Mr Silver and I have been together nearly six years and in that time we’ve had many short-haul mini-breaks, long-haul adventures, week-long holidays and UK staycations. A period of close proximity with your other half can do wonders for your relationship but it can also provide challenges and frustrations. In this post I want to share with you the lessons I’ve learned over the years about couples travel and how to make the most of it.
1. Choose a destination that suits you both
Think about what you both want out of a destination before going ahead and booking. For me it’s good food, culture, beautiful landscape and plenty to do; whereas Mr S wants relaxation, the beach, sunshine and sports. A few of our trips have hit all the right notes for both of us such as Australia, South Africa and Thailand and these have always been our favourite trips. If it doesn’t work out quite that well we usually organise a multi-destination trip that gives us best of both world which is why we combined Japan with The Philippines and a USA road trip with a sojourn in Bora Bora. Either way, if you’re investing in a trip make sure it’s going to be something that you both love.
As Mr S isn’t really involved in my planning process, I now put together a Pinterest board for him so that he’s happy with our chosen destination and can see that he’s going to get the experiences that he wants too.
2. Know your strengths
By now you know I’m very much the organiser of the trip, not only am I very thorough in my research and planning I also really enjoy doing it. As a type A personality, organisation and structure are very much my forté and I make sure we’re always booked into places and get there on time.
Mr S is really good at packing, years of business travel has given him experience in optimising suitcase space and fitting in everything in a way that makes sense. In fact, he’s so good at it that now I lay all my clothes and things out and he packs for me…if I do the packing I just get told I’m doing it wrong ;). He is also much better at looking after money, electricals and he’s a more skilled driver than me so these are all of his jobs when we’re on holiday.
Know what you’re good at, stick to it and help each other along the way.
While I have terrible FOMO and I’m desperate to see EVERYTHING that a destination has to offer, Mr S is more of a fan of slow travel. He loves history and is interested in seeing the highlights of the place but also wants plenty of time for relaxation and to take it easy. I’ve come to the realisation that I can take things too far and have learnt to do things more his way. Equally when you’re visiting a destination make sure you’re taking account of both your interests, you may hate sports but you never know how much you’ll enjoy seeing a baseball game in the USA. Art might not be your thing but you never know what you might like in the effort to please your other half. I don’t love boats and can get sea sick but I’ve learnt to appreciate them because Mr S loves them so much.
And I love seeing the big smile on his face when he boards a boat and is surrounded by water.
I have a blogger friend who has come to a compromise with her husband that every time they see something cultural, he gets to stop for a beer in exchange…just work out what works best for you and stick to it.
4. Help each other break out from a comfort zone
I’m someone that’s easily scared and I use travel as an opportunity to conquers fears and I always try to do something that scares me. Having your other half by your side is the best way to break out of your comfort zones and face that phobia.
For example, I was terrified of taking the cable car to the top of Table Mountain in South Africa but it was Mr Silver’s reassurance and support that made me get in that little box dangling from a string and ascend the mountain. The support of your other half makes you feel like you can do anything…though I’m pretty sure there’s nothing that will get me sky-diving…
5. Try something new together
The thing that I love the most about couples travel is the memories that you build together and trying something completely new doesn’t only give you fantastic memories but it can make your relationship stronger.
We’ve had several ‘firsts’ together such as:
Flying in a seaplane in Australia…
Trying authentic sushi in Japan…
And going on safari in South Africa.
I’d really recommend trying at least one new thing together as it’ll be a memory that lasts a lifetime.
6. It’s ok to take time apart
Maybe he keeps doing that *thing* that really irritates you, maybe she keeps going on and on (and on and on) about the disappointing meal that she had last night. If you start to grate on each other it really is ok to take an hour or so alone, you might be on holiday but you don’t need to spend every single moment together!
Or maybe one of you has a passion that you don’t necessarily share, so one of you can go wind surfing, sky diving or off to an art exhibition while the other does their own thing. Mr S can spend absolutely hours and hours just lying by the pool, but I get bored with that and I take myself off for a walk or shopping. Equally when we were in San Francisco, it was the World Cup Final so Mr S found a sports bar to install himself in while I got my hair blow dried.
7. But savour moments together
While we do have lots of opposing interests, we do of course have plenty of shared interests. One of those is of course food! One thing we agree upon is to really savour our meal experiences when on holiday and that means always sitting down to enjoy a proper meal together rather than just grabbing a sandwich somewhere.
We also both love history and we’re alway keen to have a tour from a local guide to hear more about the history and culture of a place. It gives us a great opportunity to really engage with the country that we’re visiting and have a shared understanding of the background of it.
8. Include an extra special romantic treat
Whether it’s a surprise organised by one of you or something that you plan to together, an extra special treat will elevate the romance of the trip. A few things we’ve done are private dinners in dramatic locations, hiring a yacht for the day, a drop off at a private beach and our seaplane trip.
9. Air your grievances respectfully
If you think your other halves preferences or annoying habits are holding you back from fully enjoying the trip, tell them but in a calm and courteous way. This way you can meet a compromise so that you can both continue to enjoy yourselves and make the most of your holiday. Don’t start airing grievances when you are super jet-lagged, ‘hangry’ or at boiling point as that will only lead to a blazing row and potentially ruin a night of your holiday.
Respect each other and don’t let little things get to you. Also never go to bed angry, resolve your problems and continue to enjoy your holiday.
10. Find ways to relive the memories when you get back
For me the most important thing about going away together is the memories that you make. Mr S and I have had so many wonderful experiences that will live with us forever, these are shared experiences that we’ll aways be able to talk about and tell our future children.
With that being the case, I think it’s really important to preserve those memories. We often print photos to frame around our flat, we make photo memory books and we keep souvenirs of our time away. Actually preservation of these wonderful memories is one of things I love most about blogging. I will always have this online diary to look back on and remember the once-in-a-lifetime experiences….and how we had them together.
Do you have any tips or lessons that you’ve learnt from travelling as a couple?
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