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.

52 thoughts on “My partner doesn’t want to travel – 7 ways to change their mind”

  1. So what do you do when your partner doesn’t want to travel and doesn’t want you to travel either? I’d be happy heading out on my own or with girlfriends but he’s the main breadwinner so he feels he can say where the money goes–ie. saving for retirement (even though I manage all the finances and know we have more than enough.)

    1. Oh yeah tough call Cheryl. I think you have to continue the conversation so he understands how much it means to you and why. And then work on those compromises. He might be the main breadwinner, but I’m sure you contribute in many ways and regardless are totally deserving of following your own dreams. Just take a stand for them. You don’t want regrets.

  2. Nice article! My husband likes travelling, but doesn’t love it. This hasn’t stopped us fro travelling until I said I want to go to Mexico. My husband thinks it is a very dangerous country and we kept postponing it and travelled to other wish list destinations. But it is time for Mexico now, I was even considering going there on my own but at the end I persuaded him to go. I don’t know how much he will enjoy it. I hope at least the hot weather and the nice beaches will be enough and he doesn’t want to go anywhere outside the resort.

    1. I love that he is going with you. Shows how much he loves you. I reckon you’ll have a great time and I’m sure he’ll venture further afield. I think once we arrive in a place and see with our own 5 senses we realize it’s much safer and more beautiful than mainstream wants you to believe. Enjoy it!

      1. Thanks! I completely agree that after we arrive these and feel the environment it will be different. Mexico is the most popular destination for Canadians and Americans and maybe that’s why we hear on the news frequently that something bad happened. It is easy this way to create an opinion for the country based on what you heard.

  3. Oh dear. This is a tough one. If your suggestion for baby step trips doesn’t do it and your partner doesn’t want to be left home, a lot will ride on how important travel is to the person who wants to travel. Counseling? The travel – don’t travel conundrum is probably symptomatic of other problems in the relationship.

    1. Very true Suzanne. I think it depends on how deep your desire for travel runs. If it is of the burning, I won’t feel complete unless I do it kind, then the relationship is on some fragile ground. You just cannot sacrifice those types of desires for anything or anyone

  4. It’s a difficult situation if your partner doesn’t want to travel as much as you do! I don’t want to get into that at all. Appreciate your suggestions! But, I seriously think that if travel is your priority, your partner should match up to that. You can’t change a person after you are married. Thus, it’s better not to marry someone who’s unlike you.

    1. That is by far the best scenario! I couldn’t imagine how tough it would be to be torn between dreams like this. I’m very blessed

  5. This is a very interesting topic. I think like with any disharmony between couples in a relationship, honesty and communication and compromise are essential.

  6. Excellent post Caz! This is a topic very close to me right now. My husband and I have been married nearly 8 years and we have spent 4 of those years travelling most of the time. I would be happy to keep going as I love being on the road all the time and discovering new places. My husband on the other hand is a home body and really just wants to settle with a simple life at home. Last year we struck a compromise. No more big trips. But we will be doing one 2-3 week trip O/S per year and a few weekends and long weekends away close by throughout the year. The things we do for love!

    1. Ah perfect! It sounds like a happy compromise. And those 2/3 week trips now will be extra special and filled with lots of love.

  7. I would motivate my boyfriend to want to travel by starting the day asking him to take mini virtual vacations with me via text. I would send him photos of beautiful and romantic locations and tell him we would meet there in our minds to take a break from our busy days.

  8. Great post. Really thanks for sharing, sometimes it is not about whether to travel or not, just maybe how to find the right destinations for both. Perfect tips 😉

  9. My life has always been about travel.
    But not so for my partner.

    I have had to introduce him to travel/holidays very patiently. We started with a 5 day family trip then 7, then 10 and now it’s 2 weeks with a short getaway and day trips.

    We are now about 10 years off retirement, my aim: while our son finishes school I settled for the holidays, then we can combine his hobbies with mine – I tell him my plans

  10. Some great advice here. Luckily my partner is eager to travel, but I do sometimes worry he’s not quite as keen as I am, so may well end up implementing some of these 🙂

  11. This is happening to me right now. My boyfriend of 5 years has not been anywhere and is also afraid of flying. I on the other hand have traveled a lot and plan to keep doing so. It works well right now with me going on trips and him staying home, which is great. I want to explore places with him though instead of telling him the stories because it just is not the same. I finally got him to go to Hawaii with me but he is having some anxiety about the flying and money as it gets closer. I hope it goes well. Its next week! 🙂 I think it is a great idea to work them into bigger and bigger trips! We are in southern california and did northern california first and some smaller road trips to santa barbara and I think it helped.

    1. Yes, you definitely need to warm him up with road trips- they are always so much fun and much easier.

      I’m sure he will love Hawaii. if you want you can share with him about me- I’m scared of flying, but it hasn’t stopped me from getting on over 100 flights. So you can still be scared of flying and continue to travel. One reason I”m loving our road trip now is because I don’t have to fly!!

      Here are my posts on my travel fear with some handy hints and funny stories that might help calm his nerves

    2. HOw did the trip to Hawaii go? My husband is afraid of flying too. Your email sounded like I could have written it!

  12. Sounds very familiar, I had to give him a choice a few years ago. Either you come with me or I go alone. And you’re talking about the can’t live without feeling. That’s what I have with Australia. I would sell everything if that would mean I could go back more.

  13. My wife and I love to travel, but we have a slight problem. Because of our jobs she is restricted to just a few weeks per year, whereas I have much more freedom to travel. The solution is that I head off for plenty of short trips, and we make a lo more effort to go somewhere special, of her choice, when she is able to get away. It is not perfect as I would prefer her to travel with me more often, but it is certainly a good compromise.

  14. I love to travel, but the longest period that I have been away from home has been 3 weeks. So when my hubby proposed that we take six months off work to travel around Australia I became very anxious. I thought I could not survive being away from family, friends and the comforts of home for such an extended period. I am happy to say that after six weeks on the road I am loving it and I am not missing home too much at all. Every day is a new adventure and it sure beats working!

  15. Divorce was the only thing that fixed it for me. I started travelling solo, trekking in Thailand and sailing on the Nile in Egypt. Husband 1 just wouldn’t come. He needed mirrors and bathrooms and fluffy towels. Once I started travelling solo I realised that I really didn’t need him. I met a younger, more travel oriented version very shortly and we haven’t stopped travelling since. We’re on our 2nd RTW now, with the kids 🙂

  16. As silly as this may sound, I’m starting to pique my husband’s interest in international travel by watching House Hunters International with him. Your tips are great!

  17. Great article! I can very much relate as my partner never wants to travel, and I think this has a lot to do with not wanting to be outside his comfort zone. His parents even gave him money for his 21st for the two of us to go on a holiday, which a year later still hasn’t happened. Because of this, I have just ended up travelling on my own around Europe with a girlfriend and another time with my mother, which has been great, but I still have that dream of being able to share those experiences that come with travelling with him. It’s odd, because a hobby of ours, that he loves, is discovering new little restaurants and cafes around the city we live in. Anyway, I think that I will be trying out #2 to try and understand why he doesn’t want to travel and figure put what his goals are. Thanks for the tips!

    1. Hi, Kelly what about short cruises or ferry destinations close to the mainland? This is how my mom got my dad to leave New Jersey. She started with the Cape May ferry to Delaware. Before he passed he travel to the islands.

  18. I love your blog. I have abandon many relationships because I keep falling for people, who do not like to travel. I am a confessed earth roamer, map lover, and social butterfly. On my last travel trip/ work living on the beautiful island of Maui, ” The Loneliness Bug” hit for the first time. I must tell, I cried . I had no one to share these moments with. I started video chatting on the beach with the water as my background. It was sad. So when I returned back to the Mainland, I decided to find my peeps. I started a travel group that features small group leisure travel, couples are welcome. My first launch trip was Mexico, the group booked up in 14 days. I am happy now that I will no longer lack for company on my adventures. If you know anyone that wants to travel, but does not have a buddy I am always ready to go.

    1. What a great idea Pamela! How awesome that you embraced something new as a result of feeling that loneliness bug. So many good things can come from our negative emotions!

  19. Married for 33 years. We are happy however we are now both retired. I want to go south in the winter. I told him I thought we could spend a month in Eleuthera. That was 1.5 years ago. In April 2014 I sent him info about possible places for us to go to in February 2015 but he would not even look at them. He would say that it was too far in the future for him to consider. Then in November 2014 we look and all of the priced right places were gone. So this year I again start my search in April sending him ideas and last night we ended up in a big fight. He doesn’t want to go. Why? Because he has never been there before. argh! Travel alone you tell me. I know that that would be just another fight. Last night he said that we could go but it was only to shut me up on the topic and hopefully get it out of my system.

    I laid awake most of the night. I have resigned myself to not go anywhere. If I outlive him and I am still in good health I will travel then. I can’t throw away or argue about this topic when everything else in our marriage is good. I am just sad that my dream of an adventurous retirement will be just that – a dream

  20. Unfortunately I feel to be stuck with the first point – growing resentment.
    My girlfriend is coming up with 100s of flimsy excuses – too expensive (though money is not a problem – I make more than enough!), she has now clothes for vacation (I offered to give her enough to do a shopping spree) etc etc ….
    Bringing the adventure into everydays life is also not possible – it is the same nightmare if I try to get her out for cinema or a restaurant or even a walkt in the park….

    1. Can we trade partner’s? :p Sounds like your partner is living a dream and doesn’t appreciate you, my partner doesn’t want to organise or go anywhere.. He is a musician, works in local bars every weekend and withdraws everytime I mention going away. I’m starting to think he’s a bum who is just using me lol 😉

  21. Thanks for the article. Great advice! When I met my husband he had only been to 4 states and never been outside the U.S. (in comparison, I had been to 45 states and 10 countries). He loved to drag race so I suggested we take a trip to the drag racing nationals in Denver (to peak his interest) and then spend a few more days hiking and exploring Denver. We went and he really did have a great time. He graduated to his first overseas trip last February (I taught him to snowboard and I enticed him with snowboarding the Swiss alps!!) and we spent 17 days in 6 countries. He still won’t plan the trips, but he loves the new experiences and getting out of his comfort zone. In our 4 years together, he has now been to 12 countries and 9 states, and we leave for a 23 day trip to New Zealand, Australia, and Fiji in 3 weeks!! There is still hope for your partner, hang in there!! 🙂

    1. Hey , I have to go Canada for work due to some family financial issues and I wanna tell this to my boyfriend but he doesn’t want me to go Canada b’coz he loves me a lot but it is not my wish to go Canada but I have to go to support my parents.
      How can I convince him that I have to go and I will come back to him soon. I don’t want to loose him.

  22. I despise travel. Lady-friend, on the other hand, loves it. For me, I’ve never, not once, not ever, had a a good travel experience. In my twenties, some idiots from University of Sherbrooke thought throwing people into the pool was a good idea. They tried with me. I asked them not to. They tried harder. I was adamant. One guy tried to pick me up and sadly lost four front teeth when I fought back. (I have this thing about personal space. Don’t touch me and I won’t touch you.) Simple, isn’t it? For the rest of that week, I had frat boys trying to hunt me down all over the resort. Strike one for travel.

    On another trip to that bastion of freedom and democracy, the USA. Ft. Lauderdale in October. What could possibly go wrong? A mugging. Five men assaulted us, broke bones, like jaws and knees, then shot a us… While running for our lives one of us was hit by a police car. The police brought him back to our hotel and told us to leave town “because these people might know where you’re at.” Did they file a report? Take a statement? Nope. So, on that day, I declared that the United States can go fuck itself. Haven’t been to the USA since and have sworn to never put any of my hard earned dollars into that economy again, so long as I live. Strike two.

    Then there’s the airports and tourists and children and flights and customs and people who drink… I hate them all. I dislike airports, detest any type of tourist or child… Flying is generally, a horrible chore along with being forced into the inevitable interrogation session with most likely an idiot. As for people who drink… I hate them the most. I don’t drink, I hate being around it, I hate people who even have a single glass of wine anywhere near me. I include my girlfriend in that. If she drinks, I’ll likely dislike being in her presence…

    I’m not a stick in the mud; I just know what I like and I won’t compromise on it. If lady-friend wants to travel, I have no trouble letting her go. Geezus, if she cheated on me while on a vacation, I can’t say that I’d worry too much about it because what I don’t know doesn’t hurt me. (Not that she would, I just don’t care if she does…)

    I genuinely dislike crowds, noise, small talk and anything or anyone who makes a point of speaking with me. I don’t want to make friends, I don’t want to be social with people I’ve just met, I can’t stomach small talk… I just want to be alone.

    I’m 48 now… Nothing’s changed. I like the status quo. I haven’t taken but one day off in the last two years of work and am happier at there and being home alone than being anywhere else. But here’s the next problem and this is where I take exception to some of the suggestions presented here… Lady-friend has finally convinced me that I should go “someplace.” So, I decided I would try to travel within my home country of Canada for a quick 4 day golf vacation, (alone.) I was planning it and everything. Next thing I know, I’m getting an email from her suggesting Cuba (because I’ve always said I wanted to go there before the American’s ruin it.) Now, I don’t want to go anywhere at all because she’s trying to change my plans. Her heart is in the right place but it took me this long to think about flying/travelling to do a little golfing. I mean, what the hell is a man that to do?

  23. I have a question my fiancee and i just had a baby girl 8months ago and we made the decision to give her his last name sence we are getting narried soon and didnt want to go threw the hassel of changing her name after we marry well here we r 8months later and my parents who live 900 + miles away ad my dad called yesterday and wanted to have us and our daughter come visit after the holiday and have offered to pay me and my daughters way bc they want to meet their granddaughter who they havent met yet and i would love to go home and see them but they said if my fiancee comes we ould have to get his ticket and a hptel room nc they havent met him yet and arent sure about him staying at the house till they get to know him this would mean alot to me to go home sence i havent been home sence 2012 but my fiancee isnt wanting to travel and when i bring up me and the baby going he says you can go but you arent taking my daughter with u it is only for 3days and ill b coming home how do i convince him to g with us or let me take our daughter to meet her grandparents by my self this is my dads first grandchild so this rly means alot to him please help

    1. It sounds like a difficult situation Allicia. I would explain how much it means to you and why and try to understand why he feels so against it and then give him your plan to help calm his fears.

      1. Hie been married for 15yrs now hubby dsnt like to travel at all 2yrs ago l paid a local trip for the whole family for 3days he didn’t want to go with us so we left him behind this year l have paid for 3days local trip l hope this time he will go with us he thinks it’s waste of money and time

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