10 Unique Tips for Travelling as a Couple

10 Unique Tips Travelling Couple

For many people, travelling the world with bae is the dream. However, the reality of couple travel is often very different to what people imagine. Don't worry though: with a little pre-warning and a few tips from experts, couple travel can be the most rewarding thing you've ever done and can take your relationship to a whole new level.

Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand
Stick with us for relephant travel couple advice
Now, we like to think we know a thing or two about being a 'successful' couple:

We're in our 20s and have just celebrated ten years of being a couple. 

Yep, we were one of those annoying teenage couples who used to go on and on about how we would be 'togeth forevs':

cute couple english german
Ahh look how annoying we were

Everyone thought we'd be over after a week. 

But that week passed, and then a few more, then a month, then a year, and so on and so on... until an entire decade flashed by!  

We have just celebrated our ten year anniversary with a three month trip around Asia and thought it was high time to share our secrets on how to travel as a couple. 

film the beach thailand

So without further stalling, here are our 10 unique tips for travelling as a couple

1. DON'T spend time apart

couple greece athens
staying close in Greece

Most of the blogs which give you tips for travelling couples tell you that spending time apart is important.

We don't believe that the key to successful couple travel is time apart.

I mean the whole reason we travel and work together is because we want to be together...

However, that's not to say travel as a couple doesn't require an adjustment period. 

It's true what they say, travel can make or break a couple, and we're here to make sure the former happens to you.

When you travel as a couple, chances are you will be together 24/7, and the fact is travel amplifies everything; the good (sunsets), the bad (being sick) and the annoying habits your significant other has (elbowing me when we eat, omg).

But the answer isn't time apart to brood on those habits, the answer is sticking together to see if those things are really relevant.

Travel really will make or break a couple and if you can't stick it out, break up and come back to this post when you find a make-it person :D

2. Be prepared to talk about poop

Number 2 (pun intended) is a very sensitive topic. The longer you travel together and the more developing countries you visit, the higher your chances are of one or (if you're really lucky) both of you getting traveller's diarrhoea

philippines beach couple
Fun story: can you believe that the day before this photo we both had serious TD and were bed ridden all day?
We have an anonymous friend who went to Egypt with his girlfriend and had a serious case of T.D. They hadn't been going out very long, and he wasn't comfortable telling her about it, and had to lie and say he needed to pee all the time. He said that the fact he had no one to confide in and share his pain was the worst thing about the situation. (YES worse than when he realised there was no loo roll in one of the bathrooms.) 

Personally, we believe that when it comes to illnesses, full disclosure is paramount to a healthy relationship, yes more so than spending time apart, or having shared interests or never going to bed in the middle of a fight.

It mayyyy mean that you're in the shower and the other one runs to use the toilet because it's an absolute emergency, OR that by wanting to avoid throwing up on the carpet the other one is sick in your hands... not saying either of these things have happened to us, even if I'm being suspiciously specific about them... thank God for shower curtains and hand sanitiser (amirite)!?

Anyway, the couple that talks about poop together, stays together. Trust.

[Not to be confused with the couple that poops together - those guys are just weird.]

3. Create a 'secret' language 

couple paris france eiffel tower
In the city of love practising the language of love

Perfect for private conversations: when you're trying to barter a price down, when you want to leave a certain situation, when you want to talk about your bowel movements (see point 2).., and, my personal favourite, when another couple starts talking in front of you in their own secret language and you want to give them a taste of their own medicine.

As to 'creating' a secret language, we already had this section covered, being a German-English (Denglish) couple, we both speak German and English (watch our German YouTube challenge for some proof).

ANYWAY, German isn't really secret, but it has come in useful A LOT when we've been travelling outside of Germany/Austria/Switzerland . 

Okay so unless you want to live in a German speaking country or your significant other is German, I really don't recommend that you learn German (it's hard), but I do recommend coming up with a few 'sly' phrases with your travel bud to make sure you're in sync, here are a couple of examples:
  • "I dunno, I'm not really that interested" (when you really really want something but think the price is too high and want help bartering)
  • "12" or any other o'clock you want the person to look at, like when we were in Vietnam and we saw someone called 'Bich' :D 

4. Share your deodorant

Can you tell that armpit has male deo on it?

And anything else that works. Very important for those wanting to travel light (which hopefully is you). 

As we are different heights and shapes we don't really share clothes (though we have been known to share pajamas and jumpers that my grandma made..) but we don't let that stop us. What we do share is deodrant (men's), shampoo (girl's), a hairbrush (Tanbay's sister's).. 

How will sharing things help you as a couple? Well let me elaborate: 

We all know about getting hangry (angry because you're hungry), but have you heard of tangry (angry because you're tired)? 
People generally only get hangry (Laura) or tangry (Tanbay), and the number one cause of tangriness in travellers is having a heavy bag.

Okay I may have made up that last 'fact' but heavy bags are not good for travelling couples, you'll squabble about who has to carry them (Tanbay), why one of you made them so heavy (Laura), why the other one of you is careless with the heavy bags (Tanbay).

Take it from me, hand luggage only, preferably in a roll-on suitcase. And your hand luggage only will be that much easier if you share everything. Well everything  from...  

4. Have a laptop each

This one is mainly for travelling couple bloggers, but can be extended to anyone else with an internet addiction. 

When we first started travelling (in Australia) we only had one laptop, and whilst we weren't bloggers at that point, we were nevertheless addicted to being on the internet. Sometimes it got to the point where one of us would be happily surfing and the other one would just be sat there..

For us the internet is a source of entertainment, income, and  way to contact friends and family, so being without it when the other one had it, caused resentment. 

engagement australia beach
Happy ending: we got engaged in Australia
Once we got our own laptops, things were a lot smoother and a lot more work got done. Sure, we will often sit in the same room and Facebook message each other, but how else am I supposed to show Tanbay photos of dogs I like? Get up and show him? Don't be weird.

5. Don't book the middle seat

couple sydney opera house

You may have heard of this travel hack for couples:

Book the window and the aisle seat; if no one books the middle seat, great! You have three seats to yourselves. If someone books the middle seat, ask them to swap so you're still sat together.

In practice, we've never found that this works, either we're not allowed to choose our seats, or someone always books that middle seat and won't move. We loved the idea of a seat rule though, so we made up our own one:

One of you gets the window seat on a plane, the other one gets it on a bus/train. 

That way it plays out pretty fairly as to who sits where.

As Monica so rightly said, 'rules help control the fun'.

6. Be aware of overspending

With different tastes and different needs, it can often be easier in a couple to overspend, (as opposed to when travelling solo), especially if you're the kind to egg each other on: "oh go on, we deserve it". Just be careful and ask if you really need it. 

As we work together all our income is shared, which makes things a lot easier when it comes to buying things. 

If you're at the right stage, consider getting a joint card together, and pay in equal amounts, instead of getting weird about splitting every bill. 

7. But still make sure you spend every now and again..

Of course it can go the other way and you find yourself egging each other on to spend less and less: "oh no, we don't deserve that". If you're travelling cheaply for long periods of time, especially as backpackers, it can be nice to spend now and then to refresh and renew yourselves. After we've spent 'time' in fancy places, we feel a lot more 'worthy'. Sounds weird but whatever. 

8. Know when to compete and when to team up

Fun competition is fun: Marco Polo in the pool, eye spy on long bus journeys, Rock-Paper-Scissors for a surprise competition. 

Even if you work together competition can be rewarding, for example; I am in charge of our Facebook and Instagram accounts, Tanbay is in charge of our YouTube and Twitter accounts and competing to get higher engagement on our specific challenges has been very rewarding.

(Incidentally, are you following us on Facebook and Instagram??)

However, you need to know when to compete and when to team up. For example, when dealing with a tricky salesman/woman.

Our approach was to always let me (Laura) deal with it, as I am the more aggressive of the two of us. However, we witnessed two of our friends (who we consider to be a power couple), deal with a tricky salesman, and boy did they team up!! And the salesman backed down immediately.

Conclusion: use your relationship to bully people ;) that's a joke, but if you can toe that line between friendly competition and having each other's backs, you're sorted.  

9. Steal other people's photos

Okay not literally, just steal their poses. And sometimes their camera man.

So one of the most common questions we hear from solo travellers is 'how can I take photos of myself on my travels?' but the problem still remains for couples. Well not the exact same problem, I have infinite photos of me thanks to my special travel bud, but what I really crave (and when I get it I treasure like my first born), is good photos of the two of us.

I digress. The best solution we've found is asking other couples if they want a photo of them, and then either asking them after if they will take a photo of us, or saying yes when they just ask us. 

But it goes further than that, by picking out (what we think are) the best travelling photographing couples, we also pick up poses. Though they don't always work, like this little awkward number:

sunrise siem reap cambodia

Summary: check out other couples for unique-ish photos and nice photographers. 

10. Never forget who you were

The nicest thing about being together for so long is that we've been able to grow together. 

From a rebellious teen and a romantic guitar player, who used to write each other the soppiest poems, we've 'blossomed' into two kick-ass, bohemian business people who are fulfilling our dreams: building a successful business and seeing the world together. (Apparently working on our modesty is something that needs to be done.)

Sometimes, whether we're checking into one of the best 5-star hotels in Dubai, or drinking free champagne in Singapore, it's easy to forget where we've come from, but it's important to look back and be thankful for how far we've come, and be grateful about where we'll be going (see the soppy poet is still in here somewhere... ew). 

sthonehenge couple love

So there you have it, successful couple travel isn't all about compromise, spending time apart and never going to sleep angry. It's about not getting tangry, talking about poop, spending the correct amount, but mainly laughing at each other as much as possible.

We hope this helped you in some small way on your own adventures, and hope to see you in the next ten years of ours!

What about you? Do you have any tips for travelling as a couple? 

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We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


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