Craig and I married in 2002.
In celebration of surviving 18 years of marriage, I thought I would write a post sharing our tips for couples travel.
Back in 2002, just three days after our wedding, we took off overseas for what turned out to be a five year honeymoon. Travelling as a couple is either going to make you or break you.We took the risk as newlyweds and its safe to say it made us.
Living out of each others pockets 24/7 can be extremely challenging, yet has its definite rewards.
I think many people find us a little weird now as we do everything together. That is just the way its always been. Since travelling we’ve always had the same circle of friends and our life has been the same big adventure.
We now have a marriage that is founded on really strong principles such as team work, problem solving, and communication.
We have so many amazing memories that we share and things we have been through together, how could we ever separate?
I mean who would get to keep the photos??
We now have two young daughters, and how we travel with kids is a completely different ball game, but below are our top tips for traveling as a couple.
9 Tips for Couples Travel
1. Learn to laugh a lot
Craig and I like to have fun and laugh a lot. This helps bring so much ease and casualness into, not just our relationship, but our life.
We try not to sweat the small stuff and we often find stupid things to laugh at like who has the biggest nose and who can do the silliest laughs.
When you are spending the majority of your moments in joy then everything else flows so well and couples travel becomes fun.
2. Make light of each other’s annoying habits
You each have annoying habits. Admit it and get over it. Instead of getting upset about it just make fun of them.
We would often sit down to breakfast at yet another day on a gorgeous Thai beach, and exclaim,
“Oh god. Not you again. Why are you always here? I can’t get a minutes peace. What are we going to talk about now?”
This always ended in a lively and stupid conversation that would set our day off on the right track.
Really, I don’t know what I’d do without Craig’s annoying anal retentive habits that have to always focus on the details. I’d still be fluffing around meditating on the bigger picture, never knowing how to eventually get there.
It really does annoy me how he has to have the piece of wood perfectly straight before he hammers it to build the house. I mean just hammer the damn nail in so we can have the house finished!
3. Give yourself time out
We don’t do this one as often as we probably should, but we usually don’t feel the need. Make sure you do spend time doing the things that you love to do.
We did more of this when we were actually living in an area for a long period of time.
When travelling, we were mostly enjoying the same activities. Although we would spend many days lost in our own books, lying on the beach or going off for walks or massage times.
Alone time is also an important part of your couples travel.
If you feel like your space is getting too cramped then just let your partner know,
“Hey, I love ya and all, but if I don’t get some time out from you for awhile I am going to go crazy.”
4. Participate in activities together that involves teamwork, support and encouragement
Craig and I love hiking and climbing mountains. We look for adventurous activities when we are travelling all the time. Not only are they giving you a fun memory to share, but it really helps you to join together as a couple more.
It is always so great for me having someone as physically able as Craig to help push me along the challenging parts and help me to have more faith in my own strength.
It has been great to have him to turn to when I am crapping myself coming face to face with the monstrous rapids on the Nile River. This helps us to be able to apply the same principles for when other challenges un-travel related appear in our life.
We are constantly giving each other the encouraging pep talks we need to push through our personal and business barriers. This is a great benefit to couples travel.
5. Compromise and share the decisions
We mostly find ourselves arguing over who is going to be listening to the ipod next, or swinging in the hammock first.
Learn how to compromise.
Many times when you are traveling you don’t want to make a decision in case it is not what the other person wants. Be clear on what you both want and someone make the decision that will suit both of you.
Don’t leave it to one half of the relationship to always make the decisions.
6. Look after each other’s interests
It helps to have similar interests.
Craig and I are really lucky in that we pretty much like the same things. We both love outdoor activities, travel, music, sports and having a sunset beer. This means making decisions on what we do and see is not that difficult.
There are times when one of us wants to do something more than the other. I really wanted to see the gorillas in Uganda, where Craig was give or take on that one as it was really expensive, but he knew it was what I wanted to do so he agreed.
In our new eBook we talk about the importance of making sure you experience those once-in-a-lifetime moments, so if your partner really wants to do something, give a little.
And of course, I find myself going to many live sporting events to feed Craig’s addiction.
7. Watch out for tiredness
Craig and I usually only fight on the road when we are really tired and frustrated. One journey in Africa saw us squashed into the back of a pickup truck with the whole village, bouncing around a dusty dirt road for hours.
We had bike handles up our butts and women’s backsides sitting on our elbows and knees. All of a sudden we grunted to a rocky halt and our wheel went rolling off into the ditch beside us.
The car was so beat up,it was taking hours to fix so we decided to walk to the next village that ended up being an hour away.
Craig and I had a big fight and we walked that whole distance with our heavy backpacks and about 10 metres distance between us. It took another couple of hours before we reached our destination, but by that time we were over it and talking again.
Tiredness and frustration will bring the worst out of anyone.
Be prepared for when it strikes and try to keep your anger in check and your mouth closed. It could signal an end to your couples travel.
WE share more of our crazy travel stories in this podcast episode on Tales from Uganda, Africa.
8. Don’t isolate yourselves
When traveling as a couple, it is easy for you and your partner to just stick together the whole time. There are plenty of single people around you and other travel couples doing their thing.
Make an effort to mix with other people, both couples and singles, and send off a we-are-approachable vibe. This gives you both a break from just each other’s company, allows you to meet many wonderful people, and gives you lots to talk about later on.
Craig and I are always socializing with others when we travel, and we have made a great number of beautiful friendships because of it. This really adds another dimension to your couples travel experience.
9. Have special “date” moments
When you are travelling as a couple every day and night is really date night. It is really difficult to create a special date experience. But travelling for long period of times becomes a normal daily thing.
Try to find other ways to have special times together.
Going on adventures as mentioned above is one way. Organize a special dinner or movie night out, or even in. Splurge for a more upmarket accommodation type. Get massages together, or spend the day lazing around the pool or on the beach.
End the day with a romantic beach stroll and your favourite cocktail before having a delicious seafood dinner on the beach where you talk about your hopes and dreams for the future and plan for them.
More tips for couples:
We recorded our story in podcast over 5 episodes. Each episode showcases how we made travel our lifestyle despite many challenges, and not matter what life stage we were in.
Episode 3 is where we dive into the dark times spoken about in this post. All episodes are filled with nuggets to help you see how anything is possible. Pull up a chair and your favorite drink and let us help you keep your dreams alive.
- Episode 1: Solo Travel and Working Abroad before we met
- Episode 2: Our 5 year honeymoon living and traveling the world
- Episode 3: The Dark times and Birth of the girls and travel blog
- Episode 4: Embracing Family Travel and our 18 month Australian road trip
- Episode 5: Getting a green card and traveling the US (our dream realized)
And more useful nuggets in I want to Know your Secret, The Reality of us as Travelers: then and Now and You’ve got Time + the end of 22 years of nomadic travel.