Spending long stretches of time with anyone is hard. Spending time traveling is even harder. When you travel with someone, or your significant other, you have a lot to balance: where to go, what to do, eat, stay, budget, and so much more. Traveling is always give and take when you're with others. As a person that craves “me” time and solitude, it can be difficult to find out what works best when I travel with my husband Michael. But after 12 years of dating and many many trips, here's how we make it work. I've found that these tips not only help ease any travel tension, they make our relationship stronger.
I remember when we went to London a few months ago, I had a lot of work, and I told Michael he could just figure out the lodging. He checked with me first, and I said, “yeah, yeah, all sounds great.” We arrived in our next destination, Birmingham, England and the location he chose reeked of weed and less than ideal characters were hanging around. Oh. And we were sharing the place with another guest. AND there were no locks on the bedroom doors.
I was furious. I carried all my stuff to dinner. And let me tell you, nothing brings out the anger in my like 24/7 traveling to end up in an unfamiliar place where I feel nervous. It ended up being fine, but it reminded me that we needed to iron some things before we make the journey.
Here are 10 Tips for Traveling with Your Significant Other, so you don't kill each other.
1. Voice Your Opinion… beforehand
Like my example above, all things could have been fine, if I spoke up. But I didn't and so we were at odds. If you really want to do something, make sure you say it before the trip starts. Also, make sure you and your significant other are on the same page. If they want to stay at a 5-star hotel and you're okay with a hostel that can cause hostility. Or hostel-ity. Sorry. That was a hostel joke.
I think it's a good idea if both people have an idea of what they want to do. This keeps the peace and our marriage is more harmonious because of it.
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2. Go over the plan
I like to have a rough idea of what we'll be doing while traveling, so I always have a plan in mind. You can still have spontaneous travel time, but having a rough idea of what we'll do is always very important. Flights, lodging, and number of days in each location is the minimum.
3. Make sure they are getting to do what they want too
I remember Michael, my mom, and I were in Innsbruck, Austria recently. Michael really really wanted to take the dogs on a hike. It was later in the day and I was tired and it was getting dark outside. BUT he had done so much driving and so much of what my mom and I wanted, I knew I needed to make it work. And we did and he had the best time. We always ask what our favorite thing was during a trip and he said the hike made his trip. So even though it wasn't top of my list I'm glad we made it work.
4. Avoid situations you know will suck
I love Michael. He loves me. I love shopping. He loves mountain biking. We have no desire to bring each other to either activity. Both could end up in broken arms. Truthfully, we know not everything is going to be our partner's cup of tea and we respect that. You probably know, or will find out which situations you should do separately. Embrace it. Then embrace each other after you do these activities apart. This also helps with my “me” time.
5. Try something new
I know my above story might sound counter-intuitive, but don't forget to take a chance on something new you might really love. Indulge in something different: a cuisine, an excursion, or an idea. I'm afraid of heights, but it was a super clear day recently in Munich and Michael suggested we go to the top of the New Town Hall. So, we did it. And it was scary and slick with ice. But we got this view!
To date, this is one of the coolest pictures I've taken. And I'm so glad we did this.
6. Develop a travel style
You know those people running through the airport? That is myself and my husband. It's bad, I know. Sometimes we get to the airport on time. Never really early. We just hate sitting there waiting. We also hate lines. So, we don't wait in lines even if the restaurant is the BEST EVER. There's no way the food is that good.
It's very important for me that we travel the same way. If one of us wanted to get to the airport 3 hours early it would be a drag for the other. Whatever your travel style is, try to mesh it together.
7. Be present
As a blogger I tend to be on my phone too much. But I really make a conscious effort to put it down. Especially when traveling. I want to savor the moment, not just Instagram it, so I make an effort to be present and explore what's happening now. Do try to unplug as much as possible. It's just healthy to do that anyway.I want to savor the moment, not just Instagram it, so be present when you travel together. Click To Tweet
8. Leave no wo/man behind
One time, when we were in Prague, Michael got very ill. It could have been the absinthe the night before in the cave bar. We'll never know. (It was the absinthe in the cave bar.) He really really wanted to see Prague, but he was really nauseated (hung over.) So, he hopped off the tram at one point to get some fresh air (throw up.) I wasn't quick enough to jump off, so I had to hop off at the next stop, then catch another tram to go back. He was just going to go home, but I made him drink some water and come along. He didn't feel great but to this day he says thank you for me making him come.
If someone is truly sick, of course, they can't come to everything. But sometimes we just need a little encouragement if we're exceptionally exhausted.
9. Don't be jealous
I think the wonderful part of travel is to meet and interact with people you'd never meet unless you went to that part of the world. Some of my best memories are talking to people with different backgrounds. I think it's normal and healthy to talk to members of the opposite sex, especially while traveling.
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10. Go with the flow
My number one travel rule is: go with the flow. When it comes to food, plans, clothing, sleep – you just gotta get over it. I'll never forget the one travel experience I had where someone was just negative Nancy about everything. No! When you travel circumstances arise that will undoubtedly be out of your control. Move on. And chill out.
I think traveling brings you closer and helps you learn so much more about someone. Hopefully these tips will help you for smooth sailing (or flying) for your next trip together.