I see a lot of Instagram profiles with the description “Quit 9 to 5 job to travel solo” or “Solo female traveler”.
Solo travel being all the rage these days, only a few travelers actually enjoy flying duo. It certainly has its own share of pros and cons. Even before we get there, I want to add a note that traveling as a couple is not everyone’s cup of tea. What I mean is, it’s a choice, so it does not imply in any way that solo or group travelers lack the qualities to travel with their partners. Same thing goes for traveling solo. People choose to travel solo because that’s when they feel most comfortable. I’m not here to give my opinion in a debate of solo vs couple travel. Just here to discuss couple travel.
Best things about traveling with your partner
Travelers often face the dilemma of choosing company for their forthcoming expeditions. Who to travel with? Undoubtedly, this question does not burden the solo wanderers. For the rest, picking the right people feels like a daunting task. You want someone you can tolerate for a long duration and share some common interests with.
For couple travelers, that part is pretty much sorted. You’re not strangers, you’re not awkward or uncomfortable with each other, you’re basically tuned to match each other’s frequency. That’s more than you can ask for in a travel buddy.
One of the best things about traveling with your better half is that you don’t have to deal with loneliness or its effects.
I’ve traveled solo, in a group, and with my partner, so I have first-hand experience of each kind. While my first solo trip was an out-of-the-world experience for me, I couldn’t do it for long. That all-consuming feeling of profound loneliness gripped me. The world felt like a great big void after a while. I found it hard to cope with those dark thoughts that drifted through my mind often. I knew then, I wasn’t carved for solo travel. Luckily, I found a partner who enjoys traveling as much as I do.
When I traveled in groups, hardly any member was a stranger to me. Even so, very few travelers in that group shared the same interests as mine. They had their own activities planned, plus their ideas of fun were different than mine. Some of them liked to accompany me on my detours but they couldn’t cope with my extreme plans. Consequently, I deviated from that form of travel.
The joy of having someone to share experiences with, is unparalleled. Knowing there’s someone else that’s going through the same feelings as you are is comforting in an odd way.
On the other hand, having someone to constantly push you outside your comfort zone and try new things is equally essential. How else would you ever face your fears? I love heights and daredevil aerial adventures. But I’m terrified of the ocean. I never imagined I could enjoy activities like snorkeling and scuba diving until my partner made me feel comfortable about it.
A partner that complements you, encourages you and plants new seeds of inspiration in you, is definitely worth having as a travel companion.
Problems faced by travel couples
Being on the road for a long duration with no one but your partner, is a challenge. It’s just the two of you for days together. No third or fourth person to talk to. Nobody around to referee your arguments. At such times, it gets difficult to have something indisputable to talk to. Frustration builds up especially when you’ve had a tiring few days. Small things about your partner start irritating you, something you hadn’t noticed in the past. If you don’t learn to let it go, one fine day a storm crashes at your shore and disrupts the peace in your relationship.
Making compromises! Be ready to make a lot of these. No matter who’s right or wrong. There’s nothing worse than turning a small spark to a wildfire just for the sake of your ego. Despite the common perception as seen on social media, not every moment is out a fairytale when traveling with another adult.
The harsh reality of life is that you cannot live off love and dreams. You need to be equipped with enough talent and rely on your hardwork to load up on moolah if you wish to continue traveling. Money can be a sneaky reason for a fight. You never know when it creeps up in your conversation. Ability to manage your finances smoothly speaks volumes about your relationship. It means you’re mature enough to discuss, debate and make decisions responsibly as a couple.
Clashing of interests is another natural issue faced by travel couples. You have a fixed agenda on your mind but the other person might have different plans. While you’re thinking of lying on the beach with a good book and having seafood for lunch, your partner may have some photography session and sightseeing planned. You can comply with the other’s plan once, twice, even thrice but what do you do when it turns into a regular pattern?
As I started penning down this article, I realized it was getting longer than I expected it to be. So I decided to turn it into 2 part article. The second half will be published in next few days. It’ll list ways to sort out problems while on the road and to make the most of your vacation.