Last Updated on February 14, 2019 by Audrey Scott
“I don’t know how you guys do it.” — Many of our readers
“Sometimes, we don’t know either.” — Us
On Valentine’s Day, couples around the world are thinking of ways to spend more time together. Then there’s us: almost not possible.
Traveling with your partner is terrifically satisfying. Shared experiences are fulfilling; your relationship can find itself strengthening in new ways.
However, stress and challenges are a reality in all relationships, and especially so when traveling full time.
Many people have asked how we manage our relationship on the road considering that we are not only life partners but traveling and business partners as well.
We gave this question some thought and reverse-engineered our approach. Here’s what we came up with. We imagine many of these will resonate with you — whether you plan to take them around the world or just around the block.
1. Ditch the “perfection narrative”
“What’s the perfection narrative?” you ask. It’s the storyline you see in books or on TV that implies marriages are supposed to be perfect. Anything less and you’ve failed.
We counter with this: manage your expectations. No relationship is 100% perfect; each of us is human. Marriage (any committed long-term relationship) is hard work. Sometimes it thrives, sometimes it falters and sometimes it inches along toward shared goals. Recognize that you are not perfect and neither is he; perhaps you can accept your partner’s faults and he can love you for all of yours.
2. Communicate actively
After all this time together, it’s easy to believe you can read one another without having to speak.
Active and honest verbal communication should never go out of style. Ask questions and share, particularly if something is bothering you.
3. Keep checking in
Before you begin any journey (travel, life, business, etc.), it is crucial that you align your individual and shared goals.
This is often obvious. What’s less obvious: don’t assume this alignment will remain forever. People change over time; goals change.
Check in with your partner periodically to confirm that your goals are still aligned. Keep in mind that you don’t need to wait for occasions like anniversaries and the new year to do this.
4. Create mental space
When physical space is limited, learn to create mental space.
Some find it surprising that we can be in each other's company for hours on end without speaking. It’s perfectly acceptable not to talk with one another all the time when you’re together. Silence is not only golden, it’s healthy too.
This is especially important if one or both of you is an introvert (i.e., someone who derives energy from time alone).
5. Recognize strengths and weaknesses
Maybe you are proficient in all things. If – like the rest of us — you are not, leverage the strengths (yours and your partner’s) and manage the weaknesses.
Then of course there’s the case when you both share a weakness. In this case, do the best you can. For example, neither of us has a particularly good sense of direction. Even with a map we sometimes get turned around. Instead of becoming frustrated with each another, we accept that we’ll likely get lost…like, all the time.
6. Share the burden
There will likely be tasks that neither of you wants to do. Be honest about which tasks these are and divide them up. Otherwise, one of you may feel unduly burdened and taken advantage of.
Given that we’ve been traveling for over three years, it may surprise you that neither of us especially enjoys the logistical planning associated with travel. Once we get on the ground, we’re great. But transport and accommodation planning is something we often consider a necessary evil. We divide these responsibilities by divvying up countries or regions, and on a daily basis we sometimes resort to “My Day, Your Day” as a management technique.
7. Ride the ups and downs
Ideally, your individual ups and down will occur in opposite cycles so that when one person is feeling down, the other can compensate by taking on more responsibilities. The important thing is to recognize is that “downs” do occur; this is natural and not cause for a freak-out when it happens.
After traveling through Central America for fours month, I hit the culture shock wall one day in El Salvador. Dan stepped up and took care of everything the rest of the day so all I had to do was follow him and deal with my emotions.
8. Realize it's not all mental
Are there times when your partner turns into a demon for no apparent reason?
Recognize the signs of when your partner is suffering from physiological impairments (e.g., low blood sugar, extreme fatigue, or hormones).
Address the issue quickly if you can: “Why don’t we get something to eat?” or “Why don’t we take an afternoon nap?” If you’re in a bind (e.g., on a bus with no food), then put your armor on and realize that your partner’s behavior is connected to something physical. In other words, don’t take it personally.
The first time we traveled together long term (Europe in 2000 for five months), there were moments when Dan wondered whether he had just married someone with Jekyll-Hyde complex. I turned into an incoherent mess when my blood sugar became low. Nowadays we both actively manage this for one another.
9. Do something goofy
Humor and laughter are great stress relievers. When things get heavy and tough, crack a bad joke, break into song and dance in the middle of the street, resort to childhood tactics or do whatever you need to do in order to break the serious mood. You’ll both feel better after a good laugh and the situation won’t feel quite so overwhelming anymore.
10. Don’t take your partner for granted
When you spend so much time with someone, it’s dangerously easy to take him for granted and to forget to actively appreciate your time together. Unfortunately, life circumstances can change that in an instant.
Even if you believe your partner knows it already, make it a practice to tell him how much he means to you.
We've shared our approach, but know we have much to learn. What are your tips for keeping a healthy relationship on the road or at home?
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
He/Him/She/Her note: I use the male personal pronoun throughout. However, we believe these principles apply equally to men and women.
84 thoughts on “How to Travel the World Together Without Killing Each Other”
This is a great list. I find my fiance and I doing these things all the time. We are both at home for the next several months – although we’re not traveling together, we are with each other nearly ALL the time. We’ve found the most important thing for us is to keep the communication flowing and always be open and honest with each other. This has been the most important thing when it comes to keeping our relationship healthy. Thanks for the post!
Good, practical advice. I think that all of these would apply well to non-travelers as well. #2 is especially important and will ward off those molehills that turn into mountains.
I would also add another one that says don’t spend time alone exclusively. We try to bring other people along when we do things just because it gives us a new perspective and it gives us someone else to talk to for a little while.
Thanks for the post!
@Heather: If there is any skill that takes top billing for good relationships, it would be open and honest communication. Another important skills is to understand how your partner reacts to certain communications and adjusting your communication style so that it is clear for everyone. For example, I tend to personalize things more than Dan, so while he thinks he’s stating something that’s neutral I sometimes take it as a personal insult. Likewise, I tend to add more “niceties” around my communication to him as to not offend and he would prefer I just spit it out. in Myers Briggs Type Indicator terms, it’s the communication challenge between F’s (feelers) and T’s (thinkers).
@Shim: Being in unfamiliar environments, pushing yourself physically and emotionally through traveling and being with each other 24 hours a day can definitely add stress to a relationship. But as you said, the rewards are beyond value. And, humor can be a miracle worker sometimes. All the best to you two on your journey as well!
@Kyle: Your comment came in as I was responding to the other ones. Excellent advice re: spending time with other people! We’ve been spending a lot of time socializing in Buenos Aires and it has really been fantastic to bounce ideas off of different people and just talk about new topics and get a different perspective on things.
I feel so lucky to have met you both, and your love for each other is evident. Though we’re not traveling round the world, people often ask Francisco and me how we spend so much time together, and it’s for all the reasons you’ve expressed here. This is just a wonderful, wonderful article– and I love the photos! Happy Valentine’s Day to you both.
Audrey/Dan – #1 resonates profoundly. A few of my single girlfriends really believe there’s a “Notebook” man out there. Could be my crusty nature, but perfection is not realistic, we are human after all. 🙂
I agree with Kyle, these apply to couples rooted in one spot.
On that note, Happy Valentine’s Day!
Everything that comes ‘naturally’ and flows in the beginning of a relationship one should actively work on when further down the road. Therfore, having done some pretty long time travelling with a girlfriend (years) I would like to add one thing. Sex. Work on that, too. It is after all the difference between being very good friends and being a couple.
Hi, there’s some great advice there. My partner and I have been traveling for the past year and a half and have hit many of the same ups and downs, communication issues, and compromises. Keeping the trip and your relationship both on a positive path is definitely a juggling act and being out of your element in unfamiliar situations can give rise to conflict, but the rewards of sharing it with someone close to your heart is beyond value. I love #9. Thanks for sharing. All the best on your travels.
I so agree with how you go about it. One thing I would add is NEVER to take things personally. This allows you to be upset, pissed off, or whatever, without the other person being involved. I have been travelling with my partnet for 18 months now and we love it. There was a classic time when I was pissed off with something, not her, when she tried to calm me down I just said, “Allow me to be pissed off for a while!” She left me alone knowing it was nothing to do with her. later I was fine and we carried on with no upset. Simple really!
After four years together were about to go away for two years and for both of us 24/7 living will be a learning curve!
That advice is excellent and consistent with what we try and do at home 🙂
I like the 2nd point communicate actively, Communication is the most important thing to improve relationship and also solve problem in relationship. All relationship problems raised from poor communication skills. Also learn to listen what partner is saying. These two things help to improve good relationship and reduce problems.
Man, you sound so much like us. Right down to traveling long term for the first time in 2000! And too funny that your emotions go out of whack when you haven’t eaten. Dave knows the signs now too and says it all the time…why don’t we get something to eat. Divvying it up is excellent advice, so is communication and checking in…well, just everything you said is right on the mark. We find that we have to make time for romance too. All romance seems to go out the window when you are staying in cheap guesthouses and sleeping on single beds shoved together. We like to make little date nights to feel normal again. Happy Valentines Day to the two of you. Love your photos!
Really, really sound tips!!! I’m sure this will help a lot of couples. I think that traveling is the BEST way to get closer to your partner.
@Julie: You are too sweet. I hope we have a chance to meet up with you and Francisco and Mariel again in NYC sometime soon (i.e., perhaps later this year). We’ve gone from the extremes – the San Francisco to Estonia commute to being with each other 24-7-365 – and really value our love and relationship.
@Nomadic Chick: Oh, I don’t think you’re crusty at all! You’re realistic – just as you’re not perfect, neither is anyone else. Some people think that marriage will be just an extension of their wedding day. It’s awesome finding someone to share your life with, but it’s not a party all the time 🙂
@Sebastian: Good observation that things that seemed “natural” at the beginning need to be worked on consciously later on when the adrenaline is gone and challenging situations push everyone’s stress buttons. And yes, it’s so important not to take your partner as just a buddy and maintain intimacy, even when you’re staying in some pretty unromantic hotels!
@Sean: Traveling together with different environments, cultures, languages and physical stresses will be a change from “regular life.” But, if you consciously remember to keep at the communication and good base you have from home, you’ll be great. Good luck with your upcoming journey!
@Dave and Deb: Yes, date nights are a great idea! We sometimes throw away our regular travel budget and splurge for a nice restaurant or good bottle of wine. These things to keep romantic are important at home, and perhaps even more so on the road when you are dealing with dingy hotels and hole-in-the-wall restaurants on a regular basis.
@Andi: While there are certainly many ways to get closer to your partner and really strengthen your relationships, traveling together for a long period of time is certainly good since you test yourself in so many different circumstances in a short period of time.
It’s funny, we both wrote about similar topics on Valentine’s Day. It’s probably a good thing, like a reminder to ourselves to always keep a watchful eye on our own relationship and understand what makes it work and what doesn’t.
Communication is best, I think most of us agree on that, although it’s not something that is easy for most of us. Understanding each others weaknesses can also make things more peaceful. It’s even better if we admit to our weaknesses. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
What’s worked best for me, with and without a partner
1) Don’t worry about it: negativity’s a colossal waste of life–why be mini-suicidal when nothing’s at stake?
2) Sex is an excellent stress reliever: put that edginess to good use!
3) Learn to sleep in less than optimal conditions.
All the rest seems, well, too explainy–good personal connection is much deeper than that. However, if talking to your situation works for you, party down!
All very very good tips. For us, one big thing is recognizing when we need a day off to just chill out. We may spend the day working on the internet, totally ignoring each other, or watching a movie, or TV, or whatever — and just being separate even though we are together. The splurge thing is very necessary at times — last week, we were just tired of living in crappy rooms and splurged on a $75 room at a beach resort in Ko Tao. Oh my goodness. Two nights there totally rejuvenated us, relaxed us, and made us much less irritated with each other.
@Graham: It’s funny you mention “don’t take things personally” – I had a hard time deciding whether to include that or #9 (do something goofy). Perhaps the list should have been 11 items…
Understanding that not everything that your partner gets upset about is about you is a godsend. It’s healthy to just blow off steam sometimes. Great advice.
@Jason: Great minds think alike 🙂 We had been planning on posting this for a while, but figured Valentine’s Day was as good a time as any. Although, this does break from the traditional romantic Valentine’s Day post.
Ironically, one of the things that helped our communication was two years of a long-distance relationship when I was in the Peace Corps (Estonia) and Dan was in San Francisco. Without the ability to see the other person (i.e., body language), we had to get good at describing everything that was going on. Communication is still not easy, though.
Yes, understanding one’s own weaknesses is very important, as is knowing that it’s OK to ask for help. We’re all human 🙂
@Bill: Great advice, especially about negativity being a colossal waste of time. Why let something get under your skin if it really doesn’t matter in the long run? And, good advice on using sex as a stress reliever. No wonder some many single travelers hook up on the road 🙂
@Akila: When we first started traveling, we wondered why people would chill out so much at guest houses when there was so much to see. After a few months, we understood. Days off where you’re not observing, documenting, figuring out transport systems, learning new words, etc., are really key for long-term travelers. And, I completely understand about splurging for a nice place to stay where things are just nice and feel luxurious. We also have changed our itinerary at times because we we needed somewhere easy and fun (like a Thai beach!) to balance out the difficult travel.
This is terrific. Thanks for putting it down on paper and for the thought and years of trial and victory behind it! I see a travel/relationship book in your future. I particularly like the management techniques you have (my day, your day) and the decision-making days, as you’ve mentioned that you and Dan can both be pretty indecisive. Thanks for a great read!
I traveled with a family member for five months – and we went through a lot of these – so it’s not just for couples! I know that a big part of us harmonizing on the road was recognition of my own Jekyll-Hyde complex that’s pretty severe and was causing stress. Like you said though, we each had to ride the ups and downs of situations.
Our biggest lesson traveling together was to stop taking everything personally and put on that armor sometimes. When you are with someone constantly you see nearly every single emotion – so it’s easy to take offense to what might be a fleeting thought or frustration!
Really fantastic list. 🙂
Awesome post, with great tips! Communication, and riding those bumps is so very key.
@Olivia: After two years of a long distance relationship (Estonia-San Francisco), five years of a “normal” relationship (as in working regular jobs and living in the same place) living in Prague and three years of traveling and working with each other 24-7 we’ve certainly put our relationship through a lot! I’m wondering what the next stage will be…
Our indecisiveness can cause us to spend too much time on insignificant decisions (e.g., what to eat for lunch), so goal of the management techniques is to act on those decisions quickly so that we can spend our time and energy on more important (or fun) things. Doesn’t *always* work, but it helps!
@Shannon: Great point! These tips are really for relationships in general and can apply to family and friends, just as they do to couples. I love the story of traveling with a family member – that’s brave! And yes, building up that armor is an important skill, as is recognizing that not every emotion is about you or something to take personally.
@Nora: Glad you enjoyed this! Some people think that because you are traveling, every day is going to be a complete joy. Just as in life, there are ups and downs and to accept that downs from time to time are OK is healthy.
@Sofia: Traveling with your partner is a good way to test and strengthen your relationship because it puts you in so many new environments and unknown situations in a short period of time. It gets you both out of your comfort zone and tests how you cope with stress and fear. However, I’d also say that other life events – having children, loved one falling very sick, loved one dying – test and strengthen relationships in ways I can’t even imagine.
Yes, being able to create mental space in all sorts of situations is a great skill!
Travelling together is a make or break situation. It’s the ultimate fire test for relationships. If you can handle travelling together for a few months you’ll basically be able to handle anything.
I think that you only get to know someone ‘for real’, when you travel together with him/her.
Me and Nathan have been together pretty much every day for three years, and it’s just getting easier and easier.
Like you say, you can create a ‘mental space’ or a personal time almost whenever you like.
Kudos to you guys for the kinds of advice that will be always pertinent whether folks are extended, seasoned or infrequent travelers. We need to be reminded that travel of any type with all of its rewards, also has many stressors and that advanced awareness of how they work can be the difference between a fun filled experience and a nightmare. You rightly touched on fatigue and hunger as two factors that can turn loving partners into brawlers. Sleep is the great healer, frequently making those insurmountable problems looking like little more than a nuisance in the morning. Naps help too.
Likewise beware of blood sugar. Going for the juggler â€“ hopefully only figuratively â€“ is not an uncommon occurrence when it is low. Snacking helps; candlelight dinner is even better and can serve as a reminder that a bit of romance, even on the road shouldnâ€™t be ignored. After years together we have hopefully learned of the pitfalls of perfection in relationship. But the same can be said of travel perfection. The glitches will come but a bit of levity can smooth the bumps and keep things enjoyable.
For a bit of excitement, flexibility and challenge we suggest travel without
reservations but with one important caveat; get to your city or town, especially when unfamiliar, several hours before dark. From parking in Palermo(nada), triple parking in Syracusa and chaos in Sorrento we learned that options disappear quickly after dark. Without attention to stressors, the names of Tuscany, Amalfi and Etna can become little more than reminders of lost opportunities that got buried in petty bickering. The joys of local wines, friendly cultural encounters and new horizons are waiting to be found. Keeping this travel checklist handy can be an assurance that they will.
Great post! And props to you for mentioning the physical thing. It took a few trips together for my boyfriend to realize that if I suddenly become bitchy, I probably need to eat.
Such good advice! I particularly connected with the part about not having to talk constantly… and along with that, I’d add the importance of going your separate ways occasionally. You do not have to do everything together. We each have our inner geek and interests that may not be shared, so why force it on the other–one can go enjoy the button museum while the other delights in the big sheep sheering event–and it will make for livelier conversation over dinner that night.
@Don: You are so right that if you don’t manage the stressors, visits to incredible places end up as memories of fights or pulling your hair out over parking or getting lost. Great advice on arriving early in a city you don’t know. Although we don’t drive on this trip, we still try to take buses that arrive before dark so that we can more easily navigate to our hotel. Also, sometimes arriving at dark can give you the first impression of a place as dangerous when the daylight shows that its really isn’t. Changing things up and splurging for a nice meal or going for a romantic walk helps everyone break out of routine fatigue.
@Kelsey: It’s almost frightening how quickly low blood sugar can turn me into an irritable child. Although I don’t carry bags of nuts or snacks with me as much as I should, I have gotten better at taking preventive measures and Dan can read me pretty quickly now.
@Margaret: Great advice! You are so right that couples don’t need to do everything together. Each person should follow his/her interests and it’s fun to experience a place on your own as well.
Great list. Applicable to non traveling couples also.
I manage the website [duplicate link removed] and I wonder if you have any tips for families who are starting to plan long journeys with their children.
@Heidi: I traveled a lot as a young child as my parents were in the Foreign Service and we spent a lot of time overseas. I think traveling with children is wonderful and brings so much to both parents and child.
However, I don’t feel comfortable giving tips for traveling as a family with children since we don’t have children ourselves and I don’t have firsthand experience in this. Instead, you may want to take a look at The Future is Red for ideas – Leigh and her husband traveled around the world with their daughter and are now living in Salta, Argentina. They show how it’s possible to travel with a kid without carrying tons of toys and gear. Good luck and enjoy your trip!
Linda and I have been doing this for a while too (Since February 2006) and I have to agree with a lot of what you’ve said. I’d also add negotiating and being aware of expectations are really important. If you know what you expect to happen and voice it, it can greatly improve how things go.
Great advice for travelling couples, thanks for sharing.
@Craig: Thanks for adding this great advice. Being aware – and voicing – expectations can really help prevent misunderstandings and just improve overall communication. Happy trails to you and Linda!
Shared this with my hubby. He’s now a fan of the site. …more importantly, I believe he’ll think some of these things through next time we set out to conquer the world (of travel)! 😉
Thanks for the post!
@Katrina: Love to hear about more fans of the site – thank you! Being with your partner 24-7 on the road definitely has its challenges, but with a little humor, patience and perspective it can also be really wonderful. Happy trails together!
@Jean: Glad you enjoyed this! Yes, you’re right – these tips apply for everyday life as well as on the road.
Wonderful, practical, common sense tips for everyday life as well as traveling the world!
Great article! I always had difficult times traveling with women I’m romantically involved with at the time. I think part of the reason is that I love taking photos and stopping to enjoy the ambience of places.
What would be your recommendations for traveling pairs where one person is a shutterbug and the other person is not?
@Hart: Maybe you should start dating photographers 🙂 On a more serious note, if you are traveling with someone who is not a shutterbug, then my suggestion woud be to decide in advance the stuff you’re going to do together and when you’re going to break off to do your own stuff. Perhaps she’ll go to a cafe, museum, market, shopping, etc. Then you’ll have time to take photos without feeling rushed and she won’t be bored (and annoyed) waiting for you – she’ll be doing stuff that interests her.
Another variation on this would be to go through streets or neighborhoods together without you taking lots of photos – think of it as a scouting walk. Then, you would return later on your own for the photos while she does something else.
we have seen so many times people breaking apart while travelling as it can improve your love or tear you apart.. ‘summer love’ is a well known phenomena and for pairs, being in the new circumstances proves to be a real test for many. so, travelling can be a great way to check out the relationship and learn a lot about yourself and the partner. well written article.
@Kristina: So glad you enjoyed this. You are so right that being in new circumstances and facing new challenges can either bring people together or tear them apart. And we do learn so much about ourselves and our partner when traveling together.
I like #4 and $5. However, many of these apply EVERY DAY – regardless of whether you are traveling. #1 is probably the most important thing and good that you stated that one first. Lots of great advice in here for all couples!
@Jeremy: Completely agree that all of this applies to relationships whether on the road or at home – we tried to write it as such so that all couples could get something from it. And yes, #1 is really important to remember…especially with Valentine’s Day coming up 🙂
Excellent advice! Travel is tough on a relationship, it isn’t all sunshine & roses and communication is key to getting through it and enjoying the trip. Also, we found that packing snacks in our day bag was really crucial to avoiding that low blood sugar crankiness 😉
@Tracy: Great advice on packing snacks in your day bag! This is something I don’t do enough. Even if everyone has great communication skills, they tend to fly out the window when blood sugar levels plummet.
Great advice for any family traveling together!
this is a very good article,thank you!
@Great: Completely agree! All of these tips and advice would apply well for families.
Great tips and totally agree – thanks for sharing. I’ll be keeping these in mind for when I set off for my RTW in 10 months time with my partner.
Whenever we go anywhere together for a few days or more, we always try and factor in a “date day” – get something nice to eat, and then go and watch a movie, have a romantic walk, or book into a nice hotel room as opposed to a hostel. Travel can take a lot out of you sometimes, so it’s worth treating yourselves every once in a while. A guaranteed hot shower and a continental breakfast buffet can do wonders if it’s been a rough week!
@Waegook: Very good advice to schedule in “date day” to do something special and fun focused on the two of you. And splurging on a nice hotel every now and then can do wonders! Really necessary from time to time.
I love all of these! Scott has definitely learned to acknowledge when I have low blood sugar and that I usually need to have a snack every couple of hours or I can become cranky. I really like the “don’t take each other for granted” advice. That’s so easy to do, but a very good thing to remember not to do! I’m so glad I got to meet you guys at tbex. You seem like a great couple. I hope to run into you again soon!
@Christy: As I write this comment I’m on a bus without food and starting to feel that low blood sugar crankiness 🙂 We failed on the “always have nuts and snacks” rule! Only a few more hours…
When you travel with your partner and also work together, it’s unfortunately way too easy to take each other for granted and get caught up in the bustle. And when both are stressed it’s even more important than ever to try and step back and appreciate each other.
It was great meeting you at TBEX and hope our paths cross again, either in San Diego or somewhere in the world. It can be a small place!
Timeless advice here, thank you. My boyfriend and I often travel together, live in a modest apartment, and both mostly work at home so we have A LOT of “together time” as well. Simply going for a walk alone helps break this up, in a healthy refreshing way. Great to see you at WDS and hope all goes well in Berlin. If you guys ever are in the Los Angeles area, you are welcome here at the beach with us ocean-minded peeps! 🙂
@Heather: It was great seeing you again at WDS! We are enjoying settling into Berlin and have a similar situation as what you described above – working from our flat with lots of together time even though we’re still. A bike ride, walk or just getting out to run errands down the street is great to clear one’s head and get a bit of space.
Thanks for the offer to visit in Los Angeles!
Wonderful advises, I’m really inspired and it got me thinking, specially the part 8 about getting mental. There is so much that couples can learn from you both.
Speaking of myself, I’m traveling since the fall of 2008. Last year I got stuck in Istanbul because I met someone and fell in love :). Now, 6 months later, I miss traveling so much, so I booked a ticket to Asia. I booked a ticket for my HIM as well :). Truth is, he never traveled outside of his country. I hope he will love traveling as much as I do and we will be a long time on the road.
Thank you guys for this wonderful article. I’ll keep your advises in mind.
@Sab: Glad you enjoyed the article. Enjoy the time on the road with your partner. If he loves traveling as much as you do, great. If not, these things happen. Then it’s time to make adjustments. Actually, it’s always time for learning and to make adjustments. Life and travel both constantly offer the opportunity to do this. Have fun!
Hi guys. Loved this post. We are traveling full time (Im never sure what to call ourselves; full time travelers, nomads, never ending travelers???) and so far its been amazing!
Sharing the most amazing journey of your life with your loved one, your best friend, I think makes the journey even more special. But you’re right; You have to work at it to ensure things don’t get messy along the way!
Thanks for the tips!
@Nicole: So glad to hear that your journey together is going so well. You’re right in that it is so wonderful to be able to share the learnings and experiences with your loved one. But it isn’t smiles and giggles all the time – takes hard work as well!
11) Be adorably sarcastic to each other.
I have seen this in action and I considered it the sign of a truly rock-solid relationship. When you can poke fun in that way, you’re clearly still nuts about each other. It’s a thing.
@Mike: Laughing. I wonder sometimes whether Audrey finds my sarcasm in her direction adorable. And then, BOOM!, she’s sarcastic right back at me.
Then, I’m convinced she’s still nuts about me 🙂
Great post, thank you!
Maybe I should have read this before we hit the road, we might have saved one argument or two 🙂
You write about mental space and about alining on the goals. Didn’t you have the need to “split” for a few days during all these years?
3 times during our trips, we decided to follow different targets and reunited after a few days, for instance with Heidi discovering Bariloche (Argentina) more in depth and me going to Chiloe (Chile)
It recreated the necessary space for both of us.
@Giles: I agree that having a little time apart for each to get some space and explore personal interests can also be healthy for a relationship. We’ve had a few periods where one went off somewhere to work on a project or deal with some family stuff. For the most part, we share similar travel interests so we’ve stayed together for the majority of the time we’ve been traveling together.
but too late for me… 🙂
Shachar, there’s always next time! 🙂
Thank you for this great post. There are some really good tips. I am also on the road with my boyfriend travelling through South East Asia since 3 months and we really get on well. Here is my tip: As we are changing our destination every 2 weeks to compare countries in South East Asia, it is good to book a big apartment with more than one room to hang out from time to time. It gives both of us more space to do what ever we feel like and it keeps the love fresh! 🙂
Great to hear that you and your boyfriend are doing so well three months into your journey, especially as it sounds like you are moving around quite a lot. Great suggestion regarding booking an apartment or a hotel room with more than one room to give you each some space – physically and mentally. Safe travels!
This is sweet, and you’ve shared some great advice! I’ll keep all of this in mind for future travels 🙂
Thanks, Kirstie. Glad you enjoyed it. If you have any couples travel wisdom to share along the way, let us know!
Thank you so much for this great post. My partner and I have been together for going on 6 years now, traveling and living a nomadic lifestyle for the last few of those years. I think number 7 & 8 were points that I particularly had to hear so I can re-focus on them.
And to your definition of an introvert – wow! I’m 23 and I have never heard it described this way and after doing a quick google search I’ve now found some new reading material. I admit I have beat myself up about being an introvert before, thinking life would be easier as an extrovert (as my partner is), but now it makes sense, I do actually “derive energy” from spending time alone – it’s not just a withdrawal or retreat that should be considered a weakness or thought of as time wasted. I am deriving energy. Again, thank you!
You are welcome. I’m glad this post was useful, Jacynta. I’m also glad to hear that it shed some light on what introversion really is. There’s so much misunderstanding around the concept, furthered by misuse of terms. I’m actually certified in evaluating something call the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), one of the dimensions which it considers is introversion/extroversion. Without going into extreme depth, it was this tool that helped me better understand what I consider the real, functional differences between introverts and extroverts — that is, not broad brush judgmental stuff like “one isn’t good with people while the other one is,” but rather where one derives energy. It’s quite possible, and not uncommon, to have a preference toward introversion — that is, deriving energy by being alone and frequently enjoying “being in your own head” — all the meanwhile, also having plenty of moments where you enjoy interacting with other people.
Thank you for your comment!
Thanks for your reply Daniel, I appreciate it. Might do some further reading into the MBTI. Enlightening stuff.
But we both know that the secret of not fighting with your wife/girlfriend is to do the things she says.
Ah, the ultimate tip. I’ve tried it, with mixed results 🙂
Same here, I’ve also tried doing everything she says….including putting the t-seat back down every time….but also with mixed results;-)
Wow, great advice guys. We’ve been on the road together for just under 3 years and honestly I couldn’t think of anything else to add.
This post is absolutely great!
I find n. 4 truer than ever after a week in a 4m² room in Hong Kong. Can’t believe we didn’t kill each other 😀
Thank you for these wonderful tips 🙂
Hi! Came across your blog from that great BBC article.
We’ve been travelling full-time for almost 2 years now and totally get it. It’s not always easy and let’s face it, being together all the time in confined spaces doesn’t bring out the romance. But I think it is the ultimate test to a relationship; I don’t care if you’ve been together 10 years prior to travelling, travelling full-time will test every aspect of your relationship. And, if you survive, make it that much stronger. I couldn’t imagine travelling without my Spanky 🙂
Thanks for coming over from the BBC article! I agree that even if you’ve been together for a while before you travel, you will still learn much about your partner when on the road and it will challenge the relationship. But, it is worth it 🙂
Thanks for sharing some great tips, me and the wife plan on doing much more travel this year and next. We are more financially secure and want to explore more of the world.
I am defiantly going to keep this list handy especially the one about mental space, that might come in very handy.
I tend to joke around a lot in our relationship so will make sure I keep that up to – I usually find that is a great stress reliever
Keeping up with your style of humor and continuing to joke about your relationship is a good thing — helps to lighten the mood when things are stressful or not going well. And, providing mental space is really important — especially, if one (or both) of you is an introvert and needs to recharge by being alone or having quiet time. Have a great time during your travels next year!
Love this! Seems like you two really have it down. I would only add to do something super couple-y every once in a while. Maybe it’s a dress-up date night or a romantic dinner. But this are such great tips that I hope to implement as well.
Yes, date nights or planning special occasions are really important!
My husband and I have been together for a long time. We do a lot of travel at home and overseas, and the one thing that I appreciate is to be able to follow our individual interests. Meaning giving each other to go it alone for a while. Not too long, just enough to do a retreat or visit somewhere interesting. The reunion is always worth it.
Thanks for sharing, Roslyn. Interesting to hear this, as Audrey and I just returned from a trip where I did a meditation retreat in Malaysia and Audrey retreated to a beach in Cambodia. Then, we joined back up towards the end of the trip, allowing us to share an experience together and to relate our separate experiences from our retreats. That’s a long way of saying that your tip definitely has recent resonance for us.
Haha great piece of writing. Its a love hate relationship. I have so many fights with my husband while travelling but at the same time travelling without him is not the same. I plan to write a similar blog about travelling as a couple and my experience on my blog.
Iman, I know what you mean about that love-hate relationship 🙂 Even with all the challenges we find traveling together so much more fulfilling and fun.