My husband and I have traveled a lot as a couple: just the two of us figuring it out in the big wide world. In theory, it sounds totally romantic but sometimes that can also be a hurdle. We have learned quite a bit in the past few years traveling together and I figured I would shared some of our experiences and advice.
Plan with Both of You in Mind
I am the trip planner but that does not mean that he does not have a voice as I am planning. Before we even step foot on a plane, I make sure that Will has an opinion on everything we do. He usually trusts my plans but sometimes he vetoes something that I suggested; it’s his vacation too so I try to keep in mind his interests when planning.
For example, I know Will loves sports so we made sure to buy tickets for an AC/Inter Milan Soccer Game. This is absolutely not something I would ever do on my own but it was a blast! I am so glad I opened myself to do something that he loves because I ended up getting a lot out of it too.
Read more: How to Plan a 2-week Trip: Part I
Give an Aspect of Planning to your Partner
Will is in charge of a few things for our adventures (they just so happen to be things I am awful at; we complement each other beautifully). It also helps even-out the burden of executing a trip and it’s kind of fun to “let go” and allow someone else the make the decisions.
Here are the things under his jurisdiction:
- Buying airfare
- Coordinating on-the-ground transportation
- Photography research
- Selecting places to eat
Will prevents me from getting terribly lost while adventuring for the day on all of our trips because he has the mind of an elephant and unfortunately, I can get lost in the grocery story. 🙂
Read more: Not all those who wander are lost…
Respect Each Other’s Space
Planes and trains have become self-designated “me time;” we either work on the computer, sleep, or read. It’s just become our natural pattern not to be too chatty during transport. We never really decided on it, it just kind of happened. Whenever your “me time” happens to be, respect it. Regardless at when it is in your day/trip, try to schedule some time so you don’t feel like you’re in each other’s space ALL the time.
Don’t be Afraid to Explore Alone
On every trip, we have carved out some alone time. Depending on your interests, comfort level, and sense of security, it’s a good idea to coordinate some time to wander off alone. That way you have something come back to tell your partner over dinner or lunch. As a note, I am awful at directions so I never wander far without a clear direction on how to get my way back. Sometimes just going at your own pace in a museum is enough for a solo adventure.
For example, while in NYC Will wanted to go for a run while I visited the Frick Collection. We coordinated to meet up at a predetermined place for lunch and I made sure I understood how to get there from the museum and we were off for a few hours to ourselves.
Read more: Thanksgiving 2016 Itinerary
Keep Track of Finances
While Will and I were dating, I fastidiously kept track of who spent what so we could keep things “even”. This prevented the dreaded blaming finger and arguments over money. Now, that we’re married, I don’t keep track of individual expenses but I am still a budget queen! Communicating a clear budget at the beginning is always a great idea, married or not, and make sure that the activities planned fit in that budget too!
Read more: Keeping Track of Expenses while Traveling
Pack Separate Suitcases
So this seems stupid but on our last trip to Southern California, Will and I had to share a suitcase and it made keeping our things organized an absolute mess. It was really frustrating and things kept getting “misplaced.” We learned our lesson and your best bet is to keep separate suitcases and pack your own items (like toiletries). That way nothing goes “missing” or gets left behind accidentally. However, there are some toiletries we share while traveling; so to avoid unnecessary duplicates, establish one person with the responsibility of packing those items.
Read more: Travel Style: Thanksgiving in SoCal
Think about Alternative Accommodations
Most of the time Will and I like to stay in AirBnbs; the peace and quiet and “homey feel” is just awesome while abroad. However spending 2 weeks with no one to talk to BUT your partner can begin to wear you down, no matter how in love you may think you are. Our solution is to break up our accommodations with hostels, this way we can meet other people, have conversation, and spend time with like-minded travelers. It can be really refreshing!
If you are uncomfortable staying in a room with strangers, you can usually find a private room in a hostel. That way you have the best of both worlds: you won’t be kept up by someone’s snoring but you can still pop down for happy hour!
Read more: Our Benelux Trip Accommodations