Before Covid-19 lockdowns forced couples to spend countless hours together confined to their homes, traveling was perhaps the best test of compatibility. Taking a trip with someone else can bring a couple together or accentuate their differences. There are some couples whose first travel experience together will not occur until the honeymoon, but it may be beneficial to plan a trip before you say “I do.” In relationships, there are few opportunities to learn about one’s spouse that are as eye-opening as traveling together.
Pros. When two people are in love, it’s hard to imagine anything coming between you. Couples can go from dating to Engagement Rings to a walk down the aisle in the blink of an eye. But do they know how they will deal with conflict or respond to a stressful situation? Traveling together presents opportunities to learn about each other’s behavior. Before we explore some things couples can do to ensure their travel experience is good, let’s look at some pros of traveling as a couple.
- Shared activities can increase passion. Travel provides couples with the opportunity to experience a variety of new experiences and activities together. These experiences can increase feelings of intimacy and strengthen bonds.
- Memories – When couples travel together, they can create shared memories. Recalling fond memories serves to strengthen bonds within the relationship.
- Learn something new about each other. When people first start dating, everything is new and exciting. That excitement eventually wears off, but travel presents opportunities to continue to learn about one another.
Cons. There are many benefits to traveling as a couple, however, the unpredictable nature of travel can also challenge a relationship.
- Increased opportunity for conflict. People who travel together naturally develop higher levels of interdependence on one another. The level of interdependence during travel is often very different from normal life, as a couple’s decisions are always made together when on vacation. Each act of seeking consensus is an opportunity for conflict to emerge.
- Problems in the relationship are magnified. For couples who are already struggling in their relationship, getting away from the hassles of daily life may not be the answer. Traveling together accentuates issues already present, because when traveling, people spend even less time alone. Not getting away can cause tensions already present in the relationship to bubble over.
- Traveling can be exhausting. Depending on the itinerary, a busy travel schedule can lead to exhaustion. When people are tired, they are more likely to lose patience with one another, and that conflict can exacerbate the issue.
5 Steps to Success. Now that we know the pros and cons of traveling as a couple, let’s look at 5 things couples can do to set themselves up for success.
- Plan the trip together. There is a tremendous benefit to planning travel together as a couple. Planning the trip together provides ample opportunity to discuss your expectations for the trip with each other. To plan a jam-packed adventure when one of you just wants to relax on the beach for a couple of days will not serve either person well.
- Build a plan and schedule as much in advance as possible. Having a plan to follow will help to avoid unexpected issues during travel. Fewer issues mean fewer potential points of conflict.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. Spending large amounts of time together can be challenging. Keeping the lines of communication open throughout your adventure is helpful because it ensures issues that arise are addressed promptly and not allowed to just fester. Checking in with one another frequently not only creates space to talk through issues, but it will create opportunities to share and bond over your experiences.
- Plan in some downtime. Traveling can be exhausting, so it is important to ensure that you are not exhausting yourselves. Plan in some downtime either together or apart to give yourselves a chance to recharge. Scheduling in some time at the spa or to just sit and read on the beach can go a long way towards preventing frustrations from arising.
- Put the cell phone down! When traveling as a couple, it is important to be present with one another. The more each of you can stay in the moment, the better the more likely it is that you will be successful in building shared memories together.
There are many pros and cons to traveling as a couple. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that traveling together is an opportunity to create memories. If you take steps to ensure your travels are as hassle-free as possible, the memories couples create can increase intimacy and encourage a lifetime of travel together.
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Susan Said… WHAT?! is your guide to real style for the way you live. From fabulous fashion and accessories, to gorgeous gardens, stunning interiors and must-visit destinations, plus the latest products and tips for throwing parties, weddings, and events of all kinds. Susan Conforte McNeill is a mother, author and entrepreneur. Susan is also the co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait!