There are a crazy number of different individual personalities in the world, couple combinations are even greater in numbers. People may get a long in “regular” sedentary routine life, but once they travel it can go either one of two ways, really well or horribly. With that in mind, and considering you really do see a person’s true personality when you travel together – and based on my experience travelling with a completely different travelling personality than I am – here some thoughts to consider:
- Figure out what you want out of the trip early on: Can not stress how important this is, not everyone is going with the same expectation, and most cases this is the biggest cause of arguments. Is one looking for shopping while the other for museums? Are they intending to relax on the beach vs. seeing archaeological sites? This feeds into how you plan your trip otherwise if it becomes a one sided trip your paying or forcing your partner to pay for a trip they’ll hate. More importantly you’ll never hear the end of it.
- Understand the accommodation threshold for both and compromise: This actually pertains not just to hotel vs. hostel threshold, but modes of transport (private car vs. tuk tuk), restaurants (food stalls vs. fancy restaurants). In most cases it won’t be one extreme or the other, but it’s important to see what they are willing to venture into, especially if they are not seasoned travellers. If they are willing to try out a tuk tuk or a 2-star hole in the wall for accommodation, but aren’t used to it, might be worth booking those early in the trip as the excitement and energy to handle things out of their comfort zone is greatest. Plus, gives them something to look forward to if you book that fancy restaurant or 5-star resort towards the end. Remember, the last words in this head is “and compromise” – again you want this to be enjoyable for both, but still allowing for some adventure and getting out of the comfort zone – that’s pretty much the bottom line for life in general.
- Take shifts: Once you plan out your trip based on both your interests, it may still be hard to do everything you both want – nor should you feel that you have to do everything together. There will be middle of the range activities that you both can do (i.e. going to a spice garden or local market) but then one will want to check out the local malls or shopping markets, the other will want military museums and art galleries. Take shifts with one resting (depending on their stamina – see point 5 below) and the other going out somewhere else, or split up (plan your activities close to each other so you’re not far off) and then regroup at lunch to enjoy together. This has save marriages while on vacation!
- Know your travel buddy weakness and assume the worst: Whether they lose things, have no sense of direction, needs a bathroom every 2 minutes. Make sure you have those essentials figured out before or quickly in the beginning to that you can shift your plans accordingly. Make extra time for bathroom breaks, download maps for them in case they get lost, offer to hang on to their passports while you’re together, not give them a key if you think they’re about loose with their memory. When making a schedule always have a plan B if they get tired quickly (see point 5 below).
- Be mindful of each others’ stamina: not everyone is fit, and in some cases different body clocks work differently (i.e. early risers vs. night owls). Know what each persons’ physical threshold is, plan for it, assume the worst for it, and if you are the fit one, make sure you do activities you can do alone while your partner rests. This will save a lot of heartache and having to go back and forth to the hotel.
These are additional to some tips given to solo travellers – check them out here. Any other things you think are worth highlighting here?