Now in the spirit of Valentines day, I wanted to dedicate this blog post to my favourite travel buddy - my partner, Chris.
Don't worry this won't be a cheesy, lovey dovey piece. I've had strict instructions to keep this level headed and not be overly sickly romantic.
I just wanted to write about all the great reasons why you should travel with your significant other.
First of all, I'm not writing this to tell you, you should only travel with your partner. I am an advocate of solo travel, I think having the confidence to travel somewhere alone is very empowering and I feel that everyone should do it at least once.
I want to be clear that travelling as a two isn't all glorious and I firmly believe travelling together will make or break your relationship. Let's face it, spending 24/7 together and having nowhere to hide really will test it. However I want to say that in our 5 years experience and three continents later we've made a success of it. So far anyway..
Now, I have to be honest in that when I first met my partner 5 years ago... he didn't have the travel bug so after pestering him (read border line harassing) I've finally got him on board with the whole travel ethos in that there is so much of the world to see and we need to see it, LIKE NOW.
Spending Time Together
When you travel with your partner you will spend a lot of time together, and for me this is one of the biggest pro's. Working a hectic job and only having weekends to spend time together means our time is limited. So when we go on a trip I really value being able to spend entire days together.
Going on an adventure with your partner means you both have amazing memories. You'll have insider stories and tales that just the two of you know. Also, you'll have an epic collection of photographs sharing spectacular scenery, discovering cool new places and trying new, weird and wonderful food - definitely something worth sharing! I hate to sound corny, but travelling really does bond you together.
Travelling with someone else is more economical. Think about it, you'll be splitting the bill in terms of accommodation, food and on activities. We usually go dutch on our travels, one of us will pay for flights whilst the other will pay for accommodation. Also if you live together, you will more than likely buy less souvenirs, because who wants two of the same fridge magnet...
Two heads are better than one, this can be useful for when you are planning on what you want to do on the trip, to reading a map, and hopefully helping towards making the right decision.
When we visit places, I tend to have done the leg work in terms of researching what we should see/do and Chris is useful with map reading/directions and learning some of the lingo!
Also when it comes to choosing our next travel destination, we have put our country choices into a hat and picked a place that way.
I'll literally go anywhere, I find choosing exactly where I want to go a difficult decision and if it were just up to Chris, we'd have visited all of the Star Wars film locations by now. Therefore by having a balance it created fairness.
When you travel you'll come across situations which may leave you feeling frustrated, and in some cases things might not go to plan. Therefore, you'll see each other in these environments and learn a lot about the other person. Travelling can be tiring, and a combination of culture shock and being out of your comfort zone can let you see into each other's character traits and true colours.
I'm not that great in humid environments, I turn into a hot mess. Whereas Chris gets grumpy with the lack of leg room on flights... we know each other well enough not to piss each other off during our own tense moments. Chris knows all too well not to mess with me on departure day, I'm an intense clock watcher on flying days, and I am the person that gets to the airport four hours ahead of our flight. Let's just say... Chris is a little more laid back than I am.. (Read, horizontal)
We've got each other's back
This one doesn't just apply to your partner, but in general travelling with someone else. Looking out for each other on the go is important, we always do the bag checks for each other, we make sure our backpacks are secure and zipped. We check list each other for packing, passports, charging batteries and if we're drinking enough water. I am his pocket detective, I like to check if his pockets are zipped up. He'll check if I've got the room key.
It's a good practice to get into. It's also handy for visiting the bathroom, and there will always be someone there to watch your stuff (it's the little things). On a practical level it's welcome to have a helping hand applying sun lotion to your back or to check each other's faces for signs of frostbite.
This is probably the most important thing when travelling together. If you don't consider each others needs, different interests or understand that you are two different people then just stay at home. I've been dragged along to certain exhibitions and vinyl record stores whereas Chris has had to endure market trips whilst I seek out the perfect Russian Doll.
It's give and take and you just have to look at it as if you're going to see two different perspectives on a trip.
You'll never be bored
If you're waiting in a departure lounge for hours on end, or travelling in a bus overnight you'll always have company and someone to talk to. There will be opportunities to take the piss out of each other and have a laugh. If you have jet lag you'll have someone else not sleeping to sit and chat away the night with and it's always good to have a buddy to play the alphabet game with.
I hope this post has shown you that if you are considering taking your first trip with your partner then just go ahead and do it! Just be considerate and enjoy the ride together. It's important to go with an open mind and be realistic, of course along the way you will inevitably end up fighting about something or other. That's pretty natural, and if anything it helps to clear the air and talk things out. Communicating about what's bothering each other will help to nip the next issue in the bud quickly. We've argued at the Great Wall of China but under no circumstance did this define our trip. Nowadays we laugh about that situation.
Have a great V Day and go book your next trip with your BAE.