You may have heard the quote “a couple who travels together, stays together”, or that going on a couples trip can provide valuable indicators to evaluate the partnership.
But why, specifically, is that the case? What’s the difference between spending time with each other at home, or around your familiar town, versus traveling to a new place?
There can be numerous benefits from that leap (read: flight) with your partner, including but not limited to greater trust more quality time shared, lessons learned together, challenges faced together etc. The benefits and challenges will vary depending on how long you’ve been together, what you normally spend time doing, where you go on your trip, how long you go for, and many other factors.
But here we’ll list five things you can look out for, evaluate, and – hopefully – further appreciate about your partner the next time you’re taking a couples trip together*, especially if it is your first ever major couples trip.
None of these qualities you’ll learn about your partner and your relationship are necessarily “bad” or “good”. But they will provide more information that you can use to:
- assess the feasibility of the relationship long-term
- adjust each person’s roles and responsibilities within the relationship
- learn about each other in a new and more well-rounded way
- and, in the best case scenario, feel more understanding, loving and excited about your relationship.
So here are 5 relationship indicators you can look out for on your next couples trip:
*Note: quarantine and lockdown rules are different depending on which state/country you reside in. Please follow the safety precautions that areapply to you, and do not put other people at risk. If you can’t yet travel, save this article – and perhaps simply start the planning process of your trip – for the future!
1. How you and your partner react to unprecedented trip changes
You may already have a way better sense of how your partner reacts to unprecedented changes with the harsh realities of the pandemic this year, and all of the cancelled and changed social, professional, and personal plans that came with it.
But any traveler knows that even without a pandemic, you can’t always be 100% sure you are going to get to where you want to go, or do what you want to do, at the same time and in the same way as planned.
Considering public transportation, politics, unfamiliar holidays, unreliable website information, and many other factors outside of your control, there are bound to be a few things that don’t go exactly your way – and that’s okay! That is half the fun of travel in my opinion. However, some people are not aware of this going in, thus unprepared physically and mentally to be flexible.
Pay attention to how you and your partner react when changes – big or small – occur. If a train ride is cancelled. If an attraction is closed. If a protest occurs in the same neighborhood you were ready to explore.
Whatever the case is, notice if your partner is easy going and flexible, or anxious and aggravated. How does this relate to you, and the way you respond?
At least one of you needs to be able to reconvene and redirect. Because (like all of the indicators in this article) unprecedented changes are a fact of travel but also a fact of life, and you’ll be able to get a sense of how you’ll respond together in the future.
2. How you and your partner respond to new challenges and experiences during the trip
If you’re going beyond the resort (highly recommended), travel is really all about novelty. Exploring a new destination, a new culture, new sights, people, food, activities, and events.
You likely already have a sense of how courageous and open you are to newness. And maybe you already know your partner likes to try new foods because they never want to go to the same restaurant. Maybe you both already do adventurous activities and nature sports outside of town.
But that level of openness might expand (or collapse) in a new place, when granted new opportunities. In a new environment, it’s interesting to pay attention to how much each of you plays it safe and acts timid versus pushes the courageous button every time, and challenges the other partner as well.
Just like there should be at least one person who can respond calmly to unprecedented changes, there should also be at least one person who is pushing the relationship outside of the comfort zone and into more challenging and ultimately exciting territory.
This helps your relationship grow in all different aspects of life, and if you realize that neither of you are willing to push these boundaries and challenge the relationship in new ways, consider whether that is acceptable for you in the long-term (or whether you want to challenge yourself to be this person!).
3. Whether you and your partner are risk-seeking or risk-averse
At first this indicator seems similar to the aforementioned – ability and opennes to try new things.
But when it comes to risk-seeking vs risk-averse personality, this isn’t about having at least one person be “that person” – it’s more about compatibility and being on the same level.
If you realize that one of you is always looking to do riskier things – skydiving, bungee jumping, surfing, sayOng yes to friendly strangers, etc. – and the other person is consistently risk-averse, you may realize that you may not be able to give each other what you both want in the long run. One person may want adventure, adrenaline, and/or stimulation while the other person wants more safety, stability, and/or relaxation.
Of course, you may both have a mixture of desires, which is great! But this is simply another indication of what future life might look like – how often you may want to move around versus staying in the same place, how you’d like to raise your kids, whether one of you would become livid about a spontaneous motorcycle purchase, so on and so forth.
If anything, paying attention to this indicator should lead to a whole lot of discussion and interested questions (tag and article).
4. How good you and your partner are at compromising
So maybe you realize that you both have similar levels of risk-seeking or risk-adverse behavior, and are both open to trying a ton of new things. Great!
This, however, doesn’t solve one of the main travel “problems” couples face – how to do all of these amazing things with limited vacation time!
Click here to learn about how we can provide a customized itinerary for your post-quarantine couples vacation, completely tailored to both of your desires!
Traveling alone is awesome because you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. Traveling with a group of friends is chill because you’re usually on a trip for a particular shared reason (e.g. to party, to explore a new place, to learn about culture, etc.) and when there are differences in opinion, you can split up into smaller groups to do what you want to do the most.
But on a couples trip – although it is acceptable and probably refreshing to do your own thing at times – often the point in and of itself is to do things together. So you may have enough time for all of your trip wishes and desires, but combined with your partners – eek. That could be so many things to do, which so little time to do them all!
This requires some major decision-making, which then may call for some major compromise.
How will you go about this compromise? What strategies will you use?
This is the aspect of couples travel that many people claim can be the make or break for a relationship, the “test”, if you will. How you spend your vacation time may end up feeling more important than the everyday decisions you make together like what to eat or who takes out the trash. It can be exciting to make those decisions – but also annoying at best, frustrating and argumentative at worst.
How you end up compromising and making decisions about where to go, what to do, what to eat, what to see, etc. on your vacation will be very telling, especially for a newer relationship. This will open your eyes to how bigger life decisions may go down. And if you’re having a hard time – your relationship isn’t doomed, but you will then know that you need more work in this area for your relationship to last in a healthy and positive manner.
5. A greater sense of what you and your partner truly value (money talks!)
Ahhh the vacation budget… This is perhaps the competing “make or break” aspect of couples trips. Money is commonly seen as a sensitive issue, and in addition to compromising based on interests alone, things can get even more testy when you involve what to spend money on.
Is your partner more interested in allocating money to fancy hotels than adventurous excursions? Or maybe they’re totally okay with street food so they can spend more on cultural shows, while you’d prefer nicer, more conventionally romantic meals in sit-down restaurants.
Where you allocate resources in everyday life is revealing, but only to a certain extent. You can really see where your partner holds more or less value when they are allocating money in different areas of their “ideal” vacation, and then investigate how that aligns (or doesn’t) with where you’d like to allocate money.
This can be a great route to further understand each other’s financial values before even trying to make more impactful financial decisions together in the future: With what type of items will you furnish your house? How much will you both be willing to save on a monthly basis? What does “luxury” mean to you, versus to your partner, and how much do you both care about these luxury items?
Money talks, and vacation budget allocations can scream the truth. Don’t be afraid of revealing your true wishes and being open to hearing theirs. Don’t compromise without first stating what you want and what you value, and asking them for their truth as well. Not talking enough about money can get a couple into deep trouble and resentment down the road, so seize this opportunity to start the real conversations!
I hope this helped you realize the different indicators you can look out for on your next couples trip, so that you can get even more out of your vacation than a massage and a frozen margarita.
If you have any other indicators couples should look out for, feel free to comment them below!
Loving the old; exploring the new,