How to Make Your Love Last the Miles: Top Tips From Traveling Couples

Love and Travel Week

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

Traveling Lovers

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.

Don't step on each other's toes

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

Become Master Communicators

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

Quality time is key

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

Do your own things

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

Learn to laugh

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

Define your roles

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

Be independent

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

Work as a team

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

Be open, understanding and flexible

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

Take advantage of your unique skills

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

Keep the romance alive

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

Don't worry about the petty fights

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

Don't worry about the petty fights

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

Love Lasting The Miles

Thanks to all the awesome contributors for their tips!

Love

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).

Swept: Love with a Chance of Drowning

39 Comments

  1. Take it as it comes – just like the rest of life, traveling together might not be as you expected but it is what you got! Things are different on the road and we each managed the stress differently than we did at home. We had to learn what this new dynamic looked like and learn to just be okay with it!!

    These are all great tips!!

  2. I especially like the tip on defining roles/goals then communicating. If you can’t talk w/ your travel companion, who can you talk with?

  3. Love this article. As someone who had one relationship destroyed by travel and another forged in it, these are all great pieces of advice. I think we think that it will be easy because travel is fun. and if we ignore the above it can explode!

  4. I’m scared, but excited, to see how Brian and I handle this brand new world of traveling. We will definitely have bad days (like we do in our 9 to 5 life now) but I hope that our good days outweigh… and that we surprise each other. Crap though, I really am nervous!

    • The best advice I can offer is this: keep it light! If it’s getting stressful, there’s nothing better than just laughing it off. I think couples who travel together (and make it) end up being stronger for it! And it’s so amazing to share travel with someone you love.

  5. Nancy and Shawn Power... Inspiring YOU To Travel!

    Hmmm…although we don’t have the cramped space issue of travel, to us, even though we are travelling constantly, it feels no different from when we were home, except we are in a different city each week…

    but hey, we’ve only been doing this for 7 weeks now so time will tell.

    Nancy & Shawn

    • Just wait, muhahahahaha. Actually, if you’ve made it this far you’re probably okay. Have you gotten insanely lost yet? Or left something valuable/important behind? That’s the true test 😉

  6. Sometimes some friendly competition/appreciation can spice up extended travel. We like to award “Traveler of the Day” to the one who notices the critical change in the bus or train schedule, catches the rip-off about to happen, remembers the daypack almost left behind, finds the great eats in a pinch etc… A little appreciation towards your other half goes a long way when you’re on the road for forever!

  7. As one half of Four Jandals I know what it is like. Been on the road now for 2 years and we are still learning what does and doesn’t work. Just stick at it and you get through it in the end. Laughing is the best medicine as they always say!

  8. Crossing my fingers that one day I’ll be able to put these tips to use–until then, I’ll fully enjoy not having to compromise with anyone on anything! 🙂

  9. Fantastic tips! If it’s not too late, we’d love to help support the release of Torre’s new book. Let us know! -Matt & Tran

  10. Great post and very nice tips, I take note of these tips along the way with my partner.
    -Kristian and May

  11. This is a gorgeous post – of course the quotes/advice itself, but I also really like the font and layout. Well done, Christine!

  12. I’ll take note of these, coz it could come useful someday (hopefully very soon hehe)

  13. Erica and Shaun’s advice resonates with me most; learn to laugh.

    With this I think travelling together can almost become some stressful project that you’ve gotten yourself into instead of the learning curve/amazing adventure it should be.

  14. I woke up this morning in a cold sweat about our upcoming adventure… Not having my personal space is a real concern for me, even though I am so excited about setting off with my partner to fulfill our dreams of long term travel. I’m going to have to be really careful about taking time for myself when I need it! Thanks for all the valuable advice, I am reading Torre’s book and loving it, I really hope they make it as a couple!

  15. It is wrong to assume that our partners will always know what we are thinking. I experienced feeling disappointed towards my partner because of this. But it was an amazing feeling to finally tell her what I felt and much better was she understood. We are planning to go into a trip next week and I will make sure to remember the advices.

  16. Thanks to Christine and Torre for featuring us! And I love all these tips — I love the way they all highlight the same thing – that there are wonderful, fun-filled days, and bad days as well, and they are all part of the journey.

    • Thanks for your tip Akila! Yes, I noticed a lot of patterns in the tips. It makes you realize just how universal relationship conflicts are!

  17. I think this Lovetober is a great idea and you are promoting a great book! My boyfriend have been traveling off and on for the last 4 years and I really like the idea of having clearly defined roles. We will definitely be implementing this on our next trip! And I couldn’t agree more with booking a private room every now and then especially if you are traveling with others!

  18. i love this post! love it as it applies to travel, but also just to life as a couple as well…or even solo folks come to think of it. cheers to lovetober christine, and gorgeous design torre!

  19. Pingback: Weekend Travel Reading - San Francisco, Slovenia, Paris | Budget Travel Adventures

  20. This post is excellent! Veronica and I really follow these tips already, but its great to have them reinforced. Your blogs are so clean and easy to read! Well done!

  21. I have to agree to some of the points you pointed out but not all since human beings are so unpredictable and exist in all kinds. So I think experience is the best teacher, but anyways thanks for the guidelines.

  22. This is a truly touching travel blog and I loved this article and the photos of your son ( one with him in the mosquito net and one with him watching the paper lanterns.) I know so many people say to travel young because you will never get that chance again… I love that you prove that wrong every day. Beautiful blog.

  23. My husband and I have only been traveling together since April 2011, but these tips are incredibly handy because their simple advice is easy to forget. I’ll be sure to reference them again in the near future!
    There’s nothing like doing things individually and then sharing your experience with your partner because it’s like reliving it again almost immediately. Keeping tealight candles in your suitcase is always helpful too when you want to kick up the romance!

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