A guide to taking your relationship overseas
Travelling as a couple is all about exploration, self-discovery, adventure and deep breathing... Let's face it, travelling overseas with your partner is just as testing as moving in together. There's no escaping the bad habits, the nit-picking or the unexpected emotions. Before you embark on your journey together, you need to be prepared that your relationship will be slightly more sensitive than usual. You see, you're in a foreign place with only each other to rely on, you've got a tight budget, transport deadlines, culture shock oh and the pressure of trying to make sure it is the best trip ever.
There are a lot of positives about deciding to go overseas with your partner, especially in the lead up to your trip. How many times have you and your friends been like "We should totallllyyyy do yacht week next year" and then when you're like "Alright let's book it!" they all back out... Getting your partner to commit to an overseas adventure is a lot easier than your mates!
Planning the trip is easy, but here is where it starts to get tricky: naturally, we tend to lose our filters around our loved ones and as a result, we get too familiar too quick! This goes for letting our bad habits dominate and for snapping faster than we would have if we were with our group of friends.
Travelling abroad is an absolute privilege. Chances are that you have worked bloody hard to pull your savings together in order to satisfy your long time dreams of travel. You deserve to have the trip that you imagined! So, in order to help you enjoy 100% of your adventure, here is a list of things you need to be prepared for when travelling overseas with your boyfriend or girlfriend.
6 tips for travelling with your partner
1.Balance your destinations & reduce time spent in transit.
This one is an important one! As mentioned earlier, you're on high alert when you travel overseas, a foreign country moves your heart to your mouth and lets your emotions speak the language. In my younger sillier years I organised a trip overseas with my boyfriend and I wish someone had given me this advice! We were going abroad during our 2 month uni break, and so we wanted to try and cram in as much in as possible! In that 8 weeks we ended up going to about 12 cities... It was just so insane.
Our first mistake was choosing to explore only busy top cities. On paper it looks awesome Toronto - London - New York - Paris - Berlin etc, but in practice it's incredibly draining! These cities are busy, overcrowded and can be quite intimidating. You are constantly being approached by scammers, trying to carefully dodge tourist traps while watching your budget drain fast! See what I mean about being on high alert overseas? It's all apart of the experience, but needless to say, it's a lot to take in!
Whoever said "it's about the journey, not about the destination" clearly didn't do my trip. No one tells you how EXHAUSTING it is travelling in between destinations. There is always an element of stress in collecting your transport tickets, arriving at the right departure spot and trekking to your accommodation with your heavy AF luggage.
All this hustle and bustle makes you agitated, tired and hangry. Your heightened stress levels reduce your patience and make your partner the perfect punching bag. So, avoid these unnecessary fights by mixing up your trip with big cities and smaller villages. The change of scenery and vibe will help you regulate your emotions.
important to note *less is more is truly the golden rule of happy travels - this goes for for luggage and destinations visited *
2. Plan ahead & compromise
If you're anything like me, you hate to plan! I used to feel like planning my travels would mean that there was less room for spontaneity and surprise. Looking back, I now realise how many missed opportunities there were because I was wasting time looking for things to do, rather than actually experiencing the city I was in!!
My partner and I would spend the day out exploring, walking around, sightseeing and experiencing the city, only to spend the night in-doors trying to plan and figure what we would do the next day. Then fears of FOMO would creep in that we were missing the night culture and we would argue and blame the other for not suggesting good ideas or things to do!
These altercations could have been easily avoided if we had given each other at least 3 things that we wanted to do/see at every destination. This would have created a great balanced itinerary with room for spontaneity!
3. Make your budget known
Nothing grinds my gears more than when money dictates happiness and enjoyment! Consider that if you've budgeted to spend $5k over two months, and your partner has budgeted for $2k then you are both expecting completely different trips!
Initially, you will think that you are happy to foot some of the costs so that your partner gets to enjoy more with you. Maybe you'll even offer to lend them some money. It doesn't matter how generous you're feeling in the moment, you will eventually start to become bitter and annoyed at your partner for not preparing for the trip like you did. It may start to annoy you and cause tension when you find yourself choosing the cheapest activity rather than the best one!
So, when you book your holiday together make your budget known. Try to go away with an equal financial plan to avoid quarrels over money.
4. Book shared rooms in hostels (or at least some!)
People will always tell you that if you can travel together, you can live together and vice versa. It's true! This is mostly because when you have lived together, you know that it's normal to get a little bit tired of each others company, you also know that it's perfectly fine to want to spend some time alone.
When you travel as a couple it's a lot more difficult to meet other people than what you might have expected! This is often because you have booked private double bedrooms or have chosen to stay in Airbnb's. Other travellers tend to avoid couples as they don't really want to feel like they are intruding on a honeymoon or that they are third wheeling!
This results in the trip truly coming down to just you and your beloved! Everyone needs a little space, and even a new social interaction takes the edge off! The best advice I can give you is to make sure that some of your accommodation includes shared rooms. Not only will this force you to regain your filter, but it will allow you to meet other travellers and have new social interaction. Hostels will also always have various pub crawls and free walks that help you to meet other travellers too!
5. Don't take it too seriously
Unless your partner has sold your passports to a Roman Gypsy in exchange for a scoop of Gelati, then don't take yourselves too seriously overseas. I really wish I had taken a few deep breaths before losing my cool when I first travelled with a partner!
The moral of the story is that you really aren't 100% yourself when you're travelling. In fact, the problem is that you are 200% yourself, so every little idiosyncrasy is highlighted, every emotion is doubled and your patience is halved!
Remember that you're on a holiday! Listen to each other and pay attention when the other is feeling more sensitive than usual, because when you've contracted gastro on New Years Eve in New York and have run out of toilet paper, you're going to wish you weren't so sassy to your travel buddy!
6. Prepare to fall more in love
By the end of the trip, your relationship would have reached new grounds. You would have held each other closer in the times of crisis and the memories you have made together will make your bond stronger than ever.
So get ready love birds! You're about to have the trip of a lifetime.
If you're considering travelling with your partner, perhaps you also want to consider what it's like travelling alone! Check out our blog on being a nomad