When I get asked who I went travelling with, a lot of people are surprised when I say I went with my boyfriend. They’re even more surprised when I say that we are still together. I’m not going to lie, travelling with your partner will put a lot of strain on your relationship but Stu and I are proof that you can go travelling together, have lots of fun and come home still together!
There are benefits of travelling in a couple, just like there are benefits of travelling alone or with friends. There is no right or wrong way to travel, you just have to learn what is right for you and that might change along your journey.
In true backpacker style, one of the most important benefits in going with your partner is it can be cheaper! Now before you get too excited, I’m not talking about some crazy 2 for 1 deal. It’s more like the cost of 1 and a half people than paying for 2 individuals. This is down to few things. You buy your food shops together so can take advantage of more offers and use the whole of that bag pasta you would otherwise have to buy on your own and leave half in the hostel kitchen. (I do miss the free shelf!) You can also occasionally save on accommodation. Double rooms tend to be more expensive but you can sometimes get away with just buying one single bed. The downside of this is obviously having to share the single bed so try and do this on nights where it’s going to be late one so minimum time is spent in bed!
This next reason can be seen as both a pro and a con. You have someone with you all the time. Living out of each other’s pockets is not easy. We all need some time on our own and the sooner you realise when someone needs some space, the better. Don’t get offended if your partner wants to do something on their own, you don’t have to be two peas in a pod for the whole of your trip. The good side of having someone with you constantly is that you always have someone to talk to. They’re the perfect link to home when the time difference means you can’t talk to someone you’re missing. I found this invaluable on days where I was feeling a bit home sick. If you’re not someone who shares everything with new friends then it’s perfect having someone with you that you can trust with anything. Stu also looked after me during my clumsy moments when I almost left belongings behind in the most random places.
What you have to realise about travelling as a couple is that it is going to be very different to travelling with friends or on your own. It can be harder to make friends because people don’t tend to approach couples for a chat. They assume that you want to be left alone. The best thing about travelling is the people that you meet so you really don’t want to miss out on this. Just approach people yourselves, once you’re in a group people won’t care that you’re together and see you as individuals. Nights out as a couple are obviously different to a night with the boys, so make sure you are not one of those couples that argue after a couple of drinks and leave before everyone else. No one likes those guys.
My Dad gave Stu and I some sensible advice before we left. He said that no matter how much we argued, we were not to storm off on our own. We’ve all read the stories of backpackers who have walked home alone and terrible things can happen. Just be sensible even if you do hate their guts at that very moment.
It doesn’t matter who you travel with, you’re probably going to argue with them at some point. If this becomes a constant issue, its fine to go your separate ways. Plenty of friends start their journey together but then discover they don’t work well when travelling. You might get along fine and just want to travel to different places next. This is okay! Just make sure you are enjoying yourself and making the most of every opportunity.
I loved travelling with Stu and wouldn’t change a single moment. To me, there was no one better to experience travelling the world with. We made brilliant friends, some couples and plenty of solo travellers. Travel teaches you not to judge anyone so don’t be afraid of befriending people that you wouldn’t hang out with at home.