We've travelled as a couple a fair few times now, and it's time we shared our insight into the good, the bad and the ugly of travelling with that special someone. It's wonderful, but it's not without issues, so we've highlighted as many as we can to help you decide if it's for you! First up, the cons. Lord knows we all have our issues back at home, but it's a completely different ball game when you're in a new situation.
People are less likely to strike up a conversation. When they see you with someone else, especially if you are an opposite-sex couple, people assume you’re only there to be with the person you’re with. I’m not sure why that’s everyone’s thought process, but it is. AVOID this by making an extra effort to spark up conversations with people around you and try not to be overwhelmingly needy.
Lack of privacy for both intimate moments and for full blown arguments. Having to stop yourself yelling at each other because everyone would hear you can often put an even bigger strain on your relationship. There’s nothing worse than having your hostel room to yourself, thinking you’ve got some privacy, and then the person staying in the bed next to you coming back for a nap. AVOID this by staying in an Airbnb occasionally and be sure to budget for this in advance.
Everyday normal arguments feel bigger. Things that are the least of your worries at home become so much bigger when you travel, partially because of the lack of privacy but also because everything else is too good to be true – there has to be SOMETHING wrong, right?! AVOID this by reminding yourselves how lucky you are to be travelling with the most important person in your life. Keep conversation flowing to avoid conflict.
Being together 24/7 can get irritating. At home we have our friends, work and other commitments which are spent apart. When you travel, none of that exists anymore. This is one of the tougher parts of travelling, especially for those who don’t actually spend much time together at home. We are very lucky and met at work, so we’ve gotten the hang of being around each other every second of every day. AVOID this by spending time with the new people you’ve met, and don’t be afraid to split up occasionally.
Having to compromise. If you’re as stubborn as us, you know how hard it is to let someone have their way. And when there’s two of you? Oh boy. We’ve recently noticed a difference between us that causes friction every now and again, and that is the way we settle into a new place. Ben wants to get up and go explore immediately, whereas I like to settle in, chill at the hostel and get my bearings. Neither is wrong but we cant do both together. Therefore we compromise. If Ben gets restless, he’ll go out without me, no problem. If I want to come back early on the first day, then I’ll go back without him, no problem. AVOID this by being open to suggestion and allowing your partner to prefer different things to you.
Everything is twice as expensive in the build up to travelling, your time spent together will be Netflix and chill with beans on toast. Not to mention the lack of private time you’ll have with taking extra shifts or finding another part-time job to be able to save enough. This is so much harder for couples than it is friends, and especially if you live together. AVOID this by creating a long list of fun and silly things to keep you busy when you’re together; build forts, play board games, find new hobbies that are free.
Couchsurfing and volunteer work is harder to find as only some accept couples. A lot of places prefer friends to couples as they don’t want the drama of domestic arguments, or even break-ups. Whilst we totally understand, it is very frustrating if you know that wont be the case. AVOID this by doing your research before you go. Which countries seem more accepting of couples?
Some hostels only have male-only and female-only dorms. This affects all types of couples in different ways, and can be very annoying when you think you’ve found the perfect hostel. For straight couples, this means you can’t stay together. For same-sex couples, there’s a stronger chance that the people in your dorms will feel uncomfortable which is totally their problem but still affects you. AVOID this by either using this time to make new friends or budgeting for the next best hostel that allows you to stay together.
You have to pay for two beds when you only use one. This is probably the least worrying of the cons section, but still really annoying. AVOID this by making use of both beds; we’ve perfected this by using the bedsheets of the bed you don’t use to make a curtain around the bottom bunk. This gives you privacy and gives you a lot of storage space on the top bunk!
Get used to single beds. Each hostel will have different sized beds, and there are some places where the beds are too small to even consider sharing. AVOID this by reading reviews prior to booking and be prepared to stay in separate beds if it is too uncomfortable to stay together.
Have we scared you away yet? Hopefully the pros will help you realise just how magical it is travelling with your significant other. As you can see, every single one of the above has a solution, so long as you are willing to make it work.
You’re never left to walk back to your hostel alone, although this is more true for opposite-sex couples due to the presence of a male; muggers don’t know that your boyfriend is in fact scared of everything and loves rainbows and cuddles. Safety in numbers also allows you to travel places you’d never dream of visiting solo, especially for the ladies!
Once you break down the ‘hey guys, we’re a couple but we’re also really cool and independently hilarious’ barrier, it’s easier to be yourself around new people. Being with the person you love most in all the world keeps you humble and stops you from trying to reinvent yourself too much for the sake of your new friends.
You get to share every special moment with the person you most want to spend it with. This can be the same for travelling with a close friend but with couples, the romance is never dead.
They’re the constant in your fast-moving, fast-changing environment. Whilst everything else around you changes daily and you experience so many firsts, they will be the one thing that makes you feel at home.
When you get ill, and I really do mean ‘when’ because we all do, you have someone who knows every part of you. If you have the same old cough you get whenever it’s cold, they’ll know what to do. Ladies, when we have that dreaded time of the month, there’s nothing better than having someone to throw chocolate at us and snuggle under the blankets with.
Whilst your travelling, you’ll be able to split costs with everything you do. There’s nothing better than buying food in bulk when you first arrive in a place, and it costs a hell of a lot less than doing it solo. This is also true for getting taxis and other forms of transportation that requires you to pay one set fee.
Sometimes when we’re not feeling very courageous or feeling anxious about trying something new, our partners will encourage us to step out of our comfort zones. Knowing that they only want what’s best for you helps you to feel brave.
There’s nothing worse than running into a problem and being so overwhelmed you’re u
nable to think straight in order to solve it. Having another person around almost always means whilst one of you is having a mental breakdown, the other can think logically and find a solution.
As a straight white couple, we are unqualified to give advice for couples who don’t fit that description, so here are a few links to check out if you need them. Please feel free to message us if you know any good blogs that help couples with a different sexual orientation, race or gender!