You might be wondering why a FAMILY travel blog is writing about travel as a couple BEFORE having kids. Well…prior to becoming a family of three who loves to travel with kids, it was just the two of us.
Family travel is incredible. But there are definitely some perks to traveling as a party of two. Bo and I both think it is 5000% worth taking advantage of while you can.
Traveling as a couple makes you comfortable with all the components of travel. This lays the foundation to then be comfortable traveling as a family in the future. So we think it should be a priority for you. Plus…there are so many additional benefits to enjoy as you travel the world with your love.
Invest in travel as a couple
If you really want to know how compatible you are with your significant other, travel with them! Seriously!
Dealing with the logistics of travel and confronting the inevitable complications that spring up here and there TOGETHER creates the perfect opportunity to strengthen your relationship…or make it come unraveled (hopefully the former).
I have my moments where I let stress take over, and Bo is always there to give me a friendly reminder to chill out.
Delayed train departure times did not sit well with me when I had planned our connecting speed train WAY TOO CLOSE to our arrival time.
Losing our luggage was frustrating and inconvenient, but we had to take a deep breath, put our heads together and find a solution for moving forward.
On the flip side, getting to share incredible experiences with your love as you explore the world is one of the most powerful bonding experiences! When you travel as a couple, EVERY LITTLE (or big) THING is an opportunity to bond…or seek counseling. (Pssst–Why do you think The Bachelor travels the world instead of just staying in one place?)
Take advantage of the time you have while it’s just the two of you. Immerse yourselves in other cultures and learn from them TOGETHER.
One of our favorite trips was living in a local, non-touristy neighborhood in Rome and feeling like we were living “normal” life with other Italians.
You will gain further insight as to how your partner views the world, while you both develop new perspectives side by side.
Soak up the wonder and beauty of breathtaking places around the world with your partner holding your hand. Take advantage of a beautiful romantic view to embrace and kiss your love!
You can marvel at all the incredible sights on every trip. You will be so grateful you get to witness it together.
Invest time to travel as a couple whenever possible for your schedules. Make plans to allot a specific number of days each year to traveling together. Or choose the best month to travel and commit to taking one trip that month every year.
If longer trips are not in the budget or PTO plan, then focus on weekend trips. See if there are long weekends you could go a little further out of the way.
Pro Tip: Sit down with your partner [at least] once per year to outline what trips you would like to take and what timeframe will work best for you. Get them on the calendar, even if you haven’t actually booked anything yet. You will be more likely to keep the trips as a priority if you have planned and carved out the time for it.
The point is–you can’t just take one trip together and call it good. Make it a priority to schedule your trips in your calendar, so you have taken the first step toward investing time (no matter how big or small) to travel as a couple. The more time you can invest in traveling together, the bigger the return.
What trip have you been dreaming of taking but haven’t done yet? What have you always wanted to do TOGETHER? NOW is the time to make these dreams reality!
Learn each other’s travel habits. Develop a united logistical approach to your daily plans. Establish joint priorities while you venture into a new city. This united growth will occur the more time you spend traveling together.
If you make this time investment in travel as a couple…when you start to grow your tribe, you will have solid travel experience to build upon. The transition when you add a kid (or two or three or….) to the mix will be all that much smoother because of the foundation you laid as a couple.
When we started traveling with Austin, it wasn’t that big of a transition for us. Sure there were a few new focuses and expectations that had to be adjusted. But Bo and I had traveled as a couple so much before Austin came along, that we had lots of general travel kinks ironed out already. We had developed our travel rhythm as a pair.
Speaking of investing…it is economically advantageous to travel as a couple. Translation–it’s CHEAPER (most of the time).
Once you start adding more mouths to feed to your tab, the travel costs start to add up a little quicker. Go on trips while you can save money and only pay for two people.
You could look at this concept of “saving money” one of two ways:
- Save your dollars and take a trip together without breaking the bank. Experience an incredible vacation at a lower price point than what a family would have to pay.
- Since it is cheaper to travel as a couple, take more trips together! Your money will go further. Use this time to see as many places as your heart (and wallet) desires!
Personally, I would always choose option two–no hesitation. If I can afford to get more for my investment, I will make the investment as large as I can (while still being financially responsible) and make the most of the experiences!
Bo would cringe reading that last paragraph. He is always looking to limit spending whenever possible. BUT deep down (maybe bottom of the ocean deep) I know he loves to travel as much as possible, even if it costs a few more pennies.
Freedom of traveling as a couple
Freedom for Adult Experiences
As you plan for a trip, there is an endless variety of activities to do and places to go. Traveling as a couple means you only have to factor in two adults.
You can take advantage of more adventurous style experiences that aren’t as easily accomplished (or even possible in any way shape or form) with kids. No sky diving with your little one snuggled in a wrap on your belly as you fall through the atmosphere.
For example, Bo and I went to Iceland in the middle of February (aka harsh winter season) and spent the majority of our time outdoors in the cold, snowy weather. At one point it was so windy while it was snowing, that it felt like continuously getting shot in the face with an ice-filled BB gun. Not exactly an ideal trip for a baby.
One of our favorite experiences was paragliding over the Lauterbrunnen Valley in the majestic Swiss Alps. I can still picture the breathtaking views throughout the delightful glide! But there was no option to attach another human to the rig–no place for a squirmy toddler.
When it’s just the two of you, staying at adventurous accommodations can be kind of fun! Whether that’s a treehouse on the edge of a cliff in Bali, a capsule hotel in Japan, or your favorite resort on Mars (coming soon!), enjoy the adventure while all you have to worry about is having a spot to cuddle up with your love.
While you may not choose to have a full-on adventurous experience, another thing to keep in mind is that not all accommodations are family friendly. So while you travel as a couple, why not focus on visiting spots that are geared toward adults only? Do it while you can!
There are a number of all inclusive resorts that do not allow children, so that is one perfect getaway for couples. We visited an adults only all-inclusive resort in Jamaica, and it was a relaxing, romantic experience for a couple. (Not the type of trip for a loud, energetic kid.)
The “adults only” restriction applies to other types of resorts, villas and even a few vacation rentals around the globe (especially those in luxury tropical island destinations). While an overwater bungalow could still be enjoyable as a whole family, it’s definitely more tailored to an intimate escape for two.
Beyond accommodation restrictions, some destinations are not ideal for children. Places like Santorini, which is built into cliffs and is therefore mainly stairs upon stairs upon stairs, are not ideal for carrying children around (helloooooo, leg day!). Other places like Bali, Cuzco, Scottish Highlands, and Beijing may not be the easiest for transporting children around or entertaining them while there.
When it’s just the two of you, you have the freedom to hang out in the Italian piazzas with the locals past midnight…every night if you want! Or you can stroll hand in hand through the dark, narrow streets late at night to see a different side of the city.
Pro Tip: Take advantage of adult activities that revolve around night time (ie concerts, shows, pubs, and other late night entertainment). Experience these things before you have to worry about bedtimes and overtired littles… or bigs for that matter.
While I am a firm believer that you can travel to most places with your children (despite what others may say), these are a few potential exceptions to consider. If any of these types of trips or destinations are on your dream trip list, then take advantage of visiting them while you travel as a couple before your guest count starts going up.
Freedom in Flexibility
It wasn’t until after we started our family that I fully realized the luxury of flexibility that exists when you travel as a couple. Without littles, you have the freedom to do anything you want anytime you want without anyone putting up a fight…at least not a whiny one.
Bask in the splendor of taking trips that can accommodate a slow pace. Sleep in until 9am if you want. Lounge in your villa for an all afternoon siesta. Eat brunch in your pajamas on the patio at noon. Enjoy lazy mornings! Embrace all the one-on-one time with your partner.
Let the epitome of relaxation continue throughout the day. Soak up some rays on the beach for hours without interruptions. Book an afternoon couples massage for you and your love. Sit outside at a cafe and sip wine all evening long. Take advantage of a laid back relaxed schedule.
On the flip side, traveling as a couple is the perfect time to embrace a fun, fast pace too.
Remember that Iceland trip I mentioned before? Well…we did that entire trip from California to Iceland and back in 4 days! It was a speedy trip with a tight schedule that was a total blast as a couple! Plus we went with two other couples to make the adult trip that much more fun!
On another trip, we spent 21 days backpacking around Europe. We visited over 15 cities and towns in 6 countries, while never spending more than 72 hours in one place. It was a fast paced amazing adventure for the two of us. Not something that would be ideal with little ones (that much transition that fast would be a recipe for tears and meltdowns).
Visiting so many places on that trip gave us countless opportunities to be spontaneous. We could do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. No need to worry about feeding schedules, nap times, whose turn it is to carry the boy.
One of our favorite things to do when we travel is find a local breakfast spot (or coffee shop for you coffee drinkers) and ask our server what we should do that day. What are his/her favorite sights, local spots, restaurants, etc. I love the spontaneity of traveling as a pair.
Whether slow or fast paced travel is your style, both of these are great for travel as a couple. You will still be able to have portions of your trip at a fast or slow pace with kids, but there will be additional preparation and potential struggles to face because of it.
Travel as a couple while you have the utter flexibility to invest your time and money in whatever destination and activities your heart desires. The sky’s the limit! Literally…remember…paragliding!