One of the best things about my husband is that, like me, he loves to travel. In fact, it's when we’re traveling that our relationship is really at its best. We argue less, don’t let silly dramas get in the way, and are genuinely happy to get lost in a place to which we’ve never been. We also share the same goal to get to as many countries as possible before we die. Right now, I’m working on getting to 40 countries before my 40th birthday, and he’s working on 50 before his 50th. (We’re both a little less than halfway there.)
But for a lot of my friends, it seems traveling with their partner is the worst. They feel it tests their relationship in ways that make for a less-than-stellar trip. As someone who actually prefers to travel solo, I can understand this, but having finally found my ideal traveling partner, I do think going away with your partner and having a great time is truly possible. Besides, the point of a vacation to relax — not stand on a corner in Costa Rica arguing over what to do next, or which direction is back to the hotel.
With a bit of effort, any couple can travel well together and actually have a good time in the process. Here are nine secrets that couples who travel well together know about having a great time together
they COME UP WITH A BUDGET AND STICK TO IT
Just because you're on a vacation doesn't exactly give you carte blanche to go buck wild with your money. Besides, who really wants to have a great time only to come home to a pile of debt?
In creating a budget and sticking to it, you've already made an allowance for certain events and can keep your spending to a minimum. When we travel, we accept the fact that if we go over budget halfway through our trip, we can kiss the rest of the evenings of dining out and experiencing the local culinary creations goodbye. Having a budget helps manage stress, because you feel more in control of your adventure — when you splurge, you can really enjoy it, knowing where it fits in to your travel plans.
they PACK LIGHT
While the instinct may be to pack all your fanciest pieces of clothing, you need to be realistic. You can wear things more than once, and no matter where you are in the world you can wash your clothes. We pack just one medium size suitcase, and then we each have a small carry on, and that's it. Packing light keeps us feeling free.
they MAKE TIME to be alone
Even couples who are truly in love need alone time, and nowhere is that more obvious than when you're traveling. Decide ahead of time what days will be devoted to alone time, so you're both on the same page and can plan accordingly. Sometimes, the best adventures are the ones you have by yourself. Couples who travel well together understand that, and allow for that personal space in the relationship.
they ACCEPT THAT WE ALL HAVE BAD HABITS
"My husband hates to fly. He gets testy and nervous, and spends the entire flight nervously talking to anyone who looks in his direction. I've learned to ignore it, instead of getting angry and letting it get our trip off to bad start," says Jennifer, a teacher in Colorado, who's been successfully traveling with her husband for over 10 years.
If you accept that your partner isn't perfect and may have a unique traveling style, then it will make for a more relaxing experience. And just remember, you're not perfect either.
they ALWAYS HAVE A SNACK AND WATER ON them
There's no quicker way to destroy a trip than to be lost and hangry. While getting lost is part of the fun, being lost without food and water is pretty much the direct path to a huge blowout fight. Never be without something that can immediately quell those hunger pangs and get you back on track.
they REALIZE THERE ARE ONLY SO MANY HOURS IN THE DAY
I feel like the big reason a lot of my friend hate traveling together is because they try to squeeze everything in, packing each day to the gill, then they end up being exhausted and cranky. When my husband and I travel we allow for some down time, and what we don't get to see, we promise that we'll just cover it when we come back again.
You may not think of yourself as the adventurous type, but if you're willing to get on a plane and travel to a place you've never been, then that right there shows that you're more adventurous than most. Above all, couples who travel well together are adventurous — they love to TRAVEL, and that love binds them together.
they REMEMBER IT'S ABOUT GIVING AND TAKING
You want to go to the Sagrada Família and he wants to spend the day on the beach — great! Now make time for each, or, if you're not interested in what your partner wants to do, call it an alone day, and go alone. There's no sense in wasting time arguing over what to do and where to go.
they always find a way to have FUN
You went on this trip for a reason, and that reason was to have fun. Couples who travel well know that above all else, it's about having fun — and they make that fun a priority. (Vacation sex included.)