LONG-TERM TRAVEL AS A COUPLE – (IM)POSSIBLE !?
Tips for an amazing travel adventure with your love
You and your partner want to complete your life’s dream, leave everything behind and travel the world? That sounds awesome! But you have doubts because you are not sure if you can handle spending 24 hours, 7 days a week with each other? Let me tell you, you are not the only one with these thoughts. Traveling with a mate ain’t always rainbows and roses. But let me also tell you, you will never know before you don’t give it a try!
During the first 3.5 years of our relationship 200 kilometers separated us. We both worked in hotels in different cities. The longest period we both could wake up together in the morning and fall asleep together at night was 10 days in a row. Normally we would just see us on the weekend. After 3.5 years we needed a change and for us there were two options: we do something together or we break up. Of course we didn’t want to give up our relationship so easily and slowly the idea of traveling the world TOGETHER was born. Finally we wanted to spend more time with each other and to become a part of the others one’s life.
Being together non-stop for 18 months is not always easy but luckily discussions and fights have been an exception and we have spent an amazing and unforgettable time with each other. Today I want to write about our biggest challenges as a couple during our journey and how we overcame those situations. I’m sure every couple can have a fantastic time when both parts really want it!
Plan your journey together
Before we started our trip we both planned to visit the famous Mayan ruins in Mexico
When you go on a long-term journey you cannot plan every single thing in advance. And this is absolutely not necessary, your plans will change on the way anyway. But it’s very important that you and your partner talk about your expectations of the journey. Maybe one of you is more adventurous and wants to travel to the Amazon rainforest on a cargo boat whereas the the other one prefers staying in big cities. This is no problem as long as both of you know before that there are different interests and that there is no way around compromises. Get inspired by your partner and try new things! Never forget, you both are on this journey and you both want to do the things you like! And if your interests differ too much, why not doing something separately? It’s definitely not a must to do all things together.
Talk about your budget, on what you will spend money
We hardly spend money for drinks but on our 5th anniversary we spoiled ourselves with a delicious cocktail
BoB, Lars and I always say we are rich in time but not in money. If you are a traveler, you either have a big wallet but not much time for traveling because your job is waiting for you, or you are a long-term traveler like us, with a lot time but a very limited budget. To make the best out of your trip, you both have to agree about the budgeting. Spats on vacation often stem from disagreements over finances.
Make sure you both have similar expectations on where you will stay and on what you will mainly spend your money. We knew that most of the time we will stay in dorm rooms in basic accommodations and cook whenever we have the possibility. We also agreed about not spending money on alcohol, new clothes, or souvenirs. Instead we wanted to invest it in activities. To have a rough plan in the beginning is very helpful. And still there will be countless situations where one of you will be disappointed. I, for example, was frustrated in the first weeks of our trip. We started in Mexico and the cheese there (I can’t get enough of it) was incredibly expensive. So Lars didn’t want to buy any cheese and I hated him for that. But when thinking about it and summing up the money we would spend just on cheese, I changed my mind. Instead I thought of an unforgettable snorkeling trip which we could do with the saved money.
Take advantage of the benefits of traveling as a couple!
Traveling as a couple has many advantages. It makes traveling so much easier:
- Share and do what you can best!
When you are two, you have the big advantage to be able to share your tasks according to your strengths. In our relationship Lars is responsible for our budget. He is so much better in keeping the overview of our expenses than me. And I’m very happy that he’s good at it. I would have spent money on crap.
I could contribute to our trip through Central and South America with my Spanish speaking skills. And even there we could both use our strengths. Lars speaks a bit Portuguese and it turned out that, in the beginning of our trip, he was much better in understanding Spanish. I was totally overwhelmed by their different Spanish accent. So, I talked to people and Lars told me what they answered. 🙂
- A bit of home is always with you
I love traveling for a very long time. The longer the better. But I know I can only really enjoy a very long trip when there is somebody with me. It’s such a great feeling to experience a fantastic adventure and to know you can share all that with your love. After your trip you both will have so much fun in remembering the best and worst situations of your trip.
- You travel safer
I might be a chicken but sometimes I felt so much safer because I knew I’m not alone and I have a man with me. It definitely depends on the country you are traveling to but in Central and South America I was so much more relaxed having Lars at my side.
- Play bad cop, good cop
When it comes to negotiating prices it’s a big advantage when you are two. One continues to walk away disgusted by the offer, while the other begs the sales person to come down on the price. Usually we hate to negotiate but often you know that you are charged far too much. This “play” makes it much easier for us to get the right price.
Spend time apart
Lars enjoying a break from me 🙂
Even in the best relationship you get to the point where you are annoyed by your partner. Spending so much time with each other, 24 hours, 7 days a week… for months. Even short breaks from each other help a lot. Go for a walk with other travelers or take a book and travel to your „own world“. Or just put in ear plugs, listen to your favorite songs and relax. Sometimes you need some time just for yourself. And trust me, even a break of 30 minutes or a few hours can work wonders. And why not doing a separate day trip?
To be honest, our blog helped us a lot not to annoy each other. Especially during volunteer work, when we stayed at one spot for some weeks, we both needed something to do. Writing new posts or improving the blog layout were perfect. And also we had moments when we didn’t talk to each other for 3 days. Can you imagine how hard it is not say a word when you are still in the same room or hostel? After 3 long days you realize how stupid the fight was and that it wasn’t worth it:).
The most important challenge for a long-term traveling couple:
How to create your own privacy?
A small space of privacy in a dorm room
This is one of the most important challenges for a traveling couple when you stay in dorm rooms. The first stays in a hostel dorm might be a bit weird with all the strangers around you, but you get used to it. Even in a dorm room you can create your own privacy. When we stay in a dorm room, Lars and I always try to get the same bunk bed. Usually Lars sleeps in the upper bed and I sleep in the lower one because I like to put a towel on one side of the bed to not let sunlight inside. And also not to feel observed while sleeping. So, when you and your lover are looking for a private place, just drape your bed with towels and other stuff you find. It works perfectly!
Never forget, you are traveling as a couple! You don’t want to become just good friends. Every now and then spoil each other with a fancy dinner, a long walk… something just for the two of you.
What are your experiences in traveling with a partner? Do you have any more advises and tips for couples who plan a long-term journey?
Thanks for reading and safe travels,