Many of you have traveled solo, or with some friends... maybe even your family too. Traveling as a couple is a whole different (and amazing!) adventure. Personally, I have found that the best things in life should be shared, and that includes tasty foods and unforgettable adventures. The memories Jenna and I have made traveling together have truly been some of the best opportunities for our relationship. These opportunities have allowed us to learn more about each other and to understand each others feelings in the most unexpected situations. Some things you may have never known about your partner can come out in the midst of a wicked adventure, just like the time Jenna and I were seconds from fully sliding off a mountain of rocks and stones during our hike on the Untersberg in the Berchtesgaden Alps between Germany and Austria. At 2000 m up in the Alps, we were holding hands almost falling off and just having a great laugh at life. Since we've become a unit, our adventures abroad have been some of the best shared experiences. If I'm up at 6 am, chances are I've woken her up too and the best excuse for being up is to share a coffee with her while watching the beautiful sunrise.
It’s been almost three years since we’ve known each other and we’ve been traveling since the beginning for the excitement of our relationship and for our keen exploration of new foods around the world (this has also been the perfect excuse to keep up to date with our food science background!). Knowing each other this whole time would have been incomplete if we had not hopped on a plane for our first "BIG" date to Mexico. The couple weeks we went away gave us our first opportunity together to see our compatibility abroad. We've learned tons about each other in various situations, from packing priorities, to who does the check-ins, and how we'll be navigating our way around to finding the most delicious food, temples, and relaxing beaches. Our love for eating and making food has also allowed us to share another level of appreciation towards one another. Food does bring people closer, right? It certainly has for us.
Our time abroad has only been beneficial to our relationship. Based on our experiences traveling, we'll share with you some ideas on how to maintain your exciting relationship together while diving deep into the culture scene. People are different, of course, and an array of environments can affect the way you carry yourself. Experiencing the presence of one another in a foreign environment is very different than being at home and can vary from city to city.
Go on a date
What is a night out without some delicious food? Don’t think of these ‘dates’ as outdated in your relationship because you you've been traveling to different parts of the world - use them as a refresher for your relationship! Whether you're cooking food inside or going out to eat, the most important thing you're doing is enjoying your partners presence and exchanging and sharing every valuable moment together.
Some ideas for a date can be as simple as going to a cooking class which can create an amazing bonding experience with food! If you're in Bangkok and want to enjoy a night or day out, check out the Silom Thai Cooking School (top 3 in the city!). These types of dates are cute and romantic and can also make you and your partner feel like you're a local of the country.
The little things count
In a relationship, it's imperative that you give appreciation towards the smallest things, even when they can be overlooked. Being mindful towards your partner can minimize the obstacles that you may encounter on the road, and in many different situations.
Often I book our tickets thinking I'll have the aisle seat but when it comes down to boarding, I give it up. Having an isle seat means a better sleep for her and the simplicity of retrieving our items from the cabin over head.
With camera quality getting better as it becomes more affordable, you'll both want to invest in one. How will you remember all the good times you've both had other than retaining it from memory? Taking pictures of course - and taking lots of them together even in the most unexpected situations! You don't want to sit there wondering how you enjoyed the summer working together in Europe? Or walking the beautiful bright blue beaches of Greece? Or what about the million other colors you didn't know existed on tulips at the world's largest flower festival in Keukenhof? If there's a moment where I feel like a scene is picture worthy, I get Jenna to jump in the picture. My memories are made and shared with her so capturing an awesome photo of her at any moment is great. We often look back at these photos and realize some things we've forgotten about. We've managed to fill 2 high capacity hard drives worth of amazing photos and ridiculous videos of each other.
The smallest things intrigue us. We bond over the beauty of nature.
The worst thing you can do on a trip is be selfish. Going to your favorite café or lining up for an hour to do something your partner doesn't want to do can make your day seem like a drag.I remember looking for a few offices on my first day at work in Stuttgart. Jenna didn’t need to go through the process I needed to since she has a European passport so it was a bit of a drag for her. One day I went alone to the Bürgerbüro and ended up taking a mini walk by the university gardens overlooking the beautiful yellow colored fields. I brought Jenna to the same area the next day for a picnic I planned. Needless to say...it went over well!
Personal time is healthy
Personal time is important in every relationship! Although spending all day long together can be as exciting as laughing at each other, eating her fries behind her back and talking non-stop on a ten-hour long flight when you just can’t watch another episode of Australian Masterchef… we all need that little break once in a while. And it’s nothing to be ashamed of!
Your routine at home is different than the one when you set out abroad. Traveling is also a time of learning about each other more in new situations and around new people. While we both obviously enjoy each other’s company, endless hours with someone else can become unhealthy in ways and some days we like to focus more on ourselves instead of each other.
It’s also a common occurrence to bicker with your partner while you're away. You’re probably not going to agree with each other on some things and this can eventually snowball into an argument. This is not negative – it’s simply because we did not have enough ‘me’ time! Don’t be afraid to pull out and ask for some personal space. It’s likely they’re wanting the same. If we’re doing 'me' time then it doesn’t have to be alone. If we’re meeting up for dinner with friends, than our attention is almost always directed at them rather than talking to each other. We’re not ignoring each other, we’re simply taking full interest in other conversations. We talk a lot!
Being a responsible travel partner
“Did you call in and tell the bank you’ll be using your visa abroad?”
“Did you get all pieces, attachments, cords, and cables for our phones, laptops, and cameras?”
“Did you make reservations for accommodations and dining for our layover, there and back?”
These questions are common and you surely will approach many situations where one of you is going to have to do the work. Jenna and I seem to know our roles when traveling, from booking our home stays and flights all the way to what we will be packing in our day bags. Of course, if there is something new to eat she will be our compass that day.
Dividing up our tasks works for us – it makes traveling less stressful so we can be out eating and sharing the experience longer and better! The longer we travel the more practice we get and that surely does leave out all the unnecessary bits of planning over time. In the planning stages of your travels, overlooking any details like check-in times and dates, or being lazy and inconsistent in a situation, can compromise your quality time. You can't expect the other person to carry you around!
Be open to new friendships
While traveling with your partner, it's a no-brainer that you will be spending the majority of your time together and meeting people who are doing the same thing as you both will be quite common. By engaging with other people, whether they are single or a couple, you'll create a more welcoming atmosphere. In fact we find even making friendships with solo travels never leads to someone feeling out 'out of place'. You'll have even more to talk about with your partner later. This is a chance to create good friendships, meet people from different parts of the world, and even connect with the locals!
Adventures with new friends in Thailand.