How to not breakup while travelling
We've hit peak mid-winter blahs season — a time of year when everything, maybe even your relationship, seems dull.
Could a romantic vacation to a sunny destination cure your relationship blues? Maybe. Or it could make them worse.
"Every couple should know that travelling together is not always a bed of roses," said Sonal Kwatra Paladini, an Indian travel blogger who met her German husband while travelling. "Travelling together will test your relationship. So be prepared."
We spoke with five travel blogging duos — four married couples and one platonic couple— who've travelled the world together, asking what ticks them off, what lessons they've learned and what's the worst thing that's happened while travelling.
Here are their words of wisdom.
Rob and Chris Taylor, married
Country of origin: United States
Blog: 2 Travel Dads, a gay dad travel blog
Rob shares, in his own words: I wish I'd been more prepared to deal with OCD issues. We love beaches and road trips but the two don't go well when one of you has an issue with sand in the car. We deal by trying to be sensitive to one another — and we clean our shoes really well.
The worst travel experience we've had was when we were in Mexico. The H1N1 flu hit us, and a hurricane hit the Baja Peninsula at the same time. We were stranded in a hotel room, sweating and sick while rain poured under our door.
The best time was when we got to take our kids to Yellowstone National Park and see the expressions on their faces when they came face-to-face with a bison. It was particularly special because, at one time, we thought we wouldn't be able to have kids. Then we created that amazing memory.
Sonal Kwatra Paladini and Sandro Paladini, married
Country of origin: India for her, Germany for him
Blog: Drifter Planet, a hippie travel blog
In Sonal's words: I wish I'd known Sandro doesn't eat breakfast. It sounds petty, but it is a big deal. I wake up starving and he doesn't understand my grumpiness.
My advice to prospective romantic travel partners: travel early. It's the best way to check compatibility. Couples are usually on their best behaviour at the beginning of a relationship, but when they're travelling, they're real. They witness the worst in each other. Travel can make or break a relationship.
Randi Delano and Michael Miszczak, friends who met through a dating app
Country of origin: United States
Blog: Just a Pack, a responsible travel blog
In Randi's words: Before you travel, make sure you and your travel partner are both on the same page. Let him/her know what kind of travel experiences are important to you, what your travel style is, and plan accordingly.
On the road, don't underestimate the importance of alone time. It's tempting to do everything with your travel partner because you don't know anyone else. But doing that usually leads to feeling drained. Most people need alone time to recharge their batteries.
Dalene and Pete Heck, married
Country of origin: Canada
Blog: Hecktic Travels, a travel blog
Here's Dalene: One of the lessons I've learned through travel is that, even though we've been happily married for over fifteen years, we're still individuals. Our interests are not 100 per cent aligned and we don't need to do everything together! Time apart is healthy for any relationship.
Our worst travel experience came when we were backpacking in Colombia. I was burnt out. In a grungy room in the small town of Salento, I lost it. We had no power, no running water, bugs were frequent visitors and the bed was hard as a rock. Pete tried to console me while I sobbed for a good couple of hours. It ended up being an important turning point in our travels — we decided from then on to take it much slower, spending more time in single locations.
Another tip: always carry a snack. No one likes a hangry traveller.
Alesha Bradford and Jarryd Salem, married
Country of origin: Australia
Blog: NOMADasaurus, an adventure travel blog
Here's what Alesha and Jarryd had to offer us: Our advice to prospective long-term travellers is this: take small trips together first. Go camping for the weekend or take a vacation for a few days. This will help you test the waters and decide if your relationship can handle bigger trips. Then, if it's something you want, hit the road and let life take its course. It will be the best decision you ever make.
Katrina Clarke is a Toronto-based journalist who writes about relationships, health, technology and social trends. Find her on Twitter at @KatrinaAClarke.