Backpacking as a Couple: How to Survive Travelling With Your Partner
This blog includes everything you need to know before you go backpacking as a couple. It includes the most common arguments couples have, solutions, as well as the benefits and challenges of travelling as a couple!
How to survive travelling as a Couple
Backpacking as a couple will likely test your relationship. Travelling with your partner is challenging enough when you just go on short-term holidays, but backpacking is a whole other world! For most couples, a backpacking trip will make or break their relationship. But with the right approaches and mindset, it is possible to go backpacking as a couple and see your relationship thrive!
This blog will help you prepare for a big backpacking trip with your partner. It includes information on our how to survive the trip, what mindset to have, the benefits of travelling as a couple, as well as the most common challenges and how to prepare for them!
Our Story of Backpacking Together
Dan and I have been backpacking as a couple for more than 2 years now. After dating and living with each other for only 1 year we embarked on our first ever backpacking trip in Southeast Asia which lasted 3 months. During this time, we had some of our biggest arguments but made some of the best memories as well. It was a test of our relationship, and with a few bumps along the way, we passed!
After that trip, we returned back to life in Australia with the goal of saving for a longer backpacking trip to South America. We set our saving plan and within a year we were on a plane with a one-way ticket to Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Since then, Dan and I have been backpacking all over the world together. We have had challenges and arguments that nearly led to break-ups, but we are still together, happy, and travelling as much as possible!
Based on our experiences, we have created this survival guide to backpacking as a couple!
Benefits of Backpacking as a Couple
Travelling as a couple will allow your relationship to advance, quickly! You will learn more about each other than most couples who have been together for decades. Your sense of understanding and communication and problem-solving will be tested. Through all of the struggles, you will both learn how to grow together and become better partners to each other.
But the best part about embarking on such an amazing journey with your partner is the memories you will share together. In the future, you will have funny stories to remind each other of the struggles, and beautiful photos of your favourite places.
Believe me, when I say, backpacking as a couple will be a rewarding and exciting experience if you do it right!
Challenges of Travelling with your Partner
Travelling with another person, whether they are significant other or not, is a challenge. There are two opinions to consider at all times and in high-stress situations, it can be easy to find yourselves not seeing eye-to-eye.
In my experience, most arguments between couples travelling come from the same common challenges. If you are aware of these challenges, then you’ll be able to prepare and prevent them that much easier!
Here are some of the most common problems couples travelling together face, and how to deal with them!
Let’s face it, on a backpacking trip you will be on a limited budget. Not having an endless amount of money to spend can quickly create stress. Different spending habits and priorities can be a source for resentment and turmoil.
Make sure you have saved enough before your trip that you won’t be running out of money! Sit down well before you leave and set up a saving plan based on daily budgets in the countries you are headed to. Ensure you are both saving equally and adequately to allow for some wiggle room if you do end up over-spending while on your backpacking trip.
It is important that you both understand how you want to travel before you go. Will you stay in dorm rooms or private rooms? Will you take public transport or taxis? Are you going to do any shopping for clothing or souvenirs? Will you join any organized tours? How often will you eat out or cook? Will you go out for drinks often?
These are all important questions that will determine your budget and will be decisions you need to make daily when backpacking as a couple. If one person wants to eat at restaurants mostly and the other wants to save the money and cook, there could be a potential for a small disagreement. But if this disagreement happens daily, it will be a huge struggle for the relationship. addressing these problems and getting on the same page before you leave will be a lifesaver!
If you and your partner have trouble agreeing on spending habits, consider keeping your money as separate as possible when travelling. This way, you can each have the freedom to spend more money on the things you value and less on others. If you have been sharing a bank account with your partner for a while already this may sound silly, but it could prevent many disagreements and allow both parties to spend happily!
Most relationships are based on some common interests, but not everything your partner likes you will as well. Commonly when we travel, how we choose to spend our time can differentiate quite a lot from someone else. If your partner loves visiting museums, for example, and you find them extremely boring and a waste of valuable travel time, this could be a cause for an argument.
The simplest way to deal with different interests is to spend some time apart. Allow each other to go off and do what you want while your partner does what they want. Do this because you both choose to, not after a disgruntled argument ending in you both splitting ways. Agree to part for a couple of hours and meet back up later on. IIt is important that you both get what you personally want from your travels.
If possible, you can try to compromise. If you aren’t stressed for time, then joining your partner doing something they enjoy in exchange for them joining you doing something you enjoy, might be your best solution. For Dan and I, this is what we do when deciding on how to spend our days while travelling.
Separate Daily Living Routines
Sometimes though, different interests might not just be deciding on what activity to do or not do, and sometimes it has to do with just how you spend your day. When you are backpacking as a couple, your life becomes your travel. One person might need more sleep than the other, one person might need to eat more, one might like to relax and read a book a couple hours a day, whatever it is, chances are you and your partner’s living habits and routines will differentiate in some ways.
You need to each understand that your partner has certain habits that are different to yours that allow them to recharge and rejuvenate on a daily a basis. If reading is part of your partners daily routine and helps them relax, then it is something you might just need to accept. Find something else that you can do during this time.
With me, I need more sleep than Dan does. I am not sure why, but I just do! If I sleep as little as Dan normally does, I get tired and grumpy. So, I often go to bed earlier while Dan watches a movie on his laptop, or I sleep in while Dan has a shower or does some writing. I also make the most of napping when I can on buses or during downtime. It is something that Dan has come to accept that is important for keeping me happy and healthy!
Communicating with each other what you need is vital. If your travel routine isn’t working for you, then consider explaining to your partner the problem and propose a reasonable solution. You both need to find routines that work for you, your relationship, and your travels! Talking about it is the only way to find the middle ground.
The Blame Game
In all honesty, this is one that Dan and I struggle with to this day. When you are travelling, things will go wrong. Buses won’t arrive on time, hostels will be terrible, things will get lost or even stolen – problems will arise on the daily. When these problems happen, the easiest thing to do is blame your partner. Whether you do this out loud or just in your head, it is unhealthy and creates a ground for arguments.
For us, the best way to solve the “blame game” is to be aware that we are doing it. We realise that things go wrong all the time, and they aren’t necessarily always somebody’s fault. Even if someone is at fault, it isn’t necessary to point fingers. Be aware of the “blame game” and gently point out the behaviour if your partner starts with it.
Hangry – an adjective that describes somebody who is angry because they are hungry.
This may sound silly, but it is a serious problem when backpacking. While travelling there will be long periods of time without food. For whatever reason, this seems to happen frequently no matter what country I am travelling in. Days get busy, places to buy food are far, and then people get hangry. Many arguments between couples while travelling happen simply because you are hungry!
Carry food with you! Keep a stash of granola bars or chocolate or fruit in your backpack at all times. This will save you when you find yourself trapped on a bus that is 5 hours behind schedule and won’t stop for a break.
If you don’t have any food handy and find yourselves getting hungry, the best thing to do is to limit conversation. Try not to make any important decisions, have serious conversations, or get yourself into stressful situations without eating first. Make getting food a priority and then try and sort out any important discussions!
Losing the Romance
It is easy to lose the romance portion of a relationship when you are on a budget backpacking trip. You’ll find yourselves staying in 10 share dorm rooms for weeks at a time and never going out on a date because it is just too expensive. Once the romance is lost, it becomes all too easy to argue over everything and lose sight of the relationship.
Make a conscious effort towards keeping the romance alive! Allow for space in your budget to stay in private rooms from time to time and to go out on a date night. Plan for this in your budget before you go on your trip and hold each other accountable for it!
Communication is also key here. If you are feeling like the romance is lacking then speaking about it and setting a plan in place is important!
The Right Mindset
One of the best things you can do when backpacking as a couple is keeping yourself in the right mindset. You need to understand that when travelling with your partner, you are not travelling solo and you need to always consider your partner’s opinion and perspective as well as your own. When deciding to go on a couples backpacking trip, this is what you’ve signed up for – so be ready to compromise!
For me, a huge part of being in the right mindset is being grateful for Dan. It is easy to just expect your other half to do certain things or have certain responsibilities. In fact, sometimes it becomes even routine. But if you can step back and think of all the things your partner helps you with and be thankful for these things, it will help your relationship thrive. Vocalising your thanks to your partner also goes a long way!
Things to Prioritise
There are a few things you need to set as priorities when you are backpacking as a couple. They are:
- Date nights and romantic time: set money and time aside for “date nights”. Plan for this.
- Private rooms: Although you are on a tight budget, as a couple you will NEED a private room (as opposed to a dorm room) from time to time. Budget for this extra expense!
- Communication: If you and your partner can talk effectively to work things out, then it will really be smooth sailing!
- Time together for just you two: Making friends and meeting new travel companions is all part of the backpacking experience. Just be sure to set some time for just you two aside as well.
- Time apart: just as you need to prioritize time together, spending time apart is important too!
- Enjoy some downtime: while travelling it is easy to get caught up in being busy all the time. This can cause stress. Just make sure to enjoy some downtime with your partner and enjoy the journey
Understanding that backpacking as a couple is a challenge, will be the first step to having a successful couples trip! Be patient, be understanding, and be thankful that you have your partner next to you experiencing some of the most amazing and memorable moments of your life!
Have you been backpacking as a couple before? What ws your biggest challenge or what advice do you ave for others? Tell us in the comments!
June 3, 2019