Tips for Traveling With Your Significant Other
Traveling can sometimes be challenging. While it definitely has it’s wonderfully memorable moments, it’s not always just the perfect moments that are captured in the photos. Inevitably, there will be bumps in the road (pun intended) when going on a trip, and it’s not always dependent on the length of the trip. There are ways to minimize these bumps and have the best time of your life!
Now, just to be perfectly honest, I’m no expert on psychology. Nor have I ever studied anything related to relationship advice. These are just my opinions, of which are gathered from my experiences in my own life as well as my observations of others. Most may seem like common sense, but really, is common sense really that common anymore? Having said that, here are some of my thoughts:
What relationship survives without trust? I mean even in just the day to day of life, if you are with someone, you would hope that they trust you and that you are with them because you trust them. I mean the real kind of trust, nut just saying that you trust them, but actually allowing them to do something without questioning or having a single ounce of doubt in it.
As it relates to travel, trust takes the spotlight. You have to wholeheartedly believe that even when you feel uncertain or disagree with each other, your partner will being there for you even if things go astray.
With trust as the foundation, the other things I’m about to mention will be a lot easier to follow.
Sometimes, things may not work out exactly the way you want them to or they just might take a little longer than you expected. Be patient and don’t fall into the negative pit of frustration. Take the moments and fill them with the thoughts and actions that you will not regret later.
Admittedly, this is an area I tend to struggle in the most myself. It can be very easy to feel that the whole experience is ruined due to one thing going wrong. It can be as big as a missed flight or as little as the “wrong” look or attitude from your partner that can set off a major chain reaction.
Well, the first step in going in the right direction, is to stop yourself in going in the wrong direction. Just stop. Give yourself time to think and process the situation accordingly. Put it into perspective. Whatever you do, don’t just rush into allowing it to unravel itself.
Yes, there are certain things that just absolutely have to be planned and organized ahead of time to help your traveling experience go as smooth as possible. However, not every single detail has to be laid out in advance and set in stone. I don’t believe that making an itinerary of every second of your time is necessary to have a good time. Allow yourself some wiggle room.
I do believe that knowing your next destination and at the very least having a place to rest your head at night should be planned. At least to a certain parameter. A backup plan should be discussed just in case there are issues that pop up that are beyond your control.
There has to be a level of flexibility when traveling. Not everything can be planned. As I mentioned above, a little bit of planning is all you need. Acts of nature can change your coarse and your timing. Your partner may feel differently about visiting a place and change their mind. You may realize that what you expected may not be aligned with the reality of a situation.
There are many factors that may require you to compromise or change your course of action. Be ok with that. In fact, embrace that. You never know what amazing experiences can come out of unexpected and unplanned “turns in the road.” You’ll see that allowing yourself to go with the flow will help ease the situation. More importantly, you will come out of it more positively so it minimizes the aftereffect and spillover into whatever happens next.
Case in point: Rob and I were under the impression that our Thailand tourist visa was good for 2 months more than what it actually was allowing us. When coming back from Cambodia, we were told that it had expired and were given the usual 30 day visa on arrival. Now with only 30 days left instead of 2 months, we had to think fast and make adjustments. After some discussion and research, we ended up booking our two month stay in Bali. Not bad at all.
If you don’t have the energy for something, don’t want to go to a particular place, or don’t want to eat a certain food, voice your opinion. Communicate to your partner your true feelings and reasons for them. Timing on this is super important. Don’t wait till there is a pile of things and just spew them all out at once. This usually happens when there are other factors involved, such as fatigue, sickness, or when hunger kicks in.
Communicate things as they occur. Which leads me to…
When your partner voices their opinion or thought on something, be sure to listen. Even if you believe that they are missing something and you need to tell them to change their mind, be patient (remember this from above?) and lend them your ear. Giving them your full, undivided attention is not only polite, but a sign of respect. Give them a chance to vent and assure them that you are not only listening but understanding everything they are telling you.
Being a good listener can really help get things done and out of the way quickly. After all, who wants to spend time repeating the same thing over and over when they can be enjoying the sunset on the beach or the amazing street food?
Don’t bring your baggage along
I don’t mean your physical bags and items you need on your trip, but the psychological baggage. The things that may have been swept under the rug while you are at home. If you have issues that have not been worked out, hashing them out while on the road is a bad idea. There are so many other factors that can cause stress, frustration, and annoyance while traveling. You don’t need to add any more to that by bringing along unresolved issues. Either set aside a time to figure it all out with your partner prior to going on a trip or wait till you get back to discuss them.
It may be tempting to start yelling at the other person about how they are “always” making this mistake or how “this is just typical” of them, especially if you are tired and stressed due to being on the go. But try to see the situation as only what is in front of you and nothing more. Keep it as uncomplicated as possible so that it can be done with as soon as possible. Keep your focus on making sure the other person is enjoying their time as you would want them to do for you.
- Give each other space whenever needed
- Use each other’s strengths
- Forgive each other’s weaknesses
- Set aside time for rest
- Set aside time to reflect
Additionally, I would recommend some general things to keep in mind when traveling.
Remember that you are the “outsider” or “foreigner” in the new place. Try to have an understanding of the customs, language, and culture of the place you are visiting. Know that the people of the place may not always speak your language, and even if they try, you may have a hard time understanding them. This is not their fault. After all, maybe you should have taken the time to learn their language so you can communicate with them flawlessly.
Do not have the expectation for them to understand your needs, but rather, be humble and thankful of their courtesy in trying to help you and allowing you into their “home”. Ask things in different ways rather than repeating yourself and getting frustrated at them for not understanding you. The responsibility is on you, as a traveler, to adapt and accept.
Above all, enjoy the moments.