Whether you’re hangry, jetlagged or arguing over the armrest on the plane, traveling with a significant other isn’t always as perfect as it may seem.
This is truer still for couples who travel long term, as they navigate life together while constantly on the move.
For us, we have a tendency to overbook ourselves, which can sometimes mean we’re not getting enough rest, eating at odd hours or skipping meals entirely. Not surprisingly, this can be a recipe for disaster. We’ve learned to always keep snacks on hand to give us the boost we need – protein bars, beef sticks, almonds, and string cheese or yogurt if we have a fridge in our hotel room.
Another area of frustration is our equipment. As travel bloggers, we sometimes have technical difficulties, and it can be maddening when we run into issues with our gear (like getting dust in our camera lens), can’t fly our drone (because it’s raining or the wind gusts are too high) or just can’t seem to get our shot (for any number of reasons).
There isn’t always an easy way around these issues, and while they can be irritating, our best advice is to remember that you’re traveling to make memories, not just to take photographs. Step back, take a deep breath and enjoy the moment together.
Bottom line: Traveling together isn’t always perfect, but it is always worth it.
So we asked seven of our favorite couple travel bloggers to share the challenges they’ve faced and their top tips on keeping the peace so you can experience the joy of traveling together without the urge to kill your significant other.
Top Tips for Couples Traveling Together
Chris & Brenda – @finsandpassports
Meet the couple: We are Chris and Brenda! We have been traveling full time for the last three months and we want to share our adventures and travel tips with you, so you can travel too!
Top tips: Know your responsibilities and boundaries, and be respectful, kind and patient.
These tips might seem obvious, but they’re really the key to traveling together 24/7 without killing each other (😂) and for maintaining a strong relationship overall.
1. Know your responsibilities.
We are responsible to each other, but not for each other. We each have our own responsibilities that we need to take care of when traveling. Maybe your job is to get all transportation and accommodation booked, while your SO is responsible for researching tours and activities. We actively support each other when one is falling behind or feels overwhelmed, and sometimes we’ll help each other out with workloads, but ultimately, each person must take care of his or her own daily responsibilities. This is so important, because once you start feeling like you’re the only one putting in all the work, it can get really ugly really fast.
2. Know your boundaries and be respectful.
If we wish for others to respect our boundaries, we need to respect theirs. Be clear and know each other’s boundaries. Again, you need to make clear what you do or don’t want. When we expose our boundaries to the light of relationship, we can be fully connected to our SOs.
3. Be kind and patient.
I know, this one’s kind of cheesy. It’s probably what most people say but is hardest to do. But if you keep this in mind every single day, it makes all the difference. Whether you are hangry or just too tired to do anything, remember that your SO is going through the same thing and feeling exactly the same way you are. And if one is doing something that is annoying you, remember that they’re not doing it on purpose! Just kindly point out what it is they’re doing and give them time to correct themselves.
Jackie and Jorge – @traversingtogether
Meet the couple: We are Jackie and Jorge from Central Florida and we’ve been traveling together part time for five to six years, though we have started traveling on a more consistent basis for the past three years or so.
Top tips: Be patient, trust each other, and be a helpful and encouraging co-pilot.
The number one thing we have learned from traveling together is to be patient and go into it with the expectation that there WILL be times your partner is going to get on your nerves. Ups and downs are perfectly normal while traveling – as long as your ups outweigh the downs!
We tend to bicker when Jorge is driving and Jackie is paranoid about his driving, especially when it’s somewhere in the mountains, which we are not used to driving in! We drove through California from the Alabama Hills area to Yosemite National Park and the roads were winding like crazy.
Jorge was driving particularly fast and we could smell the brakes burning. I (Jackie) am already a nervous passenger, so to say I was freaking out was an understatement. We kept bickering, because I kept telling Jorge to slow down because he was going to kill us LOL. At the end of the day, though, I had to remind myself that he is a great driver and tell myself to just trust that my husband knows what he’s doing!
Tension can already run high when you are in an unfamiliar area trying to find your way around, and I think it just comes back to putting trust in your partner that they are going to keep you safe.
We used to bicker anytime there was some sort of commute happening as I, admittedly, can be a horrible co-pilot and find myself scrolling on my phone instead of helping him navigate to our location.
Moral of the story: If you find yourself driving with your partner, be a helpful and encouraging co-pilot!
Emy & Johan – @withsaltypassports
Meet the couple: Emy and Johan have been exploring Australia for a year.
Top tips: Smile and laugh, make time to do the activities your significant other wants to do and suck it up when it comes to chores.
Traveling together as a couple is awesome. You get to share amazing experiences and grow together because if it. Traveling together can also make you want to rip your significant other’s beautiful eyes out. Here’s what we learned spending nearly a year together with zero space for privacy – all eyes intact.
When minds collide: Grow together all you like, but you are still individuals and sometimes you want to go different routes. Back home, the easy way out is to say, “You do your thing and I’ll do mine.” On the road, it’s not always as practical, and what you really want is to do the activity together!
The cure: Our trip is about the journey and not the destination; we have no rush. If we want to do different things, we do them both together, one at a time.
When moods collide: Minor annoyances and setbacks can be blown out of proportion when there is no space to get away. It’s easy to blame and take your problem out on the first person you see, namely your partner.
The cure: Our motto, “Smile and laugh,” usually gets us back in a good mood; it’s hard to stay mad when it feels like you have the whole world to yourselves.
Doing the dishes: Living without a home somehow doesn’t eliminate household chores. Sometimes it’s easier to just suck it up and do it than to object and risk getting your eyes clawed out.
Dan & Michelle – @honeymoonalways
Meet the couple: Dan and Michelle are travel bloggers at HoneymoonAlways.com and have been traveling together for five years.
Top tips: Practice empathy, over-communicate and pack snacks.
When we are traveling, there are three things we try to do to avoid contention. The most important thing is to practice empathy. In every situation and in every aspect of travel, put yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to understand what they are thinking or feeling. Plan in a way so that your travel partner will enjoy the trip as much as you do. When a challenge presents itself, take a breath and try to imagine how the other person might be confused, angry or thinking that you are in the wrong. This will make you better equipped to improve the situation and enjoy your trip together.
This leads to the next tip: over-communicate. I do most of the planning on our trips but also am a man of few words. I realized that things go smoother when I make sure Michelle knows all of the plans for the day and what I am thinking, and reassure her I have heard her as well.
Our last tip is the most practical and was remedied after our first trip together. Hunger makes everyone a little more irritable and for some people really clouds the brain and brings on the hanger. We always bring more than enough snacks. This allows for peace of mind, knowing there is always something available to snack on and keeps everyone happy in between meals.
Dani & Sean – @thecouple.abroad
Meet the couple: We are Dani & Sean from Mexico and England. We met in Madrid three years ago and have been traveling for the past five months, which is our second time traveling together.
Top tips: Read each other’s energy levels and body language, and don’t wait too long to eat!
From the outside looking in, traveling can seem like it’s 100% fun and games. While this, for us, is mainly true, we wish we knew before we started traveling about the stresses of passing through immigration when you don’t have a return flight booked to your home country and one of you has a Mexican passport and the other a British passport!
We are quite lucky in the fact that we both get stressed by the same things, so it is easy for us to channel that frustration into a joint moaning session and then laugh about it and move on! Our main frustrations around traveling focus around airports, so once we are past this, everything is generally good. However, there was that time in Japan we couldn’t agree which angle was the best for a picture and ended up grumpy at each other. We look back on that and laugh about it now!
We both think that an important way to avoid wanting to kill each other is being able to read how the other is feeling from their energy levels and body language. We both can’t be feeling 100% excited and happy all the time so it is important to be able to read this and know when to drag that person back up or leave them to chill alone for a few minutes. Also, don’t wait too long to plan where to eat dinner, as you will both end up hangry and that’s not a good situation to be in! 😂
Ty & Shay – @weareglobetrekkers
Meet the couple: Ty is the male half of this couple and Shay is the lady of the dynamic duo. We are originally from Brooklyn, New York, and are currently living and working in Canada in visual effects for film. We’ve been traveling together since the start of our relationship 17 years ago. Our most visited destination is Las Vegas; we’ve been 17 times already!
Top tip: Don’t let navigation troubles ruin your day.
Oddly enough, we don’t have any pet peeves about each other – well not anymore! Shay used to always overpack and would then ask Ty to pack some of her items. She’s a pro now at packing her carry-on luggage.
We did, however, get into an argument while in Paris. We do not know French and couldn’t figure out how to exit a metro station. We are both headstrong and neither of us could agree on which was the right exit. We walked in circles for 15 minutes arguing about who was going the right way and decided to wait for passengers to exit a train and follow the crowd out the station.
Immediately after that, we realized we got off at the wrong stop and had to figure out how to walk to our destination. We tried to ask people in the street for help, but everyone who passed was too busy to acknowledge us. Finally, a woman approached us and asked if we were lost. We both said yes! And she asked if we were from New York City. We excitedly yelled yes! She then told us she is also from the Big Apple and now lives in Paris and can help us. She was an angel! We were so happy that we forgot about our argument and happily found our way to the Eiffel Tower.
Tip & Tarah – @fittwotravel
Meet the couple: We are Tip and Tarah, and we’ve been together for nine years and traveling together extensively for four years!
Top tips: Meet each other in the middle, carry snacks and manage your pet peeves.
The most important thing we have learned through our travels together that we wish we knew before we started traveling is that we are both different types of travelers. Tarah loves to GO GO GO on our trips. She loves to have an itinerary jam-packed every day. That’s her style of traveling. Tip, on the other hand, prefers to be more laid back, and likes to go with the flow. Through all of our traveling, we’ve learned to meet in the middle. We have planned days but also make sure to have relaxation days.
We don’t have big fights – just small bickering fights, which usually stem from one thing: when Tarah is hangry. But honestly, it’s when either one of us are hungry and we’ve been traveling for a long time. I think everyone can relate to being hungry and tired. Our best way to battle that is to always make sure we are fed or carry snacks.
Tip’s biggest pet peeve is whenever we are in a place that has the opportunity for a sunset or sunrise, Tarah tries to plan everything around that. Always wanting to get up early for sunrise, and making sure we drop everything to catch the perfect sunset. EVERY SINGLE DAY of the trip. How many sunrise/sunset photos can you have?
Tarah’s biggest pet peeve about Tip is his overpacking. Tip loves to have outfits for every occasion, so much so that he takes advantage of every square inch of luggage. And usually he doesn’t even wear half of them. How many tank tops and shorts can one person pack?!
*BONUS!* Bram & Manon – @flipflopwanderers
Meet the couple: We are Bram and Manon, a Dutch couple with a great passion for traveling. We’ve currently been on the road for two and a half years already.
Top tips: Get comfortable with each other, align on your travel expectations, always have snacks on hand and know when to give each other space.
Traveling together for a longer period can break a relationship or make it much stronger. Of course, you prefer the latter, and therefore we share some tips!
We’ve been together for nine years and the bigger half of it we’ve spent traveling all over the world. For a full year, we lived in a small van and you’ll definitely need to get along with each other to do so.
Firstly, get comfortable with each other. You are going to be together 24/7 and you will see more of each other than you probably want to see. Besides this, you also need to align the expectations of your travels. Make a plan together of places you want to visit and things you want to see, and discuss your budget. Check out blogs and Instagram for some inspiration and get into the travel mood!
One of our top tips is to always bring snacks. Eating is something that you might forget during days full of travel and this way you avoid getting hangry.
Another important thing is to give each other space when your other half asks for it, or when you feel it is necessary. Me-time is important and can be as simple as reading a book in a different space.
Every good relationship has its flaws, and arguing together is part of it. Trying to avoid it is one thing, but there is a big chance you’ll end up fighting some day. Our life looks so perfect on Instagram, but we have fights, too, like every couple. Our fights are mainly about our work, since we work together as influencers.
The important part is how you make up. For us, it works to give each other space after a fight and say sorry when we’re both cooled down. In the end, it is all about learning to give and take.
Want more couples travel tips and inspiration?
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