Photo: Brian Holland
There are “Top Reasons You Should Travel Solo” lists circulating all over the internet, spouting the benefits of finding yourself and being more open to experience. Having both traveled solo and traveled as a couple, I’ve found that traveling as a couple can be even better in ways that you may not have thought of before.
1. You can pass off navigation to your partner while you nap.
My biggest travel woe is figuring out a complicated subway system when I’m just not in the mood. It’s at these times that my boyfriend steps in to study the map, look at the online directions to the museum, and figure out which stops and switches we need to make. Usually while I’m snoozing on the nearest bench.
2. You can finally afford that private room at the hostel.
These days, I’m likely to lose my mind on hostel mates who think it’s OK to turn on all the lights and have a chat at 3:30 am. With a partner to split the cost of the room with, I can lounge around in my underwear and sleep in peace.
3. You can get by on your partner’s language skills.
While my boyfriend can’t speak any Chinese, I can, and his experience traveling in China was a lot smoother because of it. Ordering food and buying train tickets were pleasant and quick instead of a confusing debacle.
4. You have someone available to watch your stuff when you use the toilet.
The pressure of a full bladder is much more annoying when you’re on a train alone and must gather up all of your valuables before heading for the toilet. With a partner, you can leave your lap top plugged in and your purse on the seat without worrying they’ll be gone when you return.
5. You can get sloppy drunk without having to worry about how you’ll get home.
In a foreign city within a foreign country, sometimes the reality hits that no one actually has got your back. With a partner, you don’t have to turn down that free margarita in Mexico because you’re worried that they guy making eyes at you all night will try to steal you away.
6. Not every conversation has to be small talk.
Where are you from? Where have you been? Where are you going? This conversation will start to haunt your dreams as you have it with every single traveler you meet. As a couple, you can have an easy conversation without the twenty questions game over and over again.
7. You don’t have to call your parents when you run out of money.
Getting carried away on a night out of drinking, an unexpected hospital bill or just poor budgeting are normal occurrences that may have you phoning your parents from Australia, asking for some help. When traveling as a couple, your partner may be able to save you the embarrassment and lend you the cash until you can pay them back.
8. You can discover that you love an activity that you never would’ve tried.
Everyone has different interests and when traveling with a partner, it’s quite likely that you will see and do things that you never would have thought of if you were traveling alone. I never would have snorkeled that sunken ship in Bali if it wasn’t for my partner, and he probably wouldn’t have backpacked through Europe if it wasn’t for me.
9. You get access to all of your partner’s gear.
Thanks to my boyfriend, we have a GoPro, a DSLR camera and a working smart phone that helps us get around, make arrangements, and capture our travels. When you are lacking in certain technology, your partner may be able to fill in the gaps with the tech resources that they usually carry.