Traveling with a significant other or friend is a lot of fun! Someone to explore new places, try new things, and take your picture. However, spending 24/7 with just one person can also be challenging at times. David and I spent 50 straight days with each other while backpacking across Europe. At that point we had been a couple for four years, so we had spent a lot of time together and traveling was not as big of a challenge. That’s not to say we didn’t have our stressful moments. We definitely did. Like getting locked out of an Airbnb in Prague or finding ourselves in a dicey part of Austria. It was not all rainbows and unicorns.
Along the way, we have picked up a few tips to help you travel with a significant other, friend, travel buddy, or family. You can also apply these tips to traveling with groups!
Alone time is key
I cannot emphasize alone time enough. Alone time is the key to traveling with a partner. While backpacking through Europe, David and I spent a lot of times on trains. During our train time, we would each do something we enjoyed doing. David read the entire Harry Potter series (for the 10th time) and I wrote in my journal. This allowed us some time to relax and reflecton our travels. Alone time can be achieved through many activities. Reading, writing, exercising, meditating, enjoying a cup of tea, etc. Do something you enjoy doing. This can be along-side of the other person, but we tried to keep conversations at a minimum during this time.
Another important key to success, compromise. David loves art museums, I despise them. We went to one in Florence and not in Vienna. I love thrift and vintage stores, David doesn’t. I went shopping in Paris, and skipped shopping in Barcelona. These are just a few minor examples. Compromise can be applied to everyday decisions like should we eat out or go grocery shopping, take the 4 or 5 o’clock train, etc. Try your best to compromise with your travel partner. It tends to keep you both happy.
Traveling can be very stressful at times. Getting locked out of our Airbnb that I had booked was tense. It took lots of deep breaths and patience to get us through that fiasco. Tip: Take a deep breath and count backwards from 10. David always reminds me of this great tip when I get stressed or worked up over something small. Try to put things out of your control in perspective and ask yourself "Is it worth getting mad over a delayed flight, or a rainy day?" Probably not.
Take Deep Breaths
I enjoy meditating and practice meditation techniques in my everyday life. When things get stressful or tough, take a few deep breaths. These techniques are particularly helpful if you and your travel partner get in an argument. Give them a try and let me know what you think in the comments!
-Inhale for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts
-Inhale for 4 counts, hold breath for 7 counts, exhale for 8 counts
-Take a deep breath and visualize yourself in your happy place
-Take a deep breath and put all of your focus on one spot of your body. I recommend your feet.
I get hangry. Hangry: You are hungry and therefore, get angry. To avoid this very unpleasant experience, make sure to stay well fed and rested. Hangry usually results in a short temper, irritability, and agitation. No one likes an irritable traveler. Keep snacks with you while on-the-go and eat one if you feel yourself getting hungry. Also, a good night sleep can do wonders for the soul. Traveling has an interesting way of being exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time. Make sure to get good, solid rest. Check out my tips for a great night sleep on the road.
Communication is key. If something isn’t working for you, let your travel partner know. You can’t fix a situation if you don’t know it exists. Because David and I are in a relationship, we had developed good communication channels prior to taking our first big trip together. If you are traveling with someone you don’t know as well or just started dating, make sure to talk, text, sign language—whatever your preferred method of communication is, DO IT.
Sometimes you might just get tired of hanging out with your travel partner. Get out and socialize with some locals to switch things up. My favorite way to do this is to get a drink at a hostel bar. Hostels are full of young adults traveling in the same city as you! Chances are, you will find a friend. I have met some wonderful friends this way and still keep in touch to this day. If you aren’t quite as outgoing and this situation sounds terrifying, there are apps like MeetUp that organize meeting times and activities for locals and tourists.
Get some physical space
Things can get cramped when staying in a small hostel or hotel room. Get outside, go to a café, or relax in a library to give yourself and your travel partner some much needed physical space. On rainy days in Europe, David and I would head straight to a cozy café to read and write for the afternoon instead of staying in our hostel. This was a nice break from the small rooms we had been staying in for days.
Who is your favorite person to travel with? Do you have any other tips for traveling with a partner? Let me know in the comments below!