” I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out wether you like people or hate them than to travel with them “
You and your partner are two peas in a pod. You have this whole dating thing figured out. Y’all are the modern day Romeo and Juliet (minus the family feud/suicide). Y’all’s love is picture perfect. You know each others Starbucks order and the password to each others Iphone. You can handle anything life throws at your picture perfect fairytale…or can you?
Traveling is like an advanced form of adulting. It is hard. It’s like really hard. So, how do you take your picture perfect fairytale on the road and make sure it comes back unscathed and just as mushy as ever?
Well glad you asked. Sit back. Grab a pen and paper and prepare to take all this in.
I happen to know a thing or two about traveling with your significant other. Just last summer I drug mine around half of Asia. We survived. Believe it or not we even got mushier and lovey dubby dubbier. The good news is you can too. Travel is a great way to build a relationship and in some cases to discover you should end one.
So, here are my Top Ten Tips for Traveling with a Partner. Follow these and your fairytale romance, with your pumpkin, muffin, or sugar pie should have no problem blossoming, into the things romantic dreams are made of.
1. Prepare a Plan
This sounds simple, but you would be amazed how many people jump into a trip with someone, without taking time to plan together. The planning stage is a crucial test of your communication abilities as a couple. It is also a great place to make sure any potential issues are worked out, long before you find yourself across the world with no one you know but them. I mean like no one…not a soul…just you and them….and that is it. (pause for dramatic emphasis)
Plan everything that is essential. Leave some room for spontaneity, but lodging, general itinerary, and travel plans should be organized and planned together. Speak up and voice concerns or ideas and respect each others opinion.
2. Trip for Two NOT You
This tip is for my trailblazers out there. I hear you. You are my spirit animal, but restrain yourself. I am that all in adventurer too. The crazier, more out there, more cultured the idea the more committed I am. My girlfriend not so much. Shopping, relaxation, and “pretty” places, that is her idea of a good time. That is why when I plan our trips, I make sure to include a little of both in our plans. The trip is about both of you, so don’t dominate the trip with only things you enjoy or only things you wanna see. Share the experience even if it means you have to go to Tokyo Disney and wear matching shirts.
3. Try Things Together
“The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” – Shirley MacLaine
Eat that weird mystery dish. Take a day to scuba. Take the rickety bobsled slide down from the wall of China. (quoting Cool Runnings is completely optional for that one…it is recommended though)
The point is try new things and do them together. Laugh when it was a mistake. Cry when it was a big mistake. Smile when it was amazing. That is how you grow and that is how you make those memories together. That is how you walk out on glass floors together.
Just like the trip is for two not you, try new things with your partner. Try things their way for a day. My girlfriend blazed down from the Great Wall in her bobsled for me, and I shopped my heart out for her. Together we loved every minute of it.
4. Learn the Limits
Mari doesn’t do dirty. She also doesn’t do hostels. That is her limit. I know that and so I make sure to not push the limits. Know your partners limits before you head off on the adventure. The last thing you wanna do is push a limit and take a fun experience to a nightmare. I don’t do fish on my feet….apparently Mari does…who knew…I don’t. I really really don’t.
5. Tell the Truth
If you have a limit, opinion, or gut instinct about something then be honest! Honesty is the best policy. Guy’s can’t read minds ladies. Guy’s, ladies definitely…definitely read minds. You have been warned. Either way share with one another, trust each other, and be honest. If you can’t do something, aren’t comfortable, or have a feeling share it and be honest.
Don’t wait. Do it immediately.
Mari and I were lost in Yu Garden. I would have wondered for hours happily, but Mari was ready to find her way out…like very ready. She was honest. Two hours later we were out. She was happy, like super duper happy.
6. Bond through the Bad
It is inevitable, that at some point, something will happen. We ran out of Chinese Yuan on the other side of Beijing. Then the fun started. No ATM’s would take our cards. Banks were closed. We had American cash, but weren’t in America. We could have panicked. We could have fought. We could have blamed each other, but we didn’t. We worked together, solved the problem, and bonded through the bad. It helps that we are like super duper lovey dubby and all that stuff though.
See super duper lovey dubby dubby dubby…
Bond with your partner when things go bad. We have learned that most of all in our travels. It will happen and you will have to make the conscious choice to help, avoid passing blame, and support each other through it.
7. Rock the Routine
I am a guy. I am not organized. I leave things everywhere…like everywhere. I pile things. (<- I was forced to write that) Mari is extremely organized. She triple checks everything and then when she is done doing that she comes to find me. Then in her softest kindergarten teacher voice she asks “John do you have all your things?” “Do you have your wallet? How about your keys? How about the camera?” On she goes until all my belongings are accounted for. I of course always have them right on me, nice and neat.
That is our routine. It works for us. I zip the luggage, lock the bags, carry the bags, carry Mari, and on goes my list of manly obligations. Mari maintains order. She keeps up with the passports. She makes sure nothing is left behind. She tracks the finances. Find each others habits and build a routine that caters to each others strengths. This way you are both helping one another and operating efficiently.
You thought I was kidding when I said I carry her…
8. Remember to Romance
When I traveled around Asia, I saw some amazing things, beautiful things. Each day was a rush and each day had new exciting things to see and experience, but nothing I saw was more beautiful than who I saw it all with. (Just got mad brownie points…like a months worth)
Enjoy the sites and love every minute of it, but absolutely don’t forget each other. Guy’s open the doors. Buy her random flower stand roses. Take her out for gelato or a quick dessert at the hotel’s coffee shop. Ladies, surprise him with that silly souvenir he obsessed over. Tell him how manly and adventurous he looks. (Do this a lot…Indiana Jones comparisons are a bonus)
Don’t forget to romance and love each other. Sneak a kiss here and there.
You will enjoy your trip so much more when you reflect back and see how much fun you had TOGETHER.
9. Fix Fights Fast
“When traveling with someone, take large doses of patience and tolerance with your morning coffee.” – Helen Hayes
You can follow everything I have said so far, but we are all human. Mistakes will be made. Accidents will happen and frustrations will win. Forgive each other quickly. Hug it out. Avoid saying those hurtful things and work together to forgive and forget. Don’t let a grudge tarnish your memories of your time together. This is all a speculative. I rarely find myself in trouble. (pinky swear)
10. Enjoy the Moments
Your vacation is going to be filled with priceless moments. Fill your camera, phone, GoPro, or whatever you have with those memories. Document everything. It is y’all’s moment. Walk a little slower. Laugh a little louder. Spend a little more, and sleep a little less.
There you have it. The fool proof method for making sure you don’t fly economy home alone. (If your flying first class, well then well done…well done)
I hope you find these helpful on your next trip or first trip with your partner! If your looking for help planning an adventure be sure to check out my guides for Bangkok and Shanghai! If you just love pictures then don’t forget my top travel photos of 2016!
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Talk to Y’all Soon!