Couple Travel: How to Survive the Travel Life Together

FlyAwayU | Couple Travel: How to Survive the Travel Life Together

Travel is not always easy.

David and I went through some rough patches in our first year traveling fulltime. One of those times we almost went our separate ways. We almost didn’t survive the travel life together.

Doubt, fear of the unknown, seeing what’s out there, not knowing what’s next messes with the head.

Our strengths and insecurities bubble to the surface brought about by the constant change, both internal and out.

And the worry!

We worried about where the next money was coming from, our future, where we were going, about missing the train, or not being somewhere on time. Or as in David’s case, it was time to move on and find someone new.

His words came as a shock. It was at a time when I felt things were right between us. Not perfect, but okay.

I closed off from the world. Shut myself away in my box, vowing never to come out again. It hurt so much. I cried a thousand tears and then a thousand more.

I loved this man. I didn’t understand why he didn’t feel the same way.

Wounded beyond belief, I gave up.

We were at the end of a three-month stay in Italy. Heading on to a two-month house sit in Shankill, Ireland.

I think if we had been or gone anywhere else, we never would have made it.

Wisdom from a close friend in Italy worked to help pave the way for reconciliation. And then the peace and serenity of Ireland worked to heal the wounds, giving us time to think, mourn our losses, reassess, and move forward.

Today, we’re still together!

A little more ragged around the edges but stronger than before, still traveling.

And I KNOW we owe it all to that loving friend in Italy and our time in Ireland where the rugged beaches, soothing greens, and incredible people helped reenergize our souls, giving us time to reconnect.

And while we can’t tell you exactly what will help you survive the travel life together, we can offer what worked for us.

FlyAwayU | Couple Travel: How to Survive the Travel Life Together

Spending Quality Time With Each Other

I bet you just laughed and said “You’re already traveling together. How are you not spending quality time with each other?”

You would be SURPRISED!

Yes, you’re together most of the time. BUT it’s a whirlwind of travel, new people and places, different lifestyles, and cultures. Even if you slow travel the way we do, you’re still always on the move.

If you’re going to survive the travel life together, you have to stop sometimes.

Plan a date. Do something special. Or just have a moment of quiet time spent holding each other.

David and I would sometimes spend an afternoon vegging on the couch or bed watching a Netflix series. We’d laugh, talk, make food, touch each other, hug, kiss and just reconnect.

Those moments of downtime are valuable because we are moving so much. So an afternoon of doing nothing is a memorable time for us.

FlyAwayU | Couple Travel: How to Survive the Travel Life Together

Checking In: Communicating

Communication: the key to every successful relationship.

And yet, it’s one of the most neglected pieces.

Regardless of how good our partner’s mindreading capabilities are, checking in and communicating is the only way ever to know what’s going on inside your mind.

It’s so easy to become locked away inside ourselves, ESPECIALLY when traveling.

Everything is changing so much, including us.

We’re growing both as individuals and partners.

Sometimes, because that person is with us all the time, we forget to share what’s going on inside.

Communicating is the ONLY way to know. So open up. Share. Talk. Ask.

FlyAwayU | Couple Travel: How to Survive the Travel Life Together

Listening and Hearing

Listening is NOT the same thing as hearing.

BUT both are just as important as communicating.

Hearing happens when you not only listen to your partner, but you absorb, retain and understand what he or she is saying. Ever heard the expression “in one ear and out the other?” It means you listened, but you didn’t hear.

Usually, when we’re not listening or hearing, it’s because we’re paying attention to something else. Maybe it’s the busy world around us, or the mobile device in our hand, or our internal chatter.

Whatever it is, we have to STOP AND LISTEN.

We have got to HEAR what our partner is saying if we’re going to survive the couple travel life together.

Otherwise, we’re missing out.

FlyAwayU | Couple Travel: How to Survive the Travel Life Together

Doing Things Apart

Yep, you HAVE to do things apart if you’re going to survive the travel life together.

For me, that usually was a walk somewhere on my own for meditation, or to listen to my music, or a little shopping, or relaxing in a bath with a glass of wine. For David, it was off to sightsee or a drink at the bar.

It doesn’t matter what your time apart is spent doing as long as it’s something fulfilling for you.

It is time just for YOU. So, you have to make it all about YOU.

Because even as a couple, you are INDIVIDUALS.

And that’s OKAY.

So make the time to be apart. Because without it, you run the risk of resenting or growing tired of each other.

FlyAwayU | Couple Travel: How to Survive the Travel Life Together

Laughing Together

Never take yourself or life too seriously.

ESPECIALLY when you’re traveling!

Things are going to happen. You’re going to screw up.

Like the time we got on the wrong train in Italy (fortunately, it was going where we were going and the ticket taker didn’t catch us). Or the time I sent us to the wrong airport in Paris and it cost us 150 euros to get to the right one. Or saying a word that means something besides what you meant in a new language (this really breaks the ice with locals).

Instead of stressing about it, laugh about it.

Laughter really is the best medicine for the soul.

And if you’re going to survive the travel life together, you’re going to have to laugh together.

Because when you laugh, you release so much stress and life becomes so much easier and lighter.

And when you’re happier everything if better, including your relationship.

FlyAwayU | Couple Travel: How to Survive the Travel Life Together

Sexing It Up

I’ve read statistics that say couples who travel together have more sex than other couples.

And I’ll admit our sex life was thrilling the first few months of travel. It probably has something to do with the excitement of new places or something like that.

BUT after traveling together fulltime, all the time, the sex life does die down.

Probably because you’re together ALL THE TIME!

It’s one of the reasons you need to have that all significant time apart. Time apart gives you a little time to miss each other.

David and I started scheduling in “sex nights.”

I laugh a little at this because I always said I would never be one of those couples who had to schedule in sex. But here I was, putting sex on the calendar.

I soon learned there’s no shame in it.

Sex is an essential part of a healthy relationship.

It helps create intimacy, bonding, and happiness while reducing stress.

I’ve also noticed when David and I have enough sex, we are more in sync and work better together.

So make it happen, whether you have to schedule it or find ways to spice it up. You gotta have sex if you’re going to survive the travel life together.

FlyAwayU | Couple Travel: How to Survive the Travel Life Together

Be Willing to Compromise

COMPROMISE.

Don’t you just hate that word?

It means you aren’t going to get your way all the time.

But if you’re going to travel together (or do anything in life together) you are going to HAVE TO COMPROMISE.

I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t always like to compromise, but I do it much better than my husband. If David had his way, he would never have to compromise. He’s doing it better today than he ever did but he still really hates it.

But for a relationship to work and for you to survive the travel life together, it can’t be all one person’s way only. It has to be about both, ESPECIALLY when traveling!

Travel is stressful on it’s on and you’re not always going to agree on where you should go, what you should do or how to get it done. That’s where the compromise comes in.

Someone is going to have to give.

Otherwise, you’re both never going to get anywhere together.

FlyAwayU | Couple Travel: How to Survive the Travel Life Together

Sharing the Challenges Together

Travel offers more than it’s shares of challenges.

If you are going to survive the travel life together, you’re going to need to share those challenges.

Just remember two heads working together are much better than one (well most of the time, sometimes I KNOW my idea is better than David’s and if he would just butt out, but…).

But the truth of the matter is when we’re working together and not against each other; everything flows so smoothly.

Even when it comes to challenges!

So stop trying to take on the world by yourself and remember, you’re a couple.

You don’t have to shoulder all the challenges by yourself.

You CAN share them, and life is so much EASIER.

FlyAwayU | Couple Travel: How to Survive the Travel Life Together

Loving Each Other

Yep, you gotta keep loving each other if you’re going to survive the travel life together.

Love is an up and down thing.

Sometimes you’re in love, and sometimes you’re not. It’s a natural cycle of life and any relationship.

And when you’re facing the difficulties of travel and the newness of everything, it’s sometimes easy to forget we love the person we’re with.

Just remember the honeymoon is always lovely, but it fades.

It’s the real lasting love that happens afterward that gets you through all the crap and survive the travel life…TOGETHER.

And if you’re feeling a little cluttered right now and need to clean up your act so that you can be a better partner, check out our article Life Feeling Cluttered? Quickly Dump These 6 Things Right Now.

What methods and techniques do you use to survive the travel life together?

FlyAwayU | Couple Travel: How to Survive the Travel Life Together

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33 thoughts on “Couple Travel: How to Survive the Travel Life Together

  • 09/02/2018 at 16:27
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    Thank you for your honesty! I think many people don’t realize how difficult traveling as a couple can be. It’s taken us months but I think we are finally finding out what works for us. We’re definitely going to incorporate your ideas. My husband and I both read the article and keyed into different things so some communication is needed. 🙂

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    • 09/02/2018 at 18:55
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      WOOT! Glad we could help Robin. It can be stressful and does take a little time to get used to the newness all the time. You’ll have to fill me in on what stood out to you guys.

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  • 09/02/2018 at 16:29
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    Some wonderful thoughts here, and that openness that helps one think about how valuable our relationship with our partner is. In our house, traveling looks glamorous until about three days before ETD. Then we pretend we’re calm as we try to cram in about 60 tasks that make it possible to leave the house and have some things on the road we don’t really want to forget! That’s also practice time for remembering that along with the ‘glamor’ of travel goes all the practical bits. Set up a little trip for next month. Thanks for the reminders!

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    • 09/02/2018 at 18:53
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      LOL, it’s so true Kate. Of course, our travel prep has gotten so easy now but it’s because we do it so freaking much.

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  • 10/02/2018 at 12:58
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    Some very good lessons learned over a period of time and a LOT of experience, as I can see. Sorry that you had a rough patch, but I am glad you made it and you’ve mentioned some very important things here for travelling couples – spending ‘quality’ time together can get lost in translation because people think you’re already together, what more can you do? Just being, watching a movie, holding hands, can do miracles! Compromises are the key to a happy married life, for a travelling couple or otherwise. And also, spending some time apart to do things that you want to do by yourself, although some people don’t understand the value of it, is something I completely agree with too!

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  • 10/02/2018 at 15:32
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    Boy you really hit the nail on the head…spending time on the road together doesn’t necessarily translate to “quality time”! I also agree it’s important to experience some things alone. So glad you were in the right place and time to give it another go and have things work out for the best. Great insight and post!

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    • 10/02/2018 at 16:16
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      It’s so true Lori. Just because you’re together doesn’t mean it’s all quality time! Thanks for the well wishes 🙂

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  • 10/02/2018 at 21:31
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    Some really great tips here – and such open honesty. It can be really tough travelling full time together – great piece.

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  • 11/02/2018 at 03:35
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    I am so happy to hear y’all are traveling the world together! I completely agree with all of your lessons. I could not have said them better. I can’t even pick the “best” one because they are all so amazing and important! This post is very valuable for aspiring couples trying to travel the world while continuing to love each other.

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  • 11/02/2018 at 23:10
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    A really lovely and honest post! I agree that travelling with a loved one can be challenging at times, but I’m glad to know you guys made it and are happy and together! Totally agree with the communication, it’s probably the most important thing to me!

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  • 12/02/2018 at 04:08
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    This was a grear, honest article about the reality behind traveling 24/7. I love exposés about this sorta thing. You really worded it so eloquently and still stayed true to the point that traveling. 24/7 isn’t all what it’s chalked up to be. Also, solid and great advice about needing space and alone time. That I can definitely echo is true!

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  • 12/02/2018 at 08:54
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    Girl, relationship is hard no matter! And I think you really mention the great points of how a relation can survive longer. Laughing is very important! The longer you are together the less is sex important but laughing together is always important no matter in what stage you are in your relation. Compromise is a hard part for some but equally important.
    I have been together with my husband for 15 years and we have been twice on a world tour and the latest was for 15month. Although we fought a lot, we actually fight more when not traveling. This summer we are leaving with our two years old daughter for another world trip, and belive me traveling as parents the problems within the couple is a whole another level.

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    • 14/02/2018 at 14:57
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      Dada, I completely agree laughter is so freaking important. Sometimes I think the fighting happens more when you’re done traveling because there’s no longer anything to distract you. Woot! on heading out for a bit and with the little one. Already filling her passport.

      Reply
  • 12/02/2018 at 19:16
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    Thank you for such an honest article, Heidi. I am so glad to hear you guys worked things out although you had some rough patches. I did travel with my partner for a while and I can definitely relate with most of these, although now I am on the other extreme, since I had to come back to my country and now we are in a long-distance relationship, which , surprisingly, seems to bring a lot of issues similar to the ones you mentioned here. I hope we can find a way around it. Thank you for all the tips and your experience!

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    • 14/02/2018 at 14:56
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      Dann, I hope you guys find a way through everything. It really sucks when things are rocky. These tips work for when not traveling as well. Good luck 🙂

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  • 13/02/2018 at 08:58
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    I travel with my husband and I compeletly understand where you are coming from! We had a rocky first trip many many years ago but we have gotten much better and helping and supporting each other!
    We can now read when one of us is feeling worried or stressed which is a massive help!

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    • 14/02/2018 at 14:54
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      That’s awesome Katie. I think the first trip is always the hardest. You really do get to know someone when traveling!

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  • 13/02/2018 at 16:27
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    This article resonated a lot with me. My boyfriend and I are happier than we have ever been, but we went through a LOT of rough patches when we first started travelling. So much of what you wrote I was here like “YES!!”. It definitely tests your love, your respect for each other, and your friendship too. You have to be everything to each other, which can be too much for some people. I love the part where you talk about how we can internalise everything because there is so much change around us externally. A wonderful article and I wish I had read this at some of my low points!

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    • 14/02/2018 at 14:53
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      Chesca, our rough patches were mostly in the beginning of traveling as well. I think it’s partly because all of a sudden you’re really close together all the time. But ours smoothed out as well the longer we have traveled. 🙂

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  • 13/02/2018 at 17:51
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    Travel teaches a lot many lessons and as you rightly said travelling helps in understanding your partner better. plus the bond one develops during travel is phenomenal as you face a challenging situation together and experience the beauty of nature and places together. Lastly the points that you highlighted in the final picture is needed not just during travel but at each point of life to make the relationship really blossom.

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  • 14/02/2018 at 05:32
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    its a beautiful post and so apt, especially in current times, whether a couple is traveling together or not, i feel most of the things you mentioned are relevant otherwise too. The concept of hearing and listening is so beautifully mentioned, we often just listen but absorbing the conversation and paying attention is so important

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    • 14/02/2018 at 14:51
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      I agree this advice is great for any couple. Thank you for your beautiful words 🙂

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  • 14/02/2018 at 14:11
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    Thanks for the list! However, I still enjoy traveling solo at the moment. I will keep this as reference in the future. 🙂

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  • 15/02/2018 at 15:18
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    Ohh this is a great article. Travel can make a relationship stronger, but it can also break a relationship. I really appreciate reading how honest you are in this post about what you and David went through. While travelling as a couple can sound like something oh so romantic, but it’s not always the case. I am glad to hear though that you and David made it through and now you are stronger than ever! I have to say travel makes my husband and I stronger, and once in a while when there’s a bit of a lull in the relationship, we look to book a trip so that there’s something to look forward to. To build back that excitement.

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    • 16/02/2018 at 18:01
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      I think that applies to all parts of the relationship whether traveling or not, there will be lulls. But there certainly are things we can do to help make it all better for sure!

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  • 18/02/2018 at 19:26
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    I literally just wrote about something similar. You hit great points here, stuff couples often take for granted. Communication, Sex, and Experiences is the simple formula to successful relationship and you delivered it perfectly said.

    Reply

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