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The Short Version: Traveling with your partner can be an incredibly fun and romantic experience. But it can also be a major source of stress and anxiety in the relationship. Couples can make the journey less daunting by turning to the advice of Two Drifters before embarking on romantic adventures. The blog shares the real experiences and wisdom of a traveling married couple, Amy and Nathan Hartle.
Taking the first vacation as a couple is a major step forward in a relationship. You and your partner finally have uninterrupted quality time to explore a new place and be free of responsibilities. You can pack your trip with romantic dinners, beautiful hikes, or anything that appeals to your shared interests. The experience can bring you closer as a couple.
Unfortunately, vacations can break couples who can’t get along with each other under pressure. While traveling is a rewarding experience, it can also be very stressful. Being in a place where you don’t speak the native language, without the comforts and conveniences of home, can be destabilizing for many people. And if something goes wrong — a bag is lost, money is stolen, lodging isn’t what it looked like in the picture — a different, more irritable side of your personality can come out, and that may be new to your partner.
While a romantic trip can be daunting especially early in your relationship, the experience can go smoothly when you come prepared. That’s why married couple Amy and Nathan Hartle created the Two Drifters blog to help couples navigate traveling together so they have the best possible experience.
The two Americans met in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2011 while traveling separately. They explored Edinburgh and London together, then they kept in touch after returning to the States. Shortly after their trip, Amy and Nathan began a long-distance relationship, ultimately getting married in 2016. Since they met, their relationship has been filled with travel adventures that they love to share with the world.
We spoke to Amy about her advice for couples embarking on trips together. After years blogging about her travels with Nathan, Amy knows a thing or two about how to care for your relationship on the road. She shared many pieces of wisdom with us that will keep trips fun and positive for any couple.
Amy said she believes that traveling together can be romantic in and of itself. “I think it’s important to remember that you can have a beautiful romantic getaway on any budget,” Amy said. “What makes it romantic is being with the one you love and making memories. It’s simpler than people realize.”
Taking your first trip together as a couple comes with a lot of important considerations. You need to decide where you’re going, how long you want your trip to be, and how to budget or split costs. You’ll need to gauge which parts of traveling are important to each of you and how to accommodate both sets of priorities.
“Take into consideration your partner’s temperament as you plan together,” Amy said. “Will the unknown stress her out? Will too many activities overwhelm him?” Figuring out your travel similarities and differences is essential for having a good time on your vacation.
“The main thing to do is communicate, communicate, communicate – especially beforehand,” Amy told us. “Discussing your travel intentions before embarking makes a massive difference, as you can determine what things you’ll prioritize, what situations you’ll want to avoid, and, maybe most importantly – how much money you plan to spend!”
“Communicate, communicate, communicate — especially beforehand!” – Amy Hartle
Setting expectations before the trip ensures that you and your partner clearly know each other’s wish list. You need to plan for a visit to that World War II bomber plane museum he’s interested in, and he should know you can’t miss hitting Seattle-area hiking trails. If you don’t know what’s on your partner’s must-do list — and vice versa — resentment will set in on the trip. That miscommunication can lead to fights with your partner. Traveling can be expensive, and you want to make the most of the money you spend and the quality time you have together. Don’t waste it on a fight!
As long as you’re on the same page, there’s no one place or even one type of trip that is best for a first vacation as a couple. It all comes down to you and your specific interests. But for most couples, it’s best to have a mix of planned activity and spontaneity. “Pick a place that combines adventure and leisure and have a bit of both,” Amy suggested. “Keep the itinerary simple so you make extra time for romance and avoid stress as much as possible. Adventure, relaxation, romance, sorted!”
When you’re planning a vacation, it can feel tempting to cram everything you could possibly do in the city or country that you’re visiting. If you don’t travel frequently, you may even want to jam several different destinations into your trip. When you go on a trip early in your relationship with your partner, make sure you aren’t biting off more than you can chew.
“One thing I’m learning more and more, and perhaps it’s as I get older, is that every trip is better if you SLOW. DOWN.” Amy said. “Don’t rush around trying to see everything and pack your itinerary full. The travel experience becomes so much richer when you can slow down and appreciate each moment.”
There’s no need to do every activity your new destination has to offer at once. You may feel you aren’t taking full advantage of your trip if you don’t see everything. But in reality, you’ll have a far better experience if you don’t overdo it. Traveling should be about having fun, which is far easier to do with a manageable schedule.
Vacations can add extra pressure to the relationship, so be kind to yourself and don’t add unnecessary stress. Sticking with an intense itinerary can be challenging, and it could leave couples feeling inadequate if you set unattainable goals. So keep your plans general and realistic, allowing you more time to bond with your partner in a new place.
Planning a vacation always requires a bit of effort to make sure the timing works for everyone on the trip, research exciting attractions, and, of course, fit everything within a budget. Couples who travel together also must navigate relationship dynamics, which adds another layer of stress to an already stressful process.
Luckily, couples can find plenty of helpful advice and suggestions on the Two Drifters blog. From 20 Things Not to do While Traveling as a Couple to The Most Romantic Places in the World for Couples to Visit Amy and Nathan have plenty of ideas for going on a romantic getaway without any disagreements.
You may even find travel suggestions that surprise you. Amy and Nathan didn’t think that they were “cruise people,” preferring to go on complicated trips that required a lot of personal planning and initiative. But when they finally decided to try a cruise, they were pleasantly surprised. “It turned out to be one of our favorite trips because it was so easy,” Amy said. “The cruise was just so wonderful because we didn’t have to drive anywhere; the activities and destinations came to us and were so plentiful and varied. We foresee more cruises in our future!”
Taking a vacation with your partner can be intimidating, but it’s worth the challenges. What’s better than falling in love in a new and beautiful place?