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10 Ways to Keep the Love Alive on the Road – Tips for Traveling Couples

We’ve been doing a lot of interviews lately. In the process, we’ve noticed a bit of a trend: everyone wants traveling couples to share their tips for maintaining a healthy and happy relationship on the road.

 

We decided to really give it some thought. What advice can we offer to other couples, especially if they are about to travel together for the first time? We’re not claiming to be experts by any means, but we have been traveling or living abroad as a couple for nearly three years—or the entire duration of our married lives—so we do have a bit of practice.

 

A lot of what we’ve learned is simply common courtesy and can be applied to relationships at all times, nomadic or not. Other tips you might find more applicable if you’ve ever been in a bit of a (mis)adventure with your significant other. Regardless, our hope is that these tips don’t just help you tolerate one another, but actually show you that travel can make your relationship stronger.

 

As a bonus, we’ve included a smattering of adorable photos of the two of us around the world. So there’s that.

A Cruising Couple  Traveling Couple

10 Ways to Keep the Love Alive on the Road

 

1. Split Up Responsibilities

 

There’s a lot that goes into planning and successfully implementing a trip. If you have someone to share the load with, then do it! As we’ve learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses, we’ve been able to more effectively and happily split up what needs to get done, both in our travels and on the blog. For example, Dan is in charge of all the finances. I do the majority of the reservations. We plan our itinerary together.  This also clearly defines who is in charge of what responsibilities so we don’t end up with one of those awkward moments where we show up a day late for our flight to Mexico because we both thought the other person was on top of the travel documents. Oh wait. We just did that. Did I mention we are still practicing?

 

2. Go On Dates

 

It’s all too easy to lose the romance when you’re sleeping in hostels or squeezing pennies to fund your travels. To keep the spark alive, we make it a point to get all dolled up and go on a date at least once a week. We both have a soft spot for good food and trying new restaurants, so often our date nights are out to dinner, but if we’ve been traveling a lot (and eating out a lot) then we get creative. Splurge on good coffee. Do a puzzle (Yes, we do that).  Go see a local film. Find some live music. Even though you are already spending a lot of time together while traveling, set aside a special time that’s designated for just the two of you.

A Cruising Couple Traveling Couple

3. Be Alone

 

Chances are that you don’t spend every second together when you’re at home, so why do you need to do so just because you’re abroad? Have your own hobbies. Maintain your personal identity. If one person really doesn’t want to see the art exhibit or go bungee jumping or whatever, then don’t feel like you have to. You’ll keep from exhausting yourself. You’ll appreciate the other person more when you reunite at the end of the day. Plus, you’ll have something different to talk about over dinner. We definitely struggle with spending time apart to pursue our own hobbies (primarily because we have so many shared interests), but we are mindfully trying to improve upon it.

Grand Canyon Heel Click

4. Have Shared Goals

 

Find things you can do alone, but also find projects you can work towards as a couple. From experience, we’ve found that ‘traveling’ isn’t always enough. We prefer to have big, tangible goals—the kind we can cross off from a bucket list. Training for our marathon was one of them. Writing our eBook was another. Currently we’re practicing AcroYoga and trying to learn elementary Portuguese for our upcoming trip to Brazil this summer. Whatever your goals might be, have a project you can work towards—and share in the victory of—together.

A Cruising Couple Taipei Marathon Traveling Couple

5. Ask About Your Partner’s Day

 

Don’t just ask about your partner’s day if you spent it apart, but also if you did absolutely everything together. On an obvious level, asking about your partner shows that you care about them; however, it also allows you to learn about each other on a deeper level. Even if we went to the same museum and ate at the same restaurant and then finished the day with the same evening walk, chances are that we processed those events differently. Talking about our experiences together has led to interesting revelations about the other person, even though we’ve known each other for nearly a decade now.

A Cruising Couple Travel Couple Bloggers

6. Be Honest

 

While you’re talking to each other, be honest about your observations and reflections. Don’t pretend like you love adrenaline-pumping sports if the thought of climbing a ladder makes you nauseous. Likewise, if sitting in a coffee shop and people watching all day is about as thrilling to you as watching grass grow, then don’t feel required to do so. Try it at least once before you knock it, but don’t get warped into saying yes all the time just because you’re scared of saying no. This is especially pertinent if you haven’t been dating that long, or if you’re now traveling with the person you just met at your hostel.   Tip #3 can come in really handy here.

 

7. Do Each Other Favors

 

We’re going back to the whole being considerate thing, even if you’re spending all your time together. Don’t take each other for granted. And remember—it’s always the little things you do that make a difference. Dan always helps me put my backpack on when we’re traveling. And that’s saying a lot, because my pack is busting from the seams and ridiculously heavy. I don’t ask him to assist me, but he knows the little act of helping me get it off the ground means a lot.

 

8. Don’t Get Hangry

 

Angry because you’re hungry. In our opinion, it’s one of the foremost causes of arguments between anyone on the road. If we wait until we’re starving to find food, especially in a country where we don’t know the language, frustrations rise and we can almost guarantee one of us will snap at the other. We’ve learned to always keep a snack handy so we can keep the side effects of being hangry at bay.  Sometimes, it really is the simple things that make all the difference.

Margarita

9. Meet Other Couples

 

Or really, just take the time to meet anyone at all. It’s much easier to stay in your own little ‘couple’s bubble’ when you’re traveling together. You have each other, so you don’t really have to make an effort to get to know other people. You might also find that others are more hesitant to approach (read: interrupt) you, understandably so. But the best part of traveling is almost always the people you meet along the way. Be friendly. Smile. Use resources like Couchsurfing to find locals to grab a drink with. Don’t close the world out!

 

10. Don’t Wait!

 

Our biggest tip to couples who want to travel is to just go ahead and do it! We strongly believe that all couples should travel together if they are considering spending the rest of their lives together. It doesn’t have to be international travel, though we’ve found the farther you leave your comfort zone, the better. You’ll learn how your partner handles stress, what they do in uncomfortable situations, and how they look after 12 hours on a bus with no A/C. And the best part? You’ll do it while making memories that last a lifetime. We love the lifestyle we have created for ourselves, and we know that it has made us a stronger couple as a result.

Traveling Couple A Cruising Couple Taiwan

 

Okay, there are a lot of other traveling couples out there! Please take the time to share your tips and experiences in the comments below.

What do you do to keep the love alive on the road? What tips do you have for couples that are setting out on their first international trip together? What keeps you traveling as a couple?

 

Meet: Casey Siemasko


Casey Siemasko is a blogger, content creator, and co-founder of A Cruising Couple. She has been living and traveling outside of the US full-time since 2011. She finds her life inspiration in exploring the world and seeks to find the magic in the most ordinary of places.

Comments

  1. Gma Lorene says:

    Such wise and important advice! Love hearing from you always!

  2. Getting hangry is the worst! We definitely suffer most from that one haaha. Good list guys :)
    Charlie recently posted…Taiwan We Love You, but it’s ‘Time to Go Home’My Profile

  3. Great tips! As someone who has travelled as a couple for three years on and off, I couldn’t have put it better myself. Split responsibilities and shared responsibilities are both important!
    Jon Parker recently posted…Crossing Mordor: The Greatest Hike of my LifeMy Profile

  4. My hubby and I have traveled together on and off for 25 years. We are now retired and about to take off next month to travel indefinitely. Thankfully we already practice your well thought out recommendations. I would also like to add:
    1. Take care of your health and get plenty of rest along the way. When you are overly tired or don’t feel well, your cheerful mood can go out the window.
    2. Have FUN together. Laughter and a sense of humor make each day better.
    3. Say “I love you” often and mean it.
    4. When things go wrong (missed connections, lost reservations, car break-down, or any number of things that get messed up on the road) refer back to #2.
    Joanne Joseph recently posted…Zion and Bryce National Parks and Panguitch UtahMy Profile

  5. We always try to do little surprises for each other, even if it’s just an ice cream or a beer. The small gestures make a big difference especially if you’re traveling long term and you can’t exactly plan too far in the future for a big party or something. Just little tokens of appreciation make SUCH a huge difference. And meeting other travel couples too! We love meeting others on the road to share experiences with :) :)
    Samantha recently posted…8 Costa Rican Dishes Besides Gallo Pinto You’ll Want to TryMy Profile

    • It can be tough to plan surprises on the road, especially when all of your hours and planning are done together. Little surprises are awesome though and really go a long way! Thanks Sammi :-) and of course it’s always fun to meet awesome couple travelers along the way ;-)

  6. Hangriness is our achilles heel! Also heat – ESPECIALLY for him, he’s terrible once it’s over about 25 degrees.

    (My own tips here: http://nzmuse.com/2013/06/how-to-not-kill-your-travel-partner/)
    NZ Muse recently posted…Wordless Wednesday: Last stop, LAMy Profile

  7. Great post guys! Solid tips. Love it. B :)
    Bernadette recently posted…Balinese CeremoniesMy Profile

  8. I totally get the “hangry” part. I need to start bringing snacks along the way so it doesn’t happen! It’s hard to not be crabby when you are starving and trying to figure out where you are going! Traveling is definitely difficult with your spouse! You have to learn to be very patient and try to problem solve together! We are definitely still trying to work out the kinks. It’s an ongoing process!
    Katelyn Boose recently posted…Seeing Big Buddha on Lantau Island in Hong KongMy Profile

  9. Guys, I must admit this is one of the most amazing posts I’ve written. You just nailed it! From my own experience I can say that it’s super easy to lose the romance when you’re sleeping in hostels or squeezing pennies to fund your travels and going on dates and romantic dinners is a must! You gotta keep the spark alive! Moreover, when I get hungry I get grumpy so never ever let your partner be hungry!! :D
    Agness recently posted…Stunning Yangshuo River in PhotosMy Profile

    • Thanks Agness!! So glad that you agreed with all our tips :) I’m horrible at the super budget travel thing, I think primarily because I did all that when I was in college, and now that we’re married I like to class it up a bit- it really can be a challenge keeping the romance and traveling on pennies! Thanks for the comment!!

  10. They say nothing tests a couple like traveling together and it really is true. If you still want to be near each other after weeks of sweaty bus rides, getting lost, food poisoning, you name it – then you can probably handle anything as a couple. We always try to carve out a little alone time on our trips while also striking a balance of doing things together that we will both enjoy. I can be very unpleasant when I’m hungry so I always have snacks and water with me. The biggest tip I can add is to make each other laugh. Nothing breaks the tension like a cheesy bad joke!
    Heather recently posted…Drinking Bulls Blood Wine in Eger, HungaryMy Profile

    • Great addition! It’s true- if you can keep your sense of humor, then even the most ridiculous of situations is bearable! That’s one I used to be a lot better at, and now I find myself getting annoyed too easily. More cheesy jokes all around!! :)

  11. Excellent advice! My favorite is #3. I think it’s too easy not to spend time apart, but everyone needs their own space, even if it’s just a few minutes. Great article.
    Corinne recently posted…Durian – Stinky Fruit or a Must-have Delicacy?My Profile

  12. Oh god, number 8. I am the worst hangry person ever. I once had a total meltdown and snapped at Tony so bad because we were out and about and I got super hungry and we couldn’t find anywhere to eat AND we didn’t have any snacks on us and so obviously this was his fault because sometimes I’m a cranky toddler I guess. Now we know: ALWAYS HAVE SNACKS. They could seriously save your marriage!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted…Chewing the Fat with Agness of eTramping!My Profile

    • Haha isn’t it funny the little things that have the biggest impact when traveling? And yes. It is always Dan’s fault if I get hungry and we can’t find any food and we didn’t think to bring anything with us ;-P It’s great to hear the similarities with other couples!

  13. I met my bf in India and moved in with him after 2 weeks of knowing him.. a year later & when we travel any fight is ALWAYS because one of us is hungry lol!
    Rachel of Hippie in Heels recently posted…10 Tips for Maya BayMy Profile

  14. Really enjoyed reading this, I’m currently living abroad with my partner. I’ve found it hard at times, I feel like I’ve lost my identity a bit because everyone sees us as a couple, its harder to do things alone because we have the same friendship group. Its a work in progress! But I think it has made us stronger, moving to another country is stressful we’ve made it and we are loving it.
    Louise recently posted…Yesilkoy. Something a bit different.My Profile

    • Thanks for the feedback! We definitely struggled with a similar issue when we moved to Taiwan, and I think it was particularly hard for me. We went to different colleges, so we had different friend groups all while we were dating, and then all of the sudden in Taiwan we were sharing the same friends and doing everything together. Eventually we figured out how to make it work, but it was a huge adjustment for sure!

  15. We have travelled together a lot for 11 years and we get on great. Our secrets: Gordon doesn’t fight and waits for me to exhaust myself and then it’s over. I generally have a tanty about something trivial and a pattern has emerged. We call it the Day 3 syndrome. I was telling him that my daughter always became listless and down on Day 3 and when I figured it out I would get her to ring her grandmother and all was good. He just said, then its genetic. Great and true post and thats why we like meeting people, to mix it up from just being us. Travelling as a couple is the ultimate litmus test. We are lucky that we are simpatico.
    Contented Traveller recently posted…Our subjective take on being AussiesMy Profile

    • Haha Dan doesn’t fight either, so it ends up being a similar scenario where I snap at him over something that’s not his fault at all, and then eventually realize I’m ridiculous, apologize, and it’s done. It’s interesting to hear about the day 3 syndrome! I bet a lot of people suffer from that- haha I’m going to have to keep track on our next trip now!

  16. Thanks for sharing your tips and experiences Casey. I like the idea of splitting responsibilities but still working as a team.

    The having some “me time”, personal space is important in any relationship at home or on travel. I find it a good way to refresh the batteries and being full of enthusiasm for the next time together. You don’t want to suffocate each other.

    I like your idea of a date night too :-)
    The Guy recently posted…Shanghai Must See – China Stopover Points Part 2My Profile

  17. I think my hubby and I really knew it was going to work out only after we traveled together. Great advice, most of which falls away when you become a parent and traveling family.
    Rhonda Albom recently posted…Celebrating the Night Lights of Auckland CityMy Profile

    • Thanks Rhonda! I’m sure it gets much more difficult when you’re a traveling family! That’s something we probably won’t have to worry about for a while, but I know a lot of travelers do. I told Dan I wouldn’t marry him until we had taken some sort of trip together. If you can travel together, you can do anything together :)

  18. YES! These are really, really good tips. And I’m not just saying that, because I know how valuable all of these things can be myself. Oh, I dread to think how many arguments have been started due to hangriness (usually on my part!) For me and Zab, #3 is the one we need most to work on, as we tend to plan to do everything together when we’re together…I think partly because we were apart for so long before we started travelling together, we’re trying to squeeze out as much together time as possible. However, whenever we have time apart, I notice just how great it was and how much happier it makes us to be together!
    Sam recently posted…Greens Organic, CuscoMy Profile

  19. helpful tips thanks for sharing it.
    PuertoRicoBlogger
    PuertoRicoBlogger recently posted…The 7 Best Shopping Spots in Puerto RicoMy Profile

  20. Great tips and all so true, absolutely love the photos of the 2 of you around the world. Great post.
    Freya recently posted…The Quintessential Guide to New YorkMy Profile

  21. Great tips for travel mates in general, too!. I can relate to many of the tips while travelling with friends and mom. Getting food on time was never as important as when you’re on the road :)
    Yana recently posted…Brrrr…..It’s cold in here!My Profile

  22. ‘Angry through lack of eating’.

    Man, did we find out that the hard way.

    I can remember during the first few weeks we were walking through Italy and hadn’t really eaten all that much in the morning, so as the sun started to beat down a little harder (since it was mid-June), we both started to get a little irritated.

    Since then, we’re on top of that little timebomb, and having travelled with Franca these past 19 months I can definitely say that your tips are right on the money.
    Dale recently posted…With Earphones In – Le Trio Joubran (Palestine)My Profile

  23. Great advice! It seems like you really know how to handle your relationship..when traveling and also when not. You are both very fortunate to have each other and to be able to communicate so good. Keep up the good work and be proud of what you have!

  24. I am actually finding this blog to be super helpful! My boyfriend and I have been together a little over 2 years and are now traveling around South America together for over a year. There have been lots of high and lows, but I think we can do a much better job of keeping the spark alive. Thanks for the tips…we went on a special dinner date on Sunday and it was wonderful! Nice blog too :)
    Rochelle recently posted…The Fun Never EndsMy Profile

    • So happy to hear that you are finding the post helpful! Traveling as a couple definitely has its perks, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy! Best of luck on all your continued travels! Keep those dinner dates goin :)

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