How to survive travelling as a couple

"If you can laugh together (and at each other) it really helps."
Travelling as a couple is one of life’s most amazing experiences. Unsurprisingly, it also comes with plenty of challenges along the way. Here are some truths about travelling as a couple that we’ve learnt over the last few months…

Truth #1: You WILL learn new things about each other

In almost five years (eek!) we’ve been on lots of holidays together. We’ve also been through plenty of life’s ups and downs including bereavements, illnesses, operations AND the stress of buying and selling a house.

Believe me when I say nothing prepares you for travelling together. The intensity of spending every waking moment in each others’ company, coupled with the unpredictability of life on the road is testing for even the strongest relationships. Living together is one thing, but travelling together is completely different. One thing’s for sure, you’ll definitely learn things about each other that you didn’t know before!

Learning to surf
In Bali we learnt that we’re both pretty bad at surfing!

Truth #2: You need to develop an unwavering sense of humour

If you can laugh together (and at each other, at times) it really helps. Travelling isn’t always like a long-term holiday, where you can stay in a luxury hotel and have romantic meals out every night.

Sometimes, it’s staying in budget accommodation that’s nowhere near “luxury”, eating noodles and staying in because you’ve spent WAY too much money the past few days. Sometimes, it’s getting no sleep at all because of noisy neighbours. Sometimes, it’s getting ripped off by a taxi driver. Sometimes, it’s leaving your accommodation at short notice because it’s just SO BAD.

Whenever we stayed in a room overrun by insects (which happened a LOT) I hated it. But Karl’s “Insect Spray Dance” made me laugh every time, without fail.

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt, it’s that things WILL go wrong, no matter how much you plan. It’s important to have a sense of humour about the bad days. Some days will be much worse than others. If you can’t have a laugh about it, you’re in for a rough ride!

Us at Marina Bay Sands
Occasionally we stay in amazing hotels… but most of the time we don’t!

Truth #3: Sometimes, you need to look after each other

There’s a quote I’ve read before about a relationship needing both partners to give 50%. But some days, one of you can only give 10%, so the other needs to give 90%. I think that sums up travelling as a couple pretty well.

There are plenty of times when one of you will have a particularly bad day. Maybe you’ll feel ill, or homesick, or really, really tired. It happens. It’s important that you get along well enough to look after each other during the bad times.

I feel very lucky. I’m one of those people who struggles when I don’t get 8 hours’ sleep. Karl is very patient with me when I’m tired and a bit grumpy (which I’m very grateful for)! I’m also a worrier, and Karl’s a pro at calming me down when I start to overthink something.

On the other hand, Karl struggles to function when he’s hungry, and needs to eat every couple of hours! This used to annoy me a bit (sorry, Karl). The good thing is that travelling really helps you to accept and adapt to each others’ quirks. On the days when one of us is feeling grumpy, the other one has a bit more patience than we probably had before.

Cycling in Hoi An
You need to be patient with eachother… especially when one of you is sh*t at cycling! (Me)

Truth #4: Date nights are still important

When you’re travelling together for a long time, you run the risk of your relationship becoming more friendly and functional than romantic.

We love having a “date night” every now and again. Dressing up a little bit nicer, going to a slightly posher restaurant or having a few drinks together. We loved doing this at home, so why shouldn’t we do it now?

Shanghai Bund
It’s important to “keep the romance alive”

Why you should DEFINITELY go travelling as a couple

The past few months have been incredible. We’ve learnt so much more about each other, which is pretty amazing after almost five years together!

Travelling together is unpredictable, challenging and stressful at times. But it’s also rewarding, eye-opening and so much fun. We will remember this experience forever and we are so grateful that we’ve had the freedom to do it.

At the risk of sounding seriously soppy (apologies in advance), travelling together has really strengthened our relationship too. We’ve realised how genuinely happy we are together, and how well we can get along, even in less-than-perfect circumstances.

If we can do this, we feel like we can do anything!