18 Tips for travelling as a couple
I started out travelling solo and still enjoy exploring by myself but I also enjoy travelling with my boyfriend. It is super easy to travel with him, he's simply a great travel companion. I want to share my personal tips for travelling as a couple in this article, to tell you how to avoid stressful situations or arguments.
But before we get right into it I'd like to tell you about our situation:
My bf is an engineer in a big Austrian company. He gets five weeks off per year which is regulated by law in Austria. I, on the other hand, have much more time for travelling because I'm a self-employed blogger and content creator.
#1 What kind of trip is it going to be?
Backpacking, adventures, beach holiday, guided tour, road trip,… Always be honest about what you want to do and what's ok for you – and how much compromising you want to do for one another.
I would never go on a backpacking trip with my boyfriend. He knows that I enjoy backpacking and travelling on buses when I am on the road solo but I can appreciate him not wanting to spend his holiday on a bus.
For his birthday I got him an open water dive course (which he absolutely loved doing) in Mexico. Diving is very important to me and I really wanted to show this magnificent underwater world to him. Of course, I didn't force him to do the course and he could have stopped the course at any time if he didn't like it. Luckily he loved it 😉
#2 What's the budget?
Be sure you know how much you can comfortably spend on your trip. Set a daily or overall budget and stick to it. Living off of cheap noodles and rice after you get back is no fun.
My budget is always higher when travelling with my boyfriend. He doesn't want to stay in a dorm (and won't ever set foot in a hostel anyway), so I usually search for nice, clean – not too expensive – hotels or apartments beforehand.
#3 Tip: I write down all of the expensive in my calendar, travel diary or a google spreadsheet and add the initials (so you know who paid for what). This helps to not overspend or stretch your budget.
#4 Tip: Plan the budget around the partner who earns less but don't forget to compromise. Whoever earns more can pay for dinner sometimes or cover the difference to a better room.
#5 Who does the planning?
Do you like planning? Or does partner enjoy it more? If only one of you does all of the planning, don't forget to update your partner often. Like that you can avoid double bookings or activities overlapping.
#6 Tip: Don't over plan – being spontaneous is fun too!
In our case, I do the travel planning. I do ask my boyfriend to take a look at travel guides and choose a few things/places but he almost never does. (This leaves me the freedom to pretty much plan whatever I want.)
Before I book hotels or apartments I always have my boyfriend look at them and tell me whether he likes them or not.
#7 Tip: Share a Google spreadsheet to collect flight tickets and hotel reservations. I am a fan of spreadsheets: I use one as a calendar and another one to collect ideas and write down expenses. I also always prepare a packing list for my boyfriend.
#8 Where do you want to travel?
Two weeks in Mexico? Or a weekend city trip? Or travel in Austria? Or maybe an idealist on the fridge? 😉
Even without a list on the fridge, it is fairly easy for us to decide on a destination. We do have a wishlist in our heads though and if our ideas are somewhat realistic (like Antarctica cruise, visiting North Korea, dive safari Coco Islands, etc) we add them to our lists. Shorter weekend trips don't take as long to plan as a three week trip to Mexico.
#9 Spending time alone?
Allow yourself to have a retreat and/or time alone. Everyone needs time for themselves to relax or do things on their own. Don't try to do absolutely everything together.
#10 Tip: You really want to try free diving but your partner wants to try surfing? No problem! Part your ways and do what you want to do. Just imagine telling the other one all about your day when you get back in the evening 😉
I love my boyfriend and I want to spend every moment with him but I also need downtime for myself from time to time. I am someone who needs a lot of personal time be it to read a book or to go on a 10 min walk along the beach. This is how I recharge my batteries and it enables me to enjoy the time I spend with my boyfriend even more.
#11 What do you do in stressful or unplanned situations?
Small things can blow way out of proportion if you stick together like glue on your travels.
#12 Tip: Make sure you have your own space, take a step back, count to ten and try to laugh about the silly issues – that's how you avoid a full blown argument – and always remember: you're on holiday!
My significant other is definitely the calmer one in our relationship and I admire him for it. I have learned that there is much less emotion involved when he looks at car rentals, hotel bookings or expensive taxi fares – I, on the other hand, associate all those things with our amazing trip and don't want to pay a tourist tax in a taxi!
#13 Trial: Weekend trip
You don't just buy a camera for 4000€ without trying a compact camera first, right? Ease into travelling together by taking shorter trips first.
#14 Tip: Travel somewhere at least one of you has been already. Like that you can avoid a lot of stress and uncertainty.
Our first trip together took us to the Czech Republic. We spent 4 days in Prague and Krumau. I was so nervous about this trip because travelling is an important part of my life and this trip could have changed our relationship. It went better than I could ever have imagined – a 7 day trip to Italy, our first plane travel within Europe, many smaller trips and our two week trip to Mexico soon followed.
#15 Try something new
#16 Tip: If you know much your partner loves beer, there is no need to ask if he/she would enjoy a visit to the beer spa. Just book it and surprise him/her.
#17 Tip: Be crazy, dance through a city or take a silly tourist photo 😉
#18 Enjoy your trip – kiss and hug
Life is too short for petty arguments and spoilt trips and more often than not one's own attitude stands in the way of great travels. NOBODY can take away the time you spent together. Listen to each other, ask questions and keep in mind: a hug and kiss can make a world of a difference if one of you is feeling down.
My face speaks volumes: My boyfriend can tell there is something wrong with me often even before I can. He wraps his arms around me and holds me tight for a minute – and the world is whole again.
Do you have tips for travelling with your significant other?