Being a girl myself you’d think this one would be for the girls only. Well, I thought about it for a bit and having spoken to a few friends and colleagues that have travelled with their partners I reckon the rules work both ways.
So, if you’re reading this you must be thinking of travelling with the other half? Sounds like a cool idea, right?
It probably sounds amazing to any couple planning their gap year together. Think about it – you’ll be going away and seeing places you’ve always dreamed of with someone who you’re most likely to be willing to share your life with. At least at the point of planning that is…
But what are the reasons you both decided to go together, do the same things, and see the same places?
They say long term travelling (we’re not talking holidays here) is all about finding yourself and figuring out what to do with your life. That’s probably that case if you’re going solo but it’s somewhat difficult trying to find your own path when there’s two of you walking it.
“Love is not just looking at each other, it’s looking in the same direction” says Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Are you?
Not only from my own 11 months on the road with the other half but also from speaking with others, I think these travel tips may inspire and help you to have a near flawless gap year together. That’s the idea anyway…
Of course you talk, what’s so special about it? Well, let me tell you it may not be that simple after a 27 hour Vietnamese train journey in less than luxurious conditions. Or 15 hours on a karaoke bus in Cambodia. Or being ripped off for the 100th time trying to buy souvenirs for those back home. Add it all up and you’ve got communication problems right there slap bang in the middle of your dream journey together.
You’ll get angry, you’ll get frustrated, you’ll feel like you’ve had enough of it all. So what do you do? Well, talk as I said! Talk it all through and realise that there’s no point taking it out on each other as it’s got nothing to do with the two of you really, does it? Brush it off, put that smile back on your face and leave it behind you.
If you’re in tune with what gets on your nerves while in each other’s pockets 24/7, you’ll realise that most of the time it is actually the outside world getting to you, not the person you’re travelling with. And if they do, you probably should have gone on your own to start with…
2. Do your own thing
You’ll be together from dusk till dawn and dawn till dusk and there’s no way out I’m afraid. Be conscious of each other’s likes and dislikes and leave each other be once in a while. It’ll keep you sane I promise! Whether you go off doing your own thing for a day, or just sit there in silence reading your books, or getting on with that chipped nail varnish while your boy watches a footy game in an expat bar, it’ll do you good to spend a little time apart.
Whether you like it or not, we all need ME time and space! Go on, try it, I dare you! You’ll only end up wanting to get back together pronto rather than wishing the other half would just bugger off for a while to leave you to your own devices.
3. Never stop making an effort
As much as you both need your own space, you also need to make each other feel special. You’ll sure get used to the same baggy clothes, messy beach hair and lack of make up but stop here for a second! It’s not all about that when it comes to making an effort. Make sure you treat each other every now and again.
Whether you book into a nicer hotel or guesthouse, surprise each other with little treats or a nice dinner. All these little things will put a smile on your and your other half’s face and keep the sparkle going. Even though you sometimes feel like you’ve seen and done it all, trust me, you haven’t!
4. Meet other people
It’s much harder to just get to know other backpackers when you’re on the road with your partner. People don’t want to interrupt you and you’re more likely to stay in private rooms rather than dorms where you just can’t help it but talk to people. Make sure you do get to know other travellers; its how new friendships are born.
You’ll get to share your stories and you’ll see that it’s not just you getting frustrated with this or that. It’s everyone else around you. And in a few years, you never know, you may just bump into each other again while trotting another part of the globe, share a drink and reminisce how awesome it was to get chatting in that backpackers bar somewhere.
5. Laugh (a lot!)
Simple, right? But laughter is the best medicine of all! Whether jet lagged and shattered or struggling with Delhi belly, nothing beats a good laugh with your loved one. Be silly together after all the sun and fun will make this journey amazing for each other. You’ve got to remember to enjoy it!
Happy together travels people. And as they say it will either make you or break you!
About the Author: Marta Napierala
Marta first caught the travel bug when she was no more than six and fell in love with the mighty Himalayas that her mum showed her in one of her books. In 2007, she found gapyear.com writing her dissertation titled “The Anglo-Saxon Gap Year Phenomenon”. Having visited 20 countries so far and having just come back from a year away, Marta is already planning on not only how to take over the world with her nutrition and fitness business but also keeping it mobile so she can travel, explore and travel some more.