Travelling full-time as a couple is an amazing experience and one we’re very grateful for every day. But don’t be fooled – it can also be bloody challenging!
When we first hit the road in 2017 we never really considered the strain travelling full-time might put on our relationship. We were in love, we were ‘solid’ and embarking on the biggest adventure of our lives! What could possibly go wrong?…
Arguments. Arguments can go wrong! After a few months travelling together the honeymoon period was over and we started bickering and arguing about seemingly everything. And the problem with arguing on the road? There’s no escaping each other!
I remember one occasion storming into the bathroom of our hotel room as it was the only place to get space at 1130pm. As I sat on the edge of the bath, head in hands I thought “Oh shit, this was supposed to be an adventure not the end of our marriage!”.
Of course what we know now is; it wasn’t the end of our marriage, it was all just part of the adjustment of living together 24/7. And most couples we’ve met along the way tend to agree – travelling together isn’t easy.
You’ve thrusted yourself (and your relationship) into an unknown situation miles from home, from everything and everyone you know which usually keeps you anchored; you’re navigating new countries, different cultures and languages whilst battling exhaustion, anxiety and the constant thinking about where, when and how you get to your next destination.
But it’s not all doom and gloom! Despite the challenges the highs definately far outweigh the lows and it’s actually made us much stronger as a couple. Living together 24/7 in our 30’s isn’t a usual situation but we’ve learned to adapt. We’re constantly discovering things about each other, learning to be more tolerant and finding new ways to nurture our relationship.
Here’s the important lessons we’ve learned along the way and are our top tips for travelling together and staying together!
If we only shared one tip it’s this – take time for YOURSELF! Doing separate activities and taking time away from each other will give you both headspace and time to embrace and enjoy being on your own. It also breaks the complacency of relying on each other all the time, which is a natural instinct in the early days of travelling together.
If you work as you travel (as we do), try where possible to set up separate work stations or split up and go to a coffee shop.
There’s a natural urge when travelling to try and do as much as possible, especially in the early days when energy/excitement levels are at an all time high. But this can lead to rushing, feeling stressed and being grotchy with each other. Trust me, you’re not missing out! Choose one thing each you really want to do and spend the rest of your time wandering the streets, soaking up the culture and enjoy your time together. You can also choose to do things separately if you’re pushed for time and have different ‘must-sees’.
If you’re lucky enough to travel full-time, without time constraints then SLOW DOWN! Instead of rushing through places and ticking things off, aim to spend a month or two in each destination. This removes a lot of travelling stress and gives you more time to relax and settle into a new place instead of feeling like you are constantly on the move.
When it comes to travelling tasks, you don’t both have to do everything! And unless you’re some kind of super-human-travelling-couple, I very much doubt you are both good at everything. Hone in on what you are good at and divvy up the tasks between you.
For instance I’m hopeless at reading maps so to avoid getting lost and the ensuing arguments, Richard takes charge of this. Whereas I love researching to find a great bar or place to eat in a new place!
It goes without saying that travelling is supposed to be fun and should be filled with laughter. But it’s important to laugh at yourselves too and stop taking everything so seriously. Travel comes with a tonne of challenges and it’s easy to take stresses and anxieties out on each other. Give each other space, laugh at the ridiculous situation and don’t hold onto resentment – let it go and get over yourself!
It’s really important to make time for each other when travelling; “But we’re together all the time” I hear you cry… No, I mean real time.
It’s easy to not prioritise romance when travelling but it’s so important to show each other the spark is still there. Do something special for each other, even if it’s small like leaving a little note, picking some flowers or arranging regular “date” nights.
Even if you are on a tight budget try booking nicer accommodation once in a while too, cos sex is important in every relationship and let’s face it, there’s no bigger turn off than a scummy looking room or 12 bed dorm!
Last but by no means least… gratitude! Think about why you began this adventure in the first place and be grateful everyday for the journey you’re on and that you get to share it with your favourite person!
Yes – even when you’re trapped on a boat in the middle of Halong Bay screaming at each other, especially then!