I have found out there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them

— Mark Twain

I’ve talked about this with a few people on different occasions, and now I’ll talk about it here.  Everyone should experience couples travel before getting married.

Chicago, Illinois

Happy back home in Chicago, IL – November 2011

And not just a romantic weekend getaway or 5 nights on an all-inclusive cruise ship. I mean real travelingExploring a new country, going on a RTW trip, backpacking through Europe or even up and moving to a new country together can make-or-break your relationship.

Now I know some people may argue that it’s no different than living together before marriage– but that’s not the case.

Johnny and I lived together nearly 18 months before moving abroad to Hong Kong. And in all that time living together, guess what, we never had our first fight until a few months into our travels.

Budgeting while abroad can cause tension. Navigating a foreign country where you don’t speak the language can be stressful. And being stuck together through the good and the bad, could be enough to make any couple call it quits.

So forget living together back home, forget pre-marrital counseling. All couples should have to travel together before tying the knot.

Why Couples Should Travel

Hong Kong

A few days after moving to Hong Kong – June 2012

When you travel as a couple, you quickly figure out how one another manages money, acts out of his or her comfort zone, handles stress, or how he or she deals with compromise.

Dealing with each other

You’ll learn more about a person traveling with them for three days, than you will normally in three months. When moving abroad or traveling for months on end, you’re bound to experience some of each other’s negative traits.

For example, if Johnny doesn’t get proper sleep he gets cranky and it turns into me dragging him around town.  And if I go too long without food or something to drink I become extremely irritable– emphasis on the extremely.

But we’ve learned all these different habits of one another, and how to prevent and/or deal with them.

Shanghai - Apr 2013

Our time in Shanghai, China – April 2013

Learning to compromise

In both the planning stages and while on the trip, you have to realize that you can’t get your way at all times.

Let’s face it. Traveling can be expensive and money is one of the main reasons for disagreement for all couples– whether they’re traveling or not. And unless you have unlimited time and an unlimited budget, when deciding what to do, or where to eat, or how to spend money, you often will have to compromise in order to make it work.

But once you’ve learned to compromise with one another, life becomes easier.

Phuket - Nov 2013

Celebrating Thanksgiving in sunny Thailand – November 2012

Making it work

Traveling as a couple can be extremely fulfilling. You’ll be able to come away stronger as a couple and cherish the memories you share forever. However, it can also be extremely challenging as well. Living out of each other’s pockets...and sometimes wallets, for extended periods of time can be really stressful.

When traveling you often have to deal with unpredictable circumstances. Whether it’s something small like plans changing because of a flight delay, or something bigger like trying to survive off only one person’s paychecks, these circumstances will undoubtedly test your relationship. And to get past some of these tests can take hard work.

But you learn to make it work.

Hakone/Mt. Fuji, Japan

Exploring Mount Fuji, Japan – April 2013

Fast forward through all the bustling city life, adventurous trekking and relaxing cocktails in paradise, it’s been almost one whole year since Johnny and I began traveling together.

In that time, we formed so many memories that we’ll share forever and we’ve learned more about each other and us as a couple than we ever could have if we had stayed at home. Our travels have only had a positive impact on us and now our relationship is stronger than ever.


Revisiting the sites of Macau – March 2013

Share your own experience with couples travel in the comments below!

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