Exploring the world with a loved one may seem like a dream come true, but the stresses of travel can quickly interfere with the fun and magic of it all. From experience, we have learned some strategies for successfully traveling together. Here are 6 ways we adventure together and enjoy the process!
Brooks and I always had an urge to pick up and move to a completely new community, with a different language and culture. When the opportunity arrived, we gladly went through the process to move to Spain. We knew it was the right time to experience this dream of ours. Though we did not know what we should expect, and even stated we had no expectations, we could not help but to be excited about the adventure we were about to embark on.
1. Schedule Time Apart
This first word of advice may seem counter intuitive to traveling together in the first place. I’ve found this point to be primarily focused on those couples traveling long distances together, alone. We certainly have enjoyed many trips just the two of us for months at a time insuperably, but we also learned some lessons.
First, do not feel bad about asking for time alone. While it may seem awkward at first, your partner will notice a difference in the overall improved mood that some alone time yields.
Brooks and I schedule time alone during long road trips or camping excursions in order to proactively fight the cranky and argumentative sides of us that tend to come out when we are cooped up together for too long.
Alone time is certainly not required, but it can be a helpful. Taking the purpose and length of your trip into account, give yourself permission to have a few hours set aside to be apart from each other.
2. Negate the Element of Surprise
Surprises and unplanned events naturally happen while traveling. As romantic as a surprise date is, I have learned from personal experience that it is better to let your partner in on your plans.
There is a reason you chose to travel with the person by your side. Usually it is because they are a help along the way. By being secretive and planning a surprise event, even with the best intentions, usually does not go as planned, leaving your partner confused and you stressed.
Photo By M. Swigart on our road trip through Nevada.
3. Get Outside
I know when traveling you are already outside. You are in the sky flying to a destination, you are having to walk miles on new streets, and you are outside your comfort zone constantly. When you look at your fit bit and see you’ve already walked nine miles that day, consider where you walked them. Most of the time we are drawn to the touristy areas and through metro stations which are full of people and stressors. These stressors can affect your mood and energy for the day. A solution is to change things up with a trip into nature. Many of our daily lives do not involve enough time reaping the benefits of being outdoors. So, while on vacation or travelling, set aside time to go on a hike, have an outdoor picnic, read in a park, schedule a guided outdoor activity, or simply breath in the fresh air. You will feel refreshed and even have a chance to reconnect with those you are traveling with.
In Denali National Park
Volunteering in a new location not only helps those in that community, but it also is proven to make the voluntee feel better as well. When we are in a rut of feeling discontent, we look for volunteer opportunities. Volunteering shifts our focus from ourselves and allows us to be a part of something helpful. By searching for charities online prior to your trip, or even while on your trip is a good start. If nothing else taking an hour to clean up litter is always a way to give back. It may take some time and communication to volunteer, but if you have the time to contribute, it will be a memorable experience to your trip.
5. Meet Locals
There is no better way to see and learn from a location than through meeting locals. Many sites such as Airbnb Experiences provide a chance to have a tour from a local resident, however it comes with a fee. Other sites like MeetUp organizes events such as game nights or happy hours where you can sign up or show up in person and join in on the fun. We personally love to meet people simply by striking up a conversation.
Of course, your location and the language spoken in your travels will need to be taken into account. Sometimes going through a organization to have a local tour guide is the safest approach to meeting locals.
6. Be Flexible
Traveling is exhausting. Disrupting your normal routine alone is hard, but then the process of orienteering yourself to a new area and the factors that come with that just stretch your energy. It is easy to want to play it safe and try to find a sense of routine and plan when traveling, but I advise you to take on those unplanned excursions. Some of the best experiences will be unplanned. And remember, laughing is the best medicine to most problems.