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Traveling Before Tying the Knot
Revisiting the sites of Macau - March 2013

Traveling Before Tying the Knot

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I have found out there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them

– Mark Twain

I’ve talked about this with a few people on different occasions, and now I’ll talk about it here.  Everyone should experience couples travel before getting married.

Johnny and me in the Signature Lounge, Chicago, IL

Happy back home in Chicago, IL – November 2011

And not just a romantic weekend getaway or 5 nights on an all-inclusive cruise ship. I mean real travelingExploring a new country, going on a RTW trip, backpacking through Europe or even up and moving to a new country together can make-or-break your relationship.

Now I know some people may argue that it’s no different than living together before marriage– but that’s not the case.

Johnny and I lived together nearly 18 months before moving abroad to Hong Kong. And in all that time living together, guess what, we never had our first fight until a few months into our travels.

Budgeting while abroad can cause tension. Navigating a foreign country where you don’t speak the language can be stressful. And being stuck together through the good and the bad, could be enough to make any couple call it quits.

So forget living together back home, forget pre-marrital counseling. All couples should have to travel together before tying the knot.

Why Couples Should Travel

Johnny and me in front of the Hong Kong skyline

A few days after moving to Hong Kong – June 2012

When you travel as a couple, you quickly figure out how one another manages money, acts out of his or her comfort zone, handles stress, or how he or she deals with compromise.

Dealing with each other

You’ll learn more about a person traveling with them for 3 days, than you will normally in 3 months. When moving abroad or traveling for months on end, you’re bound to experience some of each other’s negative traits.

For example, if Johnny doesn’t get proper sleep he gets cranky and it turns into me dragging him around town.  And if I go too long without food or something to drink I become extremely irritable– emphasis on the extremely.

But we’ve learned all these different habits of one another, and how to prevent and/or deal with them.

Johnny and me in front of the Shanghai skyline

Our time in Shanghai, China – April 2013

Learning to compromise

In both the planning stages and while on the trip, you have to realize that you can’t get your way at all times.

Let’s face it. Traveling can be expensive and money is one of the main reasons for disagreement for all couples– whether they’re traveling or not. And unless you have unlimited time and an unlimited budget, when deciding what to do, or where to eat, or how to spend money, you often will have to compromise in order to make it work.

But once you’ve learned to compromise with one another, life becomes easier.

Johnny and me on a beach in Phuket, Thailand

Celebrating Thanksgiving in sunny Thailand – November 2012

Making it work

Traveling as a couple can be extremely fulfilling. You’ll be able to come away stronger as a couple and cherish the memories you share forever. However, it can also be extremely challenging as well. Living out of each other’s pockets...and sometimes wallets, for extended periods of time can be really stressful.

When traveling you often have to deal with unpredictable circumstances. Whether it’s something small like plans changing because of a flight delay, or something bigger like trying to survive off only one person’s paychecks, these circumstances will undoubtedly test your relationship. And to get past some of these tests can take hard work.

But you learn to make it work.

Johnny and me at Mount Fuji, Japan

Exploring Mount Fuji, Japan – April 2013

Fast forward through all the bustling city life, the adventurous elephant trekking and the relaxing cocktails in paradise, it’s been almost 1 whole year since Johnny and I began traveling together.

In that time, we formed so many memories that we’ll share forever and we’ve learned more about each other and us as a couple than we ever could have if we had stayed at home. Our travels have only had a positive impact on us and now our relationship is stronger than ever.

Johnny and me in front of the Ruins of St. Paul, Macau

Revisiting the sites of Macau – March 2013

Share your own experience with couples travel in the comments below!

12 comments

  1. I think this is definitely true! Traveling brings out so many aspects of relationships that you may not necessarily see until put into stressful situations. With that said, I don’t think that it’s fair to say that couples should experience ‘real’ travel before tying the knot. International travel may be feasible for some, but it’s not fair to assume that others have the privilege to indulge in those (often very expensive, even when on a budget) trips.

    • I agree, although it doesn’t even need to be an international trip! It could just be traveling in your country, or even in your own city. When I say ‘real’ travel, I just mean more than a weekend trip. :)

  2. I’ve lost a dear friend after a 6 day trip…I found sides in her that I haven’t seen in 3 years of friendship. Your advice is true for non romantic relationships as well.
    Yana recently posted…International Women’s day in Equatorial GuineaMy Profile

    • Definitely! I’m always a little apprehensive of traveling with friends. This summer I’ll be traveling 5 weeks through Europe with my mom who I haven’t been around in almost 3 years, so I’m even quite nervous for that!

  3. You guys are too cute! Totally agree that couples need to travel together during the dating stage – to see how the other person deals with challenges, new environments, and stress. Eye opening… :)
    jill recently posted…Le Road Trip: 5 Awesome Highlights Driving Through Quebec Eastern TownshipsMy Profile

  4. Nice perspective, travel is definitely the fast track to getting to know someone well. I’m glad it worked out for you guys after having to compromise, instead of falling apart! :)
    Sally recently posted…iPhone Photoessay: Cats of IstanbulMy Profile

  5. honesttoblog, we work very well together when traveling. And yes, you should travel before marriage (but I also think people should live together before marriage, too). Even if you don’t really have the means, simple things like camping or a weekender trip can really test how you work together.

    And really, it’s so odd how some people just mesh so well when traveling. Sometimes, you just can pinpoint what it is, but it works. =)
    nicole recently posted…Getting to the Top in SingaporeMy Profile

    • I agree that living together also helps. Although, we lived together before traveling but still never had a fight or any tension until on the road!

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