We’ve spent thousands of hours traveling together, and have learned a thing or two on the way. Not going to lie, we’ve gotten into it before. Things have been thrown, insults hurled, doors slammed. But we are still here today! And we are ready to share our secrets for how to travel as a couple without killing each other.
Have you ever heard the advice ‘travel with someone before you marry them’ or something along those lines? We sure did before we got married. It seems that struggling and fighting on a vacation is pretty commonplace.
This makes sense intuitively, traveling can be stressful at times. You have to get all packed up, get everything to the airport, kids (if you have them) screaming in the back. You’re probably worried about something at work (even though you should be leaving your work problems at work!) or school or something that takes away from the vacation.
Emotions can be high! But you don’t have to take it out on your significant other. Matter of fact, with a few simple tips, you can de-stress the whole vacation experience and have a lovely trip with your honey! Now, without further ado, our 10 secrets for how to travel as a couple.
Have a Plan to do at Least 1 Thing Together Every Day
On your vacation you’ll both have 100 things you want to do (or not do). The best thing you can do is set expectations with each other ahead of time!
We decided on our trip to Budapest that we were going to do at least 1 memorable thing together each day. One day it was a walk throughout the city, the next it was dinner on the river. Whatever you like to do as a couple, make sure to do it at least once per day on your vacation! A little can go a long way.
Now, what can also help is to flip this on its head. Make sure to do at least one thing alone together every day. Get some me time, even if it is just a walk around the block to pick up the coffees every morning. Often times that 20 minutes spent to yourself goes a long way to sorting out any issues and making your trip just that much better!
Don’t Over-stuff your Bags
Might sound stupid, but for us this is dead serious. Having an overstuffed bag is STRESSFUL! The check-in attendants might make you cram it in the ridiculous metal measurement thing. You might not be able to fit it in the overhead bin. You might get charged extra if it’s over 50 pounds.
Study after study shows that cleaning out your closet (literally, not Eminem-style) and de-cluttering your living space leads to a quality of life improvement! That seems backwards, how does less stuff make you more happy? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? No!
All in all, over-stuffing that giant suitcase adds stress! And who do you take your stress out on? Duh, the person closest to you! Do right by each other and pack the essentials, and maybe an extra swim suit…
For more tips on How to Pack Light (And Why!):
Watch the Sunset
First off, this will get you outside! Getting in touch with nature is important, and doing it at sunset is GORGEOUS. It’s a win-win!
Advice from the Huffington Post:
People around the world are drawn to sunsets, but a few special places have really embraced the sunset as a daily opportunity to give thanks. In places like Santorini, Greece, and Maui, Hawaii, the sunset is regarded as a nightly celebration. Crowds gather to cheer and applaud it, reinforcing the idea that we should celebrate and be thankful for each day.
Being mindful of all the things you have to be thankful for can boost your well-being, research suggests. Studies have shown that practicing gratitude is associated with a sense of overall gladness, improved sleep and even increased patience.
Sounds like you and your honey need to lace up those walking shoes and get out for a walk! Best to do it at sunset, since you’ll get a gorgeous view and overall improve your well-being!
Alternate Picking Food
Does your significant other respond with ‘I Don’t Care’ whenever you’re deciding where to eat? Mine too! Does yours then proceed to ACTUALLY CARE about where you eat?! Mine too! It’s inexplicable!
Make it easy, divide the selection duties right down the middle: 50/50. Split up by days. Split it up my lunch/dinner each day. Heck, I don’t care if you split it up vacation by vacation! Just come up with a plan so you don’t end up frustrated at each other over something as silly as choosing lunch.
Can’t stress this one enough. As Elle Woods says, “Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy.” And damnit Legally Blonde is not wrong people!
We try and workout together every morning as we’re traveling. It can be as easy as deep dish a light walk/jog on the beach. It can be as hard as an 8 mile hike! Get that sweat on in the morning so that you can treat yourself to that deep dish pizza for dinner.
Check out this awesome tips video from Emi Wong:
Agree on WHEN You’re Going to the Airport
I literally cannot tell you how many times this has caused a skirmish between us. Here’s a rundown of the Battle Royale:
In the red corner, we have Zach. He’s pretty obsessive compulsive, and gets as rustly as an Autumn leaf if he thinks there’s even a CHANCE he misses a flight! Why? Because why take a chance on wasting precious time and money! Leave for the airport as soon as you can. The worst that can happen is you’ll get to the airport a few hours early, and you’ll have some time for a book or podcast.
In the blue corner is Jet-setting Julie. She flies by the seat of her pants (literally) and is the one you see sprinting through the airport with a 49.9 pound bag careening behind her. She must HATE airports, because she tries to spend exactly 4 minutes in the terminal on her way to a flight. She thinks she’s an amazing planner and can nail it so that she goes straight from security to boarding, just don’t remind her of the time she missed one while she was drinking a beer at the airport bar…
What’s the point of all this? As long as you TALK to your significant other and agree on a leaving point, then no one can bitch and moan like Zach always does! Setting expectations on a leaving time (and holding that time) will minimize the chances of a Battle Royale to kick off your trip.
Go to Funky Town
There’s a time and a place, find it 🙂 Just because you’re hopping all over the world doesn’t mean you can’t take a minute to hop all over each other!
Advice from Thrillist:
Sex is usually pretty high up the to-do list on a couples getaway, so make sure you’ve got everything you need to start your trip with a (*ahem*) bang. In many countries, you won’t have as easy access to birth control as you do back home — and even if you can find a pharmacy, good luck trying to mime out “prophylactic” in the local dialect.
So now you’ve got the kit, but don’t drop trou just anywhere simply because you’re on an exotic vacation. Make sure you’re on top of the local laws, as well as each other — in some countries, the authorities don’t look kindly on PDA. Get a little too affectionate on a Dubai beach for example, and you might get handcuffed and locked up in jail for the night (and not in the fun way).
There ya go. If you don’t find a time and place to go to Funky Town on your next trip, it is YOUR fault!
Bring a Travel Pillow and Travel Snacks
These may seem small, but loom LAAAAAAARGE if you forget them. Number 1 is the travel pillow. You do not want a cranky, tired significant other, and that’s what you’ll get if you get caught in a position where you need a pillow and don’t have one. The only thing worse is if they are hungry as well…
So bring some snacks! Beef jerky, sunflower seeds, granola bars, gummy bears, mixed nuts, clementines, who gives a crap just have some food with you! Hungry and tired add up to angry, and that’s a trifecta you want to avoid my friend.
“One time Zach forgot the travel pillow and snacks, and I almost killed him. No joke” – Julie
Take Time to Put Away Electronics
So important! Don’t get us wrong, we love our phones. We use them for learning about new places and capturing experiences, but for Pete’s sake sometimes we gotta put them away! Spend time just the two of you, without your social media distractions. Put your head on their shoulder and take in the moment.
Advice from Nomadic Matt:
I’m not against technology or all this beautiful Wi-Fi. We now have Google Maps, and we can book rooms and flights from our phone, stay in touch easier, and communicate better. Wondering why your friend isn’t at the appointed meeting spot on time? No problem! Now you can just ping them a message on WhatsApp. Problem solved!
But, as much as technology has helped us, I think we’ve really lost one of the most beautiful aspects of travel. Constant distraction keeps us from observing the place we are at and being present in the moment. Too often we’re glued to the phone, Snapchatting and Instagramming that moment but never really being in it. We’re in a hostel reading the news online or chatting with our friends back home instead of meeting people. We’re at dinner looking up Facebook “for just a second,” wondering how many people liked our last photo. Or on some adventure activity but Snapchatting the experience.
What we shoot for is 1 hour each day where we put our phones away and enjoy each other’s company. Sometimes it has to be forced, but of course we always feel better (and closer) after an hour without distractions!
Listen to a Podcast or Read a Book Together
We are addicted to podcasts, and it’s even better when we can enjoy the same one at the same time! Our personal favorites at the moment are Jenna Kutcher’s Goal Digger and Radiolab. If you are super into podcasts, check out this post we wrote entirely on our favorites:
One of our favorite times to listen to podcasts is before bed. We’ve read studies that screen time before bed leads to restless sleep, so our solution is to get lost in a podcast! You avoid screen time and still get to listen to a story as you drift off into dreamland!
Not into podcasts? Try a book! Here’s our favorite one to read as a couple:
There you have it!
Those are all our tips for how to dominate your next vacation as a couple! Now that you know what we do, you’ll be better at this than we are. Please share your own travel tips in the comments!
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