After years of traveling solo, I finally got a chance to travel with my beau. And here's a warning, there are some adjustments that you need to make when you travel with your partner for the first time, especially when you get so used to being a solo traveler!
So far, I've spent a month and a half traveling with my partner in total. It's not a full-time travel, since my boyfriend works 9-to-5, but we managed to be together for a month in Southeast Asia without killing each other and a short trip around Turkey (also known as Turkiye) recently seems to make us long for our next journey to travel together as a couple.
In this post, I'm going to share some ways to travel with your partner, based on what works for me and my beau. So, here are some tips for traveling as couple travelers for the first time!
How to Travel with Your Partner for the First Time
Traveling with your partner can be a make-or-break in your relationship, because I believe traveling will eventually reveal your true color as an individual that you may find either the red flags or the reason for you to lean on to them when things go wrong.
For me, traveling is the only way for me to even be with my boyfriend in the first place since we've been in a long-distance relationship for almost one year now. Just like probably every couple who started planning to travel together, we were both nervous that we were going to end up killing each other on the trip. Thankfully, it didn't happen so here are some things that I think work when it comes to traveling together as a couple!
1. Be transparent about your traveling style
Before planning a trip together, be clear about your traveling style and preference so that you can anticipate what could possibly become a problem when you travel together. It will probably be easier if you occasionally travel before, so you get the hunch on what you like and what you don't when you explore a new place on your own or with a partner.
In my case, I know I'm not one for a fixed itinerary. I like to travel slowly and explore to see what I really want to see about the place. I'm quite price-sensitive when it comes to accommodation, so I tend to focus more on affordability and comfort. The same goes for meals, as my Southeast Asian gene isn't really fussy about hygiene that I could almost eat anything without having a problem when I travel.
My boyfriend is pretty much the opposite in a way, as he'd rather list all the places he wants to see each day, although he's quite flexible on whether we can visit everything on the list that day. He prefers comfort because he thinks that's the point of being on holiday, on top of that he's also a picky eater so while he's up to trying new food, his stomach might not respond to it the same way as I do.
When you know what's the deal with your partner, you tend to be more prepared on D-day and it will also help you find the common ground on what you want to do or where you want to go.
Communication is the key, so talk it out and see how you can manage all these differences in your traveling style. Trust me on this, the communication during the travel planning will definitely trigger your instinct whether your first trip as a couple will be a success!
2. Be prepared to compromise
So you know how compromise is the key to any kind of relationship. Well, so is it when you plan to travel together with your partner.
Love needs some kind of sacrifice, and that's the truth. And if it's to compromise and adjust your thing to theirs, then so be it. In my case, I tend to be more careful about picking the place to eat when we travel, though in the end, my boyfriend ended up getting diarrhea anyway when he got home. Which I find weird, because he was just fine when we were together and as soon as he got home, he literally had to get some additional sick days for almost two weeks.
Since I told my boyfriend that I'm price-sensitive when it comes to choosing accommodation, he compromises to pay the bigger cut for accommodation so we can afford the place that he prefers as long as we stay on a budget.
Just like any relationship in general, in order to make it work, you need to work as a team to cater to each other's needs. Be ready to compromise, because if there's anything I've learned from traveling with my beau in the past few months, some people are just worth compromising for.
3. Respect each other's space
My partner and I are introverts, so having our own space is important for us respectively, and we try to respect each other's space despite being together for the whole trip. On our first trip together, we booked an apartment with two separate bedrooms just to make sure that we had our own space whenever needed. Not to mention that I occasionally still have to work in between our travel.
Some hotel rooms that we stayed in also come with twin beds, although we mostly booked rooms with a double bed. I mean, come on… What's the point of traveling together as a couple if you can't have the intimacy you deserve after a long day of traveling, right? 😛
When we traveled, we never really argued about anything. Maybe once or twice when we were in a really bad mood. But it was never too long. More often than not, it was also because we still got our own space to cool down despite being together 24/7 on our trip.
4. Split responsibilities and make them accessible to everyone so you can hold each other accountable
Relationship is all about teamwork, and planning a trip together as a couple is no different. Split the responsibilities, and hold each other accountable so that instead of micromanaging every move, you can give each other feedback on how to make the trip easier and more fun for everyone.
As we have to plan our trip online since we're in a long-distance relationship to begin with, we take advantage of the vast technology there is to plan a trip for us.
We usually create a Google Sheet and make it accessible for both of us. We always make three sheets on the Google Sheet and label them accordingly: Marya (me), Sam (my boyfriend), and Us.
My responsibility is to usually list the accommodation where we're going to stay as well as the pros and cons for each accommodation, while my boyfriend's responsibility is to usually do some research on where to go or what to do in our destination.
We'll give each other heads up when we update the sheet, so when we have a video date, we will brainstorm the best way to visualize our trip before adding the list in the sheet that's labeled “Us.” We usually fill the latter when we both agree about things so we have all the information needed for our trip there, before finally making the final draft of our itinerary for each day of our trip together as a couple.
In terms of money, we also use the TravelSpend app to track our expenses so it will be easier for us to settle our “travelimony”, basically the money we owe each other after our travel. LOL. As we both use Wise, we can also transfer money easily for all the transactions needed for our travel.
I think it's a great way to make sure that each one of us has a say on things before we decide anything, and I think that it's also fundamental to contribute to making sure that the first time you travel with your partner will be a success!
5. Make time to socialize with other people
If there's anything I've learned about having some secret, toxic relationships in the past, it is that you can never know the true person behind your partner until you're going out publicly as a couple in front of other people, sometimes strangers.
So, while being on a romantic vacation seems like a great way to spice up your relationship, remember that this is not your honeymoon… At least not yet. So, instead of focusing on quality time just the two of you, make time to socialize with other people, be it with your friends or even new people.
When we were in Chiang Rai, we decided to join a Thai cooking class where we could connect with new people so we wouldn't get stuck being with each other as an item. We also managed to get on a double date with my university friend in my hometown, and we had our first Couchsurfing experience together when we met Ali in Canakkale, Turkiye, recently.
I think socializing with other people will also test your relationship in a good way, because you'll know your partner's character more when you don't stay inside your own bubble during your whole travel.
6. Add a lazy day to just stay in and do nothing
After all traveling and socializing, it's important to spare some time to unwind and do nothing even during your trip. Plan a lazy day to stay in, so you can enjoy each other's presence more than just exploring a new place together.
On this day, it will be a free day for both of us so you don't even have to go out if you don't want to. Maybe it's time to dive deep into Netflix and chill on this day, or you can plan a day to make a romantic dinner just the two of you. Cook together if you can, if not you can also take advantage of UberEat or anything alike in your destination.
I genuinely believe that the best kind of quality time is when you can be alone together without any pressure, possibly doing random stuff. Or maybe it's just an introvert in me.
7. Start creating memories together
Last but not least, don't overthink it. Planning is the key, but overthinking the possible result of traveling with your partner for the first time will only stop yourself from starting to create memories and exploring the world together.
Be open to new things that you can do together, because as much as I love traveling solo, I realized there are things I miss out on when I travel solo. For instance, I can get a much better accommodation for a lower price as I split the cost with my partner.
And while my boyfriend isn't exactly someone who could take Instagram-worthy pics, he's actually the one who would go post the pics on his Facebook so my mom could lurk in once in a while about what we do and where we go.
After falling sick while traveling solo and getting my wallet stolen, I know how comforting it is to have someone else beside you when you travel, so I'm glad that I've finally got someone with whom I could share my travel memories together!
FAQ about Traveling with Your Partner
In this section, I'm going to answer a few frequently asked questions about traveling as a couple and traveling with your partner, so you can see how it is from my perspective and whether it's your cup of tea. So, here we go!
Is traveling with your partner a good idea when you're not married?
Traveling with your partner before marriage is frowned upon, especially if you come from a strong religious community. However, I see more benefits than downsides when traveling as couple travelers.
First of all, traveling together can reveal your compatibility as a partner as well as an individual. It exposes you to new things that you need to overcome, together and respectively. It brings out your strength and weakness as a unit, in which you can portray how you could live with them in the future and whether there are some icks that you may need to communicate before taking your relationship into the next step.
I know reading map is my weakness, and I'm glad that my boyfriend, despite being slightly dyslexic, he's actually better at reading maps than I am. While traveling together, we also slowly learned to manage finance together so if we ever get married one day, we'll get used to it in a way.
All and all, I definitely recommend traveling with your boyfriend or girlfriend once in a while because not only will it give you the opportunity to get away from your typical routine in a new destination, it can potentially make your relationship stronger than ever.
How long should you date before traveling together as a couple?
It may vary for everyone, but I would suggest not traveling together too soon as a couple. I mean, some people made it to travel as a couple as soon as they met, but like I said before, traveling with your partner can be a make-or-break for your relationship so it's better to give some time to make sure that you know your partner as an individual.
My first trip with my ex was a bit too soon as I traveled with him when we only knew each other for a month, and it didn't end well.
My boyfriend and I only started the idea of traveling together eventually on the second month since we started talking to each other, and then when he calculated the soonest time he could take a long leave from his work, he said it could only be around five months from then. So we managed to get to know each other during that period, and we kinda expect what will happen when we travel together.
In my case, I'm happy with the result and I think before anything else, having a strong connection with your partner is the one that you need the most before deciding to travel together as a couple.
Who pays for the trip when you travel together as a couple?
Finance is a sensitive topic as a couple, but it's important to talk about it. So the best way to do it is to communicate with your partner about how you settle your travel finance fairly.
Again, it may vary for everyone because some people may be able to fund all the trips for two people, while others may split the costs based on their agreement as a couple. Whichever that is, there is no right or wrong for this question because it all depends on how you communicate with your partner.
It's also another reason why I would encourage couples to travel together. Because you're forced to be transparent about finance and all the sensitive issues that have the tendency to showcase their vulnerability. I mean, it's a bit hard to talk about my finances with other people, but I'm glad I can be honest with my boyfriend.
However you think the best to split the cost, it'll definitely encourage teamwork between the two of you. So, be ready for it and see how you can thrive together as a couple traveling together!
Traveling with your partner is an incredible way to deepen your relationship as a couple to the next level. When you decide to plan a trip with your partner, it means you're ready to let out the thin layer that goes between you when you don't have to deal with each other all the time.
When you travel together, you can share each other's interests while also working on the plan in a way that it can be fun for both of you. It's a great way to bond, and you'll see the true color of your partner in a way that you can see the real them without any filter.
The important thing is to work as a team, while supporting each other so you can thrive together in the whole trip. So, are you ready to hit the road and plan your first trip as a couple traveling together?
Marya The BeauTraveler
I am the founder and main editor at The BeauTraveler. I spent 4 years working in the aviation industry but ironically got to travel more right after quitting the industry in 2015. Born and raised in Indonesia, I started working remotely in 2017, and while I stay at home most of the time, I also regularly spend 2-3 months living a semi-digital nomad life elsewhere every year.
This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my link.