They say that travelling is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. Well, I’m pleased to tell you that it’s true! Whether it’s solo travellers exploring the world on their own, or couples who travel together because of their mutual desire to discover new cultures (and one another), travelling changes lives.
That’s why we’ve asked a few of our favorite nomadic couples to share insights into their lives and reveal how you and yours can become experts at travelling together. Pull a chair and grab hold of the one you love as these travel bloggers describe how exploring the world in two’s impacted them, what they’ve learnt about each other and how they conquered the stressful moments.
Collette and Scott, Roamaroo
Traveling together as a couple has strengthened our friendship, deepened our trust for one another, and built a solid foundation of mutual respect. We rely on one another, we confide in one another – we are each other’s best friends and one true love. While we both love traveling far away, we’ve realized that our happy place is anywhere with family.
When you’re traveling in close quarters and living out of a suitcase for 18+ months, disagreements and hiccups are bound to happen. Along our travels, we’ve had food poisoning, we’ve gotten robbed, we’ve had flights canceled, endured 10+ hour delays and 14+ hour plane rides, but we did it all with a sense of humor. We try not take these little (or big) hiccups too seriously because after all, we’re grateful for the opportunity to be traveling together. In the big picture, as long as we have each other, those little “problems” seem even more minuscule.
Amy and Andrew, Our Big Fat Travel Adventure
Travelling together has definitely made our relationship stronger; in fact we just celebrated four years of travel by getting married here in Thailand! When we lived in London we were so busy working that we saw each other for just a few hours each evening and on the weekends. Now, we’re together practically 24/7 since we both work online and travel together full time. Since leaving the UK in 2013 we’ve figured out that to be happy we both need to do work we enjoy, have the freedom to live in different parts of the world and just be together.
There are always stressful moments when we travel though. Andrew is prone to getting food poisoning and I struggle when I don’t get enough sleep. We tend to argue when we’re hot, tired and lost, but we always move on from our fights quickly and never hold a grudge. When we were both teaching in Vietnam I’d regularly come home in despair after another disastrous lesson with 50 screaming grade one kids. Andrew was always there to calm me down though and he even took over some of my worst classes!
Petra and Shaun, The Global Couple
Travelling together as a couple has made our relationship so much stronger. When you’re with your other half 24/7 in challenging situations, you learn to help and rely on each other. Our travels have helped us to mature and be more respectful of people from all walks of life, something that can be quite difficult to do if you never leave home. It’s also made us capable of being in small spaces together, so much so that we’ve recently built a tiny house!
We’ve learnt that we are so lucky to love travelling together as a couple. Some couples can’t travel together, but we thrive on it. When one of us gets grumpy and goes silent, food is usually the problem! We’ve learnt to not let ourselves get hungry (or hangry!) on our travels by always having snacks in our bags and stopping regularly for food. We’re pretty lucky in that we hardly ever have disagreements, but if we do then we try to reach a solution together.
Alex and Sebastian, Lost with Purpose
After being on the road together for more than a year, we’ve learned that being attuned to each other’s needs is the most important thing we can do as a couple. In the beginning, we were each too preoccupied with our own needs to notice the other’s, and it led to exasperated bickering over everything from our itinerary to what kind of chips we should buy.
These days, when those moments arrive, we either go separate ways until we can cool off, or we force ourselves to be patient and consider each other’s needs. If I’m too hot and want to get ice cream, Sebastian will come with me and get one too, even if he’s not hungry. If Sebastian wants to take a nap in the middle of the day, I’ll sit and read or work on our blog until he’s rested and ready. We’ve become much more understanding of each other, and it’s much better than arguing over nothing!
Alex and Bell, Wanderlust Marriage
We met in a hostel in Brugge, Belgium while traveling solo just after college in 2002. Our first planned trip together was a rendevous in Thailand in 2004, and we ended up getting engaged there. We then got married in Bell’s hometown of Melbourne, Australia in 2005. If we didn’t plan that trip to Thailand together, maybe we wouldn’t be where we are today. We definitely owe nearly 12 years of marriage to travel because that’s how we met, and it’s still a common passion. We’ve even lived in Europe together for 6 years, between Amsterdam and Dublin, which we may not have otherwise done on our own.
Bell is generally more adventurous in an outdoorsy way. But we both push each other to do different things. I’m more comfortable making last minutes plans and bookings, whereas Bell prefers to plan in advance (she’s become way more flexible over the years). We do argue sometimes when we travel, some of which stems from long travel days. It’s a good idea to take a timeout from each other when things heat up in a negative way. With a little time apart, it can be easier to resolve the situation later. Don’t be afraid to split up for an afternoon if you each have something different that you want to experience.
Jack and Jen, Who Needs Maps
One of the biggest reasons we are together is actually because we traveled. In fact, travel has saved our relationship. We were a long distance couple for about 4 years and would travel to meet in the middle. Together we have traveled to about 22 countries, learning about each other, pushing each other beyond our fears, and exploring new places in the world together. It has made us a stronger, more adventurous, and understanding couple.
Patience and compromise. We both have different travel styles and try to accomplish different things while we travel. So we have to be patient with each other (because now you’re with each other 24/7 and almost everything can turn into an argument) and listen to what they want to accomplish on the journey. Then we compromise.
When you go from not seeing each other for 6 months to being with them every second of the day, adjusting becomes difficult. Everything from the way they chewed their gum to being too hot to sharing a bed would set us off. But it comes back down to taking a step back, understanding where you are (traveling with your other half), and compromising. There will be arguments along the road and if you don’t stop and talk about it, the rest of your travels will be on eggshells. In the worst case, you can just sleep in another bed and rest it off!
Sandeepa and Chetan, SandeepaChetan’s Travel Blog
When you are traveling for months at a stretch, you are the only friend and companion of each other. We tend to rely on each other more than we would at home, in familiar situations. There is great comfort in knowing there’s always someone to watch your back. We get a chance to communicate a lot more with each other. We go through so many experiences together, see so many new things, meet so many people. It’s a privilege to have someone to share all of this with. We know for sure that we can trust each other with our lives. Even in the remote corners of the world, if one of us falls sick, we know we will be taken care of.
Traveling as a couple means being together all the time! This does present its own challenges. We had reached Mendoza, supposed to be the “most romantic” city in Argentina, wine capital and all. We had just finished a super fast travel through Patagonia. We were totally on a stimulation overdose. And then we did our finances. Traveling to the far corner of the earth is not easy on the pocket, we realized we had gone a lot over budget. That and just the fatigue of continuous travel got to us. We had a huge fight. So much so, that we even said, let’s forget all of this and go back home. But this is always temporary. We just took it slow, did normal, routine things. After a week, we were ready to hit the road again!
Stefan and Sebastien, Nomadic Boys
Travelling has brought us closer together. We are almost always together 24/7, whereas before in our 9-5 jobs in London there’d be some separation during the day. As a result we have learnt more about each other than ever before and definitely made our relationship more intense.
The main thing is to learn when to step back and let the other have some alone time – usually caused as a result of fatigue. Travelling definitely takes its toll on you, pushing you to your limits in some cases and it’s easy to snap out on your other half when feeling really tired without meaning to. We’ve learnt when this moment arises in each other and know when is a good time to just take a step back.
When you have that 5am flight to take, which is delayed for X number of hours and you’ve nothing to do other than hang around and wait, you start to feel so fed up that it’s easy to lash out on your other half without intending to. This sort of scenario happens all the time and we have learnt when to expect it, what causes it and how to deal with it. The most successful method of coping we’ve found is to try to maintain a positive attitude at all times, at least one of us. It’s the best way to deal with such scenarios especially if you can laugh them off together later.
Drew and Julie, Drive on the Left
The biggest and impactful change occurred after taking a 6-week trip through Asia in 2011. We had never traveled for that long together. We weren’t sure if we would enjoy being away from home for so long and being around each other all the time. Needless to say, the trip went smoothly, and we both began to make changes immediately upon our return.
It may sound silly, but we both get “hangry” easily and with horrible results. We discovered soon after we started traveling together that looking for food, while we were both starving, usually just led to an argument, then a period of bitter silence. All in all, a quick way to needlessly ruin an afternoon when traveling. Luckily, we recognize when the “hangry” symptoms are on the horizon now, so we know to find a solution swiftly and efficiently. Everyone is happier on a full stomach, right?
From getting lost on back roads, to missed flights, or being stuck in terrible weather, things never go perfectly. So we always try to stress patience and communication with each other. We try to be open about what we want (or don’t want) to do, and try to come to a solution that works for both of us. And in the case with don’t agree on something, we exercise patience, because getting angry at each other never solves anything.
Jennifer and Tim, Luxe Adventure Traveler
We think that travel, especially international travel, is the ultimate compatibility test for any couple. We’ve been married for 14 years now and communication is a skill that couples always need to work on to keep the relationship strong. Traveling definitely helped us to improve our communication.
We quickly learned that we can’t read each other’s minds and it is really important to speak up. Letting things stew usually leads to a blow up over the most minute things. Strong communication with each other helps us manage stressful situations when traveling and two minds are always better than one when solving a problem, like dealing with a cancelled flight or even just getting lost in a new city.
Brock and Tangerine, Wandering Hearts – A Travelogue by Brock and Tanj
Traveling has become part of our lives and definitely changed us a couple. It gave us a profound sense that we are just a tiny part of this big world. Traveling taught us the value of investing in experiences – sharing moments and making memorable experiences rather than buying material things. We would much rather save to go on a trip, than to get a new piece of furniture or something.
Traveling made us a little restless. While most people look for consistency in their life, we always feel the need for change and yearn for the feeling of excitement you get when you enter a new place.
There is no one else that we would want to be with but each other. Traveling is fun but it’s by no means easy, and since we can make it work, our relationship must be strong. While traveling and living abroad, it transcended our marriage/bond to a deeper level.
Living and traveling abroad forces us to be together a lot. Sometimes we go weeks without having a good conversation with someone other than two of us. So, yes we fight and get sick of each other. The best thing to do in those situations is to vent and quickly move on. Letting things fester will just prolong the inevitable and ruin more of your trip.
Bryan and Andrea, Best of World Yet
We’ve been traveling together for almost 8 years – this shared passion is part of what brought us together. For the past 2 years, however, we have been traveling nonstop. Living out of a suitcase, encountering new cultures, languages and uncomfortable situations with your partner can make or break a relationship. Travel always comes with a bit of stress but when you find the right person, dealing with this stress together will strengthen bonds. With so much shared experience, sometimes it feels as if we are the only people in the world that can relate and understand each other. Travel changes you as an individual. It’s impossible to expand your horizons and return the same person, but when you travel as a couple, you change and grow together.
We’ve learned to focus on each other’s strengths and be aware of our individual weaknesses. Learning to do this has made us a dynamic team who can conquer nearly any situation. Bryan is very organized, logical and thorough in planning each event, thinking through every situation and various outcomes that may arise. He keeps us safe and structured. Andrea is a passionate dreamer, with the kind of determination that has made many of our adventures possible.
We’ve learned to provide space when the other needs it – sometimes a few moments of peace is enough to center your mind and reevaluate situations. It’s important that you can read your travel partner’s moods and are considerate of their needs. It’s also vital to be flexible with your plans – if one of you isn’t happy in your current environment, neither will be. We also discuss our feelings regularly to make sure this lifestyle is one that continues to make us happy. These very honest conversations are essential in making sure we are both enjoying our time together, and living a life that we both love.