How to travel long term as a couple without killing each other

Each and everyday we read hundreds of feedbacks from Workawayers around the world sharing their inspiring travel stories with us. Workawayer Franzi has been travelling with her boyfriend Raphael as a couple for one and a half  years. They have had some great times Workawaying in India, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia and have written to explain how helping at Workaway projects has really helped their relationship… read on to find out how:
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Couple travelling long term and compromise

Travelling is wonderful, inspiring and fun but it can be stressful as well. It can also be quite overwhelming especially when you’re on a long term trip with your partner! Travelling with a partner is all about compromise, be it choosing a restaurant, a hotel or your next destination… If you’re travelling together for more than a couple of months it’s likely there will be a moment when the pressure becomes too much. Maybe there will be too many things you feel you’d have done differently (if you were travelling solo) and too many compromises. It can be a real test for a relationship and could be turned into a make or break situation. But there are ways to cheat on the test. Sometimes we need to be a little selfish and take the chance to spend some time apart. From my long term trip with Raphael I’ve figured these little ways to escape the couple-bubble without hurting our relationship:
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1. Realizing that you are two individuals and you don’t have to be together 24/7

When travelling as a couple became a little frustrating Workaway was our saviour. It was our way to counter two of the risks of long term travelling as a couple: being bored by our travelling routine and too much focusing on our partner. Turns out it was a great decision for us to take a break from our “obligatory” travelling plans and to create a unique experience on our own. It didn’t only help us to learn to appreciate each other again, I also realised that we are actually having an amazing time travelling the world as a couple. Remember, your goal is to have a balanced relationship right? So instead of focusing on each other most of the time, focus a bit more on yourself.
independent travel couple relationship

2. Check out Workaway projects that only YOU are interested in

Instead of finding a host for both of us together we chose to go to different Workaway projects. Do not assume that your partner will be offended by your suggestion because to build a healthy and balanced relationship you will sometimes have to allow for a little more space. In our case Raphael opted for a project that was more interesting for him (surfing and meditation) and I chose to spend time taking care of a bunch of cute little cats instead. Are you into social projects and maybe you miss your family, too? Search for a family that is looking for someone to look after their kids. Want something different? Workaway has 22,000+ hosts so rest assured you’ll find something that fits you both.
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3. Action time

Contact hosts and arrange your separate stays. Send them a message, introduce yourself and discuss each others’ expectations. It is always a good idea to have a skype call before you go on to visit a host. At first you might feel a bit anxious to be on your own and to be physically apart from him/ her, but you will get used to it really soon! We were staying in the same country but we didn’t stay in the same city so we didn’t get to see each other, but we know that was exactly what we needed.
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4. Enjoy your unique experience

Doing a Workaway project alone made the whole experience much more intense. I was able to focus on my own needs and interests again. And I had more time to get to know my host and other Workawayers. At the same time I was so much more fulfilled to have done something useful. I learned some new skills whilst being surrounded by like-minded people. We were both very happy to have met new people and were forced to get out of our couple-bubble. This will be an intense experience but you will gain a lot from it. Carpe diem.
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5. Sharing is caring

Do not forget to share your travel stories with your partner. Exchange pictures as well as fun and sad stories. You’ll have so much to talk about when you meet again!
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Thanks a lot for Franzi’s guest post! She is blogging all about her travels in German too if you are interested to read more: “And that’s just the beginning“. Alternatively you can find her on facebook and youtube.

13 replies
  1. Katelyn Bellerose says:

    The longest I’ve travelled with my boyfriend was 4 months, and in that time, there was only about 10 hours total that we weren’t together :O.

    Looking back now, I don’t know how it was possible, but we had very few disagreements (maybe like 2, and they were minor).

    I think part of why we got along so well was that we weren’t really on a time limit. It wasn’t like I felt that I was “wasting” time doing something that he wanted to do, when I would rather do something else, because we had no schedule and plenty of time to do everything. He’s also super chill and was good with whatever (that probably has a ton to do with it haha)

    But definitely you can be apart as a couple while travelling! I think travelling friends need to remember this as well… You can be apart from your friend and have your own day doing your own thing. The more time restrictions you have, the more you want to make use of the time you have, so I think that’s important :).

    Reply
  2. Kel
    Kel says:

    Thanks for the story, but I thought that it doesn’t actually match the title. It doesn’t sound like you’re actually travelling with your partner. It sounded more like you were both making your own experiences and then sharing them with each other. There’s nothing wrong with that! But that’s not travelling long term as a couple. I believe that travelling as a couple, should be shared experiences, that you can both look back on and cherish.

    Reply
  3. Stefanie Kessel says:

    The bf and I travelled South and Central America for 9 months. We had an open end but I got pregnant in Venezuela.

    We pushed through Panama (if you are there, check out Hostel Wunderbar for an amazing workaway experience) and Costa Rica. Especially with me being pregnant we had a very challenging trip with a lot of ups and downs. But when I think back, I would do it all over again. The bonding we have now and the strength we have as a family: pure magic.
    We returned home to give birth and to settle for a while but we’re already planning our next trip to Asia next year when our beautiful son is big enough. 🙂

    Reply

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