How to travel together and not lose your minds…

11 Nov

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” — Miriam Beard

This past month has brought the Mr. and I through a new experience. Travel on short notice. Not an emergency but pressing. And I’m almost thankful I didn’t have the time to stop and think because I’m a routine girl – and spontaneity can definitely throw me right off.

Living across the country from family and friends has opened our world of travel – both domestically and internationally.  And now, after years of traveling, we’ve finally developed a system that works for us.

For some, traveling can actually be a stressful experience. Especially, if both have different ideas of what a vacation really is. But as we’ve learned, travel even under tough circumstance and short notice, can still be fun, relaxing and memorable.

Compatibility between travelers is pretty essential to a stress-free experience; whether you are taking a road trip, luxury cruise, international resort, flying domestically, camping, or even backpacking.  While everyone fits a different travel personality, and matching personalities are ideal, opposites can actually bring even more to each trip.

So which travel type are you? Romantic, luxury, budget or adventurous? Each type brings a different dynamic to travel so balancing your strengths can actually extend your trip past your comfort zone and into new worlds.

If you don’t know which type you fall into, here’s a quick and easy quiz that will point you in the right direction. Those who are seasoned in travel will actually find Dr. Stanley C. Plog’s Travel Personality Quiz surprisingly accurate. Plog further breaks travelers into six categories and goes as far as listing the Top 30 Travel Destinations based on what you would love.

At the planning stage it’s equally important to take your time, share your ideas, and know your boundaries. Everyone has a comfort zone that shapes each experience so take the time to identify what you think would make your trip easier and more relaxing.

The hubs and I have a divide and conquer theory. Where one of us has a weakness, the other has a strength. He’s great with directions so he gets to be the navigator, and quickly takes the lead when something goes wrong in this area. Whereas, I am great at handling planning, so I gladly book the hotels, flights, car rentals and such.  And as I have a bad short-term memory, the Mr. always keeps the most important documents on himself. That way I don’t have to worry about forgetting shampoo or minor items that we can pick up almost anywhere we go.

If you are pressed for time consider using a travel agent. They are very knowledgeable and fees are normally quite reasonable. We have one that we bounce all of our trip ideas off of, even though not all come into being. We have used her for so many trips now that she has our preferred airport and hotels on speed dial if we make that call.

We also try to give ourselves a lot of buffer time for both unexpected delays and time apart. It’s easy to overcrowd one another so make time to be flexible and stretch out your own wings. Try sometime different and share your stories afterward – it’s amazing what you’ll find and who you’ll meet when given space to do your own thing.

Find your balance as over time traveling together gets easier and you can actually develop a nice routine. Just remember to take baby steps and have a broad sense of humour. Travel brings unexpected plans like camping brings bad weather. Be prepared to be challenged, and remember that some of the biggest mistakes make the best stories.

When outlining your trip’s budget, don’t forget to consider one another’s spending styles. Many of us enjoy bringing home momentos, gifts, and shopping while on vacation. Hubs loves eating at restaurants, so I let him splurge and plan our dinner dates while traveling. I’m always given a budget for updating our travel gear, sending out postcards every trip, and supporting the local artisans.

As travel reduces a lot of personal space, you will sometimes have to disagree in public. Being able to read each others body language simplifies decision-making in the company of friends or even when in danger. Sometimes, trouble finds you, so have a good back-up plan and solid trust in one another. In the worst of scenarios if you are somehow left with no resources, remember that together you have more chance of surviving than alone.

On most trips, you won’t have much more to worry about than flight times and accommodations. So to make these trips even easier, make use of early check-ins, and chat up your lodging’s concierge (they are always full of great local knowledge and tips). Invest in durable luggage, eat proper meals, and get plenty of sleep. These make a world of difference and start each day properly.

With practice, we have found that we bring less stuff and rather rely on one another’s skills to provide our needs. Becoming increasingly mobile, allows us more flexibility and eases our travel efforts.

“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” — John Steinbeck

Remember that your partner is really the best candidate for an amazing trip. So make it easy on each other and communicate, communicate, communicate. Submit to one another when it benefits both of you – and each trip will be better than the last! All in all, have fun! We wish you the best travels with much laughter and memories for a lifetime.

Think I missed something that you couldn’t travel together without? Drop me some of your tips and tricks!

Cheers with Wine!

the Mrs.


One Response to “How to travel together and not lose your minds…”

  1. The Hook January 25, 2011 at 3:38 PM #

    Very useful post! Good job

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