Welcome to Love and Travel Week on Almost Fearless! Tune in as we turn the second week of October into Lovetober (cue Barry White music). We’re celebrating the release of Swept: Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche—a true story about how one girl confronted her fear of deep water after she fell for a man with a humble boat and a dream of sailing the world.
For the next five days, we’ll be featuring stories from traveling couples about taking leaps and facing challenges, as well as maintenance tips from experienced nomadic couples so you can make sure your relationship doesn’t break down in the middle of nowhere.
Here’s the first article …
How To Make Your Love Last The Miles: Top Tips From Traveling Couples
Couples travel conjures images of romance and steamy make-out scenes on shorelines. But lovers who embark on epic adventures are destined to spend a lot of time together. Being thrust well outside your comfort zones into cramped vehicles, dingy accommodations and hectic cities will put any relationship under pressure. Those who manage to survive the bumps of life on the road know a thing or two about making relationships last.
Have clearly defined roles as to who does what and then stick to it – micromanaging doesn’t work in the office and it doesn’t work while traveling either. Take whatever time away you need – go wander the market (alone) or get separate hotel rooms every once in a while. There’s no shame in needing your own space. Don’t step on each other’s toes.
Nancy and John from Family on Bikes
Often travel disputes between couples are the result of a lack of proper communication and unrealistic expectations. If you have something on your mind, tell your partner! He or she isn’t a mind reader and while your confession may lead to a dispute or bruised feelings in the short-term, you’ll be relieved for getting it off your chest and start to make way for resolution of the situation. Your reward in the long-term is getting what you want from travel and your relationship and freedom from the pent-up resentments that plague many relationships.
John and Andrea from Inspiring Travellers
Communication and quality time is key in order to keep ourselves from driving each other crazy while traveling. We try to keep each other in the loop about how we are feeling. We have found that it is ten times easier to be empathetic toward the other person when we communicate instead of spending the day in a bad mood. Trying to schedule in quality time with your partner is also important when traveling. It may just mean booking a private room at a hostel instead of a dorm and going out to a quiet dinner.
Christy and Scott from Ordinary Traveller
We do our own things quite often. One of the benefits of going slowly is that we can afford to indulge in an extra day or two where we choose to do whatever activities that strike our fancy. Separately. Jack likes to stay in an geek out in front of the laptop while I go check out some food festival or something (being the more adventurous eater of the two). That way, we’ll have something other than travel logistics to talk about, we get a break from each other, and we’re both happy because for once we don’t have to compromise (which in other words, nobody gets what they want).
Jill and Jack from Jack and Jill Travel the World
Fighting is ok, if you fight fair. Fights are usually a product of two smart people having smart opinions. The key is working together to get the most out of the trip. We have found too many couples that either always defer to their mate, or the reverse: one person dominates the decision making. Each of you needs to have an opinion. We have found when we work as a team, each with his or her own ideas on what to see, eat or explore we get the best of both worlds.
Mike and Luci from 1000 Fights
At everything. You will be caught up in the most absurd situations of your life while traveling and unless you can take a backseat and laugh at the absurdity of it all, traveling long term with your significant other will be very, VERY, difficult. Just remember that both of you will be pushing personal boundaries that you have never come across (you learn so much about yourself while traveling) and that everyone will have their bad moments, or days, or weeks.
Erica and Shaun from Over Yonderlust
When traveling 24/7 as a couple, it’s vital to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses and use them to your advantage. Make sure you have defined roles before you leave on your trip – in our case for example, Kieron organizes all hotel bookings and transport while Amy takes care of our medical supplies. By having this arrangement in place, there is no overlap as we both have our own responsibilities. This not only saves time, but also avoids conflict between the two of us.
Amy and Kieron from Don’t Ever Look Back
Coming up on our ten year wedding anniversary, we’ve been through a lot as a couple. We have survived because we are always each other’s crutch and support when needed and we work well together to deal with significant life events. But doing everything together is not my couples travel tip, in fact, it’s the opposite.
Do more things apart. Nourish your individuality, and allow each other space for the all-important “me” time. Learn to ask for it when you need it, and don’t judge when your significant other asks the same from you. It’s not you, it’s your situation. As a traveling couple, you will spend more time in the same room together then you ever would in a 9 to 5 lifestyle, so nerves are guaranteed to be frayed. A few hours apart can do wonders!
Dalene and Peter from Hecktic Travels
Understand that you are working together as a team. If you view it this way then you know that you are working towards a common goal and that there is someone else relying on you. Your decisions are then geared towards what is best for both of you. You learn how to rely on each others strengths and support the weaknesses, and you make more of an effort to have fun together.
Caz and Craig from yTravel Blog
The most important thing is to be open, understanding & flexible towards your partner, which is near impossible when at the same time you are trying to deal with so many new and crazy experiences which come from the simple act of travel. Time is the best thing for learning how to travel with your partner. As the weeks go by and you become comfortable with the act of travel, you will start to relax, be more understanding and then grow together more and more as a couple.
Nathan and Sophia from As We Travel
When it comes to trip-planning, navigating and communicating with strangers out on the road, for the love of all that’s holy, stick to the skill sets you both already have. Traveling together is a great time to try out new adventures (like, say, zip-lining, snorkeling or even rappelling yourselves off the face of a cliff) but switching roles while roaming far from home is the ideal way to invite melt-down, drag-out arguments. Chances are, you already know who the map reader, the language specialist, the banker and the schedule tracker are in your relationship, so sticking to these skills while taking a trip together is a great chance to celebrate each other’s strengths … and preserve the state of the union.
Melanie and Adam of Travels With Two
On the road, romance can easily fall by the wayside in budget rooms with blankets you hardly want to touch, let alone roll around in, as can a day or two without showers or helping your partner battle the almighty revenge of Montezuma. Every once in a while, haul those dirty backpacks into a luxurious hotel and really relax for a night or two. Clean up, dress up, and treat your partner to a romantic evening of his/her favorite things. For added romance, we suggest traveling with just a few tea lights for a soft glow later on that really sets the mood.
Jess and Dani from The GlobetrotterGirls
This may—at first blush—rub many the wrong way, but there’s wisdom here, I promise. A common root cause for disappointment (in travel and in life) is unmet or under-met expectations. My base expectation for a 2-3 week vacation has been one or two 15 minute “moments of bliss.” This could amount to sitting in a seaside chaise with a good book, or a great desert in a romantic venue. With expectations like these, I almost always come home with a huge smile and stories to tell.
Tucker and Victoria Bradford from Forgeover
Being in a serious relationship is just as much of a journey as a long-term trip. One bad fight won’t ruin a relationship in the same way that one bad travel day won’t ruin a trip. Remember that when you’re stuck behind a guy puffing several packs of cigarettes at one go in a sealed Chinese bus or when your partner refuses to see eye-to-eye with you on the next thing that you should see or do together. It’s okay to disagree, it’s okay to hate places that you’ve seen, and it’s okay to sometimes hate traveling altogether. If you’re anything like us, those bad days and arguments will be the fodder for great laughs in months (and years) to come.
Akila and Patrick from The Road Forks
Thanks to all the awesome contributors for their tips!
If you’re looking for a gripping book to read, we recommend Swept: Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche. It’s a truly original memoir that may have you wanting to set sail tomorrow.
Get 10% off the ebook if you buy now through Almost Fearless (use the discount code LOVE at checkout).