traveling with your partner

Balcony in Hanoi Old Quarter

My husband and I have been together for 7 years. In that time, we’ve traveled to roughly 20 countries and more than 40 cities together. Yet, we are still learning how to travel better together. From some of my Instagram posts, we may give off major ‘travel couple’ vibes. But the photos really only tell one part of the story.

traveling with your partner

Catching sunrise in Bagan, Myanmar

Don’t get me wrong, we are very much in love and my husband is absolutely supportive of me being a full-time content creator. I’m grateful for all of the time that he invests in my business because, without him, I wouldn’t be able to capture and share all the content that I do. That being said, traveling with a partner is not easy. Sometimes we argue, want to do different things, or things go wrong. After all these years of traveling together, we are still improving, adapting, and learning to be more patient and accommodating of each other’s needs.

Whether it’s your first time traveling with your partner, or your tenth, these tips will be useful for you. Here are 10 tips that will help you travel better with your partner.

1. Communicate Clearly

Communication is key – and this extends beyond travel alone! Before planning, both parties should communicate clearly about the purpose of the trip, their expectations, and hopes. Does one person want to relax on a beach, while the other wants to be on the go?

Get on the same page before going, so you’re on the same page while there. Manage expectations in advance to avoid future disappointment. Be open, honest, and direct! If you really don’t want to do something, let the other person know, rather than remain silent to spare his or her feelings! If you know you’re high maintenance, maybe don’t agree to a camping trip to try to impress!

And, don’t be that person who lets the other person make ALL the decisions! For some couples, this works. But it’s best for both partners to have input, so everyone feels like they’ve made a contribution and is happy.

Lastly, communicate any special needs (e.g. dietary restrictions/preferences, allergies, physical or mental illnesses) – this could save a life!

2. Agree on a Budget

It’s all about the money, honey! One of the number one things couples argue about on a trip is money. Is one person hoping for a luxury experience, while the other is on a tight budget? Before you book, do some research on what everything is going to cost (and then add some $ for unexpected costs). If the total spend is outside of one person’s budget, you’ll have to make adjustments. Also, agree on how your costs are going to be divided. It’s not fun for either party to feel restricted while on vacay because of finances!

traveling with your partner

Cruising Bai Tu Long Bay in Vietnam

3. Make an Itinerary and Discuss it Thoroughly Before You Leave

This could just be my Type-A personality speaking, but I couldn’t imagine going anywhere without an itinerary! Okay, maybe a resort vacay is different. Otherwise, an itinerary will be your best friend! It’s one of the most essential tools to keep you organized and manage expectations, especially when there are a lot of moving parts to your trip.

If you create an itinerary while planning, it will facilitate clear communication with your partner (point #1). When building an itinerary, consider:

  • how many places you want to visit
  • the sights you want to see and activities you want to do
  • what restaurants you want to go to
  • what things are wants versus needs
  • the pace you want to go at
  • how much sleep each of you wants to get
  • what proportion of your days/entire trip you want to be doing things versus not doing anything

An itinerary is not meant to be restrictive and you don’t have to plan things down to the minute (unless, of course, you both want to). Setting a rough plan before your trip will help you understand what’s realistically possible and what isn’t. Review the itinerary together before you travel, so you’re both informed, in agreement, and there are no surprises!

4. Talk About Work and Technology Use in Advance

Two other HUGE sources of contention between couples on a trip are work and the use of technology. The last thing you want to do is roll up to paradise, only to have your partner on his or her laptop or phone all day. On the other hand, if one person has to remain ‘connected’, surprising him or her with a digital detox vacay may only cause stress!

Urgent things do come up, but try to jot down on your itinerary (see point #3 above) when you hope to get work done and how much time you want to allow technology to be used.

traveling with your partner

Breakfast at Mai House Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City (read my Ho Chi Minh City Travel Guide here)

5. Compromise

It’s not possible to agree on everything. Be willing to do something you may not want to do in order to make your partner happy and vice-versa. In order for this to work, both parties have to be equally compromising.

6. Divide and Conquer

You can optimize your time on vacay and plan efficiently by dividing and conquering. Know your individual strengths and weaknesses. If one person is more resourceful, he or she can do the research, while the other does the execution/booking. If one person is careless, the other can be responsible for holding the important documents.

While on the trip, try to anticipate the needs of the other person. For example, if one person takes longer to get ready, perhaps the other can order the breakfast to speed things up. You should be able to even out overall.

You can be more productive and avoid duplication, if you divvy up responsibilities in advance.

7. Be Flexible

Be prepared for something to go wrong! It always does. There is nothing worse than traveling with someone who can’t adapt, or who can’t handle changes or bad situations. Being able to go with the flow will ensure you continue to enjoy your time together, even if shit hits the fan! Put things into perspective, find the silver lining, and have an attitude of gratitude. And embrace it – because some of the best lessons or memories can come out of things going wrong!

traveling with your partner

Hsinbyume Pagoda in Mandalay, Myanmar

8. Do Activities Together

Prepare for down time at airports or on long rides. Pick a couple activities that you both enjoy (e.g. playing cards or trivia) and bring those with you on the trip. You’ll avoid being bored, entertain yourselves, and build your bond.

9. Spend Time Apart

You can’t expect to want to do all of the same things all the time. You’re not joined at the hip – so don’t feel guilty if you’re in need of some alone time. Most people need this in order to re-center. Accept your individuality and allow for solo time on your vacation. You’ll regroup feeling refreshed!

traveling with your partner

Souk Al Bahar, Dubai

10. Focus on the Bigger Picture

If all else fails, at the end of the day, you are on an incredible trip with your partner and that’s what matters most! Some people can’t travel at all, so be thankful that you can!

traveling with your partner

Sunset at Hotel des Arts in Ho Chi Minh City (read my Ho Chi Minh City Travel guide here)

The majority of these photos were taken using a tripod. TIP: bring a tripod with you and use the self-timer on your camera to capture stunning couple photos!

Do you have any additional tips for traveling with your partner? If so, leave them in the comments below!