Travelling can be an ironically stressful experience. Considering most people plan to travel to places of excitement and relaxation, they tend to forget just how much strain such travel can put on them personally and on their relationship. The isolation, cultural differences and language barriers can all combine to push up tensions and tempers. Then throw in the unexpected expenses, some travellers diarrhoea and a disagreement about how much it should reasonably cost to cuddle a monkey and you have a powder keg just waiting for a match.
But don’t worry. This is normal, and survivable. People do travel long term with their partners and live to tell the happy tale. This article will show you some common reasons for arguments and tension and also some ways to avoid them!
1) Have realistic expectations
Your trip will be awesome. But not every single moment of every single day. Some days will be spent on long, hot ,dusty bus journeys and others one of you might be tired or a bit under the weather and need some down time. And that is OK. If you go at 100 mph every minute and force or expect fun all the time you will exhaust yourself and also be disappointed by this down time. Instead, use this time as a comparison so that the fun moments really stand out. What you should not do in these mundane moments is start to question whether this means your entire trip is a waste, or will be boring, or your relationship is in trouble. It won’t be and it’s not. This is just a trough before you crest another awesome wave, so relax and go with it.
2) Some bits just won’t be romantic. Sorry.
I’m afraid that nature doesn’t care you are in Bali in the honeymoon sweet with your own infinity pool looking out over the ocean. If one of you has got the shits, then one of you has the shits – and that just ain’t going to be romantic. Travelling together will let you and your partner see each other at your best and at your worst. But even if your romantic night in Bali was spoiled by some Delhi belly, keep things in perspective – you have a long trip together and plenty more opportunities for romance. What your partner needs now is not a strop about how romantic things were supposed to be, but rather a supportive and sympathetic ear. And possibly some extra loo roll…
3) You don’t need to spend every second together
It’s pretty common to feel pressure to spend almost 24 hours together, constantly compromising so you both go to the same places and see the same things. But this can be a recipe for arguments and frustration and you get sick of the sight of each other and run out of things to talk about in equal measures. So you like museums and your partner would rather do some watersports? You are knackered but your partner wants to go out for dinner with some new friends? As long as you are spending quality time together then this time spent apart will only make you enjoy each other’s company more- plus it will give you new things to chat about when you catch up,
4) Try and avoid the couple bubble
This is related to the last point, but isn’t the same. When you are traveling as a couple it’s really easy to book into private rooms, eat all your meals together and travel place to place just the two of you. Not only can this speed up arguments, but you’re missing out on interacting with some seriously awesome people.
5) Please don’t fight about money
It’s so easy. You’re on a budget, you’re sharing finances. Tensions are rising and you’re spoiling for a fight. Your partner buys another pint or another stupid souvenir and suddenly all your frustration is being poured into an argument about money. DANGER! These fights can happen so easily but they can quickly become irreparably damaging. I find the easiest way around this is to discuss and advance and pay your agreed share of a well estimated budget into a joint bank account. This can then be used for day to day purchases and joint expenses without much stress. It’s also helpful to agree on some things you would prefer were paid for separately out of you own bank account, such as souvenirs or expensive trips that you are not both going on. Arguing about money is never worth it, I promise.
Travelling with your partner might be the best thing you ever do together. Don’t let other people’s bad experiences put you off. I hope this article will help you avoid any major arguments. Let me know if you think I’ve missed anything important!
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