“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.”
– Tom Sawyer Abroad by Mark Twain
Epic writer Mark Twain loved to travel. He knew that it was a fun way to learn about the world, himself and, of course, his companions. The experts have plenty of advice on traveling with friends (thank you, Grace Bonney and Sarah von Bargen. You can read about traveling happily with your family like Leo Babauta. But what about traveling as a couple? You know you want to…
Maybe you’re planning a short weekend away. Maybe you’re dusting off your passport and flying a little further. Or maybe you’re think about something in between as a first trip test. Whether you’re competing in The Amazing Race or stealing away for a romantic weekend, traveling together can make or break a relationship. And that’s exactly why you should do it. There’s no better way to get to know your partner.
“Travel ramps up the pressure and can tell you what you need to know about another person and how (or if) you’ll have fun and solve problems together,” says CNN’s Katia Hetter. You might see the best and the worst of each other. And that’s just in the first 24 hours. How does your other half handle a delayed flight? Does he or she like to explore a new place the way that you do? Can you have fun together with nothing but a pack of cards and an empty water bottle on a twelve-hour train trip? The answer might be hell yes! But there’s only one way to find out.
If you end up traveling well together, then you not only get to have the time of your life dancing on tables at Oktoberfest, for instance, but you also get to share it with your favorite person. This is your chance to make some memories. So go for it! Fill up that photo album. Give you and your partner something amazing to share.
How can you maximize your chances of success and make your next trip for two absolutely awesome? Well, in the words of Ant and Elise on Nomadic Matt, you can communicate and compromise. You’ll want to discuss budgets and travel styles in advance, but even if you cover all the worst-case scenarios, you’re probably going to get into a tiff somewhere along the road. After all, who isn’t a little bit cranky when they’re jetlagged? Remember: That’s okay! Talk it out. Be patient. And when you fall in the mud, laugh and make mud pies. How you show up on a trip is how you show up in life. If you can handle a fight abroad, you can handle a fight anywhere, and your couple will be all the stronger for it.
Communication will always help, but sometimes you just need a break. There may not be an “I” in couple, but you can still have some “me” time on your romantic vacation. If you want to read by the pool while your partner takes a surf lesson, go for it. Take some time by yourself, so you can enjoy your time together even more. No one said that you have to spend 24/7 together just because you’re traveling.
Finally, play to your strengths. National Geographic super travelers Andy and Annie suggest finding your niche. If you have a great sense of direction, maybe you should be in charge of maps. If your partner has a knack for finding the best deals, let him or her book the flights. Everyone benefits. But what if you don’t know each other’s strengths yet? Well, ask. This is the first of many things that you’ll learn as you travel together.
“Michael and I have learned more about one another in the past 3 months abroad than we ever did in the 9 months of dating prior to moving abroad,” blogs Brittany on “Notes for Nomads.” She and Michael moved to New Zealand together early in their relationship and have since made many small discoveries that have yielded big rewards. You don’t have to move to another country like they did, but a week abroad might be the best thing you’ve ever done together. At the very least, you’ll probably come home with a great tan.
What have you learned about your relationship while traveling?