Traveling is often seen as a leisure activity, a break from the daily grind. But did you know it can also be an incredible relationship booster? Traveling as a couple gives you the chance to create shared memories, face challenges together, and discover new aspects of each other.
According to a survey from the U.S. Travel Association, couples who travel together have healthier, happier relationships compared to those who don’t travel. A whopping 86% of traveling couples believe that romance is still alive in their relationship, whereas divorce rates are higher on couples who never travel.
However, traveling is not all breathtaking sunsets and delicious local cuisines. Lost luggage, language barriers, unexpected detours—these are all part and parcel of any travel experience. But don’t let that deter you.
Let’s unpack the suitcase of benefits that traveling together can bring to your relationship.
What Traveling as a Couple Can Do To Your Relationship
Traveling as a couple isn’t just about snapping cute selfies or trying exotic dishes together. It’s an adventure that can shape your relationship in unexpected ways.
You Create More Shared Experiences to Grow Together
One of the first and most important benefits is that traveling together allows you to create shared experiences. These experiences are the threads that weave the tapestry of your relationship. Whether it’s marveling at the stunning view from a mountaintop, or laughing together as you struggle to communicate with locals, these moments of shared joy, wonder, and even adversity, all contribute to a stronger, more resilient bond.
You Work as a Team
Traveling as a couple also provides ample opportunities to practice and improve your communication skills and work as team.
The Gottman Method emphasizes the importance of effective communication in maintaining a healthy relationship. When you’re navigating unfamiliar territory, clear and open communication is vital.
You learn to discuss plans, express needs, negotiate, and make decisions together. This not only makes your travels smoother but also strengthens your relationship. Imagine how traveling as a couple can do in the long run if you do it more often?
You Share Enriching Experiences
We’re not just talking about the incredible sights, fancy restaurants, and cozy hotel rooms. While you’ll definitely soak up lovely experiences, you’ll also experience the “bad” side of traveling.
You might get sick from an unconventional dish. You might get cranky from jet lag. Or maybe, one of you will be feeling down and blue for no reason. And that’s okay, because you’ll have each other!
You’ll Give Yourselves a Break From Routine
According to Dr. Dana McNeil, a great way to deepen your relationship bond is to schedule some “quiet time” together. And what better way to do it than by getting away to a tranquil place?
“At least once a week, turn off all electronic devices and participate in an activity you both enjoy. You could watch your favorite movie, massage each other, or play a board game. This gives you time to enjoy each other and connect on a deeper level,” suggests Dr. McNeil.
This is especially effective when breaking free from the “autopilot” phase of a relationship, which often follows the honeymoon phase.
You Get to Know Each Other Better
The person you travel with won’t necessarily be the same person you wake up next to every day. And that’s amazing.
Beyond the wonders of exploring new places, traveling together may reveal opinions and sides to their personality you never knew existed. For this reason, patience from both sides is key for a successful trip.
What Traveling As A Couple Can Benefit You As An Individual
Traveling as a couple does more than just strengthen your bond—it nurtures your individual growth as well.It can be transformative for each partner in many ways. Here’s how:
It Helps You Develop Your Personal Skills
Traveling often involves unforeseen circumstances and challenges. Missed flights, language barriers, unfamiliar food—you name it! When faced with these situations, you’re pushed out of your comfort zone and given the chance to grow. You might find yourself negotiating with a local vendor, navigating foreign public transportation, or even trying exotic cuisine you wouldn’t ordinarily touch.
These experiences can boost your problem-solving skills, adaptability, and open-mindedness, making you a more resilient and versatile individual.
It’s A Good Confidence-Booster
Overcoming travel-related obstacles can do wonders for your self-esteem. Successfully navigating a new city, communicating in a foreign language, or even managing to pack everything perfectly in your suitcase can give you a sense of accomplishment. Each victory, big or small, contributes to your self-confidence.
It Opens Your World To New Interests and Passions
Traveling exposes you to different cultures, activities, and experiences. You might discover a love for Thai cuisine, a passion for Italian art, or an interest in wildlife photography.
These newfound hobbies and interests can enrich your personal life, making it more colorful and exciting. It also adds passion to your relationship if you and your partner develop the same new interests.
It Enhances Your Self-awareness
Traveling with your partner provides plenty of opportunities for introspection and self-discovery. Observing how you react to different situations, how you manage stress, and how you interact with different cultures can increase your self-awareness.
Understanding yourself better can lead to personal growth and improved relationships, as you become more aware of your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.
It Encourages Independence
While you’re definitely traveling together, there will be times when you’ll need to be independent—like when your partner is feeling unwell, or when you want to pursue different activities. These situations can foster a sense of independence and self-reliance, which are crucial traits for personal development.
Tips on How to Travel Better With Your Partner, According To Gottman
With guidance and preparation, you can navigate these bumps in the road and turn your travels into unforgettable adventures. Here are Gottman-approved tips for you:
1. Build Your Love Maps
Before you map out your travel itinerary, take some time to map out each other’s preferences and expectations. Does your partner prefer a laid-back beach holiday or an action-packed adventure? Are they early risers eager to catch the sunrise, or do they prefer to explore the night markets and local nightlife? Understanding your partner’s travel style and discussing your expectations can prevent misunderstandings and ensure you both enjoy the journey.
2. Practice Turning Towards Each Other
Traveling can present unexpected challenges, from missed flights to language barriers. In these moments, remember to “turn towards” each other, as Gottman advises. Instead of blaming each other or turning away in frustration, use these challenges as opportunities to support each other and work together towards a solution.
3. Nurture Fondness and Admiration
Traveling provides countless opportunities to appreciate your partner. It could be their skill at haggling with a local vendor, their patience when plans go awry, or their excitement when trying new foods. Express your admiration and appreciation openly. This fosters positive feelings and helps keep the relationship strong, even when the journey gets tough.
4. Let Your Partner Influence You
Traveling is all about compromise. Maybe you’re eager to visit the local museums, while your partner is more interested in hiking trails. Practice letting your partner influence you—take turns in deciding activities, or try to incorporate elements that you both enjoy. This not only ensures you both have a good time but also promotes respect and equality in your relationship.
5. Create Shared Meaning
Traveling together means creating shared experiences and memories. These shared moments can be incredibly meaningful and can strengthen your bond. So try to create experiences that are special and meaningful to both of you, whether it’s watching a sunrise together, participating in a local festival, or even cooking a meal together in your Airbnb kitchen.
Get the Therapy Getaway You Both Need
Sometimes, the best way to recharge your relationship is to step out of your daily routines and spend quality time together in a new environment. Here’s where our Therapy Getaway® Intensives can help.
Imagine this: you’re not just traveling to explore a new place, but also to reconnect with each other. Away from the distractions of everyday life, you can focus on each other, have those deep conversations, or simply enjoy some quiet moments together. This can be incredibly therapeutic and rejuvenating for your relationship.
This therapy getaway could be a cozy cabin in the woods, a beachfront resort, or a charming city overseas. The key is to choose a place that both of you will love and where you can relax, reconnect, and focus on each other.
You can also incorporate some therapeutic activities into your itinerary. It could be a couple’s yoga session, a cooking class, a heartfelt conversation over a cup of coffee, or a therapy getaway with our expert relationship therapists. With our guidance, these experiences can help you better understand each other, and resolve any underlying issues you’ve been dealing with for a long time.
Remember, traveling with your partner is all about destressing, having a good time, and nurturing your relationship in the process. So, leave the stress and worries at home. Use this time to reconnect, heal, and grow together as a couple. After all, a journey of the heart can be the most exciting adventure of all!