Becky Hart | May 12, 2023
There are plenty of single 20- and 30-somethings who view marriage as the end of travel. Despite the bad PR some single travelers give it, however, relationships and the road can go together. In fact, studies show that traveling can improve your relationship. Likewise, relationships can make traveling better.
So get out your matching luggage set that most definitely was not on your wedding registry, and get ready to hit the road as a couple.
Where are the best destinations for couples? That depends on the couple and what you like to do when you travel. Open the lines of communication with your partner and consider some of these ideas.
Don’t be fooled by the myth that you have to give up the backpacker life when you get married. Just know that you’ll now have a buddy with you to help carry the load when things get heavy. You might even find it more enjoyable and safer. Try these ideal locations for backpackers to begin their journeys.
If you’re searching for quality time together or you both like the idea of being able to change your itinerary on a whim — no flight schedules to hold you back — try a road trip. We shared our list of top road trip destinations in the U.S. and around the world, as well as a few of our favorite tips for how to plan a road trip for couples.
Cruises are great for both relaxing downtime together and adventure as a team. If you want to socialize with other adults, you’ll have plenty of chances to meet new people onboard. Look for adults-only cruise lines like Virgin Voyages and Viking Cruises, or simply pick a ship that takes you to the destinations you and your partner have been dreaming of. Find out more about the best cruises for couples.
There are lots of advantages to traveling in the fall or should season, chief among them is the fact that school is back in session so if you’re looking for some child-free alone time, you’re in luck. If you have kids of your own, arrange to leave them with the grandparents, then book a flight to one of these European destinations you have to see in the fall.
We’re not knocking solo travel. But we’re also pretty sure you’ll fall in love with these eight reasons it works to your advantage to travel as a couple.
We travel to spice up our lives, and married people can travel to spice up their relationship. So many relationship experts advocate that you keep a regular date night, even after you tie the knot. Why not think of travel as one extended date night?
When you travel together, you’re accomplishing many things: breaking out of the monotonous daily routine that often leaves life and your relationship feeling a bit dull or one-dimensional, committing to quality time that fosters deeper connections, and practicing communication and intimacy.
A 2012 study by the U.S. Travel Association found that couples who travel together had higher levels of overall satisfaction with their relationships. Comparing couples who traveled to those who didn’t, traveling duos were more likely to say that “the romance is still alive.” More couples who travel also said that they share similar goals, hobbies and interests, that they handle their differences well, and that they are best friends.
Think of all the points during the planning process and, later, travel that you need to simply talk to your partner. You brainstorm ideas for where you want to go and negotiate visiting Brazil this year and British Columbia next year. You express your desires — “I’ve always wanted to go scuba diving” — and the things that scare you — “I’ve always been afraid of getting lost in a foreign city.”
During your trip, you may need to resolve differences diplomatically and find compromise. For example, they might want to drive for another hour before looking for a hotel, while you think the road trip would be more fun if you weren’t pushing to see how many miles you can cover in a day. It will make for a very chilly car ride if you can’t handle conflict with kindness.
Planning a trip and traveling can lead you down some vulnerable paths. Use these moments to practice listening and communicating empathetically.
As a relationship becomes more settled, it’s easy to let quality time together move to the backburner. There tends to be less intentionality about one-on-one time after marriage than in the early infatuation stages of a relationship. Travel can help you recapture that dedicated space and time, helping you to bond.
Think about some of the most mundane and the more exhilarating parts of travel: long car rides, staying in a single hotel room, extended layovers, exploring a new museum or park, stumbling across a hidden bar or restaurant. These things put you in close proximity to each other and practically require you to share an experience.
According to Vox, “couples who travel together often recall the experience as the happiest time of their lives.” Again, you can get similar highs traveling alone. And sure, you can have “quality time” bingeing yet another show on Netflix. But the experience you get traveling with your other half — an experience that only you two can claim — is what makes this meaningful.
We learn about ourselves when we travel so when we travel with someone else, we learn about them in ways we wouldn't by staying at home. How does your partner react under pressure or stress? If you haven’t already seen it in action, just wait until your flight gets delayed … again. What gets them excited? What experiences cause them to respond with childlike wonder? How adventurous are they? What are their boundaries when it comes to trying new foods?
You might discover some of these things at home, but it won’t be nearly as fun, and it’ll probably take a lot longer.
Seven Corners writer Luke Armstrong once wrote that he thought divorce rates would probably decrease if couples went on a honeymoon before they got married. He cited a road-worthy proverb that goes, "If you can't travel with someone, don't marry them."
The U.S. Travel Association would probably agree. Compared to traveling couples, respondents who do not travel reported more often that their differences never seem to get resolved, prompting the organization to say that divorce rates are higher among those who do not travel together.
Travel also teaches you how you complement each other’s strengths. Maybe they’re good at planning and organizing, and you’re better at finding hidden gems to visit in the moment. Together, you’re the perfect balance of structure and serendipity. Maybe they’re really good at reading maps, and you’re more comfortable talking to strangers to get recommendations of must-see local dives. Once you’re married, you’re still your own unique individual, but you’re also part of a team. Use this dual state to your advantage for both travel and relationship health.
Travel can be full of some uncomfortable situations. Sometimes we travel to get out of our comfort zone. It can be helpful to have a cheerleader rooting you on and giving you confidence in those moments.
When you travel with a partner, they can encourage and support you in trying new things. They might even be the one to give you the idea to try them. I like a plan, and my dedication to the plan can sometimes cause me to miss out on spur-of-the-moment experiences. My partner, however, tends to be less serious and structured when it comes to travel. He encourages me to let go of control and be a little goofy. I can think of many things we’ve done together (on vacation and regular date nights, to be honest) that I wouldn’t have tried if it weren’t for his gentle nudging.
With two brains, you get double the perspective and double the opportunities to be adventurous. Hype each other up to get the most from your trip.
When two incomes are paying for one trip, you can either save or upgrade. Hotel suites are typically priced lower than two standard rooms, and you won’t have to worry about the single-occupancy upcharge. Because of this, you don't need to feel bad about splurging, especially when you have that special someone to enjoy it with.
When dining, you can share meals and try two things off the menu rather than being limited to one. A lot of things, from rental cars to cabanas, can be found at less cost when you and your loved one go in on a trip together.
There are some risks I just didn’t take as a lone female traveler. For example, I’ve eaten many a dinner at my hostel or hotel rather than having to walk back on my own at night.
Now, when I travel with my partner, I don’t have those same restraints. I still don’t take unnecessary risks, but with him by my side, I’m much more likely venture out after dark. Even during the day, I’m not constantly on high alert. There’s safety in numbers and, much as I hate to admit it, more safety in traveling with a man.
When you’re not solely responsible for your personal well-being 24/7, it’s a lot easier to relax and enjoy the trip.
Sometimes things just don’t go as planned when you travel. Someone gets sick, your flight gets cancelled, the hotel you booked looked a lot cleaner online than it does in person, you get over-fatigued from a day of exploring. When things start to go wrong, it’s helpful to have a support system on site to help you find a solution.
For example, let’s say you’re traveling overseas with your sweetie, and you get the flu. You need to see a doctor. Your partner can help handle the logistics, like getting in touch with Travel Assistance and finding a doctor, calling a taxi to take you to a hospital, answering medical staff’s questions which might be in a different language, picking up a prescription medication, and getting you tucked back into bed. Without your partner, you’d likely be navigating all of that on your own, and that’s just hard. Plus, you’ll probably feel a sense of relief just by having them physically present through it all.
Even if it’s not an emergency, I enjoy having someone else help make the decisions after a long day. When I get especially tired or have already made 100 choices, I get decision fatigue. Something as simple as what to eat for dinner can suddenly feel overwhelming. I like having someone else to help pick up the slack when my energy is starting to fade.
It’s never too late to pack your bags, book some plane tickets, and find your new adventure … together. Make sure you include travel insurance in your plans (or if you're the serendipitous one and your partner is the planner, tell them to put trip protection on their to-do list).
Travel insurance can help protect the money you spend for your trip and your health if you get sick or hurt while traveling overseas. Consider it an act of love that you’re taking the necessary precautions to make travel with your loved one as carefree as possible.
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