7 reasons you need to travel with your partner
Years ago, as our relationship began to blossom (a soppy story for another day), we bonded over a mutual love of travel and adventure. We talked long about our tales from abroad and discussed one day seeing the world together. Finally, after a lot of "should we just do it?" moments, those travel dreams became a reality and we booked a one way ticket for a round the world adventure. As we discussed our grand plans to travel the world with family and friends, their reply, as if on repeat, was "travelling with your partner is a great test for any relationship". At the time we didn't give it much thought; we were travelling to have amazing experiences together, not to test our relationship.
Then we hit the road and realised what they were all talking about! Travelling with your partner is the ultimate test to any relationship.
Visiting 28 countries over 12 months, and spending each and every moment with each other brought out the best and worst in us. We saw tears, tantrums and few bouts of not talking. But we also saw the most amazing sights, and enjoyed the most incredible experiences. The tough times made our relationship a lot stronger, and that made the amazing times even better.
So should you travel with your partner? In our minds, the answer is absolutely YES and here are the reasons why.
sEVEN WONDERFUL REASONS TO TRAVEL WITH YOUR PARTNER
#1 YOU'LL MAKE AMAZING MEMORIES TOGETHER
Our favourite part of travelling the world together is creating amazing lifelong memories. What’s life without memories, right?
When it comes to that time of your life when your hair is a few shades of grey, and every story you tell is about those good ol’ days, you’ll have the most incredible memories from your years of travel to look back on.
We’ll always remember the time we got drunk on afternoon white sangria in Porto and nearly missed our flight to London. That time we watched the sunrise together from a temple in Bagan. And when we completed the gruelling Annapurna Circuit together, hand in hand.
We’ll probably want to forget that time we both had violent gastro at the same time in a tiny hotel room in Luang Prabang, but that’s okay. It’ll still provide a laugh for the grandkids and a cringe for us both!
If you travel with your partner you'll share memories with your favourite person and there really is nothing better.
#2 TO GET OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE
To travel is often to blow your comfort zone wide open. It’s to gather up what you ‘know’ about the world, take it apart like a lego house, and reassemble it in a new form.
As you experience new things and immerse yourselves in strange surroundings together, travel with your partner will also teach a lot about them.
How does your partner react when they’re nudged away from their familiar patterns? Do they push themselves and try something new? Do they treat people from different nationalities, cultures or backgrounds with respect? Do they try to learn a new language or custom (even if it makes them look foolish!)?
If the answer is yes, you’re onto a winner! You want to spend your time with someone who challenges themselves, who shares similar views, and who is respectful to the people and cultures around them.
After a year spent facing unfamiliar (and sometimes uncomfortable) situations together, we now know each other better than ever. We know how the other reacts when faced with the limitations of our comfort zones, and how to push each other through them to new heights. We also share very similar world views and ideas about life that we may not have otherwise encountered had we not travelled together.
#3 TO BUILD TRUST IN EACH OTHER
Sure, trusting your partner to buy the right groceries each weekend is relationship building, but not as much as trusting your partner’s driving skills through the mad streets of Vietnam, or to manage your finances for a 12 month round the world trip.
Travel with your partner, particularly long-term, thrusts you straight into situations where you need to rely on your partner and their instincts. If you travel with your partner, you'll learn very quickly that standing on a street corner arguing over which way is the ‘right’ way is completely fruitless, especially when neither of you really know where you are. Working together towards a common goal is easier, more efficient, and probably a saviour for your relationship too. It’s also humbling to know that sometimes you can be wrong (!) and you need to trust your partner’s judgement.
We now trust each other implicitly, having survived a hairy Namibian road trip, a sandy motorbike journey around the Bagan temples, and somehow coming in only slightly over our 12 month travel budget (full credit to Mark’s genius budgeting on this one!).
#4 YOU SEE HOW YOUR PARTNER HANDLES STRESSFUL SITUATIONS
Stressful situations will arise all. the. freaking. time. on your travels; getting lost, missing a flight, contracting an illness or having your credit card skimmed. It’s how your partner reacts to these situations that will provide you with answers as to how they’ll handle future life stress.
If you travel with your partner, stressful situations are always best dealt with as a team, regardless of how big or small the issue at hand is. If you’ve wondered how your partner is likely to handle a wedding, children, financial stresses and other life issues, travel will provide you with all the answers you seek.
We’ve had a lot of stressful situations on our travels and really had to learn how to manage each other’s reactions and stresses. While Mark is calm in most situations (sometimes to his detriment), Mim can let her emotions get the better of her. We now balance each other out, and work together to handle a situation appropriately (like getting to the airport 3hrs early so Mim doesn’t freak out that we’re going to miss our flight!).
KEEP READING: HOW TO SURVIVE GETTING SICK ON THE ROAD
#5 BECAUSE YOU'LL LEARN TO COMPROMISE
It’s only natural for two individuals to want different things at different times, or to approach the same situation from totally different angles.
That’s exactly why travel with your partner is essential; you’ll learn the importance of compromising very quickly. From the moment you wake up, your day rolls out in the ebb and flow of gentle compromise. Together, you’ll come to an agreement on all the little decisions that make up 24 hours; where you’ll go (Beach or temple? Gallery or mountain?), how you’ll get there (bus or save cash by walking?), where and what to eat (the splurge meal, or a cheap street meal?), and manage your budget on top of that. You’ll realise what’s important to your partner, and vice versa, and the whole process will become so natural.
If a compromise can’t be found in the smallest of decisions, what will happen when you face off about the large compromises in the future?
We’re really lucky that we generally like the same things. A day at a museum or a hike in the mountains excites us both. If we do ever encounter something that one of us wants to see but the other doesn’t, we’ll just see both. Compromise, get over it and enjoy the experiences with your partner.
#6 YOU HAVE TIME TO FOCUS ON YOURSELVES AND YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Travelling with your partner means you’ll likely be in each other’s back pockets all the time. While some people might cringe at the thought, it’s actually a wonderful chance to focus on your relationship instead of everything else that pops up while you’re living your normal life - work, friends, family, fitness etc.
When you’re a team of two day in and day out you’ll be forced to converse with each other, and not just about who’s picking up the groceries or your days at work. You’ll likely rediscover that you’re actually not just lovers, but best friends as well. There’s nothing better than sharing amazing conversation over an Aperol Spritz on the Cinque Terre is there?
If you travel with your partner you’ll probably also have a lot of alone time, which is a help to many things, not least of all your s-e-x life. Winning.
Our friendship has become even stronger while travelling the world, in part because of the frankly ridiculous situations we found ourselves in (42hr bus ride, anyone), but also because all the time we spent together never felt like a chore.
#7 BECAUSE IT'S FUN
Newsflash - travelling is fun, and travel with your partner and best friend is even better.
Embrace the highs and lows that come from travelling together and grow as a result, but never lose sight of the ultimate objective - to have fun. Hold hands as you jump into the turquoise water below, share that spontaneous extra bottle of wine, tell stories around the campfire, eat all the cheese, stay up too late because the stars were too pretty, sprint to the bus because you slept past your alarm, and laugh along all the way. Then? Recount every one of the stories to your kids and grandkids one day.
Keen to travel the world with your partner? Do it. It may make or break you, but the moments you spend together you'll cherish for the rest of your lives.