Deborah Peniuk aka Dee/TraveliciousDee is an outside the box travel counsellor on a mission to empower people to plan travel less inside the lines & use their senses & imagination. She’s currently living in Ontario, Canada and loves yoga, mediation, and being outside. Be her friend on facebook or follow her on twitter
After many years of travelling solo…I remember my first trip travelling as partner in a relationship and learned some great lessons for future trips and a few from my other friends and travelling companions over the years! Sure the idea of heading off to an exotic local and hiking into unseen splendor, braving the weather conditions and “bathroom” facilities,otherwise known as squatter toilets and eating meals with chopsticks or your fingers seemed like the ultimate shared adventure…the real challenge of vacationing together is spending every minute together for the long periods ahead (7,14, 21 days or for some even 60 to 365 days straight). If you think your relationship is up to the test, do yourselves a favor and take some of my hard-learned and well adhered travel tips.
Before you head off on your own two week foreign trekking together, test the waters first with a much shorter trip much closer to home. If a weekend getaway somewhere not so far together to see a local destination leaves you questioning what you ever saw in each other, you might want to reconsider that African safari or the surfing trip in Waikiki.
Be sure to make the travel arrangements together whether you’re traveling just a couple hours away or heading out to more far-flung destinations, make sure you’re both taking active roles in the planning process. “Blame” and “credit” make strange bedfellows, so do yourself and your partner the grace of sharing the load and leave those two kill joys at home. Ensure you are travelling with a partner with proper travelling identification that is up to date( most countries will require you have a valid passport and some countries will require visitors to have a Visitor’s Visa/Permit). Also having a partner with a driver’s license is a blessing if you are renting a car on your travels as traveling with someone who doesn’t drive is a bit of a drag—especially if you’re not crazy about taking the wheel yourself (literally, not metaphorically).
When it comes to eating when you are travelling together -Pack a few nutritional bars for backup! Seriously, these things can save you even if you aren’t traveling to a location where the food is questionable, chances are your schedule will be, and almost nothing kills a good time—or a romantic mood—faster than low blood sugar. So plan ahead and don’t let it! Sometimes doing things the cheap way is more fun; you see more of life and the tourists around you are younger and/or more interesting. Still, be sure to balance the low-budget buses & tours with indulgences like a nice restaurants or hotels when you can afford it. A little break from culture shock every now and then can be a good thing and luxurious is not always out of reach on a budget and can be arranged with a travel professional with a good knowledge of destinations and suppliers.
Don’t be afraid to bring stuff to entertain yourself – believe it or not, if you’re going on a longer trip together, there are going to be moments, maybe even hours, when the last thing you want to do is talk to, make-out with, or even look at your significant other. Have a good book or a pile of magazines to keep you occupied when those times arise but make sure to put the book down when that something else arises. Take the time to interact with other people -this is essential on those longer trips, too, for obvious reasons, I hope. Hit the hotel bar and mingle, take an afternoon cruise or tour with other travelers. You don’t have to make friends for life, but the company of others for even just a few hours will save you from what is sometimes called couples’ claustrophobia.
Take initiative – sooner or later, realistically something’s going to go wrong – it more than likely isn’t catastrophic! When this happens and one of you inevitably melts under the pressure and stress of it all, it’s essential the other takes the initiative and gives into to back up Plan B. Contact your travel professional immediately as it won’t always have been the “perfect” plan and it doesn’t come down to blaming anyone but it makes the most sense— trust me on this: having your travel professional at the moment when it seems the world is crashing in will save not only your vacation, it could very well save your relationship.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to make a list of all the things you are concerned about and take them to your trusted travel professional…that is what we are here for and will be able to answer a lot of the questions you might have about your destinations of choice. But most of all – be prepared to be flexible and enjoy whatever comes your way – You can have fun in the rain or the snow!
photo by paul l dineen, cc