Yes, Travel Can Make or Break Your Relationship & Here's How

Yes, Travel Can Make or Break Relationships & Here’s How

No wonder some couples break up mid-vacation.

Have you ever gone on a trip with a friend, lover, or family member and realised that they weren’t at all who you thought they were under certain circumstances? We wouldn’t be surprised if you have. After all, travel tests relationships in so many ways. Those of us who are fortunate to have survived such trials now know better than to dive worry-free into an adventure with a travel buddy at our side. 

Disagreements, frustrations, and unexpected events can quickly arise, so it’s up to you and your partner to decide whether these encounters are going to make or break not only your relationship but also your trip. Yes, as petty as it may sound, even a luxury like travel isn’t immune to the ups and downs of a relationship. Here are a couple of ways travel can actually define the bonds that you share with other people! 

1. Travel will test your trust in each other

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Knowing my boyfriend, he likes to move around a lot…and smoke a bit. On our first plane ride together, I asked him to stay put at our designated gate because our domestic flight might call for boarding anytime soon. He’s only travelled by plane a handful of times so I wanted him to be prepared for anything. But against my advice that he should stay put, he still went out for a smoke and insisted he’d be back before the call for boarding. Can you guess what happened next?

Our flight called for boarding while he was still in line to get back to the gate. Naturally, I gave him a mouthful about how he should trust me more when it comes to things I’m more experienced in — especially travelling. If you find yourself at the receiving end of some level of distrust from your travel buddy, maybe that’s because they notice you have certain habits that don’t merit their full confidence. 

That’s your chance to find out what it is, and see if you can make it an opportunity for self-improvement and deepening the trust in your relationship. Simply dismissing it would be unhealthy for you and your partner. 

2. Your bathroom habits are completely exposed to one another

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Bathroom habits are something that you wouldn’t normally bother looking at but will be compelled to do so once you share a common bathroom with another person during your travels. It goes without saying that neat freaks prefer their bathrooms to have a place for everything, such as where to hang the towels, a glass to place a toothbrush, and a particular area to lay down the bathroom mat. (You don’t want wet floors, do you?)

On the other hand, a person who isn’t as particular with such things — or worse, does unspeakable things inside the bathroom — could be considered a slob by the neat freak. And that’s when differences lead to arguments. It’s even more of a problem if you have contrasting habits with your boyfriend or girlfriend; such a revelation during your travels is like a small slice of the future you’re going to share. 

If this is the case, you must decide: suffer the other’s bathroom habits or reach a compromise where both of you are comfortable (if that’s even possible when it comes to bathroom space!).

3. Travel will force you to assess each other’s values sooner than later

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There are certain values that are better presented or tested over time and in certain scenarios. That said, travelling can actually speed things up for you and your significant other (SO). You may value keeping your expenses within a budget during your travels while your SO doesn’t mind paying a larger amount of money to experience more things. They may see it as a must to meet with friends on time, while you think it wouldn’t hurt to be late for a few minutes. 

Of course, it’s always better to reach a compromise unless you have certain values and preferences that are non-negotiable. All of us have heard of tragic stories where couples broke up while travelling because they couldn’t reconcile their differences. Sometimes, these breakups are inevitable, but if you manage to overcome your differences, your relationship will bounce back stronger than ever. 

Also read: Real Filipino Couples Share What They Fight About When Travelling

4. You’ll need to talk things out almost right away

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When you’re travelling with a friend or SO and you find yourselves fighting, you have little choice but to talk it out almost immediately, or at least within the span of your holiday. You’re all each other has on that trip, after all. This could be a frustrating feat for individuals who prefer to take their time thinking about their problems, or for those who just really aren’t confrontational. But for the sake of the trip and relationship, they have to learn to communicate better under pressure. 

There are, of course, other ways to go about resolving a fight. Some friends and couples prefer to laugh it off and just forget a fight ever happened. It’s a perfectly acceptable solution, unless the other person really wants to talk about the problem. Again, everything will depend on how the couple will compromise. It’s best to take other factors into consideration when confronting each other — like place and time, and even one’s mood. Otherwise, forcing a serious conversation might just backfire!

5. In shared circumstances, you can’t escape each other’s mood swings

relationship travel

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Speaking of mood, your partner’s moods are something you can’t run from when you travel together and vice-versa. In case it hasn’t dawned on you, agreeing to travel together is agreeing to experience the same memorable, joyful, frustrating, and depressing experiences together too, because like I said — you’re stuck with each other for the rest of your holiday. All your triggers and mood swings are exposed, and it’ll be hard to rein in your impulse reactions when your family, friend, or SO is by your side 24/7. 

On the bright side, this gives you a unique chance to understand your travel buddy better and on a level that isn’t usually open to anyone else. Travelling together can help a couple decide earlier on in their relationship if their mood swings are something both of them can live with in the future. Can you imagine discovering the situations that make your SO moody only after you’ve married him or her? I’m not saying you won’t be able to handle it, I’m just saying that travelling together could help you prepare for tricky situations like that. 

6. You’ll realise that not all your travel preferences are aligned

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To some people, travel comes with specific “musts”. A must to immerse in the local culture, dine in popular cafes, wear traditional costumes, even take lots of photos. On the other hand, other travellers might have different inclinations such as milking the most out of their vacation by ticking off as many attractions as quickly as possible. Some even avoid the lure of Instagram-worthy photos because they prefer to seal a beautiful view into memory without the click of a camera. Travel preferences are never all the same for two people. 

When you and your travel buddies aren’t aligned and you realise this too late, another argument is bound to happen. So the question is, how will you meet your friends or SO half-way when you’re travelling with them? Some travel preferences just seem too far on the opposite ends of the spectrum to be reconciled. Or are they?

This is why preparation is crucial to the success of a travel experience. All parties involved need to sit down and go through the plans, schedule, and itinerary, so they can agree on everything beforehand. To save everyone the hassle of disagreements, the burden of planning shouldn’t only fall on one person. This leads me to my next point…

7. You’ll see just how skilled or horrible the other is at planning

relationship travel

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Planning your travels isn’t easy even when you put two heads together. Once again, your preferences might clash and at least one of you will have to sacrifice an attraction or two to give way for a commonplace that you and your SO want to see. But itinerary aside, travel will also teach you to be flexible to last-minute changes, and both parties will have to learn how to make snap decisions. Not only will you discover who’s better at different methods of planning, but you’ll also see who’s more level-headed when coping with changes to a fixed itinerary. 

In case you prove to be the more calm and collected between the two of you, it’s your job to be the voice of reason and make fair decisions that neither of you will end up regretting. Above all, do everything in your power to stop your panicking travel buddy from doing anything stupid. Sounds like a lot? Don’t worry, we’ll pray for you.

8. Travel will answer many of your questions about each other, whether you like them or not

relationship travel

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Travelling with a friend or SO will open your relationship to so many experiences that will make you ask questions about each other that aren’t usually on your mind. Questions such as who’s the better navigator, the up and at ‘em, or who loses their cool faster when outside their comfort zone, so on and so forth. 

Although asking precise questions like these may be uncomfortable at first, knowing the answers to them will also help you identify what you like and dislike about your travel buddy, and how both of you are going to — you guessed it — compromise. 

If you’re a travelling couple, you’ll be able to anticipate future hiccups by applying all that you’ve learned about each other during your travels. After all, travel is one of the best ways to get to know a person, so take advantage of the opportunity to discover not just places but also people — especially the ones closest to you. 

Also read: The Bali Breakup Curse: Are Couples Who Visit Bali Doomed to Split?

With all the good and bad that travel throws at us, no wonder it has the potential to make or break relationships. But at its core, travel is supposed to be something that brings people together, no matter where they’re from. May your own travels make your relationships stronger despite the hurdles that come your way. If you’d like to share your own relationship travel stories, feel free to comment on our Facebook page!                


Featured image credit: chermitove | Pixabay

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TripZilla

TripZilla inspires travel with guides, tips and stories by our community of travellers in and around Southeast Asia.

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