Deciding wether or not you want to travel with a companion is a tough choice. On one hand, flying solo is going to allow flexibility and personal growth. While traveling with someone will provide shared memories, safety and comfort. I’m an advocate for both types of travel, it just depends on what type of experience you are seeking for each particular trip. For the sake of this post I am going to be talking about traveling as a duo, with your lover. GASP.
Let’s get something straight before we continue; if you are an avid traveler and happen to be dating someone, you will one day travel together. It’s unavoidable and this post will hopefully give you some insight on remaining in a healthy relationship throughout the trip. And heck, the couple that travels together stays together, right?
Jace, my hunk of a boyfriend, and I spent 54 days together in Latin America. Well 1,296 hours if you want to be exact… but who’s counting? We were that disgustingly in love couple (you know, the couple that makes you want to puke) before the trip and we were pumped to explore the world with one another. Our unrealistic expectations, mostly mine, of having romantic candle lit dinners and sex on tropical beaches were abruptly shattered and our relationship was put to the test numerous times. But you know what? I am still madly in love with the dude and the trip evolved our relationship into something much more concrete and real. I highly recommend embarking on a trip with your other half.
With that said, there are some things that you definitely need to know before embarking on a trip with your darling dear. It’s the good, the bad and the ugly.
1. You can share your experiences with someone. You don’t have to return home and recite your trip to a room full of people with hollow understandings of what you went through. You will forever share inside jokes and memories.
2. Four hands are better than two. Having someone by your side means less selfies, someone to watch your bag while you pee, shared plates of food, a personal heater/pillow/massage therapist/emotional therapist… okay you get the picture.
3. The true test. Traveling with one another is the ultimate test of the strength of your relationship. If you survive, you know that you can get through anything! I suppose this might fall into the “bad” category if your relationship doesn’t survive the test…
4. Comfort. You are with someone who knows you in and out and loves you regardless of the fact that you need ice cream on a daily basis to function. You also know that they have your back and will keep you safe even if their life depends on it. Jace once saved me from a man-eating super crab!
1. Emotions are amplified. You are in a unknown territory, with almost no money, in extreme weather and your lover tells you “you don’t need ice cream.” Yes you fucking do. Without a doubt you will fight over completely pointless things because you are stressed out and sweaty. You will quickly hate the way your partner breathes and sharing a bunk is ABSOLUTELY out of the question. Hang in there though because once your trip is over these incidents become hilarious stories.
2. Why make friends when you already have one? My least favorite thing about traveling with someone is that you aren’t forced to make friends. You always have someone to talk to and to adventure with so you find little need in interacting with others.
3. You give up certain freedoms. You are traveling with someone you care about so you find yourself not doing certain things just to please them. For example, maybe you really wanted to eat ice cream every single day, but you limit it to every other day because your boyfriend hates delicious things that provide happiness (true story). For most of you however, this will mean missing out on particular activities or experiences because of compromise. So just go into the trip understanding that you can’t have everything your way.
1. Well…you will be ugly. You forgot to pack your ball gown and hair straightener and your sunburn doesn’t contour your cheek bones as you had hoped. Somehow all the other girls in the entire country are actually Victoria Secret models. But you don’t give a shit because you are on the trip of a lifetime and you don’t have time to concern yourself with shaving your armpits. Your boyfriend will love you for this.
2. Sex on the beach is strictly the name of a drink, not a reality. The beach is way too sandy to roll around on, plus you run the risk of being caught. And jail time isn’t cute. Your options for hanky panky are VERY limited. You will need to get creative. Dorm beds are not the place for this. Single occupancy bathrooms might be an acceptable alternative ( just don’t touch the walls, sink or anything for that matter). For you classy type, save up some money for a few days and splurge on a private room in your hostel. For you outdoorsy type, find a nice river with giant fort-like boulders to engage in the act. Whatever you do, don’t not do “it”. You need to keep the romance alive and relieve some stress!
3. Wait you poop? At some point you will be forced to poo in front of or in very close proximity to your lover. This will be awkward at first, along with them finding out all the other disgusting things you do; including but not limited to farting, picking your nose, popping zits, and sounding like a baby pterodactyl when you cry. But after awhile it will lose it’s “ewwwww” factor and become a part of normal life. It might even become charming.
My Top Tricks and Tips:
1. Discuss potential issues and arguments ahead of time. Some great topics to talk about before you leave for your trip are budget, activities, hopes for the trip, and necessary ice cream quotas. Basically you’ll want to hash out any potential problems before they actually become a problem.
2. Alone time is key. When you are with someone 24/7 you are bound to get annoyed, which usually leads to pointless fighting. So allot some time every so often to do your own thing. Even if this just means reading in separate rooms or going alone on your morning run.
3. Do Something Romantic. At some point during your travels you are going to need to be reminded that you are a couple, not just some mangy vagabonds who happen to be traveling together. So brush your hair, shave your armpits and splurge on dinner served on a plate. We all want to feel loved and special every once in awhile, so keep the spark alive!
4. Be Open-minded. You’ll need to remind yourself often that you are traveling with someone who has a distinct personality, probably much different from yours. Accept that they have different views and maybe even explore those views. Be willing to negotiate and deviate from your own ideals or plans. Lastly, traveling will likely change you. Be supportive and encouraging of the changes seen in your significant other.
5. Allocate tasks. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated if you are the only one figuring out logistics, budgets and itineraries. Let your partner take on some of the workload. This way they will feel included and you can relieve some of the pressure you’ve put on yourself.
6. Love hard. Your sweetheart will need you just as much as you need them. As Jace’s mom says, “it’s all get through-able” Showing love in the toughest of times is the most important thing you can do.