We have been through the pros and cons of long term travel as a couple and while that will help you in making your decision whether you should or shouldn’t travel long term as a couple, we feel each case should be looked at separately. In this post we give you a simple step by step guide to help you make this very important decision “Should You Travel Long Term as a Couple?”. This guide is mainly applicable to couples, but can be used as a guideline for two friends wanting to travel together.
Step 1 – Ask yourself some hard questions
Answer the following questions (ideally both your partner and you should answer them).
How much does travel mean to you?
Well you are reading this and thinking about long term travel, so it obviously means something to you. Some people can’t imagine a life without long term travel (I know Nicole is one of them) and some people think about long term travel as ‘that would be nice’, however most people are somewhere in between. You have to weigh up where you are on the scale. Is it worth traveling with your partner if the reward of travel isn’t as great as the risk of sacrificing your home life (or career), or even your relationship?
Why are you traveling long term?
If you have already made the decision to embark on long term traveling, and you now just need to decide whether to go with your partner or not, then you have to ask yourself what you are wanting to achieve with your travels. Is it better to do it by yourself, or is having your partner there critical to what you are trying to achieve? For example, some people travel because they are lost in their ‘normal life’ and want to discover/rediscover themselves. While this can be done with a partner, it is often easier by yourself. I mean it worked for Julia Roberts didn’t it?
How long have you been together?
Long term travel is more likely to be successful if you have been together for a decent length of time. The longer you are in a relationship the more likely you are to iron out any problems. Also, it means you are out of the ‘honeymoon’ period of the relationship and you know each other a lot better. You also know how to deal with problems together and what each other likes and dislikes are. This means that you are likely to deal with any situation on the road better than a new couple.
Are you both committed to traveling?
Some times, when a couple travels long term, one of the partners is almost dragged along. They are doing it just to make their partner happy and feel that if they said “No I don’t want to go” then their partner might leave them or resent them for it.
This is never a good way to approach long term travel as a couple. If so, you will most likely be destined for failure. Even if somehow you make it through and return home together at the end of your trip, your relationship is not going to be stronger and one partner is always going to feel like ‘they owe me one for doing that’.
How compatible are you with your partner?
Sounds like a silly question, but the facts are, in some relationships opposites attract. These relationships can work wonderfully in a ‘normal’ life, but are more difficult (not impossible) to manage on the road. You’re going to need strong compatibility on the road to get through it. You will be with each other 24/7 so having similar interests will go a long way.
What if he only wants to go to 3rd world countries and stay in hostels, and she wants to go to Paris and Milan and stay in 5 star hotels? What if he wants to go to the pub every day and she wants to visit museums? I’m not suggesting that you need to be the same person, but you will need a fair amount of compatibility if you want to make it work.
Is there an easy fallback if things don’t work out?
This one may sound harsh, but you should think about it. If you decide to travel together as a couple and it doesn’t work out do you have an escape plan? If it is a new relationship then you probably won’t have any major issues (outside a few tears and mourning period), but if you have been together for a long time it could cause some major issues in your life. If you genuinely believe that you and your partner may struggle traveling together as a couple, then you do need to take it into consideration.
As mentioned previously there are many great couples that are just very different people. And those relationships work great when you have work, friends, hobbies etc wrapped up in your life. However it doesn’t always work the same when you are on the road for long term.
Can both partners give and take?
All relationships need to give and take. That is a given, but it is never more evident on the road. You just can’t go to all the places you want to go, just as you shouldn’t go to all the places your partner wants to go. Your travel is going to end quickly if you want to always go nightclubbing, while your partner sits in your hotel room.
So you are both going to have to be able to compromise. Are you able to do that?
Step 2 – Analyze the Answers
After answering all those questions, you may be a bit worried. The good news is that just because some of the questions made you ‘think a bit’ doesn’t mean you should rule out traveling together. Not at all. There is no such thing as a perfectly compatible traveling couple. Everyone is different, which is great, because who would want to travel with a carbon copy of themselves? Not me!
Having said that you need to think about how your responses will affect you on the road. I mean, the reason you are doing this is to have the time of your life, you don’t want anything hanging over your head which will get in the way of that.
Step 3 – Determine if you Should You Travel Long Term as a Couple
After analyzing the questions, this might be a real easy one. Heck, you might have thought that coming into this and you just wanted to check. Some people are going to be opposite and think they won’t be able to travel with their partner. You got to make a really tough decision; are you ready for long term travel as a couple?
Now if you are still on the fence we have a couple of suggestions that might help you decide.
Try a shorter Vacation
Call it a test run. Go somewhere for 2 to 4 weeks and see how you go. Of course, you are never going to get a perfect answer from such a short time, but it should give you an idea. The key is to travel in a similar manner to how you plan on traveling long term. Don’t go on a cruise or stay in 5 star hotels if your plan is to backpack through Asia. That is not going to allow you to analyze the situation very well.
The other thing to take on board is, don’t throw the idea of long term travel as a couple out just because you have a fight. I mean, you are in a relationship, you are going to have disagreements. What you are looking for is more deep seeded issues (such as the questions asked above).
Talk about it
Just talk to each other about it. Funny how something simple like this can alleviate your fears.
We are very lucky that we know traveling as a couple is the only way we would want to do it. But we know that it isn’t always that simple. We hope the above helped you in making your decision. And if you decide to do it, here are some tips for how to make it work on the road and good luck!
If you have any other suggestions about the question “Should You Travel Long Term as a Couple?” let us know.