Having just returned from a month travelling with my other half I thought it was a great time to share my top 10 tips for travelling as a couple for 24 hours a day, in very different cultures when you are both tired from day-to-day life. Although it was the best, most special experience of our lives there were times when we found it really stressful! Now we have come home enriched, happier than ever and already planning our next adventure together.
Don't plan too muchThe trip we have just returned from consisted of visiting 5 countries in South East Asia and staying in 10 different hotels... squeezed into 4 weeks! We were absolutely shattered by the time we got to Seminyak in Bali and just let ourselves chill out, eat, drink and go with the flow. This ended up being our favourite part of our travels despite having just seen wonders such as the Angkor temples and Halong Bay. The moral of the story is, DO NOT plan too many destinations in one short trip! (Especially if you are over 30 and a bit knackered like us...)
This one sounds obvious but when you have failed at the 'don't plan too much' rule this can be tricky. I love finding the most beautiful places to take photos and want to make sure I have seen every inch of a place before we leave or I get huge FOMO. My other half is more of a chilled kinda guy and just wants a beer... a wander... and to see where we end up. The best thing to do is talk through what you both want to get out of the trip, then make sure there are parts of the holiday planned for both of you. You might end up discovering you enjoy something you had never even tried and there's nothing like discovering new shared interests with someone!
Pick your destinations carefully
This one actually applies whether you are travelling in a couple or not. It's important to really want to visit the place you have booked, not just because it looks great on Instagram. Some places just won't suit your travelling style and you should take this into account for both of you before even thinking of booking somewhere. We are still learning what kind of travels we both like, but after our most recent trip we know that a beach town is probably our favourite! We were underwhelmed by Ubud despite it being so photogenic, and adored Kuala Lumpur which we didn't know too much about. Do your research, set time around busy schedules to talk it through and make sure you pick the best place for both of you.
Play to your individual strengths
This is something that works really well for us. I am a bit of a 'Monica' when it comes to planning travel and like to know every detail down to whether we get a welcome drink at each hotel (I even have a holiday spreadsheet...) My other half is happy for me to plan things as long as he can be in charge of directions as I can't direct us anywhere (I once got lost with my mum 20 minutes from home where we'd both grown up, so I know where I get it from!) For this he uses an amazing maps app called maps.me which you can use without any internet connection. It works really well if you both do your bit to make sure the trip runs as smoothly as possible.
However long you have been with someone you can't fail to make them smile with a killer surprise! Many hotels we have stayed in offer extra touches for your room even if they aren't advertised - such as the Insta-famous flower baths in Bali. Arranging a surprise spa treatment at a point in the trip when you're both tired or even small things like ordering them a special drink for when they get to the pool will go a long way to making the trip even more special.
Get enough sleep
Don't underestimate sleep and rest time during your holidays. We are both total night owls and some of the trips we did, such as the Angkor Wat sunrise, meant some very early rises. This actually has a knock on effect on us for a few days but with our latest trip being so tight for time there was little slack for rest time. Down time is so important to ensure you enjoy all your big bucket list trips without them being a blur due to lack of sleep!
Put your phone away
Whilst I am a social media fiend most of the time I do try and switch off when we are away and often leave my phone in the room when we go out to dinner. Make sure you've got a good camera with you so you don't need your phone for photos and you can easily leave it behind. My phone died on me last weekend and having two days without it left me feeling much more relaxed. It's definitely best to switch off as much as you can when on holiday so you can focus on talking to each other and enjoying the moment.
Enjoy the little things
Some of our favourite holiday memories are so simple. Having a drink on the balcony of our Halong bay cruise ship whilst watching the sunset and chatting about random things will always be a lovely memory for me, more so than big day trips like visiting Nusa Penida. Not every day has to be a big event and taking time to just chat about things you never get time to at home is just really precious!
Let go of mistakes
You wouldn't be human if things didn't go wrong when planning extensive travels. Whether one of you misjudged your flight time, booked that trip for the wrong day or picked an awful hotel, remember you are a team. We are good at rising above things now when they go wrong on our travels, we try to plan as much as we can to make sure things run smoothly but when they don't there is no point blaming each other, you will probably look back at it and laugh!
Embrace cheesy romance
There's something about the sea air, the sun or maybe just the lack of work that makes holidays automatically feel more romantic. The problem when you are travelling round a number of places is that it can feel less relaxing than a simple week abroad. The key is to slow down whenever possible and embrace any romantic opportunities. Whether that's a beach cinema that might not have your ideal film showing - try it. Breakfast in the pool early morning when it's cold - give it a go! (It was actually really lovely once we were in the water!) There is no better time to re-connect with someone and showcase your inner Romeo or Juliet when travelling to exotic places.
Source: Melis Living