When Couples Don’t Travel The Same

Recently, I saw a post in a travel group saying something like, "My boyfriend won't travel with me. What should I do?" I saw the post like an hour after it was up and there were 632 responses, mostly about dumping him and leaving the country. Couples do not always agree on how to travel but if there are some good reason to keep him then it does not have to be a deal breaker. My own husband and I differ greatly on how, how often, where, and priorities with regards to travel. Here are six things that have helped us and my clients enjoy travel together.

Listen to Each Other

Feeling heard is a fundamental need of both men and woman. A person may seem dug in on a position but completely turns around and compromises after they feel their concerns and perspective have been heard. If I am your travel consultant, I really appreciate when you can work this out before you talk to me but sometimes that is not how it goes so we hash it out together. Try writing it down and letting each other read it. This is advanced level communication here but it is a lesson applicable to the rest of your relationship together. You may as well practice on a fun topic like travel.

Be Flexible

Travel to almost any destinations will contain some unknowns and unexpected events. You will need to be flexible during your travels so give that gift to your partner during planning as well. Maybe you really like a plan of what activities are going to be done at any given second of the day and your wife wants to wake up every morning and do something fun. You can still travel together but you will both have to compromise is some way. Unless solo travel is your thing, then it will be essential that you are willing to work together and trust that the vacation will still be fun. Try giving each other a day to plan just how you like it. You may find you enjoy each others style.

Plan Something for Everyone

Make sure everyone going on the trip has some part of it that they are excited about. It is not uncommon to find a couple where one is more passionate about travel then the other. That is my marriage. What has worked well for us it to make sure my husband has some autonomous say in some part of the trip. As our children are getting older we are doing the same thing for them. Sharing my passion for travel with my husband and my kids is best done by involving them in the process. So even though I am the planner, my husband has to pick out or suggest some part of the trip. I usually have like six different potential trips rattling around in my head that I mention to him randomly. If he says anything positive about one of them I have the tickets purchased the next day. If you know your spouse doesn't like sudden changes then plan well in advance to give them the opportunity to get their mind around the trip.

Time Apart

This advice is actually from a therapist. While traveling give each other down time. If you have kids this is harder but still important. Plan part of a day when you can have some time to take a breather from activities and be alone for a bit. My husband needs less of this then I do but we both still need it. As a mother of young kids, when my husband said I could go to dinner by myself at the resort, I was giddy. Adam Costa who travels regularly with his wife of 12 years says there are three ways to do this. Time, Space and Attention. If it is impossible to physically move away (say on a plane or crowded bus ride) maybe you can just allow each other to check out into a book or a cell phone for a while. Remember to come back though.

When Traveling Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Oh adult-ing is rough. Every problem I have ever had in any relationship (family, friends, husband, kids, work etc.) has probably been at root a communication problem. This does not change while traveling. Just like in the planning process above remember that things are sometimes moving fast on a trip and you need to listen. Some couples even use a scale 0-10 of what they want. "I want to do the jungle tour at a 10+!" Ok, you should probably work that in somehow. I also highly recommend a clear form of communication around eating. Hangry is no joke. I like the green, orange, red zone indicators. Green is good to go, orange is time to move toward getting food and red, well, if you are not seated in front of food, it might be too late. If someone (adult or child) is prone to hanger, take snacks.

If It Is Not Working to DIY, Hire It Out

Sometimes marriages are saved by hiring out the work that is not getting done. True for house cleaning, yard work, taxes, auto care and travel. If neither of you has the time or inclination to plan a trip then find someone to help. You can choose travel martyrdom but there is no reason you have to do it yourself when you can both be on the same team telling me what to do. Then it will be my job to find what works for both the Mister and Missus.


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