The internet makes traveling together look like a dream. Yes, there are exotic adventures and romantic places…but there are also long haul flights and jet-lagged companions. In order to help couples who may be voyaging together for the first time, we have compiled a list of quick tips that help make every trip together wonderful!
1. Set Expectations
It is easy to assume both of you are on the same page, but you may be envisioning two completely different trips. Take some time to sit down and discuss what it is you each want most. Even if you have traveled together before, every trip is different and requires this conversation.
We like to have a “dinner meeting” to lay out our travel plans. We discuss our must do/see items over a nice meal. For our last adventure, we decided we wanted rest and relaxation. We found we were willing to skip a photo op with the Leaning Tower of Pisa in favor of having a glass of wine in Cinque Terre, because that better matched our expectations for a relaxing cruise vacation. For our next trip we will be looking for more excitement. Although we may miss out on some historic architecture, we can avoid disappointment knowing we’ve planned a trip with different expectations and goals in mind.
2. Stick to Your Budget
You may have set a maximum budget, but you also need an idea of how you plan to spend your money. Beyond the plane tickets and sleeping accommodations, there will be lots of financial decisions to make while you travel. Do we pay for a ride on a gondola or save our money for a wine tour? Perhaps one of you prefers to shop for souvenirs while the other would rather splurge on nicer meals.
Whatever it is, have a conversation in advance about what your budget is, and how much each of you is willing to sacrifice. Traveling together is an exercise in partnership and compromise, so be sure to find a balance!
3. Stop for Coffee
We once made the mistake of skipping our morning coffee in order to get a head start on the day. Frustration ensued. . . For one of us, it was because we lacked caffeine. The other had to deal with an irritable travel partner. Now, stopping for coffee has turned into an inside joke and we laugh about the whole thing, but we learned that it’s not about the caffeine, it’s about listening to each other.
You may feel like there is so much to do and never enough time, but you can’t ignore the small requests of your partner in order to get everything else done. Anticipate one another needs and take time to fulfill them. If one person would like to stop for a quick photo or get a snack, take the time to do it! You will waste a lot more time fighting than you will by taking a quick detour.
4. Be Self Sufficient
Traveling together doesn’t mean relying on each other for everything. Assuming that your partner packed or planned something leads to stress and blame. Even though we work as a team, we keep our sense of independence when we travel. This means being accountable for our own things and staying alert in our surroundings.
As amazing as this world is, it can also be dangerous. You must be prepared for the possibility of getting separated or facing real challenges. Your chances of success are doubled when you are equally capable and self sufficient.
5. Plan, But Be Open to Adventure
Careful planning helps you make the most of your time. Nothing is worse than sitting around asking, “well, what do you want to do?”
But don’t feel like sticking to a schedule is the only way to get things done. Stay in the moment and be open to new possibilities. One of our favorite travel memories was the time we happened upon an indoor petting zoo at a Japanese mall. We had plans for dinner, but postponed them to quench our curiosity. It was so fun, we couldn’t have planned it better!
6. Love Each Other
Traveling together can sometimes feel like a blur. You will be on sensory overload taking in the sights, sounds and flavors of each new place. But while you are falling in love with different cities, don’t forget to fall in love with each other. Love takes hard work, especially when you are traveling outside of your comfort zones. Some people never have the chance to explore the world, so if you have the opportunity to do so with your best friend, don’t take it for granted!