Travelling with your significant other is a skill, it doesn't come easily. Think about it, when do you ever spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with your partner, or anybody for that matter. It is a story we have all heard - the story of a couple that embarks on the trip of a lifetime together convincing both themselves and everybody else that because they are in love they will conquer all and return happier than ever.
Upon arriving into a new city you will each find yourself stripped of your 9 to 5 job, social commitments, gym membership and all of the other day to day distractions that allow you to have time apart. In short, travelling with your loved one is tough. It's unnatural to spend that much time with someone so it may be of help to read these 10 simple tips before setting off on that romantic journey for two.
1. Make the full extent of your habits known before you leave
Up until now the 'cute' little habits that make you, well YOU, will become an everyday part of your partner's life. Yes you NEED a good coffee in the morning before you can function. Yes sometimes you really need a chocolate snack at midnight to fall asleep. And YES every sock in your backpack needs to be paired with the matching sock. From experience it is fair to say that spending two years in a long distance relationship is not the best means of preparation for travelling together so try a weekend at the very least together. If saving mode is switched on, plan a cheap weekend away in your local country.
2. If you hide things at home it is 10 times harder to hide them whilst travelling
Don't ask me why but guys just do not understand why you need to to purchase magazines filled with pictures of celebrities and pretty clothes. When you are travelling it is harder to purchase them let alone read them in peace and yes, I do need a new one each week. Oh and that embarrassing cream that I keep in my toiletry bag? Don't worry, I'm clean and yes every girl uses it.
3. Compromise and plan ahead
This one is obvious, but easy to forget. As two individuals it is likely that you may have different ideas about where to go, what to see and how to do it. Plan your journey before you leave and write down what you are both hoping to get from your trip. For example, make a pact to visit the top 5 places that you each would like to see.
4. Prepare to be seen as one
"When two become one" - hideous song and hideous phrase. Although you may know that you are two independent travellers others do not and you will often find that people group you together rather than get to know you individually. When meeting other backpackers they will most ask questions to get to know "you" - as in plural from, "so where are you both from?" To avoid this, see number 5.
5. You don't have to be joined at the hip
If your partner is still faffing with something then why not head to the communal area and see what other people are up to and get to know other travellers for yourself. You don't NEED to do EVERYTHING together! There will be times where one of you will want to hit the hay and have an early night. Use this as an opportunity to mingle with other backpackers and allow them to get to know you as the individual you are. The same goes with a tour or a day trip!
6. Remember that you are not at home
When we travel solo or with friends, our personality shines and we change our daily rituals. You will probably notice a few small changes in your partner's behaviour when you hit the road - after all, backpacker life vs normal life is very different! He or she may appear friendlier or more open to new people, you may find them saying yes to things they usually wouldn't agree to and you may find yourselves drinking alot more than you would at home. It's natural for us humans to begin questioning our relationships when our partner's behaviour has changed. Remember that the 'travel bug' bites all of us - whether we are in a relationship or flying solo. Don't ask questions and embrace your partners new lust for life.
7. Save money in advance for double rooms
Although you do alienate yourselves a bit by staying in double rooms rather than dorms it still isn't fair to inflict your raging hormones on the rest of the backpackers in your dorm so decide before you leave: friends or sex life, which is more important? Try and allocate a few double rooms within your budget. They don't need to cost you an arm and a leg. It's actually quite common to be able to find yourself a private room for almost the same cost as two dorm beds. Can't afford a double room? You may need to read this guide to dorm room sex.
Private room at Nomads Queenstown
8. Don't compare yourselves to other couples
It isn't really healthy to do this anyway but the couple who are walking in front of you attempting to walk the Franz Josef Glacier hand in hand, who cannot sit on a bus without stroking each others arms and cannot walk the 1 minute stroll to the pub without super-gluing their hands to each other are not real. Don't feel bad if you are not the most disgustingly affectionate couple, you won't make many friends that way anyway.
9. Remember that walls can be thin, very thin
So when one of you have seriously pissed off the other one and you feel that the only means of venting your irritation is to up the volume, remember that the people in the room next to you may be on your bus the next day and may not want to hear about your argument over the price of cheese. Sometimes it can feel quite claustrophobic when having an argument in a hostel. Remember to take a few deep breaths and ask your partner if they would like to go for a walk to chat. Or, have some time apart to chill out.
10. Have fun
Seriously, stop focusing on whether or not everything is perfect in your relationship and enjoy the surroundings. When you start to enjoy yourself, good things happen.
So, travelling with your partner doesn't have to end in tears although if you have managed to spend a year with your partner without a mammoth row perhaps you could send us in an article with your tips!