Have you DREAMED of couples travel but aren’t sure exactly where to start?
Let me guess: you want the loved up romance, days spend lounging with drinks in hand, and steamy couple massages on exotic beaches, right?
Welllll, while traveling with your partner can have some of those deliciously dreamy days, the reality is a whole lot messier than cute Insta pics.
When my ex and I travelled as a couple, I ended up ending literally every night in tears whilst 8000+ miles away from home.
…not exactly IG worthy if you ask me.
And even now that I’m traveling with the love of my life, there’s still the 12 hour bus rides. The getting stuck in a dank room waiting for the worst storm of the year to pass. Ah yes, and the food poisoning at 15,400 ft…
Despite all that, I’m about to give you a full blown article on why you should travel as a couple!
Am I crazy?! Perhaps 😉
But traveling as a couple will bring you closer together and make those sluggish travel burnout days just a little easier to manage. With the right person, it will always beat solo travel in my eyes.
So without further ado, here’s how to get the most out of traveling as a couple… without killing each other!
Why Travel as a Couple?
Because how else can you make *romantic* love in the world’s most beautiful places? Ok, ok, the perks of traveling as a couple go a lot further than just bedroom fun… But let’s be real, it is essential to mention!
Traveling as a couple will test AND strengthen your relationship like no other, especially when it comes to backpacking, van life, and camping.
But on the other hand, traveling with my partner has led to some of the most amazing moments of my life, hands down. From climbing to a 15,400 ft alpine lake to taking on a 1000 km motorbike road trip; trust me when I say that shit is sweeet when done with the right person.
There are also financial benefits to traveling as a couple. For example, splitting private rooms will likely be cheaper than hostel dorms beds.
And while solo female travel is empowering as hell and usually very safe, traveling with your partner is undeniably easier.
As long as your partner isn’t a dickweed, you get emotional support, a logistics manager, AND a cutie with a bootie.
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Benefits of Traveling With Your Significant Other
Besides being able to bang like rabbits without fear of STDs or frightening “hooking up on the road” debacles, you can have the best love and sex on the road experiences.
No but really, traveling as a couple has PLENTY of legit benefits.
This is especially true if you’ll be dabbling in offbeat travel, where having someone around makes many things a whole lot easier.
I could go on for days about the benefits of being a traveling couple. But, I think these are the 3 main ones:
1. You get to share life-changing moments with someone you love.
Man, if this isn’t your main motivation for backpacking as a couple, you might need to re-think your relationship. Just sayin’.
But on a real note, what makes traveling with someone you love so special is being able to have life-changing experiences together. Multiday treks that push you to your limit, camping under millions of stars, getting just a little too loose after a bit of drug tourism…
No one will be able to appreciate or understand these adventures better than someone who was there in the thick of them with you!
2. You get to save a little coin.
Traveling as a couple will for sure help you out in the budget travel department. Regardless of your arrangement with your partner, finding your travel buddy makes it a whole lot cheaper.
You can chill out in comfy private rooms on the low, share meals, the costs of drivers, tours, and other epic travel experiences.
3. There’s safety in numbers.
Staying safe while traveling is easier as a couple. There’s strength in numbers, for one. And for two – no matter how much I don’t want this to be true – traveling with at least one guy makes for safer travels.
Plus, nothing beats having someone to hold your hair back after some type of water poisoning or a night of too much local moonshine!
Backpacking Solo VS. Backpacking as a Couple
Solo budget backpacking and budget backpacking as a couple are two completely different experiences. I’ve done both: there are definitely pros and cons.
But in the end, traveling with someone I love has been fulfilling in ways that solo travel lacks. As empowered as I’ve felt traipsing through cities solo, heading on a motorbike trip through a remote region of Pakistan with my boyfriend certainly had more cheesy “I’ll remember this forever” moments.
To be able to share a passion for travel with a partner, make sure your passion is matched. I once tried traveling with someone who, after 4 countries together, realised he didn’t even like traveling. You can imagine all the fun that led to while spending months on the road together.
Rule #1 of traveling as a couple: No travel destination will fix an already failed relationship.
But if y’all have some real love going on, get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.
How to Get the Most Out of Travelling as a Couple
Not all types of couples’ travel are the same. Meaning, you’ll want to really know what you’re getting into before heading out on your trip. That way you can get the most out of the adventure of a lifetime together!
Backpacking as a Couple
Ahh, backpacking the world as a couple. From my experience, it is a travel style that is blissful – if done right. Food poisoning, culture shock, and haggling in new cities are but some of what you can expect to experience on a long-term adventure.
Then there’s also exploring the markets of a new city and showing your partner all the kooky things you find! There are the sunrises made that much sweeter by sharing them. Backpacking as a couple will provide both of you with some of the most epic moments of your lives.
I’ve seen what goes right and what goes wrong when you’re backpacking as a couple. I dated the toxic guy, and then later, fallen head over heels for the right man. I’ve travelled solo, too. So you can say I’ve had a full spectrum of backpacking as a couple experiences!
Now time to spill the tea you’re here for! Where do I go and how do I prepare to travel the world with the person I love?
Planning a Couples Trip
First up: where to go?
ASIA, ASIA, ASIA. Full stop.
There is nowhere else on this planet that makes backpacking as worthwhile as Southeast and South Asia.
Of course, there are some other prime backpacking destinations out there. But none really compare to what you can find in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, India, and Pakistan.
Friendly locals, rich cultures, and banging street food exist in every one of these countries – in abundance! I mean, I still think about this bowl of marinated octopus I had from a street food stall in Thailand for less than $2.
Tasty eats aside, let’s get into accommodation. Backpacking in popular destinations will likely mean time spent in hostels. But what is a hostel, and why are they good for traveling couples?
They’re only a little piece of magic, that is! Hostels are backpackers’ Mecca and you shouldn’t go backpacking as a couple without staying in them.
They’re where you and your boo can meet other cool people and travel couples. Party until the sun rises. Most importantly, you can be your true selves.
But while many hostels are trendy as hell these days, at some point y’all will want to escape into nature. When you are ready to leave the comfort of hostels behind, it’s time to look at camping as a couple!
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Camping as a Couple
I can’t stress this enough: it is important it is to invest in quality gear. When you’ve packed quality adventure gear together, you have a better experience.
Camping for couples is something you’ll likely experience as a backpacker. But is, of course, its own type of travel too. Along with getting to rise and sleep with nature, cheap places to travel for couples don’t get much cheaper than this.
While I assume veteran campers know this, newbies need to understand that camping isn’t exactly a sexy scene. True camping also means doing your business outside, and showers aren’t really a thing unless you happen to camp near a river of some sort.
Needless to say, camping as a couple isn’t exactly romantic. Well, it is feral and wild, and that’s a special kind of romance.
Camping Equipment for Couples
Aside from the lack of showers, getting it on in a tent isn’t exactly the most comfortable. But you can definitely make it work in a spacious 3 person tent. 😉
While I’m sure you’ll enjoy every moment spent secluded with your partner on snowy basecamps and lakeside scenes, my best advice is to start slow.
I’m talking a one-night trip kind of slow.
But now let’s assume you’ve both popped your camping cherry. You want to take your adventures under the stars to another level. Three words: comfy sleeping pad.
I didn’t think I would be able to enjoy camping until I found an amazing sleeping mattress that feels like a bed.
Another key for a happy twilight amongst the trees? Bring good food!
This is especially important for long hikes. I recently got some intense sunstroke symptoms while crossing a glacier due to a lack of camping nutrition.
Whoops! I won’t be making that mistake again.
And with the number of portable travel stoves available these days, nothing is impossible, even at 14,000 feet.
But to really survive camping as a couple, you have got to accept that the unexpected is BOUND to happen. Sometimes you get caught in a lightning storm and are forced into an expensive hotel. You could get hit with food poisoning, or perhaps just a shit ton of mosquitos.
It happens. Not every couple’s camping trip (or any camping trip for that matter) is going to be perfect, and that’s ok! It’s about the journey, after all.
What’s a hardcore couples’ camping trip REALLY like?
Hear what Indi shares about her 8-week couples camping and vanlife adventure:
Back before The Great Breakup, my ex and I shared some truly special times.
We decided to go for a trip together and blend a little vanlife with a lot of multiday hikes across the South Island of New Zealand. My ex would laugh at me bundled in 4 jumpers, 2 beanies, and a buff, ipso facto, everything I needed to survive our morning coffee in New Zealand’s winter!
And when we were hiking for days on end out in the austere backcountry, the best thing was having someone to laugh with when I fell on my butt into an almost-frozen lake!
The potentially shitty times became endlessly comical and so insignificant compared to the great times when you’re sharing life with someone. No, it wasn’t all laughing at each other falling down snow slopes and having cute morning coffees.
We got bogged and the van broke down several times. We got stuck in a tiny shelter on the top of a mountains as a storm passed over us. We spent all day every day together for 8 weeks straight.
Of course, we bickered a little. But I wouldn’t trade that adventure in for all the badass solo trips in the world.
Despite the way our relationship has ended up, nothing can take away sharing the best of New Zealand with someone I cared for deeply.
Vanlife as a Couple
No type of travel REALLY forces you to get to know your significant other quite like living the van life does.
Backpacking is hard. But spending 24/7 with your partner in an often cramped van takes things to a whole new level.
…especially in the US where public facilities aren’t as van-life friendly as in Europe or Australia.
Couples’ van life also means ultimate freedom and the ability to fully design your own home on wheels. And if you’re planning to build your van yourselves, you and your lover will be able to develop your cooperation and problem-solving skills before you hit the road.
Despite its challenges, and surreal moments and landscapes, it will (hopefully) only help y’all grow together and as individuals.
Couple Travel Tips to Survive Vanlife
Vanlife is a working progress, but here are my top tips to help the road be a little smoother.
- Have a solid design. I’m not saying you should go out and buy a sprinter van, but you need to make sure your van is ready for the road. Breaking down is stressful, EXPENSIVE, and leads to unnecessary tension. Of course, you can’t prevent all mechanical mishaps, but starting off on solid footing is always a good move.
- Communicate! This is a general tip too but it’s being mentioned twice because it’s that important. Especially when sharing a van, you need to talk things out. Tensions burst easily in confined space!
- Stay organized. A messy living situation can drive relationship tensions to a breaking point. A small, unorganized van is not going to bode well. If you and your partner have wildly different opinions on cleanliness, this should definitely be discussed before the vehicle is even picked up.
- Get out of the van! The whole point of vanlife is to explore the world is it not? Spend your days outside soaking in nature and that vitamin D. You want the van to feel like a respite and not a metal prison.
Hitchhiking as a Couple
Traveling by hitchhiking is one of the coolest types of couples travel you can go for. It will undoubtedly lead to some wild memories!
Sometimes it’s 6+ hours waiting for a lift, finding yourself in the car with a wild driver, or being forced on a bus by authorities. And sometimes it’s sharing a cup of chai with a family who become your dear friends.
It’s all just part of the experience – one that is definitely worth having. Especially in a beautiful, far-flung land.
Here’s how you can survive (and love!) hitchhiking as a couple:
- Be patient. Don’t expect a ride within a few minutes. Although it happens, it’s not the norm.
- Start early. This is ESPECIALLY important in remote regions that don’t have a lot of transport to begin with. Since you’ll need room for two, finding a ride will be slightly more difficult.
- Trust your instincts. Even when traveling as a couple, you’ll still want to steer clear of seedy vibes.
- Listen to your partner. If they’re not feeling it, be understanding. Hitchhiking ain’t always easy, and it can take some getting used to.
Digital Nomad Life and Working Jobs as a Couple
Living the digital nomad life is a dream in many ways. And doing it with your significant other? Even better.
Of course, like with all other types of couples travel, the foundation of your relationship before you hit the road is even more important than your finances.
…which, btw, might be a bit trying at times as you make your way into online entrepreneurship.
But on the bright side, having your person there to support you and motivate you is unmatched.
Working online isn’t the only type of job that traveling couples can get, though. Teaching English abroad is an easy way for couples to travel and make money abroad together.
Everywhere from Thailand to Oman has options for teaching English, and for a pretty penny too!
Hostels in various parts of the world (notably the iconic Southeast Asia) are also great places to find couple travel jobs. Many are keen to hire foreigners in exchange for accommodation, meals, and sometimes a little cash.
Classic volunteer organizations like WWOOF offer farming work to traveling couples, where you can work in everything from sharecropping to direct animal care.
Workaway is another top option for couples’ travel jobs in general and has been a trusted name in the industry for years. They also have a wider variety of jobs available than WWOOF.
Work Around the World With Worldpackers!
I’ve already mentioned Workaway so now let me tell you about another amazing travel jobs platform: Worldpackers! This is another volunteering platform that the Broke Backpacker has reviewed and loved.
While Worldpackers may not operate as far and wide as Workaway, it makes up for in quality and some seriously unique experiences. With Worldpackers, you’re just about guaranteed an epic stay, and the platform has LOADS of community features that Workaway is missing.
Click the buttons below to join the Worldpackers community as a Broke Backpacker reader–with the code BROKEBACKPACKER–to get a nifty discount off the signup fee to the tune of 20% of the annual subscription price.
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What to do When Traveling as a Couple Gets Rough
Backpacking and traveling as a couple isn’t always easy. And even for couples in solid, loving relationships, there absolutely WILL be days where you’re pretty far from “having fun.”
Whether y’all are a long-term pair, LGBTQ+ travelers, or even if y’all married, rough moments are inevitable. But at the end of the day, it’s the unreal meals shared, a nice hit of hash from the top of a glorious viewpoint. It’s those other souls you and your partner meet along the way that will stick with you forever.
Now let’s get into some must-knows about traveling the world as a couple.
How to Deal With Fights on the Road
Fighting on the road is NOT easy. But it’s especially rough when fighting morphs into abuse. It happens, and it happens (unfortunately) often.
And those are fights you shouldn’t ignore. Do something: be strong, like I wish I could have been sooner.
But, not all fights are the be-all end-all. Some are typical petty, driven by lack of sleep, too many bottles of beer on a Thai island, or far too many hours on a non-AC train in India.
After you discern which type of fight you’re dealing with, then you can decide what to do next. Take some time to chill out and pause, and hopefully, y’all can get back to baseline. If it was just a disagreement, my best advice is to talk and apologize.
But if a systematic pattern of belittling occurs, or if the fighting becomes less about the shitty situation and more about picking out each others’ flaws, this is nasty.
If you’re being emotionally or mentally abused, or if things get physical: LEAVE. Reach out for help with domestic abuse from professionals, friends, or family.
If you’re only with someone because you’re afraid you can’t travel alone, let me assure you that you CAN. I thought I would never be able to travel to my favorite countries alone, which was part of the reason I stayed in an unhealthy relationship.
I tried to ignore the deeper problems between me and my ex. But you can’t out-travel a bad relationship.
Traveling as a couple is supposed to be about love. And if you’re doing more fighting than loving, you probably shouldn’t be traveling as a couple.
I finally took my own advice. I left the relationship and did what I thought was impossible: solo travel.
How to Deal With a Break-Up While on the Road
Breaking up while abroad is never fun. Sometimes it happens on the road, sometimes it happens at home and then you’re thrust into the world of solo travel.
For a long time, I did not think I could travel alone and it was part of the reason (among many others) that I stayed in a toxic relationship.
But guess what?
After I decided I could and would travel alone, I literally came to travel in Pakistan solo. It is now my favorite country in the world.
Spoiler alert: it ended up being the best decision I have EVER made.
So, what to do after a break up abroad?
Get into what YOU love.
If that’s traveling, keep at it. You don’t need to go home just because a relationship went south. Not when there are 7+ billion other people to meet.
But if things are presently not working out, i.e. if you’re arguing every day, if you’re experiencing emotional abuse etc. don’t stay for the sake of travel.
Travel solo, or go home to re-group. Love the beach? Maybe go find some beaches while backpacking in Bali or something.
On a serious note, remember there IS someone else out there. You WILL find someone to travel with again, if that’s your concern. Things always seem to improve when you leave toxic people behind.
Top Tips for Couples Travelling Together
- Compromise: This, this AND this. Compromising is the single most important practice while traveling as a couple. Take into account what you both prefer, and make sure your backpacking itinerary does too.
- Be kind: Traveling as a couple, especially long term travel, can be rough. Move on from fights easily (unless there’s some cheating or abuse or something- then you need to GTFO), because at the end of the day you want the best for each other.
- Start off strong: Especially when long term travel is concerned, make sure your relationship is on stable ground before taking off. Even the most beautiful places in the world won’t fix a failed relationship.
- Communicate: It sounds basic but it’s the truth. As with successful relationships in general, successful travel relationships work because of communication. Angry about something your partner did? Need a break? Talk to them! Holding things in serves nobody and does exactly nothing to solve the problem.
- Be patient: Remember that y’all are in a new country, might be experiencing culture shock, home sickness, over-stimulation or a combination of the bunch. And even if you’re chillin’ in a new place, your partner might not be.
- Trust your gut: If you feel like things aren’t going well, and I mean really not going well, know that you can leave. It doesn’t matter how long the trip was supposed to be or what you had already booked. Red flags are there for a reason.
- Get insurance! Sounds dorky but hear me out!
Why Wandering Couples Should ALWAYS Have Travel Insurance!
Yeah, traveling as a couple means you always have someone to take care of you on less-than-fun days on the road. But sometimes you need a bit more than emotional support.
Medical shiz in foreign countries can get expensive quick, and you deff don’t want to have to worry about finances when your health is at stake.
Also, in the worst-case scenario that you and your boo call it quits on the road, you DEFINITELY want to be insured as a solo traveler. This is why you should ALWAYS consider getting travel insurance before any trip.
The Broke Backpacker recommends World Nomads everytime. They’re easy to use and have comprehensive coverage.
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Let’s End With a Bang! 😉
I couldn’t help but mention the sexy times! Because what’s traveling as a couple without some crazy sex in hostels stories?
Banging like rabbits, rolling the night away on MDMA on a mountainous lakeside, confessing your deepest feelings under fire-streaked skies… Yea, it’s all possible!
As far as drugs go, know that there will be drugs on the road. If you’re experimenting for the first time or you are trying a new drug, start slow.
Don’t take things too far too quickly. Shit can get crazy quickly – especially in popular backpacking destinations.
And as far as sex goes, let me remind you to get a PRIVATE ROOM. It’s just basic etiquette after all, amirite?
Unless you and your partner are happily platonic, sex is obviously going to be a part of traveling as a couple. And honestly, it should be if you want to be happy in your relationship and your trip.
Just remember to close the door, you dirty bastards! 😉
Final Thoughts on Traveling as a Couple
Yass, now you know how to travel as a couple and not kill each other! Yay!
Traveling as a couple is different than roaming with a travel buddy because, duh, LOVE.
It truly is the most intense force in this universe. When you combine it with some of the world’s most beautiful places, you’re in for one hell of a ride.
The most important thing to remember is that to be in love in a foreign country, you need to first be in love at home. A rocky relationship will only capsize once the challenges of road life are thrown at it.
But, assuming the love is there and so is the desire for travel, be kind. Take time for understanding, supportiveness and PATIENCE.
Travel is important, but even more so is human connection and true love. Don’t let petty fights and exhausting travel days dull your drive. Know what it means to be a backpacker before heading out on your trip, and always make sure a whole lot of love is shared each and every day.
Because isn’t the best part of traveling as a couple being able to share awe-inspiring moments with the one you love?
I sure think so 🙂
Bye for now, but not forever!
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