Traveling with your partner can be an enriching experience that brings you closer together.
However, being with your significant other 24-7, dealing with challenges like missed flights and getting ripped off or bickering about money can also test the limits of even the strongest relationship.
Here are 8 tips to help you survive traveling with your loved one while keeping your sanity – and union – intact.
1. Pick the right type of holiday
Choosing the right holiday involves more than just picking a place or experience that sounds fun and interesting. If you love to hike but your partner prefers to laze at the beach, booking a trek into the mountains of Peru goes straight into the ‘bad idea’ category.
Talk to your companion and discuss what your travel style is, what you each want to do and then research destination options. Google, read travel blogs, thumb through destination guides and look at Instagram for travel inspiration. You’ll also need to factor in elements like time available, travel distance and of course, budget.
2. Plan together
Once you’ve settled on a location, plan your getaway together. You both need to have input into the decision-making for the trip to be a success.
Put your heads together to figure out important factors like where you will visit (will you city hop or stay in one spot?) and where you will stay (Hotels? Airbnb? Couchsurf?). If one of you is better at finding the best hotel at the right price, for example, leave that responsibility to them. If the other is passionate about food and loves to visit Michelin-star restaurants, he or she can be in charge of your dining plans.
You can also devise a plan based on each of your must-do activities. Compare what you have both come up with and put together an itinerary from there.
3. Set a budget
Money; it’s one of the biggest sources of friction for couples whether they’re traveling or not. Nothing ruins a holiday as quickly as bust-ups over budgets so agreeing on one before leaving home is a good idea.
Be honest about what you can or want to spend. You’ll also both need to decide how you will spend your hard-earned cash.
Are you happy to stay at a cheap hotel or forego fancy restaurants so you can splurge on experiences like a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon? Crunch the numbers together. Make sure you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to budgeting.
4. Keep your sense of humor
Was your plane delayed? The hotel lost your reservation? Maybe your fancy new phone got swiped at that crowded marketplace or the taxi driver ripped you off? Things don’t always go to plan while traveling.
If it all starts to fall apart, try to keep your sense of humor and don’t take it out on the one you love. Tempers will flare and arguments can happen, but understand that being on the road comes with challenges.
Find a way to laugh about the bad stuff that happens. You’ll end up with a great story to tell your friends and family when you get home.
5. Spend time alone
Traveling with your partner constantly can put a strain on even the strongest relationship, so try not to spend every waking moment together. Whether it’s visiting an art gallery that the other isn’t interested in, or going for a walk or swim, spending time apart is necessary.
Not only does it give you the opportunity to pursue your own interests, it helps prevent frustrations from boiling over which can lead to petty arguments.
A little breather can also make you appreciate each other even more.
6. Be willing to compromise
Like The Rolling Stones once said: You can’t always get what you want.
When it comes to planning an itinerary that includes both your interests, sometimes you will each have to give up a few things, or do some things you’d rather not, to make it work.
Be willing to compromise on your priorities when traveling with your partner, especially if it’s a shorter trip. Both parties need to be satisfied with the itinerary so you’ll have to give in every once in a while, even if you really, really have no interest in that car museum.
7. Use each other’s strengths
Maybe you’re great with a map and your partner is talented at haggling. Or perhaps one of you is good at researching and finding accommodation and the other has a way with languages and communicating with the locals.
We all have our particular strengths. Utilizing and combining them while traveling will not only make you a great traveling team, but help make your trip run more smoothly.
By divvying up the workload, you will each have a particular focus rather than trying to cope with everything at once. Utilizing each other’s strengths will also make up for each other’s weaknesses.
8. Schedule in romance
Travel can often be about rushing from city to city and cramming in museums, art galleries, day trips and more. But have you forgotten about romance?
In between that excursion to the Louvre, Vietnamese cooking class or quad biking adventure past rice fields in Bali, do something special with the one you love.
It could be going for a walk on the beach holding hands, a couple’s massage at a spa or a candlelit dinner featuring your favorite foods and wine, just make sure you schedule in some time for romance with your beau.