Travel the world

Three Tips For Traveling Couples

On February 14, 2001, Carrie came to a Valentine’s Day party at my house.

I was hosting the party for everyone who didn’t have anything to do on Valentine’s Day.

We had met three days earlier at a German club meeting. Carrie asked for an invite to my party (because she thought I was cute).

The party ended up being 8 girls and me…

One of the girls was one of my roommates, and the other 7 were (apparently) there because they wanted to spend Valentine’s Day with me.

That’s how Carrie tells the story.

This picture was taken 2 months after we met.

I still think they just came for the party (but I tend to be a bit oblivious when it comes to people attempting to pick me up).

Anyway, it’s been more than 10 years that we have been together.

And we are very close to celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary. Crazy!

In that time, we’ve traveled together on 6 continents, using every mode of transportation possible (except spaceship, camel, and hot air balloon).

I thought I would use this as a reason to share some things we have learned in our travels together.

When Carrie and I first started dating, we had some things to learn about each other.

This is true with all relationships.

However, it’s especially true when you travel together in close spaces.

This is why we recommend our first tip:

1. Start small

You may dream about traveling the world together for 2 years. In November, 2011, we completed a 2 year travel around the world, and it is possible.

However, we recommend you start with a small trip.

Take a weekend in Vegas, in the mountains, or at the beach.

If that 3-4 day adventure goes well, then plan a week away together.

If that works well, then figure out how to travel together for 2 weeks.

Road trips are great 1 or 2 week adventures.

Here’s a video of a 1-week road trip we did by renting an RV on the South Island of New Zealand:

You can decide to travel for a long travel right away, and starting with a three month travel may work for you.

But traveling together this way may also destroy your relationship.

Shorter trips will help you learn each other’s preferences and how to accommodate for them.

Start with short trips to see if longer travels will work for you.

Whether your travel is short or long however, tip #2 is really important for bringing you closer together.

2. Make time and plan for surprises
You may have an idea of what’s special and important to your travel partner.

Take something small as a nice surprise to make it extra special.

As an example, Carrie and I lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina (in 2008) for 6 weeks.

I will spare you the details, but we ended up in a dirty, loud, mold-infested apartment.

It was for two days over Easter weekend. (Supposed to be for 6 weeks).

There really was no one to call or email to help us get out of the situation because of the holiday.

Carrie had thought it would be nice to bring some chocolate eggs with her from the states so we could celebrate Easter while away from our families. She didn’t know we would end up in the situation we were in, but those chocolate eggs became our rallying point for having some good smiles and laughs in what was an otherwise unpleasant situation.

It may not be chocolate Easter eggs for you, but you should find some small surprise to take with you that your partner will enjoy.

It might be his or her favorite food, a new skimpy outfit for the bedroom, or some other small thing.

But plan in advance to have some nice small surprise available at your destination. Which brings us to tip #3…

3. When it comes to destinations, decide what before where
Many people like to decide where they will go based on what’s currently on sale.

But even more important than where you go is what you want to do.

You may like to lay on the beach when you travel, but your partner likes to climb mountains.

In some destinations, that may work, but in other places one partner will be satisfied but unhappy because their partner is miserable.

We’re both good sports about things in our lives and up for anything, but it was funny to discover a miscommunication Carrie and I had, 3 weeks before we were set to leave on our 6-week summer 2006 travel.

It turns out that Carrie doesn’t enjoy camping, but we spent 8 days sleeping in a tent on the side of the tallest mountain in Africa.

It was absolutely one of the most amazing experiences of our lives, and is the travel where we got engaged.

But we learned to talk before booking.

If you’re thinking about a luxury room at the Hilton, but she wants to sleep under the stars in the middle of the Mojave desert, you should communicate about what you want before deciding where to go.

You can find ways for both of you to get what you hope and expect from your travel together.

But decide what you want to do before deciding where to go.

As always (as with almost everything in relationships), communication goes a long way.

We have lots of other travel tips we can share with you, but these three tips will help you as you learn to travel for longer periods of time with one special someone.

Thank-you for giving us the opportunity to share these three tips with you.

May all your travels bring you the surprise you hoped for, in the way you least expected.

7 thoughts on “Three Tips For Traveling Couples

  1. Nomadic Samuel

    These are some great tips! I’ve always been Mr. Solo Backpacker but on my next journey I’ll be travelling with my girlfriend Audrey. It’ll definitely involve having a different mindset but in many ways I think it’ll be more rewarding than before.

    1. strive4impact Post author

      I would definitely agree with that. Though our short RV travels are minimal compared with the Renegade Health Road Show. What is the biggest thing you learned while RVing together for 2 years?

  2. Suzanne

    My husband and I are in our 60’s now and enjoying RV travel for up to 3 months last winter and 6 this coming winter. We started in our 20’s with tenting, then our homemade 64 Chev camper van, moving on up to bigger vans, small and big (3 kids then) rv’s. We will have to say traveling now in a 24′ RV requires great maturity sometimes. There is just no way one can hold a grudge, even though we may want to hang onto it for awhile. It doesn’t hurt either that we often cannot remember what we were disgruntled about. When we are feeling tense being by “ourselves” reading a book, nose in the computer, taking a solo walk, etc. can help also.

  3. gabriel

    hi carrie and jonathan: both are a remarkable couple, your trips outstanding, hope that we’ll meet in the near future, traveling is really rewarding and you meet people as i did with you on our cruise from palma de mallorca to panamá.- sent construction pictures did you see them in your e mail? regards, gabriel (the lyon king).-

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