone doesn’t mean they never annoy you; it means that even when they annoy you, you find the good and you can look past it because you see the bigger picture. You can address things in a respectful way that doesn’t put the other person down. If you’re getting hung up on each other’s quirks and can’t let the little things slide, ask yourself if you can really see yourself with this person five or ten years down the road. Do they really like all the things that make you, you?
20 6. Red Flag: You’re Not On The Same Page
You came for the elephant sanctuary and they came for the parties...but you didn’t discuss this ahead of time? If you’re traveling together and it becomes clear you’re on completely different pages as to what the tone of the trip was supposed to be, you’re probably having some communication problems in the relationship that go deeper than a travel itinerary.
If it’s not about you two spending time and experiencing new things together, why are you traveling as a couple at all? A couples trip that turns into two solo trips is a major red flag. Of course it’s okay for couples to spend an afternoon apart while traveling together if someone wants to do some shopping and someone else wants to just lay by the pool, but if it’s a constant struggle that’s leaving you lonely when you thought you wouldn’t be, maybe it’s time to start a new chapter.
19 7. Red Flag: Your Dietary Preferences Don’t Align
What you eat is a HUGE part of traveling together because one of the best ways to learn and experience is a new culture is through their food! Hopefully before you jet halfway around the world together you’ve noticed a thing or two about each other’s culinary preferences.
If one of you is a vegan but the country’s traditional dishes contain a lot of meat and animal products, will it be a problem that the other person is trying them? If your significant other or yourself is a picky eater are you preventing the other person from trying new and exciting foods they were looking forward to? Did you go all the way to Portugal to discover your partner has a shellfish allergy you weren’t aware of? If you’re not in the know about what your partner likes to (or can) eat, you might be in for some unpleasant surprises when traveling abroad that can really put a pin in your romance.
18 8. Red Flag: You Take Out Tiredness On One Another
Waking up at 3 am to catch a flight, not sleeping on the airplane and then experiencing jet lag is a recipe for over tiredness. When people are tired they become more irritable, grouchy and much less patient. How you treat your partner while you’re experiencing jet lag is important, and vice versa.
If you’re constantly bickering, full out fighting or snapping at one another, then you are not treating each other respectfully. This may not seem like a big deal when you’re feeling tired but over the course of time, how you speak to each other determines the healthiness of your relationship.
17 9. Red Flag: You Can’t Talk It Out
Maybe you’re dating an introvert or you’re an introvert yourself; this can sometimes make communicating difficult. If one of you isn’t comfortable talking about your feelings or just doesn’t know how, it’s important to work together to find a way to understand what's going on.
When you’re traveling as a couple you need to be able to talk about things so you can make important decisions quickly. If one of you isn’t communicating or doesn’t share your true feelings, ending up at a restaurant you didn’t really want to go to or an activity you’re actually not comfortable with could result in quiet resentment.
16 10. Red Flag: You Feel Insecure If Your Partner Gets Chatty With A Fellow Traveller
One of the most exciting parts of traveling is meeting people from around the world. Some will be travelers like yourselves and others will be locals who give you a taste of the culture in your destination. Ideally, you and your significant other will embrace these opportunities to make new friends.
But what if new friends evoke jealousy? Are you insecure when your partner makes friends with another backpacker at your hostel? Or do they get jealous and grumpy when someone engages you in a friendly and interesting conversation? Beware of possessive behaviour - of course there’s a difference between friendly conversation and flirting. It’s important to know the difference and notice if your partner’s personality changes when you’re not solely dependent on their company.
15 11. Red Flag: You Don’t Feel Supported
Traveling is a huge step for some people, it means leaving the security of your daily routine and venturing to a place you may know nothing about. You may not even speak the language. Usually, traveling as a couple is a great way to feel safe and secure in this new setting. It can even add heat to your romance.
But if you don’t feel safe and secure traveling with your significant other, something is off.
If you don’t feel like you have a piece of home with you in them, or you don’t feel like they’d take care of you if you got a post-flight cold, it’s important to ask yourself why that is.
Life is full of uncertainties, but one thing you should always be certain of is that your partner has your back.
14 12. Red Flag: You’re Not Enjoying The Moment
Travel is full of adventures and can allow you to make memories that last a lifetime. If you’re finding yourself daydreaming about being back home or worse, being here with someone else, that’s a serious red flag in your relationship.
Longing for something outside of the trip with your partner might mean that you’re not here with the right person after all. Being away from home with them forces you to eliminate your safety net and distractions of daily life to assess how you really feel about just being with them.
If you can enjoy something simple like just reading a book by the pool next to someone, that says a lot. If you can’t, well...that says a lot too.
13 13. Red Flag: You Can’t Put The Phone Down
This a more modern problem for couples...if one of you can’t put the cell phone away and give the other person undivided attention, you won’t get very far. Of course when you’re in a new and exciting place it’s natural to want to take photos and videos to capture the experience; maybe even share some photos on IG for friends and family back home to see what you’re up to.
But if you’re both constantly on social media the second you have access to wifi and you’re not enjoying your time together, appreciating the moments in real time instead of focusing on capturing them on a screen constantly, you’re missing out on something special.
12 14. Red Flag: Your Conversation Runs Dry
A chance to spend uninterrupted time together can be really valuable in learning more about your significant other, but if you stop learning and start struggling for things to talk about, there might be a problem.
If you feel like your conversations are looping and repeating or there just isn’t any conversation at all after you’ve been together for 72 hours straight, it’s possible you don’t have as much in common as you thought. I’m not necessarily talking about having hobbies or interests in common - couples with different interests can actually learn a lot from one another which can be very beneficial. But if your sense of humour or values don’t align, substantial conversation may be replaced by crickets.
11 15. Red Flag: You Don’t Give Each Other Room To Breath
A common misconception is that couples traveling together need to spend every waking moment together, engaged in conversation doing exciting things together, otherwise the vacation was a flop. This is not only untrue, it’s just not realistic.
If you’re traveling for any length of time there will be moments when you both get tired, when you both need a minute to regroup or rest and this might mean taking a minute for yourself. Taking a nap while your partner stays by the pool or reading a book quietly in the next room for half an hour is totally fine.
If you’re clinging to each other every second and exhausting one another in your determination to prove something, you might not be as secure in your relationship as you would like.
10 1. Perfect Match: You’re Excited About The Same Activities
Looking forward to sharing an experience on your trip and then enjoying it together to create lasting memories creates a strong bond. If you both have similar interests and desires for what you’ll do or see while you are away, you’re both going to be more satisfied with the outcome as well as have lots to talk about and reflect on when you eventually get back home.
Adventurous activities like cycling, rock climbing and hiking especially are good for couples to build trust and enjoy each other’s company.
9 2. Perfect Match: You’re Both Willing To Try New Things
Studies show that couples who try new things together are most satisfied with their relationships. Discovering a new dynamic between you can bring back a spark that may have faded if you’ve been together for a long period time. Being excited about suggestions from your partner and participating in activities with an open mind together not only causes you to connect in that moment, but also teaches you flexibility for approaching new situations in life.
Additionally, agreeing to try something your partner is excited about but that may be a little out of your comfort zone or not of interest to you demonstrates the benefits of compromise. You may end up really enjoying something you never would’ve tried otherwise, like bungee jumping in New Zealand or eating scorpion in China.
8 3. Perfect Match: You’re Learning More About One Another
The concentrated amount of time you have together as you travel provides a perfect opportunity for you to learn more about the other person. Having meaningful discussions lets you get a better sense of what makes your partner tick. These don’t have to be serious, long winded, heart to hearts either.
Lemonade.com published a list of 52 questions that bring you closer to your partner and this is a perfect example of casual conversation that creates meaning in its subtext. Asking questions about your significant other’s childhood, lists of top five favourites or what they wish they were doing more of are amazing ways to maximize your time together and cultivate a lasting bond.
7 4. Perfect Match: You Aren’t Afraid of Amicable Silence
You’ve probably seen a million articles that say silence is a toxic for a relationship and sure, if you talk about the silent treatment, then it very well may be. But amicable silence is actually the mark of a healthy relationship according to Brides.com.
If you’re really comfortable with each other, the incessant need to fill the gap in conversation disappears.
You can get lost in your own thoughts and be comfortable knowing your partner understands your silence isn’t a negative thing. When traveling, there will be times when you’re both tired and of course naturally less inclined to generate engaging conversation. A secure, healthy relationship will not be impacted by this silence; it does not hang like a cloud in the air.
6 5. Perfect Match: You’ve Got Their Back, They’ve Got Yours
Knowing your partner has your back is always extremely important, but even more so when you’re in a new and unfamiliar place. Having each other’s backs can mean you’re looking out for each other’s safety, you are taking note of when the other person seems hungry or tired (and take that into consideration for the day's plans), or it might mean providing emotional support if they’re upset or distressed.
Having a deep rooted trust in one another is key to successful travel as a couple and exhibiting your care and dedication to the other person only strengthens this trust over time.