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Ernest Hemingway said, “Never go on trips with anyone you do not love”. While you might not be in ‘L word’ territory just yet, a trip with your significant other is one that can either make or break your blossoming romance. Here are 10 tips to help survive your first trip travelling as a couple, to ensure your relationship remains intact all the way from take-off to touching back down on home soil.
1. Avoid ‘hangry’ at all costs
When travelling, hunger induced rage or sulking is the most avoidable of potentially relationship-ending squabbles. Learn each other’s hunger warning signs, pack snacks if you’re doing a full day’s trekking around, and plan regular food stops. Adding cool restaurants and cafes into your travel itinerary is a great way to navigate a city.
2. Planner vs. passive
Is your partner an avid planner while you prefer madcap spontaneity? Risky. Are you both hardcore organisers resistant to input from others? Potentially damning.
It’s important to find a balance in who plans what (unless you’re fortunate enough to be perfectly in simpatico) so you can hit an agreeable middle-ground between your individual interests while taking turns donning the captain’s hat.
3. Space is essential
While the idea of travelling with your better half might invoke mental images of long sunset walks or passionate embraces in front of famous landmarks, the reality is that spending countless days in the company of a single person can drive even the most loved-up individual to the brink of insanity.
Throw some “me time” into your itinerary – be it a day of solo exploring or simply booking accommodation with separate living and sleeping quarters so you’re not on top of each other at all times – to avoid potential for personal space infractions. Plus, it’s fun to reunite with your loved one after a day away from each other, and help to fan the flames of romance throughout your trip.
4. Sort your budget before you bon voyage
Roughly map out the spending budget for daily expenses like food, transport, admission prices and so on, and how you’ll be paying throughout the trip. A good way to avoid any finance-related arguments down the track is just split everything down the middle. However, when it comes to shopping for personal souvenirs (art, clothing, fine wine, etc) it’s every man or woman for his or herself. You can always hide the receipts…
5. This time, it’s personal
From stomach bugs to seismic episodes of travel rage, prepare to see your partner at their absolute worst when travelling abroad. You might be known for having Zen levels of patience, but a 14-hour flight followed by lengthy stint in the customs line only to be met with a “booking issue” at your hotel would make even Gandhi want to throw a hissy fit. Be patient and don’t sweat the small stuff, sweaty.
6. If you don’t walk at the same pace as your partner, your relationship is doomed
Maybe opt for a cycling tour. Or a cruise.
7. Mapping out trouble
Too many cooks spoil the broth, and too many map-readers has the potential to catastrophically destroy your trip. Take turns at being the guide to avoid quibbles at crossroads – and if one of you is a regular Christopher Columbus behind the compass, while the other can barely navigate their way out of the hotel lobby, it’s best to save face and leave the map-managing to the former.
8. Enhance the romance
It’s exciting to see how far you can stretch your money on an overseas trip (the breakfast buffet doubles as a DIY sandwich-making station for lunch? Somebody pass the cling wrap!), but it pays to fork out a little extra cash on a classy hotel stay or restaurant a few times during your journey to keep the romance flowing.
9. Cabin failure
One of the hardest parts of the journey happens before you even reach your destination. Yes, the flying portion of your trip is where you’ll be physically closest with your partner (and about 150 complete strangers) for the longest period of time – so remember, you don’t necessarily have to sit next to each other on the plane, and it’s okay to both request an aisle seat when flying non-stop from Oz to LA. Sometimes comfort and armrest space is more important for your mutual sanity and tolerance levels.
10. Test the waters
Sure, your love for each other is strong and true – but the trials and tribulations of travel can test even the most solidified relationships. Before you book that three month-long overseas jaunt with your honey, try a weekend away to see if you’re a good travel fit and go from there.