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It is often said that travelling can either make or break a relationship. Contrary to what most people think, travelling on extended period with your partner isn’t always hunky dory. How does it feel to rely on your partner when navigating novel experiences together? How do they cope outside of their comfort zone? Do they roll with the punches and stay positive, or do they turn erratic and pessimistic/negative?
Experiencing your partner in a new atmosphere is great but even the most solid of couples will face the occasional domestic dispute on the road. Having been there, done that (including both holidays and extended travel) I want to share some tips on how to stand the test of time when you have to face the inevitable challenges of travelling as a pair.
1. Give each other some breathing space and cherish some alone time whenever possible. We enjoy hanging out in shopping malls (yes, even in Iceland! Typical of city folks we know) but due to different interests and tastes, we would usually split up and reconvene an hour or two later. This way, I get to see what I like and so does he. No dispute or resentment.
2. We are individuals and therefore have different personalities, likes and dislikes. She may be an adrenaline junkie while he fancies cultural activities so compromise is key. Be open to new experiences (even if it scares you witless!) and embrace the moment – because life often surprises us.
3. It is easy to pack for a weekend getaway or a one-week holiday. But trying to pack your lives into suitcases is challenging – do I really need this dress or (for him) that pair of formal oxford lace-ups? To avoid conflict, we travel light by minimizing what we pack – sharing what we have whenever possible e.g: toiletries, windbreakers, beanies, scarves etc.
4. Discuss budget and have an honest conversation on who pays what especially when it concerns giving up regular paychecks for extended travel. Like most couples, we have bickered about cost many a time. Fortunately, Justin and I enjoy pretty much the same things in life – great food, theater shows and the occasional splurge on lovely hotel accommodation. So if he pays for flight tickets, I would pick up the tab for accommodation. Easy!
5. Aside from cost centered honest conversations, be open and honest about emotions as well. If you are feeling down, moody, let him know. If you are ‘catching attitude’ from her, find out why and talk about it.
6. See the lighter side of everything (or at least try to). Remember, when you engage in such travel, your partner is the ‘real thing’ and 50% of the trip/adventure is more meaningful because of her/him.
Have you travelled as a pair? Did it make or break your relationship? Leave your comments below.