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7 Clichés About Couples Travel that Need to End

Think traveling is over once you “settle down”? Think again. Although I personally wander solo, in groups of girlfriends, professionally with other journalists and with family, I’ve still maintained a pretty happy and healthy relationship for more than seven years. I find couples travel to be a whole different ball game – you’re comfortable enough to express what you want to do, but also have to compromise a lot to keep everyone happy. It’s exciting to share everyone with someone on the road, but you also might have less time to yourself. I’m obviously totally for having adventures as a pair and feel bad that couples get such a bad rap when they travel! I’m here to debunk the rumors.

1.      Couples aren’t interested in meeting other people while traveling.

Meeting new people while traveling is always important, especially for couples. Solo travelers often want to make connections and people to share memories with, but the same applies for a pack of two. In fact, having your partner along can boost confidence to approach strangers, practice the local language and get swirled into that impromptu dance class. Even if you bomb, you have a person to laugh with immediately cheering you on in the corner. Couples who give off an approachable vibe also can meet other solo wanderers, couples, families and everyone in-between. Eating at a table for two every night can get boring – couples sometimes love to make that dinner a party.

In Granada, Spain, Christian and I met another couple who were maybe a decade older at a cocktail bar. They were fun, flirty, hilarious and let me bumble through my broken Spanish with plenty of patience. We had a few fun drinks together and parted ways late in the evening. This is one of countless encounters we’ve had with other couples, solo travelers and even families with kids on the road.

Eileen and Christian in Nova Scotia

2.      There’s no reason for couples to argue while traveling.

Aha. Ha. There’s all the reasons why couples would fight on the road. However, you prepare ahead of time, set flexible expectations and communicate like adults. All these things can help avoid a meltdown while broke down on a road in southern Spain or sitting at home choosing the next Netflix series to devour. The same principles of love and respect apply everywhere. Just because there’s an infinity pool and five-course tasting dinners while the sunsets doesn’t mean the quips about your partner that drive you nuts magically go away. They’re going to annoy you. Work with it, learn from it, and move on.

3.      Couples constantly take photos of themselves.

There’s plenty of couples I want to hit over the head with their stupid selfie stick. But then I think, maybe this is their first trip out of the country together. Maybe they’re sending photos home to their grandmas. Maybe that’s how they have a good-ass time on the road and who am I to care. My husband and I tend to snap a selfie (celfie? Couple’s seflie?) a few times then get back to exploring a lot faster. Traveling is for us, not our friends at home. They might appreciate a few photos and we love when they do, but we’re there in the moment to enjoy everything together. I personally love photos but I hate when it detracts from what’s happening.

Eileen and Christian on a catamaran in Cairns, Australia

I get in trouble for this a lot. Landscapes, wildlife and close-ups are my favorite, so I often forget to have some poor schmuck stop and snap our photo too. I’m also a freak about composition and hate how people take our picture. But, we try to at least do a handful of selfies when we’ve driven to the top of a mountain overlooking the ocean or are sipping coladas on the beach somewhere. I’m not going to knock anyone who like to take photo memories – BUT I’m looking at you, selfie-stick-wielding crazies blocking my view of the geyser or scenic outcrop. You get in my way for an extended period of time and I will snap that stick in half.

4.      It’s more expensive to travel as a couple.

Number one, splitting accommodation with one double bed is way cheaper than a solo room. It might be a little more than a hostel bunk, but couples can shack up right alongside others for a few nights if needed to save a little of the budget. Big meals can be split and shared. You can double tour search power online before leaving to spot the best upcoming deals.

We have shared small plates in Valencia, split a six-part wine tasting in Paso Robles and went halfsies on a car rental in Wales. All of these perks and more is why traveling as a duo can be an easy way to not waste food, space and even time (you can take shifts for a long haul drive!)

Eileen and Christian on a luge in New Zealand

5.      Couples can only travel often if they both quit their jobs

Like anything in life, doing what you love needs to be made a priority to become a reality. Some couples do decide to do a long, slow trip, which means leaving work for a year or finding virtual positions on the road. But everyday duos can definitely take a few trips a year. Max out vacation days and plan one big trip around already scheduled holiday time. Take a few long weekends for an hour or two flight away and see a new city. Heck, take the car and drive to a spot you’ve never been, rent a cozy B&B and switch your phones off for 48 hours. Forgo some trendy, cramped dinners in town, designer clothes or coffee for a month to help save. Some couple will even go further and downsize their house or apartment for some extra traveling cash.

6.      There’s no alone time when couples travel together.

Some of the best traveling couples either know very honestly they don’t mind spending all their time with their partner, or they know when it’s time for a little breather. An afternoon stroll apart, a quick breakfast and different cafes, or even a separate night with a few drinks and new friends can be a welcome change. This is especially true for couples into some opposite interests. I prefer museums and spa treatments sometimes, he likes a nice hike or drive through the mountains. We do our own thing for a few hours, then gush excitedly about the experience when we’re back together. There is no reason you have to be attached at the hip while traveling as a couple all the time. In fact, for most it’s not healthy.

Christian and Eileen in Colorado Springs

7.      Couples have to find the perfect destination you both love.

I had no real desire to invest in a trip to Australia anytime soon. I let Christian plan our three-week honeymoon: To New Zealand and Australia. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I would have continued to cruise the Caribbean and may have never made it there if it wasn’t for him. Again, anyone who’s ever had a relationship, of any kind, knows it’s not always about you. It’s about compromise. Hopefully you’re blessed with a lot of time to travel during your time as a pair, so go with the flow. You’ll discover so much of the world together, and get to do it with your favorite person on the planet.

Eileen Cotter Wright

Author Eileen Cotter Wright

Eileen Cotter is a freelance travel journalist and owner of Pure Wander. She's our resident expat extraordinaire and falls down a lot in yoga class. Follow her on Instagram @Pure_Wander.

More posts by Eileen Cotter Wright

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Murray Hynd says:

    All depends if the two concerned are ‘in-it-for-life-no-matter-what’ relationship, married or not.

    Me and my wife; 30 years married Jun’85, She had a major stroke back in ’95 – corkscrewed life by 15000%: no chance of kids, loss of: ……..voice, right hand side, short-term memory, cognitive thinking, and a whole lot more – took us 6 years to get her clear of depending on the wheelchair.

    20 years later, her voice is back (in spades), but needs an AFO for mobility. We travel as much as before albeit not quite as fast or with the same amount of agility. She had the stroke at 34: we are now aged around 54 and 55.

    Travel is like the Road of Life in general – if you are not prepared to be in it for the long haul, it’ll only take hitting one deranged pot-hole to bugger up your steering from PointA to PointB;;

    In occasions like this in, such as obbscure parts of he planet, the Short-Haulers will be looking for shortcut fixxes and/or excuses and blaming the other half re: stop moaning you useless idiot…. long-haulers will suss out easy-wins in pairs, but if the outlook is bleak will then look for local plants to boil up some wicked kick-ass homebrew and look to get the locals on board.

    • EileenC says:

      Murray, thank you so much for sharing this. Congratulations on 30 years of marriage, that is incredible. Cheers to you and your wife. I’m so glad to hear that she is overcoming her challenges and you are taking great care of her. I do hope that you can continue to have adventures together for a long time to come – whether it’s going abroad or simply exploring your back yard. And yes I agree- there are whiners and there are doers, and I love your outlook on that!

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