For travellers with a romantic streak, finding ‘the one’ should, in theory, open the door to a lifetime of loved-up globetrotting.
But what if Cupid’s not so kind? Forget squabbling about which side to stand on for a smug sunset selfie – we coupled-up fools are lucky if we can even agree on where to go, what to do and when to do it.
Don’t be disheartened. With these solutions to five common problems, there need be no trouble in paradise.
Your travel styles don’t match
They say opposites attract, but if you and your beloved have chalk-and-cheese travel dreams, trying to plan and book a trip together can be a polarizing experience. Sun-seekers will not be impressed by your Nordic fjord proposal; the thought of staying in a party hostel dorm will leave introverts in a state of panic; and sporty types will be twiddling their thumbs before you can even say ‘spa break’.
Relationship rescue: Compromise is key here. You could form a rota system, heading to the Alps for a ski holiday one year and lounging on a Caribbean beach the next; or search for a place that combines both of your priorities. Spending time apart to pursue your own interests is a wise move and if that’s just not possible in the same location, who’s to say you can’t each go solo once in awhile?
You can’t agree for love nor money
Money issues can be a source of friction in relationships – and changing currency doesn’t help. While being abroad is a great excuse to splash out, thrifty partners won’t feel comfortable when the budget goes out of the window – and no one wants to spend their time bickering over a restaurant bill. Spending priorities can also be a sticking point; if you’re saving to move in together, for example, a three-week jaunt to Australia could be difficult to justify…
Relationship rescue: Create a level financial playing field by starting a joint travel fund. Whether it’s adding pennies to a piggy bank each month or opening a shared account, this way the total saved dictates the travel budget, rather than your salaries – and having a separate pot for travel savings means other nest eggs are left untouched. Consider heading to more affordable locations like Southeast Asia, where luxury is available for less.
The fuss factor: excuses, excuses
Everyone is entitled to their personal quirks and qualms. But when your amour’s aversion to unfamiliar cuisine means they turn their nose up at anywhere vaguely exotic, or their fear of flying leads to whole continents being scratched off the travel wish list, once endearing idiosyncrasies suddenly become irritations.
Relationship rescue: Wannabe intrepid travellers must tread softly with a less adventurous other half. Dismissing their worries won’t work – neither does telling them to ‘chill out’, apparently – so try listening to them instead. Start small, venturing outside of your comfort zones by trying new experiences and places closer to home. If you’re lucky, each step into the unknown will boost their confidence. And while you might not be venturing into the Amazon any time soon, you’ll be surprised what you can both achieve with a little patience and understanding.
One of you is a control freak
Minute-by-minute itineraries, strict morning alarms and territorial behaviour surrounding guidebooks, paperwork and passports. Sound familiar? If one of you has an insatiable need to oversee every detail, prepare for any eventuality and dominate all aspects of your time away, you may come home more stressed out than when you left.
Relationship rescue: If your sweetheart is the travel tyrant, you have two options. Go for the route of least resistance, letting your loved one reign supreme, and you won’t have to bother organising transport, visas or all that other time-sucking nonsense – but you’ll be slave to their every whim and want when you’re on the road.
Alternatively, show them you are capable and willing to help bear the travel planning load, and you’ll ease your guy or girl’s anxieties. Persuade over-planners to add some free time into the schedule as a compromise. Working as a team will bring you closer together and create a healthy dynamic for your relationship in general. Or you could always just head to India for the ultimate lesson in winging it.
If the control freak is you… loosen your grip. Travel know-it-alls are no fun.
Your amour isn’t in love with travel
And now, perhaps the most puzzling of predicaments: what’s the protocol when you fall in love with someone who is simply not fussed about travel? ‘Never gonna happen’, you may scoff – but believe it or not, there are people out there who to all intents and purposes seem like rational, sane, fairly attractive human beings, yet meet your talk of romantic getaways with indifference. Alarm bells ring, but it’s too late – you’re done for.
Relationship rescue: Their lack of enthusiasm can’t cover all aspects of life, so find out what their true passions are and combine them with your own. Keen runner? Tempt them with an international marathon. Art lover? Get ye to the Guggenheim. Whether it’s food, wine, music or wildlife, you will find a way to overcome their apathy. And while you may never share that unmistakable lust for the unknown, at least you can both enjoy the journey.
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This article was first published in February 2016 and updated in February 2020.