Travelling in a couple can be brilliant. Before we had been a partnership for a year, we moved to France to live and work together. We spent our days off together too. Basically, we lived in each other’s pockets before we’d even high fived being together for 12 months.
Now, we’ve been a couple for almost 5 years, and we’ve travelled all over the world. We have different travel styles, and travelling with your partner requires understanding and etiquette. Here are some tips:
Long train journeys, being awake for 24 hours, waiting in airports overnight and suffering through delays…all this stuff takes patience for a human being. Being with a partner though, means that this time can be fun time. Take a pack of cards, a miniature (booze), and, most importantly, learn what really annoys your partner for a good laugh in those dark moments. For me, it was repeating over and over again why people heated outdoor pools. Sure, I was annoying myself too, but there are moments in annoying each other when you can truly see the strength in a relationship…or something like that, but mostly it staves off boredom.
Where there are showers, remember that you’re not travelling alone. It can be swelteringly hot, and those sandals you’ve been wearing for months on end, from sunrise to sunset, can reek. So, don’t be a jerk. Leave the stinky shoes outside the tent door, and wash your clothes in the sink if you have no other options. You’re travelling with someone that you’re going to demand hugs from. We were once travelling for over 24 hours, and when we arrived in Ventimiglia it was night time, and no one would take us in. We slept (as best we could) on a pebble beach until 5am, and then left town as soon as we could for Milan. The heat was unbearable. We couldn’t find our hostel. We were being bitten relentlessly by mosquitos and our bags were creating a river of sweat down our backs and into our cracks. Once we got to the room, did I snuggle into my partner for celebration hugs? No, that would have been a dick move. I took a shower.
As you’ll have learnt from being on holiday with your parents or friends, everyone has their own style and it can be invaluable to play to your strengths and allow your partner to play to theirs.
In our case, I am unorganised, with a short attention span and a genuinely shit sense of direction. I really don’t bring a lot to the party at all and am a bit of a nightmare to travel with. I am, however, patient.
When sitting on an un-air-conditioned train for 18 hours patience can be very valuable. When the train stops in the Czech Republic because the heat has caused the grass by the train tracks to set ablaze, patience can be fucking golden. So my role when travelling is to make sure that we don’t lose our heads when things are going wrong.
I always lose my head when there is the slightest chance that something could go wrong. I don’t just start to worry, I loudly say exactly what my worries are repeatedly to Daniel, coming up with the worst possible scenario. I also like to get other people’s opinions on this scenario if strangers happen to be sitting with us. But this isn’t about travelling, this is just me. Daniel is good at reminding me that we are ON HOLIDAY. That’s what your travelling buddy is supposed to do, help you through the panic about delays, cancellations, lack of seats, money and all that stuff, to the sweet sense of unallocated time. Also, you can use your partner for a pillow. On a stuffed train without aircon, all I had was a handheld fan and D. I think I got a better nights sleep than most, because D let me invade his personal space for comfort, probably at the expense of his own rest.
Finding a Balance
Though I don’t bring much in the way of skills or organisation to a travel party, I am good at keeping the atmosphere light and distracting from the boredom and discomfort of the situation. Even if the boredom and discomfort is being caused by someone repeatedly telling you the difference between heated and un-heated pools for eight hours.
Rachel is very organised and actually has her mind together when travelling, she’s stopped me getting on trains to Munich when we were trying to get to Amsterdam and I, in turn, have kept my mouth shut and followed instructions when I know that my guess is not as good as hers.
When we came back from our first travelling stint, some people suggested that I had ‘organised Daniel around Europe’. This hurt both of our feelings. Yes, I am organised, and yes, Daniel has a funny sense of direction, but we work well together in discovering which way to go, and what we want to do. Sometimes, we want to do different stuff. When Daniel went to Pompei and Naples, I chose to sleep by a pool in Rome instead. That’s a main difference between us, I like to lie down and sunbathe whenever I can. Daniel thinks that this is boring. We both enjoy sight seeing though, and we work this out through probably the most important thing of all when travelling with another person – communication. We talk to each other. We recognise that we are different. Don’t drag your partner around places that you know they aren’t interested in (except H&M), it’s their adventure too. Compromise, talk, and don’t be afraid to spend time apart to do the things you both love.