Matador Network

How to travel with your partner without killing each other

Photo: Pablo Heimplatz

Traveling with anyone will challenge your relationship: romantic or otherwise. Traveling is different than your usual day-to-day, and it isn’t always as perfect as Instagram claims. It brings excitement and joy, but also stress, especially if something goes awry. You’ve heard the advice before: you don’t really know someone until you travel with them. Well, it’s not all doom and gloom, don’t let a little travel trouble ruin your relationship.

Here’s some advice on how to travel with your partner without killing each other.

1. Plan together.

Are you the planner and your partner just kinda goes along? Or vice versa? Ditch these roles when traveling. No matter how compatible you are, your ideas of the perfect trip will probably differ in one way or another. Maybe your partner could spend all day at a museum while you can easily set the world record for the quickest viewing of the Mona Lisa. It will eventually drive you crazy watching your partner speed walk to one monument after another when all you want to do relax in a cafe. A little co-planning will help you avoid these surprises by setting laying out how you see your trip shaping up and setting some expectations.

2. Don’t be afraid of a little independence.

Ask yourself this question: is the mere sound of your partner’s breathing triggering aggressive thoughts? It might be time for a break. When you travel, you tend to spend every waking moment together, and that’s not normal. A vacation is not the best time to discover a new sense of personal space, but if it happens, practice honoring that space. Take a walk and do whatever you want for an hour or so: poke your head into secret courtyards, take photos of stray cats, go shopping. Taking time to do independent activities will give you both something to talk about when you return, feeling totally refreshed.

3. In this case, alcohol is your friend.

You probably want to taste the local alcohol anyway, right? Dissolve any annoyances in a very tall glass of bubbly. Imbibe just enough to take the edge off and before you know it, you’ll be laughing about that hangry moment you had earlier. Plus, bars are a great place to chat with locals, and meeting new people is really important as it takes the pressure and intensity off of the situation with your partner.

4. Embrace your anonymity.

Guess what? No one in this new place will remember you! If your partner does something that you find annoying or totally cheesy (like talking too loud, wearing a fanny pack in a non-ironic manner, stopping every five steps to take a photo, attempting the language yet pronouncing every word incorrectly, or pretentiously detailing the history of each building you pass), remember that the locals have probably seen it a thousand times before. You are tourists, after all, so who cares if you kind of look like one from time-to-time?

5. Eat… a lot.

Full belly, full heart! Have you ever had a childlike emotional outburst simply because you lack basic nutrients? Traveling requires a lot of mental and physical energy. It’s easy to go, go, go and not fuel at regular intervals. Think of your vacation as a pact with your partner, to look out for one another and know each other’s triggers. We basically morph into giant toddlers when traveling. Is your baby getting a little crabby? Would a snack or nap help? Maybe a full-bodied bottle red?

6. Put your mind over matter.

If the close proximity of your partner, 24/7, for days or maybe even weeks, is pushing your limits: try to breathe, close your eyes, practice a little meditation. Try to keep in mind how special this moment is. You’re on holiday with someone you care for, so try not to sweat the small stuff.