My partner doesn’t want to travel – 7 ways to change their mind

You can’t get visions of you cycling through the Tuscany countryside out of your head.

In the picnic basket on the front of the bike sits the ciabatta, olives, prosciutto, sundried tomatoes and cheese next to a couple of empty glasses of wine. They’re waiting to be refilled at the next vineyard.

You erupt into fits of laughter at your lover’s jokes and you almost crash into each other, causing another spout of giggles. Your heart swells and you can’t believe you are living the dream.

Except you aren’t.

Whitehaven Beach, Queensland, Australia

No matter how hard you try, your lover just does not want to jump on that bike. Your lover doesn’t even want to step near the airport.

Your heart is breaking. Your lover is everything you ever wanted in a partner and there’s no way you cold live without him/her, but you can’t live without Tuscany either.

Aaarrrghhh the complications of love and travel.

What do you do?

Craig and I met at a time when I just returned home from 3 years living overseas and traveling around, and he had grand plans to make travel a part of his life too. It was a love born from a mutual love.

The only worry I had was whether to leave him straight after we met to fulfill my plans of returning to work in Dublin, or wait for him to finish his apprenticeship.

I could not walk way from such a fine man! But as soon as we married two years later, we were off!

We’ve been fortunate that our love was built on the same vision – there hasn’t been anyone sacrificing one dream for the other. It’s not easy to have the planets align like this.

If yours and your lover’s hasn’t, we have a few tips on how you can possibly make travel play a greater and happier role in your relationship.

1. Are you sure he/she is the right person for you?

Now don’t all hurry out and get a divorce. Of course, if you’re married or have been together long-term you know it’s the right relationship, but perhaps if you’re in a more short term thing, it could be something you really need to consider.

How much is your sacrifice of not traveling going to hurt in the future?

Are you going to resent that person?

Resentment is a love-destroying pill. Giving up your dream for someone else is a difficult choice as the attainment of dreams are what fulfill us.

2. Share your dream and listen to your lover’s

You might think your partner is adverse to your dreams, but it could be just your own fear projections. It might not be what they think at all, maybe you just haven’t communicated how much it means to you.

Have a dream D & M.

Tell your partner why you want to travel, and what you want to experience. Share how you feel it will positively impact your life and the future you envision it will give you.

Listen to your partner’s dreams. Perhaps buried in there you might find a space where travel could bring to life his/her dream.

3. Bring the adventure into the every day

Many people need their appetites for travel whet a little. Start with small explorations and new adventures in your home town.

Take your partner on some rad new dates: a new exotic restaurant, a foreign film, bush walking, surfing lessons, maybe even sky diving. Take up tango lessons together or try your hand at a barista course.

Stretch their comfort zones and help them enter the world of adventure, risk-taking, exploration, and fun. These sorts of activities embrace the travel lifestyle and create a love for the new.

4. From little things big things grow

Ease your partner into the travel experience by taking short trips close to home.

Plan a weekend getaway every month, not too far away. Short breaks are less hassle and a lot cheaper and will open up space for your partner to just relax and enjoy time out.

Once they start settling into that groove, turn the getaway into a week and go a little further away. When you feel they are ready, plan for a 2-3 week holiday somewhere a little more exotic – preferably in another country.

Consider one of those all-inclusive packages so it’s an easy and enjoyable experience.

Next, visit a place that involves a little more interaction and connection. Perhaps a little more roughing it is in order. Let your partner call the shots.

By now, they probably can’t remember why they never thought travel was a good idea. They can feel the benefits physically, mentally and spiritually and they want more of it.

I bet by the time it comes for your next “getaway” your lover has it already planned out: you’re both going on a 6 month overland adventure through Africa!

5. Share the stories

A lot of the time people aren’t interested in travel as they don’t see the possibility for themselves, or they’re frightened to step out of their comfortable life.

And that could be with good reason. They might have different goals of their own that are priority.

Attitudes can change once you hear the stories of how other people are doing it. Find clever ways to infuse those stories into your life. You might catch up with some friends over coffee who’ve just returned from a trip, or leave some magazines or books around which share the stories of how people have grown or loved through travel.

Even movies are a fantastic way to share travel stories and inspire people to see amazing places. Try to pique their interest to the possibilities (but be subtle about your manipulation!)

Don’t forget to share stories of how other couples are making it work. Perhaps your partner wants to travel, but they are frightened of what that could potentially mean for the relationship they love having with you.

6. Compromise

Making the decision to travel involves a lot of sacrifice.

You have to give up a lot of luxuries in order to save and it does involve leaving behind family and friends. It’s a tough ask for someone who’s not that keen in the first place. If you love each other enough, you’ll find a way to compromise.

Maybe you might have to let the year-long round the world trip go and settle for a shorter time period instead. Perhaps your partner might agree to throw on the backpack, if you agree to help them to achieve their life long dream of running the New York Marathon, or owning their own boat.

You might have to wait a couple of years until they’ve finished their studies or achieved their career goals.

Strong relationships play the game of give and take with the balancing skills of a tightrope walker.

7. Just travel on your own

If all else fails and you can’t get your lover to embrace a little more travel, then just hit the road on your own. I know plenty of couples who keep their relationship strong by doing this.

The travel lover goes on the adventures on their own, or with friends, while the partner stays at home with their creature comforts. It’s like married couples who live in separate houses – it might seem strange to some people, but for them it works.

So never fear, there are plenty of ways you can get that romantic bike ride through the Tuscan countryside after all.

More tips for couples:

Our travel story podcast series

  1. Episode 1: Solo Travel and Working Abroad before we met
  2. Episode 2: Our 5 year honeymoon living and traveling the world
  3. Episode 3: The Dark times and Birth of the girls and travel blog
  4. Episode 4: Embracing Family Travel and our 18 month Australian road trip
  5. Episode 5: Getting a green card and traveling the US (our dream realized)

Do you have a partner who does not like to travel? Have you managed to persuade them to travel with you? Please share your tips.

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