Despite what I’m about to say I really do love my boyfriend, I promise. But travelling as a couple is hard. And I’m not just talking a little bit hard, I’m talking trying to prise yourself out of bed when it’s -5° and still dark outside hard. Anyone who says differently is either superhuman or probably just lying to themselves.
Don’t get me wrong I had the most amazing time travelling around Europe with Mark. There is seriously no one else I would rather have gone with. And (soppy moment alert) when we were at the top of St Stephens Basilica, looking out over the Danube, I felt so incredibly content and in love with my life and relationship.
It’s just that about 10 minutes later Mark was moaning about having to do so much walking, while we argued about where to eat and what to do next. Moment well and truly ruined.
I’m not writing this to put you off travelling with your significant other. I’m just saying don’t expect it to all picnics on the beach and kisses at sunset.
Travelling together was a massive learning curve for both of us. It taught us a lot about each other and about us as a couple. But it also taught me a lot about travelling with another human being as well.
So I thought I’d be super kind and share some of the things I learnt along the way. As well as some of the things I probably should have known from the beginning! But, if it saves at least one couple from having an argument in the middle of a foreign country then I’ll have done my job.
There are some, for want of a better word, more obvious things that I don’t want to go into detail about. Things like making sure your both on the same page before you leave and compromising along the way. Just remember that this is not just your trip and you won’t go far wrong as far as those are concerned.
But think about this…
You’ve arrived at your destination all bright-eyed, desperate to go explore. But despite all your pre-planning and compromising your other half has different ideas. Or maybe the weather has turned horrible, or something’s closed. Your dying to go see that one in a lifetime thing so why is your partner/the universe being so unreasonable. Queue stress, upset, arguments and your trip is starting to get ruined before it’s even begun.
Because even when you set off with the best intentions there’s always bound to be a bump in the road.
And guess what, I became quite familiar with that scene over the 6 weeks I was away. In no way was it Mark’s fault, in fact, some of the time it was very definitely my fault! But it meant that I quickly learned how to deal with those moments. So now I want to pass that knowledge onto you.
If you want to read what we got up to over those 6 weeks then it’s all right here.
Have backup & rainy day plans
The restaurant you’ve been dreaming has no tables, you’ve planned a relaxing day at the beach but it’s absolutely chucking it down, that Instagram worthy cathedral is closed for refurbishment. So now what?
Most of mine and Mark’s ‘disagreements’ started when we were just aimlessly wandering a city looking for something to do. Or when we were hungry but there was not a reasonably priced restaurant in sight.
I find most of our arguments happen when we’re bored, tired or hungry. So wondering rainy streets furiously looking for something to do is never going to end well.
That means being able to come up with alternative plans is key to keeping us both happy. Even if it’s just a case of suggesting a drink in that cute little cafe you passed while you come up with a new plan.
Bonus Tip: If your heading to an attraction that’s quite far away check it’s open before you set off. There’s nothing worse than dragging your other half halfway across a city for something that’s closed!
No matter how much you love someone spending 6 weeks without having anyone else to talk to is going to test you. Taking the mick out me for confusing my left and right wasn’t really funny the first time around, let alone the 94th time…
And trust me when I say the odd conversation with a receptionist just doesn’t cut it.
Luckily it’s not hard to make friends while travelling, particularly if you’ve chosen to stay in hostels. Although I’ve found that sometimes as a couple you do have to make the first move.
And it’s not just having someone new to talk to. It may be that you’ve met someone who is also dying to wander around that art gallery that you partner absolutely refuses to go to. Or he’s found someone who’s also off to watch the football so you can go explore in peace.
Making friends means not only do you get a bit of a break from each other but it doubles your chances of having someone who wants to do the same thing as you.
And that leads me on nicely to my next tip…
Don’t be afraid to do your own thing
Let me tell you a little story.
We’d just been on a 3 hour long walking tour of Berlin the morning after Mark may or may not have had one too many drinks. We then somehow end up outside the Cathedral. And Berlin’s Cathedral is pretty damm impressive. All Mark wants to do is head back to the hostel while I’m desperate to go inside and explore. So what do we do? I go to the Cathedral. Mark goes back to the hostel. And we both have a wonderful afternoon.
Just because you’ve gone on a trip together doesn’t mean you have to spend the entire time attached at the hip.
Everyone has their own interests, and preferences when it comes to travel. So don’t be afraid to leave your other half asleep while you go catch that sunrise. Or maybe suggest they go explore that museum on their own while you happily sit in a cafe and watch the world go by.
Spending time alone definitely won’t kill you and it’s actually 10 times better than the alternative. Nothing spoils a moment more than someone nagging ‘can we please do something else now’ in the background.
Don’t let arguments affect you or your trip
Chances are you already know that the occasional arguments are part of any healthy relationship. I mean I’m hoping you’ve not decided to go travelling with someone you only met a couple of weeks ago!
So you’ve probably realised that, with all the added stress that comes with travel, an argument or two is most likely inevitable.
But that’s ok.
As long you’re able to kiss, make up and move on.
Holding a grudge when you’re travelling will just make you miserable. You’ll blame them for ruining your trip, they’ll blame you for ruining yours and things are bound to turn nasty.
Give each other some space if it’s needed, swallow your pride, say sorry and then most importantly forgive and forget.
And if they’re being stubborn? It’s time to put that previous tip into practice. Give them some space, go off and enjoy the time you’ve got in your destination. They’ll come around in a few hours but in the meantime don’t let it spoil things for you.
Do the thing that makes them happy
Mark gets travel sick so going on a boat isn’t really something he enjoys. But I was desperate to go on a sunset boat cruise in Croatia. I mean does anything sound more magical?
So my super lovely boyfriend sucked it up, got on the boat and it was possibly my favourite thing we did our entire trip. I spent the entire next week smiling like a cat who’d got the cream!
Sometimes you’ve just got to do the thing with them. Some experiences just aren’t the same when you’re by yourself.
You wouldn’t be with someone if you didn’t want to make them happy, and chances are they’ll repay the favour!
Keeping each other happy is probably the best way to avoid arguments and make your trip special. And often it doesn’t take a lot, just a couple of hours of doing something you might not necessarily enjoy. But I think that’s a small price to pay.
Travelling with another person is never going to be a walk in the park. But as long as your not selfish and listen to each other it will be one of the best things you’ve ever done. And honeslty me and Mark are closer and stronger than ever.
All my love,