Travelling as a couple really is the ultimate test for a relationship. Believe me, I’ve been there, done that. Dave and I first encountered the phrase ‘It’ll make you or break you’ when we went to separate universities. Then, we decided to go on a Gap Year together, and out it came again, although with more emphasis on the ‘break you’.
After being apart at Uni, I thought travelling together would be great - and it was - but it was also much harder than I'd anticipated. Being together 24/7 is enough to put strain on any relationship, but if you can survive it, you really do become stronger. So based on my experience, here are a few things to expect if you're embarking on your first couples trip...
You really, truly get to know each other
I mean, you’re always together so you can’t help but know each other well. You learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and learn to how use them. For example, I HATE packing. I’m too impatient and therefore a terrible packer. Dave, on the other hand, can fit a weeks worth of gear in a 10kg bag, so he generally does a lot of the packing. I love planning and digesting the guidebook. Dave’s just happy to go with the flow, so I tend to plan and research everything. It just works.
You also see each other through illness, and if you’re travelling for a while, chances are you will both become ill at some point. And after experiencing the effects of traveler’s diarrhoea through a thin wall, you really get to know your partner on an intimate level. And you know those little annoying habits they have? Well, get ready to deal with them 24/7. But with this, you learn acceptance. Travelling together teaches you to accept each other for who you are, even the bad bits you wouldn’t change.Travelling together causes you to merge a little. You develop the same sense of humour. You know all their stories and they know yours. You end up with your own subtle language, reading each others body and mood much more easily.
You learn about the world together
Being in a new place, learning new cultures, skills and languages can strengthen your bond. There’s something magical about going through a learning process together, laughing at each others mistakes and helping each other through. Whether its new challenges, daunting experiences or being put out of your comfort zone. Being able to help each other and support each other cements your bond.
You learn how to cooperate
Small disagreements become pointless – they’re a waste of valuable time when you’re travelling. So you learn to compromise. I prefer getting out in nature compared to city breaks, whilst Dave likes exploring cities, so we do a little of both where possible. Things are likely to go wrong at some point too, but you handle it together to find a solution. When our van broke down outside of Melbourne, yes we both got down as it was the first thing to go COMPLETELY wrong, but then we got on with it. We figured we needed to get a job, as we’d failed getting one in Adelaide and were getting to the end of our funds. So we made a plan to go into Melbourne the next day and find a job, which we did. Having each other for support meant that we were able to pick ourselves up and deal with the situation quicker than if we’d been on our own.
Your relationship stays fresh and fun
Let’s face it, we all know routine is a killer, and it kills relationships too. Travel keeps the relationship fresh and exciting. Yes, you may be in dorm rooms and have very little privacy, but the excitement when you realise you actually have a dorm room to yourself for the night…you can’t beat it. Sharing new experiences together helps you to see the relationship as an evolving feeling. It’s romantic, you live in the moment and you share these incredible experiences. Everything is new, so the relationship never gets old.
Do you have a story about travelling with your better half? Or perhaps you’re all about the single life, and why travelling + singledom = best thing ever. We want to hear it! Find out how you can become a contributor to six-two here.